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First United Methodist Church
Plymouth, Indiana

Sermons and Messages

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Time to go to the well again. Another trip to the well, just like yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. The well, as important as it was for all of their lives, had become an act of monotony to Rebecca.  Nothing seemed to change in this hot and dusty place. She lived in her parent’s tent and had to share a part of it with her greedy brother Laban. Being a woman was no easy thing in this culture. She had few choices, and the ones she did have meant very little in the long run...
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The picture of Abraham holding the knife high above Isaac’s body bound on the sacrificial altar is probably one of the most vivid memories of my childhood Christian education. I don’t know that it was a framed painting in my Sunday school room, and surely it wasn’t in my kid’s version of my Bible—but once you see it, it can’t be unseen—particularly when you’re 4 or 5 or 10 years old. Even now, I read the story and I wonder, oh, my gosh—how could Abraham do something like that? How could...
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Last week we ended on a happy note, with laughter and joy because Sarah and Abraham, well beyond their child-bearing years, had given birth to Isaac, fulfilling the promise that God had made that their descendants would be many—more than the stars up above. But now, there is this issue of Hagar, and she and Abraham’s son, Ishmael.  “Issue” seems a bit understated: they are, after all, flesh and blood people.  Hagar is Sarah’s former handmaid, now a wife to Abraham—given to him by...

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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...
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…
Each of us has been lost at some point in our life—unless you’re a guy and we’re talking specifically about driving.  Then you just call it taking the scenic route. If I were to ask you to think about a time when you were lost, or when someone else was lost, you might point to that time when you made the wrong turn...
Psalm 51 is one of the traditional texts lifted up on Ash Wednesday, as King David admits and laments his sinfulness and asks God for cleansing and pardon, following his pursuit of Bathsheba, and ultimately killing her husband to cover up what he’s done. David begins by pleading, “Have mercy on me, O God...
Today marks the beginning of the season of Lent. During the next 40 days, which does not count Sundays, we’ll be preparing ourselves for Easter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. During this time, we’ll be walking toward Jerusalem, the place where Jesus will give himself up for us. There are different ways...
Raphael’s painting of the Transfiguration reveals the two interconnected, sometimes conflicting, and very real spheres of our lives as followers of Jesus Christ. There’s the divine, the holy, the blessed, the inspiring moments when we can see Jesus, when we hear God’s voice, when there can be no other response but...
This morning’s scripture begins with Jesus coming down from a mountain where he’s been in prayer all night. He’s recently called his disciples to join in ministry with him, and in the paragraph immediately preceding this morning’s text, his disciples are all named, and we’re told he calls them apostles. Jesus has been preaching...
Sometimes it happens.  You don’t ask for it, you don’t plan for it, you don’t expect it. It may happen in the midst of something pretty ordinary. You experience it in a new way, hear it in a new way, believe in a new way.  And you walk away changed. That’s what happened to Isaiah. It happened the year King Uzziah died...
Sometimes we misunderstand.  We get things wrong. We mishear, we misread, we miss the inflection behind the voice, behind the words. Perhaps we'll receive an email or a text message that is puzzling to us. A friend or relative or coworker sends a few sentences off to us with a twinkle in their eye and the hint of a smile but...
They had traveled a great distance, seeking, searching. They were star-gazers; not men of faith, but men of science. Those two things are not mutually exclusive, mind you, but these men had come because they had seen something in the sky that had captured their attention so completely that they left everything behind to come and see...
The news of Mary's pregnancy had to have set off a minor scandal.  It nearly leads to the breakup of her relationship with Joseph.  Even worse, In Mary's world, an unmarried woman found to be pregnant could have been executed by stoning at the entrance of her father's house (Deut. 22). Under these circumstances...
It’s the Third Sunday of Advent, 9 days till Christmas, and you’d think we’d be sitting on top of the world.  Feeling good. Excited.  Ready! Some of us are, but a whole lot of us, aren’t. When I was a little kid, getting ready for Christmas was a whole lot different than it is now.  I had shopping to do.  Every Christmas Eve, I’d go to...
A voice is heard, crying out in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight… It's a voice that perhaps you can hear off in the distance as you make your way through the crowds in the stores. Maybe you can hear it as you set up your Christmas decorations, or as you think through your "to do" list, as you listen to the radio...
I know. We were looking forward to moving out of the series we've been working through and doing something different. The season of Advent seemed to be just the right thing! Preparing for the coming of Jesus…scriptural texts that calm our minds and soothe our souls. We can't help but think of Christmas...