Everyone loves a good story. Storytelling is deeply ingrained in us as humans. We have been captivated by stories since the beginning of time. Oral tradition passed on from generation to generation has been an integral part of sharing history. Sometimes, however, the story doesn’t “add up” to our standards... or perhaps I should say that we are disappointed by the story. We look for a riveting plot line with great characters, action, and plot twist. It’s what makes a good story... but not always. 

Who is Jesus to me? 

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”- Matthew 16:15
This week I want us to take a serious look into our walk with Jesus. Have you ever stopped to think, who is Jesus to me? Who do I want Jesus to be in my life?

Glimpses of Grace and Truth {from Africa}...Since the fireworks and fun of July 4th are two weeks behind us, I’d like to revisit it for a moment. Gaining independence from the British Empire was enough incentive for many Americans to stand up, to fight, and even die for what they believed in during those late 1700s. That stand and the related sacrifices have benefitted not only those of us who call the US our home, but have helped others beyond our borders.

I really enjoy reading about the origin of hymns and the influences of writers of hymns. Reading through some hymn stories recently, I have found that many hymns point to the Wesley’s. However minor or major the contribution may have been, John and Charles Wesley changed the church with their hymn texts. John and Charles wrote new hymns for the church as a way of teaching about doctrine

The Will of God 

“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.’ But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” Jonah 1: 1-3 

When In Our Music God Is Glorified 

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation! O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation! All ye who hear, now to his temple draw near; join me in glad adoration!

BLAST FROM THE PAST “NO EXCUSE SUNDAY” September 3, 1986 

For a long time, the following words have found their way into numerous church bulletins and papers. I always find them interesting. One of our members found it in a church paper and passed it on to me. For those of you who have not seen it, it is printed for your application and observation. 

Independence Day
July 4 is the day as a nation that we celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. On July 4th 1776, the Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire. - Wikipedia 2000+ years ago another significant event happened.

Hope you can make it this Sunday, July 8th as we welcome Rev. Amanda Crice. Amanda is not only a great preacher, but a good friend and dedicated young servant of Christ at our Wesley Foundation at UT Martin. 

Glimpses of Grace and Truth...As Israel grew toward becoming a nation, their many “mistakes-made” and “lessons learned” are highlighted in the Old Testament story of Samuel.

Help us accept each other as Christ accepted us; teach us as sister, brother, each person to embrace. Be present, Lord, among us, and bring us to believe we are ourselves accepted and meant to love and love. – Fred Kaan, 1975 

“Do not fear, only believe”- Jesus 

That sounds easy enough, right? Last week we spent our time together looking at the story of Job. Job was fearful of his circumstances. He had lost everything and was fearful that God had abandoned him. He called out God demanding that He answer him. We looked at God’s response and then something amazing happened. Job at the end of his book said, “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.”

Our July communion offering will support United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Under its original name, The Methodist Committee on Overseas Relief (MCOR) was founded in 1940 by the Bishop Herbert Welch, in response to displaced and vulnerable populations in the wake of World War II. In his address at the General Conference that year, Bishop Welch stated that MCOR would serve as a “voice of conscience among Methodists to act in the relief of human suffering without distinction of race, color, or creed.”

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. 

I hope that you didn’t miss this past Sunday... what a wonderful day of worship! As I mentioned before we sang the hymn I have quoted above, the apostle Paul wrote about “instructions on worship” (we might call them)

What will we do when injustice strikes the innocent? 

“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.” Job 38: 1-4 

Glimpses of Grace and Truth (follow up to Annual Conference)...One of the big topics discussed earlier this month at the Memphis Annual Conference was whether we should more closely align our work in the Memphis and Tennessee Annual Conferences since we share many things (including a Bishop). Over the past two weeks, both conferences listened to presentations—that began in February

Where does our confidence lie? 

“So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.” 

Glimpses of Grace and Truth...Young Samuel lived in a time when Israel was having a hard time hearing God’s voice. You and I live in a similar time. It seems like many people would rather pretend there is no God, so they can then make their own decisions instead of listening for, especially listening to, divine guidance and rulebooks. 

