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First United Methodist Church
Plymouth, Indiana

Sermons and Messages

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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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Imagine Abraham as a Middle Eastern sheik. One of those Arabic sheiks you’ve seen on TV in flowing white robes, head gear held by a gold braid. That is, after all, what Abraham was. He and Sarah were wealthy. They had many servants, camels, sheep and goats, and a large homestead in what today is southern Israel. In the middle of that land they had pitched their tent under a huge spreading oak. And if there’s a tree, there’s water. Their tent is as big as a house, the sand inside covered with luxurious...

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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.”
Sunday, October 8th's fabulous message “Jesus, the Son of God” by Rev. Toni Carmer continuing week 25 of a 31 week study of “The Story – The Bible as One Continuous Story of God and His People.”
Sunday, October 1st's great message “No Ordinary Man” by Rev. Toni Carmer continuing week 24 of a 31 week study of “The Story – The Bible as One Continuous Story of God and His People.”
Sunday, September 24th's wonderful message “Jesus’ Ministry Begins” by Rev. Toni Carmer continuing week 23 of a 31 week study of “The Story – The Bible as One Continuous Story of God and His People.”
Sunday, September 17th's fantastic message “The Birth of the King” by Rev. Toni Carmer continuing week 22 of a 31 week study of “The Story – The Bible as One Continuous Story of God and His People.”
Sunday, September 10th's great message “Rebuilding the Walls” by Rev. Toni Carmer continuing week 21 of a 31 week study of “The Story – The Bible as One Continuous Story of God and His People.”
Sunday, September 3rd's wonderful message “The Beauty Queen Who Faced the Beast” by Rev. Toni Carmer continuing week 20 of a 31 week study of “The Story – The Bible as One Continuous Story of God and His People.”
Sunday, Aug. 27th's fabulous message “The Return Home” by Rev. Toni Carmer continuing week 19 of a 31 week study of “The Story – The Bible as One Continuous Story of God and His People.”