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Treasure Sermons

  Giving your treasure back to God. By Rev. June Fothergill  November 8, 2015 Mark 12:38–44;  Matthew 6:1-6 Shortly after Dan retired his wife asked him , “ What are you going to do today?”  “ Nothing.” He said.  “ That’s what you did yesterday” She said.   “ Yes,  He answered, but I wasn’t finished.” This past week my husband and I attended a UMC Retirement Workshop.  The experts suggest that we attend a couple of these before we retire.  I have to tell you two things about the UMC retirement system- it’s a bit complicated ( thus the need for a two day workshop)  and it is generous, thanks to the ongoing generosity of all of you.  It struck me a while ago that our pension programs as a church are one of the ways we participate in God’s mission.  These funds provide for the lives of many, many widows and even some orphans.  I personally couldn’t make sure that all the widows of our retired pastors have funds and health care but when I give to God’s work in the church, I help that to happen!   It may not be as exciting as a project in the third world but it makes a day to day difference in so many lives. Giving our treasure back to God, is choosing to be part of what God is doing in the world.    Sometimes I worry that our meals ministry doesn’t really change lives, and then I woke up one day and realized that it was my life that has been changed!   I was looking through my 30 year unorganized collection of sermon illustrations and found many articles and examples from ministries related to homelessness, some of them from 30 years ago.  Thanks to all of you now I could write some of those articles and stories myself. For example, if you go to the basement, you will see a poster there that is made up of puzzle pieces that one Wednesday night I put out on all the tables and invited people to write on them their names and thoughts about being the body of Christ.  I gathered them up after the evening and found enough to re make the puzzle on the wall. It’s been up there awhile but I still see people looking at it and commenting on it.  In fact last Wednesday someone suggested- why don’t you let us fill in the missing pieces. In our meals here at Ebbert we are doing something bigger than ourselves.  We are not only providing  regular, counted on meals for many hungry people, we are also offering a place where folks can experience or...

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Jesus and the Seeker

Sermon  October  11, 2015 Jesus and the Seeker by Rev. June Fothergill  Scripture:   Mark 10: 17-31 I remember after I had been here a few months, I parked and locked my bike and its trailer on the side of the church.  I had a hard time getting the trailer on and off so I figured it was safe.  I was wrong.  The trailer was stolen that afternoon.  I felt upset because the trailer had been given to me by friends just before Joseph’s birth over 20 years ago and I had left my favorite hat in it!    I was touched at how concerned people were and how folks tried to find it for me.  Some of the folks helping me look for it had had their own  stuff even all their possession taken away numerous times. We’ve mostly all had the experience of losing a possession we valued.  Somehow it often helps us put our lives and what we truly value or treasure in a new perspective. Jesus encountered a man one day who was questioning and seeking.  The gospels writers retold this story for us to continue to learn from today. What does it mean to be a seeker? Are any of us seekers here today? Trying to figure out what we really treasure or what it means to have treasure in heaven?  In a couple of weeks we will begin an all church four week exploration of the topic of Treasure using a program developed by James Armstrong.  There are daily devotional books for each household and there will be at least 2 opportunities to join a small group to discuss the topics at Sunday school time and Wed. morning.  You will be receiving a mailing about it all soon. We will discover together that Jesus has a lot to say about treasure. Today let’s focus on this young man and his encounter with Jesus.   He is clearly a seeker. He comes to Jesus with a question on his heart. What must I do to inherit eternal life? I wonder about this question, is he asking how to get to heaven when he dies? Or is he asking for deeper meaning and purpose for his life now?  Is he just wanting assurance that he’s heading to the kingdom of God?    Whatever his intent, he is someone who asks the deep questions.   What is it that you and I seek?  What is the question on our hearts?  Imagine coming up to Jesus and asking him the question of your heart.  What would you ask? I find Jesus’s response interesting.  He seems to think that the man all ready knows the answer to the...

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Caring for the Children Sermon

Sermon October 4, 2015 “Caring for the children” by Rev. June Fothergill   Mark 10: 2-16 A Sunday school teacher began her lesson with a question, “Boys and girls what do we know about God?”  A hand shot up in the air, “He’s an artist” said the kindergarten boy.  “Really? How do you know?” the teacher asked.  “You know- Our Father who does art in Heaven” The other day Jim and I got to go to the ribbon cutting for the Schutte’s farm’s new corn maze. Since the ribbon was cut we decided to try it out.  We had fun!   Figuring out the map, finding each clue station, solving the game, getting my shoes all wet, enjoying a beautiful day!   I really enjoyed being a kid! I believe that we have a child inside.  A child that has experienced joy and laughter and play and still can. Most of us also have a child inside who experienced various traumas of growing up.  No matter what the particular configuration of our child inside, our scripture today tells us that Jesus loves that child and wants to heal and bless us. I need that word today because the same day that I had the opportunity to play and enjoy my inner child, I also heard about the shooting in Roseburg and that it took place in the very space Jim used to teach.  So close, so sad.   Today during our prayer time we will light candles remembering them and also the six persons in our own town who have been murdered since May.   Our hearts go out to all the families and traumatized survivors.  How could I have so much fun and so much sadness in the same day? That is our lives.   As human beings from the very beginning of our lives, we experience connections with other human beings, connections which bring us joy and sadness, comfort and fear.  It is when we don’t have those connections which nurture our lives and selves that we suffer and sometimes cause others to suffer.   And this all starts in childhood.  Jesus taught us to care for the children. The passage from Mark today tells us at least three ways Jesus teaches us to care for the children- actual children in our lives and world and just perhaps too the child still inside us. One way to care for the children is to build strong, respectful relationships. The passage about divorce we read today has caused much pain when it has been interpreted as a set of rules or a ways judge others.  Yet, when looked at in light of the practices around marriage and divorce of the time...

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