This week I have had the privilege to serve as camp speaker for the New Life Union Mission. Speaking to these awesome 3rd and 4th graders, I got to experience God through the eyes of kids again. Let me say, I needed it. As adults we get in the mindset that we must

Greetings in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ. As you heard in worship this past Sunday, Annual Conference has been happening these past few days in Paducah, KY. We had a wonderful gathering of United Methodists from across West Tennessee and Western Kentucky, lay and clergy alike. This year’s theme was “See all the People.”

Glimpses of Grace and Truth...One of Paul’s greatest gifts was the idea of “Christ in You.” In Paul’s time, the closest that God came to humanity was through Israel’s Temple. Even then, God’s presence was filtered by a sophisticated system of sacrifices and further restricted by the Holy of Holies

I hope you were able to join us this past Sunday as we celebrated the Holy Trinity. We also welcomed Rev. Neal Chatham to the pulpit who filled in for Rev. Ed while he spends some quality time with his family. It was a great day of worship. The Trinity, 3 persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) yet one being, is a rather strange concept.

“Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down, on the heavens and earth?” Psalm 113: 5-6 

Church, we serve an almighty God! He created us in His image, He said in the beginning that we were good and that He was pleased, and even in the midst of our sinfulness

In keeping with our tradition, our June communion offering will go to The Memphis Annual Conference Offering. Our Conference along with the Tennessee and California-Pacific Conferences of The United Methodist Church are partnering with the East Congo Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church for Congo Women Arise.

This past Sunday was certainly filled with many memorable moments, and many milestones were passed and celebrated. We celebrated our graduating Seniors and their accomplishments. This was a fulfillment of Baptismal vows that you as a congregation took when each one was baptized, to help raise and nurture them in the Faith;

Summer is here! These past few months have been some of the most rewarding times in ministry that I have had. Students, thank you for living your faith unashamed and for allowing me to walk in this season of your life with you. Parents, thank you for allowing me to serve your students and for setting the example of Jesus in their lives. Church family, thank you for your unwavering support of this ministry and for being the Church.

Glimpses of Grace and Truth...Before Jesus called the Twelve, the practice of discipleship was well-established. Long before John the Baptist had followers, or Gamaliel's disciples became leaders in the San Hedrin, a wide range of students followed prophets like Elijah, Elisha and Jeremiah. In the same way, famous Greek teachers and philosophers had students who disciplined themselves to follow the teachings of Plato or Aristotle, of the Stoics or Pythagoreans.

Join us for worship this Sunday as we celebrate the Day of Pentecost. There are actually several things that we will celebrate this coming Sunday: Pentecost, our 2018 graduating Seniors, and our 2018 Confirmation class. This will surely be a Sunday you won’t want to miss! Pentecost Sunday is one of my favorite Sundays of the year. This day concludes our Easter Celebration, and we transition into Kingdomtide.

This Sunday, May 20th will be a time of celebration! We are recognizing our high school graduates as well as our confirmation students. We are so very proud of each of these students and thankful for what our God has done in their lives. We hope to see you Sunday! 

May you and your families have a blessed week, Brian, Mary, Brylee, Holland Funderburk 

 

Glimpses of Grace and Truth...Over the last few decades, so many churches have fallen into one of three mistakes. First, many churches have offered a Drive-Thru faith, where all a person has to do is make a one-time decision that handles the rest of life, and eternity!! Other churches have become very consumer-driven, giving people everything they want which has drained small community churches and created

Summertime is almost here! Things seem to slow down at the church during the summer. I hope that you will find ways to stay connected through the summer months. I invite you to sing in the choir this summer. 

During the months of June, July, and August, the Parish Choir will rehearse every other week and we would like to invite you to join us for rehearsals

Celebrating The Ascension of Christ 

“After He had said this, He was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” Acts 1:9.
As we celebrate this event in the life of our Lord, let us not miss what Jesus was trying to teach us.

