Sermon Series

Reflections - Walk before me.
 
Yesterday we considered God’s covenant with Abraham and Sarah when they were 99 years old, still without a child, and waiting for the fulfillment of the promise that a multitude would come from them. How hard it is to believe in God’s promise when we can’t see it!
 
We talked what God means when he says to Abraham “Walk before me and blameless” and Pastor Toni Ruth encouraged us to get pieces in the right order.
First we repent, turn, rend or let go of what keeps us from God,
THEN we walk before God
sometimes God leads from in front of us clearly pointing the way
sometimes God leads from behind whispering encouragement .
THEN along the way God makes us whole (or blameless).
 
So, when you look at your life this Lenten season, where are you longing for wholeness? What does God invite you to turn from in order that you can grab hold of his covenant promise and walk with him to that wholeness?
 
Maybe you’ve been waiting what feels like a lifetime to see God’s promise of wholeness fulfilled in you. Where is God inviting you to see that the promise is still there and God is still right with you, walking with you into the promise one day at a time?
 
This Lent, how can you rend your heart so that you can claim that promise from God that is everlasting – a promise to make you whole? 
 
Pastor Toni Ruth

This is the Sign

Sermon Link -- February 21,2021

by Pastor Wes

In my sermon on Sunday, we went all the way back to the beginning (well, almost) to look at the covenant that God established with Noah after the flood. We saw how this covenant set a trajectory in Scripture that culminates with Jesus Christ. We saw that Jesus is the embodiment of the sign of God's promise.

First of all, Jesus is the embodiment of God's promise that He will be with us. This is literally what the word Immanuel means (which we see in Isaiah 7:14 and again in Matthew 1:23) - God is with us. And Jesus reveals that God is with us, not in judgement or anger, but in love and offering grace. God is not with us as an adversary, but as our Advocate. (Read John 14:15-31 for more about this.)

Secondly, Jesus is the embodiment of God's choice to set his bow in the clouds. Our God - the God revealed in Jesus Christ - is not a warrior God. This is the reason that we refer to Jesus as the "Prince of Peace". Through Jesus' death and resurrection, God has given us peace. This peace is not simply the absence of conflict, but a peace that is shalom, wholeness. This is a gift of God's grace and love, demonstrating yet again that our God is not a vengeful warrior, but a gracious and kind Advocate.

Finally, and perhaps most astounding of all, God is working in us to make us the sign of His promise and His presence. The Church is the Body of Christ and we are called to embody God's presence and God's peace in the world. This is only possibly through the Holy Spirit working in us, through us, and at times, in spite of us. Just as God is not our adversary, we must be mindful that we are not adversaries of God, standing in the way of God's work in the world.

So, this week in your own life, reflect on how you might embody the presence and peace of God. How can you join in with what God is already doing in the world?

Pastor Wes


Third Sunday of Advent 12/13/2020

Sermon Link PEACE

Read Isaiah 61:10-11 and then read Luke 1:46-55 and consider Mary in the icon of Mary comforting Eve.
  • How do you identify with the lowliness of Eve and her sadness?
  • What joy comes to you, as it came to Mary, in the understanding that Jesus is coming to redeem our sadness and our loss?
  • Spend some time in conversation and prayer with the Lord about where this word needs to pierce you today. What good news is God offering to you in your life today?

_________________

Second Sunday of Advent 12/6/2020

Sermon Link HOPE

We continued our Advent series Joy to the World yesterday by looking at the first part of verse 2 of the famous hymn. The original wording was: "Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns! Let men their songs employ!" God calls us to use our songs to worship and to proclaim the Gospel message of salvation and peace. We see specifically how Isaiah 40:6-11 gives us songs to sing to people who desperately need messages of hope and peace in our world today. I compared Isaiah 40:6-11 to a classic progressive rock album because, for one reason, I'm a total music nerd. But the main reason is that the list of things we are to proclaim, the songs we are to sing from that passage, fit together and flow like a classic prog concept album.

Here's the track listing for Isaiah's prog concept album masterpiece:

1. "All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades…"

This is a difficult word for us to hear, but it's not a song of lament. It's a song of reality that confronts us with the truth of our mortality. A mature faith, rooted in truth, must hear and sing this song. We can bear to hear and sing this song because of the one that immediately follows.

2 "…but the Word of our God stands forever."

We can bear the truth of our mortality because of our faith in God and God's Word. As Christians, we proclaim that the Word of God which stands forever has come to us in the flesh in Jesus Christ.

3."Here is your God!"

Jesus, the Word of God made flesh, was also given the name Imanuel, which literally means, "with us God". Jesus is God with us, so we don't to wonder about where God is and we don't have to worship at certain places or in certain buildings. God is with us always in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.

