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First United Methodist Church
Plymouth, Indiana

Sermons and Messages

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Questions are asked for all kinds of reasons. We might ask a question because we’re curious, we’d like more information, we’d like to get to know someone a little better. Sometimes questions are asked to clarify, to make sure the other person has received the information we’re trying to share, to be sure they understand what we’re saying—like the questions a teacher will...
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People in the crowd can see what’s going to happen. They begin to smile in anticipation. Some of the folks in the crowd gently elbow the people on their right and left and whisper, “Wait till you see this!” The rabbi from Nazareth, the traveling preacher, is coming through town on his way to Jerusalem. This rabbi, unlike most of the others, never swallows the truth in order to be polite...
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Have you heard the story of the man who came to the gates of heaven to be greeted by Saint Peter? Peter asks the man if he can give a brief history of his life with an emphasis on the good deeds he’s done in order to gain entrance into the kingdom of heaven. “You will need 1000 points to be admitted,” Peter tells the man. “This will be a cinch,” the man thinks to himself...

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Questions are asked for all kinds of reasons. We might ask a question because we’re curious, we’d like more information, we’d like to get to know someone a little better. Sometimes questions are asked to clarify, to make sure the other person has received the information we’re trying to share, to be sure they understand what we’re saying—like the questions a teacher will...
People in the crowd can see what’s going to happen. They begin to smile in anticipation. Some of the folks in the crowd gently elbow the people on their right and left and whisper, “Wait till you see this!” The rabbi from Nazareth, the traveling preacher, is coming through town on his way to Jerusalem. This rabbi, unlike most of the others, never swallows the truth in order to be polite...
Have you heard the story of the man who came to the gates of heaven to be greeted by Saint Peter? Peter asks the man if he can give a brief history of his life with an emphasis on the good deeds he’s done in order to gain entrance into the kingdom of heaven. “You will need 1000 points to be admitted,” Peter tells the man. “This will be a cinch,” the man thinks to himself...
Mary Ann Cain is one of my favorite people. She is a lay-person, she’s wise, full of vim and vinegar, well-read, and devoted to Christ and His Church.  She was our Director of Adult Ministries or Education or some such title when I served in Elkhart, and she continued to serve until she retired some years after I headed off to a new congregation. I remember in some setting...
The man’s wife had left him. He was completely depressed. He had lost faith in himself, in other people, in God. He found no joy in living. One rainy morning the man went to a small neighborhood restaurant for breakfast. Although several people were at the diner, no one was speaking to anyone else. Our miserable friend hunched over the counter, stirring his coffee...
We’ve been traveling along through the gospel of Luke, and Jesus has been teaching his disciples and others gathered around all along the way. We’re more than halfway through the gospel now, and for we who are reading the written down version, the stories follow one right after the other, and I’m guessing that for the disciples, that’s how it feels to them, as well. As they walk..
Today we hear the story of the rich man and Lazarus, another one of those stories that catches our attention and causes our backbone to stiffen just a bit.  We don’t want to place ourselves in the fine shoes of the rich man, but we know we can’t relate to Lazarus, either, sitting at the rich man’s gate, longing to eat whatever might be left over from his last meal, that will end up...
Here we go again: another installment in what I could have entitled as a sermon series, “What in the world was Jesus thinking?” as he teaches his disciples and the “sinners, tax-collectors and Pharisees” who are gathered within earshot, listening to him. What in the world was Jesus thinking?  What is he wanting to teach us? To cheat? To lie? To mess with...
I read something this week that suggested that one of the reasons Jesus was put to death was to stop all the stories he kept telling! When Jesus told stories, he had this annoying tendency to make the wrong people either the heroes or the bad guys. Two people go up to the temple to pray, one a pious, biblically learned religious leader, the other a compromised, evil collaborator...
Wow!  This is a text that grabs your attention, isn’t it? It starts out telling us that large crowds are traveling with Jesus, but after hearing what he has to say, we can’t help but wonder how quickly some folks might have responded by backing away, not wanting to hear another word! This is another one of those times when our first response is: seriously, Jesus?...
