Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fall 2009 Message Plan for St. Paul UMC, Rocky Mount

Message Plan
September-December 2009

Each week in worship we hear a message. The message is one of the ways that God speaks to us through the truth of the Scripture. God also teaches us lessons through the challenges, struggles, and victories of our lives. As we gather for worship, we need to hear each other’s stories. This message plan is a tool for you to find where you might want to share a piece of your story.

Sitting beside you each week are those who need to hear what God is doing in your life, things that you have come across that have witnessed to your soul about key biblical truths that you need to share with others who may be going through a similar situation, facing a similar difficulty, or weighing similar decision. The goal behind the Message Plan is for you to look ahead to the key themes of upcoming worship services and determine if you might have something to offer. Perhaps you have come across a powerful story, perhaps you want to share a three-minute glimpse of your life called a “portrait of faith” that illustrates a key truth, or maybe you just have a friend you need to invite for that one Sunday where we will struggle with the issues that they are facing. Either way, take a few moments and look ahead and see what your part of the upcoming messages might be.

If you think you might have an illustration, story, or picture that provides clarity to an upcoming theme, send it to or leave it in the church office. If you have a life experience that you would like to share in your “portrait of faith,” email Dr. Cauley and schedule an appointment to discuss it with him. We want to hear from you!
September 13: A Well Balanced Life
How can we find balance? Is balance even possible? The demands of twenty-first century living are so extreme that it seems impossible to find time to do everything. What can the Bible teach us about living a well-balanced life?

September 20: Well Balanced Relationships

Our relationships are in trouble. We know that there are no magic formulas to a “good relationship,” no “five easy steps to balanced relationships.” How can we have relationships that are blessed by God and can endure difficulty and struggle? What can the Bible teach us about having well-balanced relationships?

September 27: A Well Balanced Family

Somebody once told me that insanity is inherited, you get it from your family! With today’s stresses upon our families, can we really find any balance? What can the Bible teach us about the value of our family and its importance in helping us be more balanced?

October 4: A Well Balanced Checkbook

We are panicked about money. God provides some basic precepts that have worked for thousand of years related to how we handle possessions and money. Like an acquaintance of mine says often, “you have to live like nobody else today, so you can live like nobody else will tomorrow.” Can we really have a well balanced financial plan based upon biblical teaching?

October 11: A Well Balanced Spiritual Life (Homecoming—one service at 10:30 am)

100,000 people each week “quit church” and most say it is because they are “too busy.” When your calendar gets full, is the first thing you cross off your list your relationship with God? Is worship and spiritual formation really important to live a balanced life?

October 18: Laity Sunday with Tom Walden
The most important person in the church is sitting right beside you. Tom Walden, former N.C. Conference Lay Leader, full-time volunteer, and leading Lay Witness Mission coordinator for the southeast will be with us to discuss our Lay Empowerment Weekend scheduled for this spring. Learn how you can make a difference!

October 25: Vision Word—Friendly or Loving (Dining Room Environments)
“Who is your neighbor?” God calls us to openly express Christ’s love to everyone we come into contact with, sometimes sacrificially. Have there been people in your life who have opened the doors to their lives, and maybe even their homes, to show you Christ’s love when you thought all hope was lost? Being loving/friendly goes far beyond a simple handshake to include a life of radical hospitality.

November 1: Vision Word—Accepting (Dining Room Environments)
“For God so love the world…” Our world usually includes only people who look like us, drive the same cars we do, live in similar houses, have the same skin color and about the same checkbook balance. Jesus spent as much time with “church people” as he did with those who were far from God and who were outside of His culture. Being accepting goes far beyond being pleasant, it is actively opening ourselves up to real relationship with people who are different than we are.

November 8: Vision Word—Growing (Living Room Environments)
Is spiritual formation really important? Isn’t just accepting Christ and being “Christian” enough? God calls us to continually invest in our personal spiritual lives and to embrace growth as a means of getting closer to God and each other.

November 15: Vision Word— Committed (Living Room & Kitchen Environments)

What does it mean to make a commitment? It goes far beyond simply making a promise, it means making a decision and then setting a determined course of action to insure the fulfillment of a covenant. How can the right commitments change your life?

November 22: Vision Word— Servants (Kitchen Environments)
Our culture does not value those who serve. We reward the powerful and look down upon those who do the things we consider unclean or menial. Yet, Christ teaches that it is the servant who shall be the master, the least who shall inherit God’s kingdom. What does it mean to serve with a Christ-like attitude and how does our willingness to serve reflect the presence of Christ in our lives?

November 29: Advent 1—Worship Fully
Mary was pregnant, and Joseph didn’t know what to do with a cultural situation that proscribed shunning and pain to the woman he loved. God shows up and demands from us everything. In worship, we are called to come to God opened handed, reminded that everything is a gift from God and that we can give Him nothing He has not first given us.

December 6: Advent 2—Spend Less

Our culture spends a lot of time convincing us of what we “must have” to be happy. This stands in stark contrast to the Savior of the world who came to earth in poverty. Jesus did not come to the rich and powerful, but to the poor and searching. When God came in Christ, God ignored Herod, the king, and came to the carpenter. What message is God sending us when God chooses less over more?

December 13: Advent 3—Give More

God gave. God comes into the world to give to us more than we can imagine. God gives to us salvation, God gives to us peace, God gives to us love. What do we give back? What if this year you were to give to God as much as you give under the Christmas tree?

December 20: Advent 4—Love All
Christmas is not your birthday. I heard those words last year and it took my breath away, but it is absolutely true. Christmas is not my birthday, it is Jesus’ birthday. Christ told us that whatever we do for “the least of these” we do for Him. This year, as we seek to show love to all, we are challenged to love those in our world who for many have no value.

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