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First United Methodist Church
Plymouth, Indiana

Sermons and Messages

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The festival of Passover is the liturgical celebration of the central theological belief of Judaism: the remembrance and thanksgiving that God saved Israel from bondage in Egypt, laying the foundation of the covenant between Israel and God. The first commandment given by God to Moses states, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2).  Worship belongs to God who saves...
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Through the next 2 months, we are continuing the narrative that began in the book of Genesis, continues through Exodus and is completed in the Old Testament books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.  These first 5 books of the Bible are known as the Pentateuch and they take us from creation, through the Patriarchs and into Egypt.  According to Exodus 12 (v. 40-41), God’s people remained in Egypt a total of 430 years before being led out of captivity and into the promised land...
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He was 17, and as far as he was concerned, his family was lucky to have him.  He was without question (in his mind), the best looking, most intelligent son of Israel, and Israel (who we once knew as Jacob) had a lot of sons.  By this time, Israel has 12 sons and one daughter, but Joseph, being the 11th son and 12th child—was the first child born to Rachel, and Rachel had always been Jacob’s favorite wife. Israel looked at Joseph and he remembered his beloved Rachel.  He remembered...

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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.
As this season of Advent begins, I'm not sure that I need to tell you to "keep awake," really.  Too many of you are already operating in a state of sleep deprivation.  You have too much to do and too little time to do it. You are in the habit of being over-scheduled, and you do your best to get as much done as possible, and then fall into your chair at night, exhausted. 
Sunday, November 26th's special message “The End of Time: Paradise, Something Good and Right” by Rev. Toni Carmer concluding week 31 of a 31 week study of “The Story – The Bible as One Continuous Story of God and His People.”
Sunday, November 12th's terrific message “Paul’s Final Days” by Rev. Toni Carmer continuing week 30 of a 31 week study of “The Story – The Bible as One Continuous Story of God and His People.”
Sunday, November 5th's great message “Paul’s Mission” by Rev. Toni Carmer continuing week 29 of a 31 week study of “The Story – The Bible as One Continuous Story of God and His People.”
Sunday, October 29th's uplifting message “New Beginnings: God's New Creation Community” by Rev. Toni Carmer continuing week 28 of a 31 week study of “The Story – The Bible as One Continuous Story of God and His People.”
Sunday, October 22nd's uplifting message “God’s Big Surprise: The Resurrection” by Rev. Toni Carmer continuing week 27 of a 31 week study of “The Story – The Bible as One Continuous Story of God and His People.”
Sunday, October 15th's terrific message “The Hour of Darkness” by Rev. Toni Carmer continuing week 26 of a 31 week study of “The Story – The Bible as One Continuous Story of God and His People.”