First United Methodist Church
Plymouth, Indiana

Sermons and Messages

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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...
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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...
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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...

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I've seen it as I've traveled from place to place, but you don't have to go very far to see that some of us have more than others of us. There are times when we can attribute that difference to work ethic: some work harder and longer or more efficiently to get what they have, while others...
I doubt that very many of us look forward to a tough conversation. Avoidance would perhaps be our preference! People invest significant amounts of time and money in counseling sessions to make up for conversations that should have taken place but never did, to try to repair hurt feelings from conversations...
It's easy to get caught up in thinking that there isn't anything too big for science, technology and innovation to solve. Living in the United States my entire life, surrounded by progress, being raised in an entrepreneurial household (my dad started 3 businesses in my growing up years), and growing up being told that if you work hard for it you'll get it/you'll succeed...
Believing makes all the difference, doesn't it? When you know something to be true—you can rest in that knowledge…lean back in that knowledge. You can let that have the final word, no matter what else happens, because you already know the bottom line. Whatever happens, the conclusion is clear...
"For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus' sake." As I read and thought about this text over this past week, several things came to mind. I thought about the controversy when I was in seminary over whether or not the congregation should...
So, what about love? What is it? I would say that love is perhaps the most painful, sought after, hoped for, fought over, sung about, cried over, celebrated and comforting experience that you and I will ever have. Love. It's defined in all kinds of ways...
Muir Woods is about 15 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and several people had told me before we headed off to California that we needed to go there to see the redwoods. We were told how beautiful it was, and we were really looking forward to it. So on Tuesday, we headed that direction...
Two churches, Pleasant Grove and Pleasant Hill. A little over a year ago, each of these churches had about 40 members—mostly older folks. Pleasant Hill Church decided that it really wanted to grow, to get back in touch with its neighborhood. So the older women of the church started running an after-school program...
Because of the demographic within which I reside, as a white, middle-class, educated, employed, professional woman, there aren't very many times in my life when I can remember being an outsider looking in…being excluded. That doesn't mean life has always been fair...
Why does something so good cause so much trouble? The healing of the lame man that we talked about last week? The "something good" is what happened when the man was healed.  But the trouble that creates is the "rest of the story" that we're going to talk about this morning. It was a really good day for the guy sitting at the temple gate.  He hadn't been able to walk his whole life...
This morning's reading from the book of Acts is about second chances. We’re thankful for the second chances we're offered in life: How many times did one of our parents tell us: "Don't you do that again!" We did, we got in trouble for it (again), but love held on, life went on, and we were given another chance to do it right the next time...
I don't know why she had gone to his tomb by herself. In the other gospel narratives the women had come together to prepare the body of Jesus for burial, after he had been laid in the tomb over the Sabbath. But in the Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene comes to the tomb by herself…before the others arrive. While it's still dark...
It was Palm Sunday and Jesus was coming into Jerusalem. He was riding on a blazing white stallion and kicking up a cloud of dust as he rode along. He was looking for trouble. The people that he passed on his way were in awe of such a beautiful animal but they were even more awestruck by the man who was riding it...
This morning on this 5th Sunday of Lent, we're talking about the Gift of Temptation, which seems at first glance to be no more of a gift than any of the other "blessings" we've considered over these past few weeks. We can say that resisting temptation builds our character, makes us stronger, and defines us as people of integrity.  That's true...
The path we journey through life is seldom straight, often winding, and sometimes uncertain. The turns can be gentle or sharp. We look around us, and what was once familiar isn't familiar anymore. We realize we're lost. Have you ever been lost? I was new to Valparaiso...
This morning as we continue our series on the Gifts of the Dark Wood we are talking about the gift of being thunderstruck. So, what does that mean? A familiar word at one time, we don't use it much today.  Today we can use science to explain away much of what we don't understand...
I don't remember the details of our lives during that time.  I know that our 3 children were still at home, between the ages of middle school and high school.  At least one of them wasn't making the best of decisions, and that was difficult, being a parent attempting to be on top of things, providing the right balance of love...
In September of 1994, not too long after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, I led a work team of United Methodists from Indiana and Michigan to Mozhaysk, a city of about 40,000 people one hundred miles or so west of Moscow. We were one team in a whole series of teams which were working to restore a thirteenth century...
Today is the first Sunday in the season of Lent.  Lent is the 40 days before Easter (not including Sundays, which are all little celebrations of the resurrection) when followers of Jesus Christ intentionally engage in prayer, self-examination, repentance and renewal to strengthen our faith by realigning our lives...
So, where do you find yourself today? I don't mean your location: the place, the address, where someone might "place" you via GPS. I'm thinking about your heart and soul. Where do you find yourself today? Are you feeling settled…happy…good…comfortable…okay? Are you feeling well?
I love music. I'm not a musician, I don't play any musical instruments, though as a teenager I was pretty competent with a kazoo. I have a very average voice, but I love singing close to the choir and along with folks who know how to sing. And I love listening to music. All kinds of music.
It's been 3 weeks now since Christmas, and we've just packed away the Christmas trees and decorations. I'd leave them up all year if I could, but you'd all think I was pretty odd driving by the house in March or July with the tree lit up in the living room.
Imagine you’re building a new house or getting ready to move into a new place, but you’re not quite ready to load up the pickup or the moving van.  The plumbing isn’t connected, the drywall hasn’t been painted or the flooring laid down.  There’s just an empty spot where the appliances will be.
A rocking chair seems like a good place to wait…to think back on those times when we've waited, and to know there will be different kinds of waiting in the days ahead.