4."See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him."

The Lord is mighty and strong, but that strength is not used for violence or revenge. We do not serve a warrior God, but a God of peace and restoration. Jesus, who told Peter to put away his sword, shows us what our God is like.

5."He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep."

Our God is not a soldier, but a shepherd. This is the God Who gives us abundant life, salvation, grace, mercy, and truth because of His faithfulness and steadfast love for us. That's good news worth singing and shouting about!

So as we continue this Advent season, I pray that the joy of the Lord will be in all of our hearts and that we will sing the songs the God has given us with boldness!

Grace and Peace, Pastor Wes
____________________

First Sunday of Advent, 11/29/2020

Sermon Link: JOY!

Advent is a time of waiting and preparing and 2020 has been rife with opportunities to do both of those things. The weariness of waiting posses particular challenge to us as we can lose focus, forget what we are preparing for, what good thing we wait for. One spiritual antidote to that is to take a cue from Isaiah 63-64. Pick on of these moves and take some time to sit with God today.
  • Lament
Have you allowed yourself to lament the losses and powerlessness of this year? Not to grumble to but to feel all that and cry out to God? God meets us in our laments with his presence to sit on the ash heap and mourn what is lost. Receive him there.
  • Repent
If God feels hidden from you, perhaps it is an opportunity for you to some reflection and self examination. Where have you been putting your trust? Have you been expecting God to show us as you want him to rather than looking for God where he is? What sin might God need to deal with in you to make you ready to receive him?
  • Remember
God is not a superhero riding in the save the day, God is a potter. He works slowly, steadily, intentionally in our lives to mold and shape us for his coming. God is a work in all our waiting, moving in small ways to prepare us. Where do you need to shift your focus so you can receive Jesus from expected people and in unforeseen ways?
 
Today may there be joy for you in your waiting as you know the goodness of the one you wait upon.
 
Pastor Toni Ruth
 

Christos Kyrios
Nov. 2 - Nov. 22

Sermon, November 22, 2020

Christ the King Sunday

Christ the King Sunday is the culmination of the Christian year and the last Sunday before the beginning of Advent. This represents a dramatic shift – we go from focusing on the reign and rule of our Lord Jesus Christ to once again awaiting the arrival of the King as a little baby. That shift reminds us that the “cosmic Christ” that we talked about yesterday – Jesus as the Lord of all creation – is also the same God that has come to near to us in the birth of Jesus and is present with us through the Holy Spirit.

We talked yesterday about how the language that we sometimes see in Scripture, particularly when Paul talks about the “cosmic Christ”, sounds strange to our ears. Even a phrase like “kingdom of God”, which sounds so familiar to us when it comes to Scripture, reflects a different worldview than ours. We don’t typically think of our world as divided up into kingdoms – we talk about nations or states. Instead of kings, we talk about presidents or governors or leaders.

While I’m not suggesting that we remove the word “kingdom” from our Bibles, it’s occasionally helpful think about things in a slightly different way. We saw yesterday that one way of thinking about the Kingdom of God is to think of it as a culture – the culture of God. We talked about the various cultures that we can participate in and how, even in small ways, those cultures make claims on our lives. For followers of Jesus, the culture of God is above any other culture that we might be a part of.

The culture of God is defined by the sacrificial, risk-taking, outcast-embracing love of Jesus. It’s a culture that reflects the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all things. There are times when some of those other cultures – political, social, even entertainment and hobbies – conflict with the culture of God. This means that we have to make some hard decisions about what defines who we are, what we build our lives on, what or who has power over us.

This week:

  • Think and pray about what it means in your life to be part of the culture of God.
  • What does it mean for your everyday life to take the Lordship of Jesus seriously?
  • As we begin the season of Advent next week, what are the sources of your hope and joy in this very difficult year?
Pastor Wes


________________________

 
2 Timothy 4:1-8
Yesterday Pastor Toni Ruth challenged us to consider what it means to call Jesus the Truth. As you reflect on this sermon, take a moment to look up one of these passages from John's Gospel and consider what it means for you to call Jesus the Truth of God.
 
According to John the Truth:
  • Resides in Jesus (1:17)
  • Is something we DO (3:21)
  • is the purest form of worship (4:23)
  • liberates us, set us free (8:32)
  • is something we bear witness to (8:33)
  • is what Jesus tells and the devil does not (8:40)
  • is what the Holy Spirit guides us into (16:13)
  • is what sanctifies us (makes us holy) (17:17)
 
What does it mean to you to submit to Jesus as Lord? Where do you feel resistance to the Truth that the Lord offers? How might yielding your life to the truth of Jesus make you a more faithful disciple and servant?