In my experience with Jesus, he’s not one to avoid answering tough questions. We pastors, on the other hand, learn through experience that one ought be cautious in responding to tough questions. “Preacher, what does the Methodist Church have to say about… gambling… the death penalty… euthanasia… human rights… immigration...
There’s a little book written by the late Bishop Rueben P. Job entitled Three Simple Questions: Knowing the God of Love, Hope and Purpose, that I’m guessing some of you studied when it first came out a few years ago.  In the book, Bishop Job reminds us that: God is greater than anything we can comprehend or imagine; Each of us is God’s beloved child, just like every other human being is on God’s good earth; All of us together are God’s family; and...
As we read through the 10th chapter of the Gospel of Luke, we get caught up in this flurry of activity as Jesus travels and teaches.  As the chapter begins, Jesus commissions and sends 72 disciples on ahead of him to prepare the way for his visits and has instructed them on how to respond to the hospitality they’re offered—or not offered.  These disciples return to Jesus...
As I begin this morning’s message, I want to offer a disclaimer: It’s Jesus’ fault. When I struggle through a difficult passage, as I work on an outline, as I try to figure out how to best write and preach a sermon on a particular text—what comes out in the end (if I’ve been prayerful and faithful), what I share with you on Sunday morning, well, it’s Jesus’ fault...
This morning’s scripture about the healing of the demon-possessed man in Luke 8 is possibly one of the wildest stories ever told about the ministry of Jesus. It begins as Jesus takes his disciples and crosses from the Jewish side of the Sea of Galilee—on the western shore—to the Gentile side of the lake. As he does this, it reminds us of how Jesus...
“Therefore, since we have been made righteous through his faithfulness, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” As I began focusing on the text for this morning, these are the words that caught my attention, particularly, the phrase: we have peace with God. From there, the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul,” came to mind...
This was the day they’d been waiting for. They hadn’t known what to expect and they couldn’t have been able to imagine what would happen if they’d tried. This was so completely new…so unexpected…so amazing. Nothing like it had ever happened before. As I read about what happened in the book of Acts with the violent wind and the tongues of fire...
It’s an unexpected sermon title, isn’t it? Maybe I inhaled too much anesthesia in April; maybe its effects are still impacting my brain, because “We Are One” sounds really good, but it’s a bit of stretch, don’t you think? It seems there are always forces pulling us apart. There are all kinds of things that separate us. Sometimes the differences are unexpected...
When I was working on sermon planning and read this Psalm as one of the lectionary texts, I immediately chose it as our focus today, because it is filled with praise and blessing. It seems to me that so often we notice and focus on the negative things in life and we lose track of the blessings. But today I want us to intentionally focus on blessings...
Pink and white? Or, teal and gray? That’s the picture and the question posted on Facebook this past week. What color do you see? I’m pretty convinced there’s only one answer: it’s teal and gray. Am I right? But the article accompanying the pictures says the actual color of the shoe is “mahogany rose” or pink. The way we see it has to do with...
If you’re one who reads the monthly newsletter, you have perhaps noticed on the Preaching Plan that we have designated Sundays beginning with Palm Sunday as Vision Sundays, which will continue up through May 12 as we bring our commitments to Rebuilding First Church forward. We’ve wanted this time of preparation to be...
Their news was incredible, unbelievable, beyond anything that anyone had ever seen before. Sure, Jesus had warned them, told them in pretty complete detail what would happen.  They listened.  Ok. “So, where do you suppose we’ll get lunch today?” They moved on. They were immersed in their present reality...
Change is hard. We’ve heard that said.  We’ve experienced it!  But perhaps in reality, change is nearly impossible, especially when we’re comfortable with the status quo. But what if we could be happier, more productive, more peace-filled?  If it requires change on our part, there’s a good chance that we’d still pass right on by the good stuff. Because change is really hard...
There are times when we’re weary… When the road has been long.  Uphill, it seems. When the best we can do is pick up one foot after the other. When grand thoughts are beyond us.  When the simple task of focusing on our feet and the trail ahead is enough for now; the best we can do. When we realize that it’s time to sit at the well…