Sermons | Eldersville United Methodist Church

Sermons

Reflections on Scripture for God's People

Dismantling Racism

Dismantling Racism

2 Timothy 1:3–9 (NET) I am thankful to God, whom I have served with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, when I remember you in my prayers as I do constantly night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I recall your sincere faith that was alive first in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and I am sure is in you.  Because of this I remind you to rekindle God’s gift that you possess through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me, a prisoner for his sake, but by God’s power accept your share of suffering for the gospel. He is the one who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not based on our works but on his own purpose and grace, granted to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but now made visible through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus.⁠1 Bulletin Download: August 12 2018 Paul is right, “God did not give us a Spirit of fear.” Unfortunately, though our fears do not come from God, we all have them. Many of us share common fears of various creepy crawly things: spiders, snakes, mice, or bats—occasional guests of our homes that are quite unwelcome. Some of our fear comes from the real threat that these pests pose to our well-being—certain spiders and snakes can cause us harm... read more
Improving Global Health

Improving Global Health

Luke 13:10–17 (NRSV) Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing. The most challenging question for me when I read a miracle account in the Gospels is, “why has God stopped performing grand miracles like these in our midst?” There are many today who are in bondage, physically or spiritually, who need Jesus’s healing power. We recognize this need in our fourth area of focus: stamping out killer diseases by improving health globally.... read more
Ministry with the Poor

Ministry with the Poor

John 12:1–8 (NRSV) Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” We started our service this morning with a reading of what was perhaps the shortest sermon that has ever been preached. It’s not even as long as the scripture citation from which it is based.  Jesus stood up at the synagogue on the sabbath day to read from the prophet Isaiah, chapter 61: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, [and] to proclaim... read more
Church Renewal

Church Renewal

Acts 16:11–15 (NRSV) The Conversion of Lydia We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us. In 1783, a man named Richard Owings traveled through Washington County, Pennsylvania in search of places of prayer, places where hearts and minds were receptive to God. And as he went from place to place, Owings stumbled across a small community, between Avella and Eldersville, where there was a place of prayer, filled with people of prayer. By the next year, a class meeting was organized in this community on the Wells farm, where the Methodists of this community gathered to watch over each others souls, to pray for each other, to ask probing questions about faith, and to keep each other accountable in following Jesus Christ. This Wells Class meeting,... read more
Principled Christian Leadership

Principled Christian Leadership

Matthew 20:20–28 (NRSV) Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”  When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” What do you aspire to be? We all have aspirations. We aspire to be excellent at our jobs, perhaps even a team leader or manager. Some of you may be aspiring to retire in a few years and get a glimpse... read more
Offering the Real Jesus

Offering the Real Jesus

Scripture Lesson: Mark 5:21–43 Do you ever have one of those days where you can’t get a moment’s rest? One thing happens after another and a million things are competing for your attention. You can’t get a moment to catch your breath. All the while, you feel like you’re getting nothing done. The story we hear about Jesus’s healing ministry today describes one of those kind of days. As soon as he arrives back at shore a great crowd surrounds him and competes for his attention. Whatever well-crafted plans Jesus may have had for that day, they were immediately cast aside as a leader of the synagogue is in desperate need of help. His little girl is about to die. But Jairus knows about this faith healer named Jesus, one who answers prayers and makes miracles happen. He begs Jesus, come, make her well! Jesus follows him for a while, but before he gets to the bed of the dying girl, he’s interrupted again. A woman who has been afflicted with a blood disorder for twelve years pushes her way through the crowd. Jesus is trying to hurry on to Jairus’s house, but the crowd is pushing up against Jesus and slowing him down. This woman too had heard about Jesus the one who makes people well. She knew all too well about physicians who would take her money and do nothing for her. She felt isolated from her faith community, as she has been deemed ritually unclean—unable to take part in temple worship—for twelve years. We see in this story, only a few verses in, the phenomenal need... read more
Get in the Boat!

Get in the Boat!

Mark 4:35–41 (NRSV) On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” The Biblical drama is full of stories about deliverance from the sea. We don’t give it second thought, but the book of Genesis begins with a story about the waters of chaos: “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep.” Before anything was created, in the ancient imagination, there was a dark, watery abyss. But the winds that swept over those waters on that first day were not the winds of chaos, but the Spirit of God, ordering what had been in disarray. Light was separated from darkness, the sea separated from the sky. It was all very... read more
Flourishing (Like a Mustard Seed)

Flourishing (Like a Mustard Seed)

Mark 4:26–34 [As he was teaching in parables, Jesus] also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.” He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples. I’ll admit, I’m completely out of my element when it comes to agrarian discussions like the one presented to us by Jesus in today’s Gospel reading. I come from a long line of farmers and smaller-scale gardeners who have toiled in the careful work of planting vegetables and taking care of farm animals. I suppose that family line will have to be carried on by my cousins, because I don’t have so much as a green thumb. I... read more

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Joel Peterson

Joel Peterson

Pastor

Joel has been serving Eldersville UMC, with his wife Mallory, since 2015. He graduated in 2014 from Houghton College with a degree in Music and Religion and completed his seminary studies in 2018 at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

You can contact him at pastor@eldersvilleumc.org.