SARA’S STORY (cont’d from last week)...There are a lot of challenging things that come with Tanzania; however, for me, everything was exactly as it needed to be. And because you and I share the same faith, it should be for you too. You’re going to hear a lot about our trip. You’ll hear a lot about what Tanzania needs. You’ll hear a lot about how good the people, the food, and the country are. 

When In Our Music God Is Glorified 

It is about this time of year that I begin to break out in hives. That’s a peculiar statement, isn’t it? You might be wondering why that is. Well, Advent is coming soon. And while I love the season of Advent, it makes me a bit nervous. There are so many things to get done between now and the beginning of the season of Advent.

Feeling Forsaken 

Our lectionary reading for the week takes us to Psalms 22. “My God, my God why have You forsaken me?” Psalm 22:1. We see the psalmist calling out to God in desperation. We also see these same words uttered by Jesus on the cross in Matthew 27.

When In Our Worship God Is Glorified 

I want to share with you the prayer that is printed above the hymn Lord, I Want to Be a Christian in our hymnal. The prayer was penned by Howard Thurman, a noted 19th century African American author, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader. Here is the entire prayer: 


“Because there is one loaf, we who are many, are one body because we all partake of the one loaf. The bread which we break is a sharing in the body of Christ.” 

These words frame the experience of World Communion Sunday. On Sunday, October 7th we will be richly reminded that Christ invites to his table all people who love him, repent of their sin, and seek to live in peace with one another. World Communion Sunday is a gathering at the Lord’s Table which bridges denominations and locations.

When In Our Worship God Is Glorified 

One of my all-time favorite hymns is Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing. This well-known hymn was penned by Robert Robinson in 1758. Robinson was preparing to preach at the Calvanist Methodist Chapel in Norfolk, England and wrote the lyrics to this hymn to accompany his sermon for the day.

See You At The Pole 

Cultural statistics are reporting we are either on the brink of a dark age in Christianity, or on the brink of a great revival. Revival within this generation can HAPPEN! Before revival happens though, we as the church must first have a revival in our own hearts.

Glimpses from our Youth...“Wow! Amazing! How could anyone stand up and speak after a speaker like that?” That’s the feeling multiple people said they had last Sunday when Mary Beth Gentry had finished her five-minute talk about the Tanzania Mission trip. Having been on the trip with Mary Beth, a DHS Junior, alongside the rest of our team, I can say that not only did she articulate the perfect words and message for all of us, but that those words came straight from her heart.

When In Our Worship God is Glorified 

“Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! Thou art the potter; I am the clay. Mold me and make me after thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still.” 

These famous words were penned by Adelaide Pollard in 1902. Pollard had wanted to be a missionary to Africa but couldn’t raise the funds for the trip. She was heartbroken and distressed.

The first must become last 

“He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’” Mark 9:36
Our text this week explains the importance of service over self. In a world where the expectation is to get all you can get while you can get it, Jesus radically challenges us to meet a new standard. We are to see our victories and accomplishments in the impact we have made on others.

Glimpses of Grace & Truth...Alice, as Treasurer of Smith Chapel UMC, worked hard in 1996 to teach me about Charge Conference. I knew conferences were meant to bring everyone together about an idea or concept, or start something new. The term “Charge” was new to me, but I quickly learned it came from our Methodist roots. 

When In Our Worship God is Glorified 

Undoubtedly, you have heard by now that Scarlet and I will be married on October 19th. We are very excited for our big day, and there has been lots of planning for much of this year. We have spent much time planning and organizing: service details, music, invitations, flowers, colors, reception details... just to name a few things! We are also looking forward to a time of visit and celebration with each of you on November 3rd (here at the church). 


“This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends...... This is my command: Love each other.” 

John 15:13-14,17 

This past Sunday we heard Ed discuss the need for works alongside our faith. Our faith shouldn’t be stagnant, or be seen as a sort of “Get out of Jail Free Card.” One translation of James 2:18 reads, “Someone might claim, ‘You have faith and I have action. But how can I see your faith apart from your actions? Instead, I’ll show you my faith by putting it into practice in faithful action.’” James states clearly that our faith is not something meant for us to cling to for ourselves, but is instead something that moves us deeper into our own spiritual practices, and our practices should lead us into faithful action in the world.

When In Our Music God Is Glorified 

“Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! Thou art the potter; I am the clay. Mold me and make me after thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still."

“Be still and know that I am God”- Psalm 46:10 

Psalm 46 is a message from God to us reminding us that even in the midst of all of our chaos He is here. Listen to the promises found in this passage; God is our refuge and strength, He is always ready to help, God dwells in us, we cannot be destroyed, the God of Israel is our fortress, the Lord of Heaven’s armies is here among us.

Glimpses of Grace & Truth...Coach Gunter was only a volunteer, but he taught me that if you slightly move your grip on a baseball and slightly adjust your release, a fastball becomes a curve ball which confuses batters. Since my fastball wasn’t very fast, I had to rely on my curve (slider and a few other pitches) to keep batters guessing. We had a good team that played against better teams; the job of Coach Gunter was recruiting player-pitchers, developing them into better pitchers so we had a better pitching rotation. 