Glimpses of Grace & Truth...I’d like to talk about the person I consider history’s most famous mother. It’s not my mother or yours, nor is it our best friend’s mother who treated us like her own. It’s not those celebrity or political mothers like J-Lo, Madonna (except the original), not Princess Diana or Kate, or any presidential mother. No, the person I am thinking of has never experienced labor or delivery,

When In Our Worship God Is Glorified 

I hope you were able to join us this past Sunday for worship. We were certainly blessed by our Youth Group as they led our worship service! It is certainly a joy to welcome our youth to lead worship; they are gifted individuals who often help re- orient us in our faith journey together. 

Finding The Way Home
Because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life! He was lost and is found! And they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:24

Glimpses of Grace and Truth...Every Sunday is special, but some Sundays are a different kind of special. This coming Sunday, May 6th, we’ll be reminded that our past is always part of our future. As we celebrate Holy Communion, we remember that what Jesus did and said always was, still is and always will be part of Christ’s Church. As we celebrate a Baptism, recalling St. Augustine’s words from 1,600 years ago:

Youth Sunday is This Sunday! Excited would be an understatement! Church family, I cannot wait for you to see and hear these amazing students. They will be leading our worship service from the announcements to the benediction. I know you will receive a blessing from each student as they step out in faith this week.

When In Our Worship God is Glorified 

This coming Sunday is a very important day in the life of the church. Our worship will be led by our Youth Group. It isn’t very often that our youth

Glimpses of Grace & Truth...With excitement about the future at First UMC, I want to share something new and something I hope we will “re- new” in the days ahead. First, let me introduce you to Rev. Will Clark, who joins us this summer as our new Associate Pastor. Will was born and raised in Jackson, TN,

Greetings! This Sunday is the 4th Sunday of Easter, also known as Good Shepherd Sunday. The designation, Good Shepherd, comes from the lectionary readings for the day: Psalm 23 and John 10:11- 18. We all know Psalm 23, but perhaps John 10 doesn’t come directly to mind. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” How fitting that this lectionary passage

The power of Jesus is alive in you,
“By what power or in what name have you done this?...... Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene- whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead- by Him this man is standing here before you healthy.” Acts 4: 7, 10

Glimpses of Grace and Truth...Methodist pastors receive many gifts, but one that’s most noticeable every spring is finding out where my family and I will be serving in the coming year. It is good that we are being reappointed to serve Dyersburg FUMC for another year, but even better that we’ll serve alongside our new Associate Pastor Will Clark (more on Will next week).

Church Family, Mary, Brylee, Holland, and I would like to say thank you for all of the prayers and support during this time of celebration. Mary and Holland are doing great and we cannot wait for you to meet her! 

May you and your families have a blessed week, Brian, Mary, Brylee, Holland Funderburk

Happy Easter! (Remember, good Methodists, it is still Easter for us!) We have moved from the glorious day of the Resurrection into the season of Eastertide. Soon, we will celebrate the Day of Pentecost(!) and will enter into one of the longest seasons of the year, Ordinary Time/Kingdomtide. I pray that you had a holy Lent.

Glimpses of Grace and Truth...In John’s Gospel, we hear early about what Jesus’ disciples saw and heard. John says that in Jesus, they even saw God’s glory, full of grace and truth. As we discussed Sunday, we hear in John 20:20 that the disciples saw the Risen Lord (what I call a biblical 20 -20 vision), and they rejoiced greatly. A few verses later,

Following after Jesus 

“Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.” John 12:26

We are in the midst of Holy Week we began our journey last Sunday as we waived our palm branches and shouted “Hosanna!” “Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the LORD!” How quickly this parade turns into the darkest day in history.

One thing that sets apart the people called Methodists is a practical theology that strives to make a difference in the world. One thing that sets apart Methodist folks in Dyersburg is that we want to make a difference not only in our community,

A reminder of the upcoming worship opportunities at FUMC:
March 21, 28, Lenten Midday Prayer on Wednesday’s at 12:00 p.m.

Walking in the Humbleness of Jesus
“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus......He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death-even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-11

Glimpses of Grace & Truth...Remember last Sunday, when we read John 12? John ended chapter 11 with the miracle of Lazarus being raised from the dead, and began chapter 12 with Lazarus’ sisters hosting a grand dinner to celebrate. Religious leaders, especially the Pharisees, are troubled by Jesus’ growing popularity, as they hear crowds shouting “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!”