Sermons | Eldersville United Methodist Church

Sermons

Reflections on Scripture for God's People

Our Sacred Calling

Scripture Reading: Genesis 1–3 NRSV (selected) Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.” And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may... read more
Our Common Inheritance

Our Common Inheritance

Image Credit: Jumonville Camp & Retreat Center, a mountaintop that is for many a sign of the faithfulness of God. Scripture Reading: Psalm 125 (NRSV) Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time on and forevermore. For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, so that the righteous might not stretch out their hands to do wrong. Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts. But those who turn aside to their own crooked ways the Lord will lead away with evildoers. Peace be upon Israel! Having lived in Eldersville for just over three years now, I realize I’m still (and always will be) a newcomer. As I’ve gotten to know you and this community, I’ve been blessed to hear many of your stories—stories of growing up here, of significant moments of your life in this church, and accounts of how things have changed. I notice your love of this place often, especially in the way that I’ve been asked frequently in these three years, “how do you like living in Eldersville?” You want to know if I share the same love for this place that you have. Compared with many of you who have deep roots in this community, I don’t know what it’s like to have one place that you can call home. As you realized getting to know me early on, the answer to the question “where... read more
Delighting in Creation

Delighting in Creation

Scripture Reading: Psalm 8 and Song of Solomon 2:8–13 One of the things that I learned quickly about this congregation and community is your no-nonsense, can-do attitude. When there’s a problem that needs to be solved, someone will make sure it gets solved When there’s a project that needs to be completed, people are going to show up and put in the work so that it’s done. We don’t like to talk about it, we just want to make sure it happens. I’ve come to appreciate your pragmatism, the matter-of-fact way that you deal with what needs to be done. It’s not just the business of the church that we deal with practically. Everything we do is done though the lens of practical concerns. When we read the Scriptures, we do so to get the information we need related to our salvation. We want to know what God requires of us (and other people) to be right with God. We want to know what behavior is and is not acceptable. We want to know how we should think rightly about God. When we come to church and Sunday school, it’s often to get the information we need from the Bible so we can just get back to work and do what needs to be done. Whenever the conversation moves beyond those practical issues, it can feel like we’re missing the point and splitting hairs. The Bible is full of practical insights that relate to how God wants us to live as God’s people. The first few books of the Bible give us concrete rules, the prophetic books tell us how... read more
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

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