May 26, 2019
Theme: Prevenient grace is the grace that comes to us before we know God. In prevenient grace, God takes the initiative. Even while we were yet sinners, separated from Christ, God’s grace was already active in us, perhaps in ways we could not identify.
Scripture: Ephesians 2:1-9 (NRSV) – You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
June 2, 2019
Theme: Justifying grace, which is the door to the house. Through justifying grace, we find pardon for our sin. Jesus Christ has made possible this forgiveness of sin, and so we bind ourselves to him. In justifying grace, we also find freedom from guilt, opportunities to develop new relationships with God and other people, and areas of ministry in which we can live out our discipleship.
Scripture: John 3:1-8 (CEB) – There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could do these miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered,“I assure you, unless someone is born anew,it’s not possible to see God’s kingdom.” Nicodemus asked, “How is it possible for an adult to be born? It’s impossible to enter the mother’s womb for a second time and be born, isn’t it?” Jesus answered,“I assure you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don’t be surprised that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ God’s Spirit blows wherever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It’s the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Lessons From Ministry
June 9, 2019 (Tom’s Last Sunday)
Theme: Rev. Tom Smith delivered his final sermon as a pastor. He spoke on all the lessons he learned through his 37 years in ministry. MUMC will miss you Tom. Best of luck in your next chapter of life.
June 16, 2019
Theme: Wesley’s metaphor of the house is so important. If prevenient grace is the porch and justifying grace is the door, then sanctifying/perfecting grace, are the rooms of the house. The Wesleys spoke of sanctifying grace as being “perfected in love.” This means that not only are we forgiven our actual transgressions, but also there is born in us a desire to sin no longer and to live only to please God. For the Wesleys this meant we were moving on toward perfection. We are striving to be made perfect in love. It means that we respond to all people in the manner that God, who is perfect love, would respond.
Scripture: Romans 12:1-2 (CEB) – So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.