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Showing posts from September, 2015

Sermon, "Fruitful: Have We Fruit?," Luke 13:6-9

Sermon 9/20/15 Luke 13:6-9
Fruitful: Have We Fruit?
For centuries now, candidates for ordination in The United Methodist Church have been asked questions, with only the smallest variation, that John Wesley asked of those who said they were called to preachers in the Methodist movement at its beginnings: “1) Do they know God as a pardoning God? Have they the love of God abiding in them? Do they desire nothing but God? Are they holy in all manner of conversation? 2) Have they gifts, as well as evidence of God’s grace, for the work? Have they a clear, sound understanding; a right judgment in the things of God; a just conception of salvation by faith? Do you speak justly, readily, and clearly? 3) Have they fruit? Have they been truly convinced of sin and converted to God, and are believers edified by their service?” Wesley said that “As long as these three marks concur in anyone, we believe [that one] is called of God to preach.” These questions are asked now near the beginning of a candid…

Sermon, "Fruitful: God and Good Fruit," Revelation 22:1-5, Genesis 2:4-9

Sermon 9/13/15­ Revelation 22:1-5, Genesis 2:4-9
Fruitful: God and Good Fruit

            Ok friends. Summer vacation is over, for better or worse, and now it’s time to see what you remembered. This year, we’re going to be focusing on the four themes that we touched on briefly in turn this spring. We’re going to take each one, dig into them, in depth, and figure out what God is calling us to do and how we’re going to respond. And those four themes – and here’s a tip if you’re forgetting or haven’t been here recently – they’re in the bulletin on the bottom right – those four themes are: prayerful, invitational, missional, and fruitful. And this fall, for the next several weeks, we’re thinking about God’s call to be fruitful. We’re starting with this not just because this happens to be a great time of year to be thinking about harvest and gathering in fruit in a church called Apple Valley. No, we’re starting here because for me, being fruitful is the umbrella over the other three themes. B…

Sermon, "Summer Days: Camping," Genesis 12:1-9

Sermon 8/30/15 Genesis 12:1-9
Summer Days: Camping

            I’ve told you before how significant an experience going to camp was for me as I grew up: significant for my life’s journey, my faith development, my call to ministry. And I’ve told you that I grew up attending Camp Aldersgate, up in Brantingham, NY. Before Upper New York, and before we became North Central New York, in fact, my conference was the Northern New York Annual Conference, and Aldersgate was our camp. Everyone in my family went to Aldersgate. My Aunt and Uncle met there. My cousin and her husband met there. Everyone from our church went there. Eventually, when I was still a pretty young child, we became North Central New York – all Apple Valley’s predecessor congregations were in the Central New York Conference – and suddenly Casowasco became a part of our Conference. I had never been to Casowasco, but I heard about it, of course. It was the fancy camp. In fact, it wasn’t really like camping at all. It was practica…