content top

Mother’s Day 2016

May 8    Women’s Stories by  Rev. June Fothergill  Scripture: Acts 16: 16-34,40 Mother’s Day The kids next door told their mother she wasn’t to lift a finger this morning for Mother’s Day. They were going to do all the cooking. So they took out three pots, two frying pans, a double boiler, three mixing bowls, a chopping board, six measuring spoons, eight serving dishes- and Mom was delighted.  She said it was the best Jell-O she ever tasted.  ( p. 134 An Encyclopedia of Humor ed. Lowell D. Streiker, Henrickson Publ. 1998) Today we invited each of to make a name tag honoring our mother’s.  As we do this I realize that each of us has a different experience of our mothers.   On this day we tend to talk about the tender, loving aspects of our experience.  Yet, we know that how we experience our parents can vary a lot.  For some of us memories of our mother’s are not easy ones.  Erma Bombeck quipped  one time, “I came from a family of pioneers. My mother invented guilt in 1936”  ( p. 141 Encyclopedia of Humor..) The truth is that people even mothers are multi faceted.  We have more than one story about  our lives.      Recognizing that about each other and our parents is part of our growth in maturity of faith and life.    A small example of what I mean.  When I was growing up I tended to place my parents into two catagories. My mom was the one who I went to for emotional issues (romantic struggles) and my father was the one I went to about intellectual issues ( what do I write for my history paper).  Yet, I as became an adult and spent time with my folks, I was blessed with some important discussions with my father about emotional issues and discovered my mother was a pretty darn smart woman!  There was more to them than I had seen initially. This morning as we look at this story from Acts and hear the mother poems folks want to share- we also discover that the person we meet have more than one story. They show us a variety of ways we human beings encounter Christ.   Let’s look at the three women in our story as an example.  Three women you say? Come and see. 1. Lydia   Lydia was a merchant of purple cloth.  I can imagine her running her business, efficient, thorough,  maybe even a little bossy.   That is one story about her. One that intrigues us today, for we know so little about the lives of such women in the ancient world.  But that is not her only story. ...

Read More

Easter Season Sermons 2016

May 1 2016   Starting at the River by Rev June Fothergill Acts 16: 9-15 A woman once criticized D.L. Moody for his methods of evangelism in attempting  to win people to the Lord. Moody replied, “ I agree with you. I don’t like the way I do it either. Tell me, how do you do it?”  The woman replied, “ I don’t do it.” Moody retorted, “ Then I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.”  ( p. 28 An Encyclopedia of Humor ed. Lowell D. Streiker. Hendrickson Pub. 1998) Maybe some of you remember back in the  1980’s when each church was asked to come up with an evangelism plan?  At the time I was serving a church in a town of 300 people.  We struggled with what it meant to do evangelism.  Many of us weren’t even to sure we liked the word.  Some folks remembered uncomfortable experiences with evangelists and methods they found too pushy or didn’t trust.   Yet, we were being asked and still are to share with others the good news of Jesus Christ and his love for our world. I still wonder:   What is the method of evangelism that fits us and our situation?   Can we learn something from the methods of Paul, one of the first and very successful evangelist for Christ?     Let’s see what this story reveals.   Paul had a vision that led him to move to a new geographical area of Macedonia, which is in what we today call Greece.  He was led there by his sense of God’s invitation to reach out to a new group of people.  But where does one start in a new place, with new people? What can we learn from Paul’s approach in Philippi? I notice that Paul started at the river.   Apparently he asked around for where people gathered to pray in the Jewish way.  He discovered that people were praying to God at the river, so he went there.   He started with people who had an openness to God.   He discovered that this was a group of women.   Maybe there hadn’t been the ten men needed for a synagogue prayer meeting, yet these women still decided to spend time together in prayer and worship.  They had shown initiative and hunger for a life of faith. I also notice what Paul did not do.  He did not immediately take on the pagan practices of the town. He did not try to preach in the streets.  He didn’t hang up a sign and expect people to show up.   He went to where the people were.  He investigated to discover where people interested...

Read More
content top