O God, Our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home! 

Isaac Watts, the composer of the beloved hymn O God, Our Help in Ages Past was considered thethfather of English Hymnody. Watts was born on July 17 , 1674 in Southampton, England. Watts contributed thousands of hymns to the Church. At a young age, Watts was concerned with the low ebb of church music; ponderous psalms were sung. Watts’ father encouraged him to write something better for the congregation to sing.

Know who you are and whose you are 

“When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Gal. 4:4-7


This month’s communion offering will go to Hannah’s Hope which was born out of the rich tradition of the Holston Home for Children, which served the West Tennessee area as a child-placing agency from 1985 until 2002. Based in Greenville, Tennessee, and affiliated with the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church, Holston Home for Children had been in operation since 1895, providing assistance to children and families through adoptive services, foster care, parenting, crisis pregnancy, and adoption counseling. 

Choose this day whom you will serve 

“Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15 

Glimpses of Grace and Truth: on welcoming others...As a young boy, I stayed many times at my grandmother’s house in Water Valley, MS. From her, we called her Granny, I learned that good manners go a long way especially in old southern towns. Granny taught me that when you walk into a business, you’ll see lots of new people, but you need to find someone who looks like they belong there (a uniform or name tag is a good hint). She said usually that person will be looking at you because, back in those days, the bell on the door rang when you opened it, and because they're usually watching for customers to walk in.

When In Our Worship God Is Glorified

On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan’s fair and happy land, 

Where my possessions lie.
I am bound for the promised land, 

I am bound for the promised land; 

O who will come and go with me? I am bound for the promised land. 

Jesus’ love for us covers a multitude of sin “Simon, son of John, do you love me....... Jesus said to Peter a second and third time, Simon, son of John, do you love me?” John 21:15-17 

Have you ever felt unworthy of God’s love? Felt like you disappointed God beyond the point of forgiveness and grace? Felt like you could no longer serve God because of a past mistake? I absolutely love this portion of scripture because Jesus is saying to Peter,

Grace and Peace brothers and sisters,
Who (or what) is a Disciple? Rev. Dr. Steven Manskar in his excellent book Disciples Making Disciples, defines a Disciple as one “who has faith in Christ, and their faith bears fruit by....doing no harm, by avoiding evil, by doing good to all as often as possible, and by practicing the instituted means of grace.” Although most churches discuss faith in individual or “personal” terms, Discipleship is much more than personal growth and holiness; it is something we share in and develop alongside fellow Christians. The image of the Jerusalem Cross (below) gives us a model to understand this and other aspects of discipleship.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow; praise God, all creatures here below; Praise God above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. 

These are perhaps the most well-known words in all of Christian hymnody, and is likely sung in most Protestant denominations every Sunday. The Doxology was composed as such, a final verse of a hymn written in 1673. Here is one of the verses preceding the Doxology

Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14 

This week has reminded me just how fragile life is. I have been reminded that we are not promised tomorrow, that the example we set today can make a mark on someone else’s life for eternity, that God comforts the broken hearted, and that it is ok to not

Glimpses of Grace and Truth...We’ve heard many times how Jesus challenged his followers by saying, “You are the salt of the earth...You are the light of the world...” Ever since this challenge, Christians have sought out creative and meaningful ways to help us all “taste a little more salty” and shine just a little brighter. About twenty years ago, folks at Dyersburg First began thinking about a Wednesday night program called Salt & Light. As it launched, took root and grew into a regular weekly activity,

“When In Our Worship God Is Glorified” 

Pilgrim thru this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty – hold me with Thy powerful hand. Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more, Feed me till I want no more. 

As you enter into a new school year, I want you to hear these words... 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.” 

Jeremiah 29: 11- 14 

The FUMC Missions Team works hard every month for Communion Sunday, to teach us a bit about our congregation’s involvement in mission work. They’ve reminded us several times about our 2018 missional priorities, including our work to help children in need across the world and across the street. 

Those Dreaded Words...... Back To School 

Where did Summer Break go? I am excited however to see all our students back! I am looking forward to DaySpring worship, UMYF small groups, Friday Night football games, and just spending more time with our students. You will find in the youth corner spot this week all of our Student Ministry Events for the next few months. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me anytime! 

“When they came to Emmaus, he acted as if he was going on ahead. But they urged him, saying, ‘Stay with us. It’s nearly evening, and the day is almost over.’” Luke 24:28-29 

It is said that this verse recounting the interaction between Jesus and the two disciples, after the resurrection, was the inspiration for the beloved hymn Abide with Me. This hymn was written in 1847, shortly before the writers own death.

Glimpses of Grace and Truth...This week’s lectionary is about that tragic day when King David, who had it all, decided that he wanted more. He got what he wanted (Bathsheba), who was the beautiful wife of David’s soldier (Uriah). When David heard he’d gotten Bathsheba pregnant, and his attempts at cover-up failed, he had to eliminate the only one who would ever know: Uriah. Things unraveled because the plot to kill Uriah meant others would know about the plot, and the moment they saw Uriah’s wife living in the palace, they would realize that their wife, and their life, might be next.

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!


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.”