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First United Methodist Church
Plymouth, Indiana

Sermons and Messages

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Last week we talked about the woman who anointed Jesus’ head with the precious nard.  The scent filled the room. We brought many of my mother-in-law’s belongings to our house almost 2 years ago now, to figure out what to do with them when we had to move her into a nursing home because of her Alzheimer’s.  Her clothing, her blankets, pillows, even her knick-knacks, I think, brought her perfume with them. Now and then, I still catch a scent of the fragrance she enjoyed wearing...
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It’s an over-the-top gift; pure extravagance. An expression of love; an outpouring of emotion. Perhaps you’ve been the recipient of an expression of love such as this. Perhaps you’ve felt that outpouring of love yourself: a straight-from-the-heart desire to somehow express tangibly what your words can’t quite describe. The woman didn’t care who was there, who saw it. She didn’t care what they thought. She needed to tell him, to show him, so he’d know. It seems that this woman...
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The first risk for us comes as we discover the placement of this story is very different in the synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark and Luke—and in the Gospel of John.  First, “synoptic” basically means “a general summary” and the first 3 Gospels pretty much summarize the same stories of Jesus, but from the different perspectives of the 3 biblical writers.  It’s believed that Matthew and Luke both base their writings on Mark and also have a third resource that we call “Q,” a collection...

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It all begins with the recognition of how blessed we are. We are so incredibly blessed. I am so incredibly blessed. The knowledge of that doesn't come to my awareness often enough. I take too much for granted. From the beauty of creation around me…my family, my friends, all who love me...
Scott's father was born on leap day, February 29, 1920. We only have a leap day every 4 years, so although Dad was on this earth for 93 years, he only had 23 birthdays. It was fun when he and our middle son celebrated their 21st birthdays in the same year. They kept saying they were going to go out...
I read a letter last week that a woman wrote to her daughter as the young woman prepared to enter high school.  It was a beautiful letter filled with love, encouragement and practical advice that she wanted to be sure her daughter heard before beginning this new adventure. The letter began...
I look forward each month to meeting with the members of the Marshall County Ministerial Association. I've enjoyed coming to know the pastors who serve in these different churches, and it's always interesting to learn how our various denominations "do" things...
There are certain, special people who you and I have in our lives who we might call "prayer warriors." They are people who you can call when you have a particular need, who you know will dig right in, and give it all they've got to intercede on your behalf—to lift you up in prayer, to ask God for healing...
The Berlin Wall, dividing the East from the West, was erected on August 13, 1961. On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan addressed the leader of the Soviet Union, referring to the Berlin Wall, saying, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."  On November 9, 1989...
Though I hadn't thought of titling the past several weeks of messages as a series as we looked at Paul's letter to the people of Corinth, "Difficult Conversations" would have worked very well. There were some things happening that Paul had to address in order to correct and then heal and restore the relationship...
How do you respond when you're feeling attacked or criticized? I don't remember what it was about anymore, but I do remember someone saying to me, "You're being defensive!"  And I thought, well, yeah, it makes sense when you're coming at me like that.  I am defending myself...
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...