________________________


Sermon 11/8/2020
Reflection

I have always suspected that the popular "Elf on the Shelf" was devious, even evil. But until yesterday, I did not realize that the "Elf" was actually the Canaanite fertility god Baal. Just kidding…

In all seriousness, in looking at the beginning of Elijah's ministry and his struggle against idolatry, we saw how we have our own idols in our time. They may not take the forms they did in ancient times, but we still struggle with divided loyalties and the temptation to put any number of things above our commitment to Jesus Christ.

We also saw that (according to Scripture) the idols worshiped in the ancient world - in Canaan, Corinth, or Rome - were not real. Much like the "Elf on the Shelf" is just an inanimate doll that parents have to secretly relocate every night, the idols of ancient times were also inanimate, unliving, unable to actual do anything. That didn't make idol worship fake or safe - the behaviors and beliefs of idol worshipers were and still are very real. We make an idol of whatever it is that we put above God and serving that idol shapes and guides our choices and behaviors.

Living under the Lordship of Jesus Christ means that our faith in God and our daily decision to follow Jesus shapes our choices and behaviors. An important aspect of our work of discipleship is recognizing our idols and allowing God to tear them down. That can be a difficult and even painful process, but one that is necessary for us to grow as disciples. But we can be encouraged, because God has given us power through the Holy Spirit, Who works in us and through us, making real God's sanctifying grace in our lives.

This week, find some time to reflect on the following questions and pray that God will help you to be faithful in following Jesus:

  1. How do we begin to recognize the idols in our lives? What are some potential idols in your life right now?
  2. What resources has God given you to recognize and reject possible idols? What Scriptures, practices, or prayers help you the most in doing that work?

We pray that you will have a week full of God's grace and comforting presence and we look forward to being with you all again in worship!

Grace and Peace, Pastor Wes

Sermons: 11/2/2020 Link

Here are some ideas for you to use to reflect on Sunday’s sermon: Turn off all tech and go outside to take a walk this week, take a family member with you if you can. While you walk spend some time reflecting or talking about how you have known Jesus as Savior, how you have experienced his grace, and what it means to you to call him your Lord.
 
  1. Pastor Toni Ruth reminded us that to call Jesus Lord means to follow his way. Read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and do some self evaluation. Where does the sermon comfort you? Where does it challenge you?
  2. Christo Kyrios (Christ is Lord ) is a costly allegiance. What would it cost you to choose his way above all other? What keeps you from making that commitment?

Pastor Toni Ruth





Because of HUMC....

In the month of September we’ll be highlighting and celebrating the difference that HUMC and her ministries has made in the lives of individuals and the community.  We invite you to think about the difference your connections made at HUMC have made in your faith journey and to share that with us online by tagging the Church in a FaceBook post or sending your word to the church office email    or mail to the church P.O. Box 970, Harrisburg, NC 28075

Sermons:

September 6th

September 13th

September 20th

September 27th

Anthem in honor of Gwynn Morris. All The Way Savior Leads Me

 

Moses

MOSES - This month we journey with the most important leader in the Old Testament in hopes of learning about God and human nature.  From rivers to deserts to mountain tops, Moses' journey has much to teach us about a life with God.

August 2, 2020 - Witness Moses: Unexpected Beginnings -  Pastor Wes - Scripture Lesson Exodus 2:1-10 - WORSHIP LINK

 

Past Sermon Series

Connection, Delight, Recreation, and Memory

July 5th - Connections -- Worship Service Youtube Link

July 12th - Delight  -  Worship Service Youtube Link

July 19th - Rest and Relaxation - Worship Service

July 26th - Memory - Worship Service


 

Leaning into the wind of Holy change” 

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change..”- Psalm 46:1-2

 

In Acts, the Holy Spirit blows through the first believers and in a time of seismic change offers reminders, direction, revelation, and encouragement. 

How might the lessons in Acts helps us to move with the Spirit through our own time of transformation?

June 7   Letting go of the past, embracing the future Sermon 6/7/2020

June 14  Stop! Pay Attention! Let the Spirit lead. Sermon 6/14/2020

June 21  Get out of the way

June 28  Into the unknown where God awaits Sermon 6/20/2020

 

Building Blocks of Faith

John Wesley was known to have quoted the maxim “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.” In a world where christians are often divided by different ways of thinking, what are the “essentials” in which we are to be unified? This season we will use the Nicene Creed to explore the teachings and beliefs that form the foundation of our faith upon which all else in built.

 
We pray that in this difficult and confusing time, we remember that our strength is in God, Who holds our lives in His hands. Know that you are not alone and that you are loved – by your church family and by Almighty God!
 
Pastors Wes and Toni Ruth
 

The last week of Jesus’ live often passes in a holy week blur.
This Lent we will slow the story down to focus on the events of that last week in order to focus on each movement and be challenged to reflect on how the story of Jesus shapes our lives. As we seek to find ourselves in the story of Jesus we will consider

What will we risk to follow Jesus?

Feb. 26th Ash Wednesday: Preparing the Canvas Worship at 6:30 pm

March 1st - The Parade: Risking Reputation (Matthew 21:1-11) Communion Sunday

March 8th - The Temple: Risking Righteous Anger (John 2:13-21)

March 15th - The Teaching: Risking Challenge (Matthew 22:15-22)

March 22nd - The First Dinner: Risking Rejection (Mark 14:3-9)

March 29th - The Last Supper: Risking the Loss of Friends (John 13:3-16) Communion Sunday

April 5th - Palm Sunday
9:00 The Garden: Risking Temptation (Mark 14:32-36)

11:00 Cantata: The Last Week

April 9th - Holy Thursday Worship 6:30
The Last Supper: the Rest of the Story
2020 Confirmation Class will help lead worship

Every generation complains about those that follow them, but what younger generations need is for adults to see them, understand them and invest in them 

Kids today need you and you need them too!

February 2nd - Kids today need to know they belong 

February 9th - Kids today need to know that they matter

February 16th - Kids today need to know that they have a purpose

February 23th - Transfiguration Sunday

Wednesday -  February 26th - Ash Wednesday Service 6:30 p.m.

 

 

The last week of Jesus’ live often passes in a holy week blur.
This Lent we will slow the story down to focus on the events of that last week in order to focus on each movement and be challenged to reflect on how the story of Jesus shapes our lives. As we seek to find ourselves in the story of Jesus we will consider

What will we risk to follow Jesus?

Feb. 26th Ash Wednesday: Preparing the Canvas Worship at 6:30 pm

March 1st - The Parade: Risking Reputation (Matthew 21:1-11) Communion Sunday

March 8th - The Temple: Risking Righteous Anger (John 2:13-21)

March 15th - The Teaching: Risking Challenge (Matthew 22:15-22)

March 22nd - The First Dinner: Risking Rejection (Mark 14:3-9)

March 29th - The Last Supper: Risking the Loss of Friends (John 13:3-16) Communion Sunday

April 5th - Palm Sunday
9:00 The Garden: Risking Temptation (Mark 14:32-36)

11:00 Cantata: The Last Week

April 9th - Holy Thursday Worship 6:30
The Last Supper: the Rest of the Story
2020 Confirmation Class will help lead worship

It’s the start of a new year and an opportunity get your vision checked and corrected by God so you can see more clearly and live more faithfully in 2020.

VISION 2020

January 5    Seeing Yourself Clearly - Communion Sunday

January 12   Seeing the Situation Clearly

January 19   Seeing the World Clearly

 January 26   Seeing God Clearly

 

 Special Congregational Meeting

*Town Hall to review final Building Team proposal

1:30-3:00 in the Sanctuary

*Church Conference to approve 2020 Building Plans

2:00 in the Sanctuary

(All Full Members may vote)



State of the Church and Annual Charge Conference

Tools for the Spiritually Stuck

November 10th I Believe, Lord Help My Unbelief

Putting the Habit into Practice: Listen

November 17th A Thorne in the Flesh

Guest Preacher: Rev. Steve Cheyney

3rd Grade Bible Sunday

 Christ the King Sunday

November 24th In Him All Things Hold Together

Putting the Habit into Practice: Learn

 


You're Speaking My Language 

 

Gary Chapman developed a theory known as love languages in his book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Last.  Chapman suggests that everyone has a way that they choose to give and receive messages of love to others, a language that they speak.  The 5 love languages are: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gifts, Physical Touch, and Quality time.  The main idea is simple: the way we most easily get the message, “I love you, you matter” is the way that we are most likely to show others that they are loved and matter to us.  The key to healthy relationships of all kinds is to pay attention to the way that others most often show their love and then to learn to speak their (love) language.  In paying attention and learning to speak a new language we can intentionally BLESS others in effective ways that help share God’s love.  

October 13th -- Introduction and Words of Affirmation 

October 20th -- Acts of Service and Quality Time 

October 27th -- Physical Touch and Gifts 


  • September

    How to Live Like a Christian
    Living as a faithful disciple in our world offers real challenges.  Whether we’re dealing with the temptations of social media or wondering how to engage those we disagree with the Book of James is full of practical advice for Christians.  Using these tools can make all the difference in our daily life.

  • August

    All the Feels
    The Psalms show us a full range of human emotions that the writers felt without censoring them.  What would it look like for us to talk honestly about the feelings we experience without hiding them from God and others?  Knowing God created all these emotions and understands can give us “all the feels.”

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