Series: Known and Called

Known Called promoWe are water-marked and claimed as God’s own.

“Oh God, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path any my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.”   — Psalm 139:1-3

As another new year begins, we commit to living as Christ’s followers. To do that, we need to be able to recognize the identity of Jesus. Once we discover the depth of who Jesus is, we can live as his followers, walking in his footsteps.

To know Jesus, we will look deeply into scripture, into the stories of those who were touched by him, and into our own calling as his disciples. The more we can recognize Jesus, the better we will understand who we are called to be as we live out his ministry.

Just like the early disciples, all who follow Jesus today are claimed as God’s own, sealed with the waters of baptism and set on a journey of bringing the light of God’s love to the world. God knows us—perhaps better than we know ourselves. And God calls us—often in ways we can only begin to imagine.

How are we known by the world around us? Do we bear the unmistakable watermark of God’s grace upon us? Do we live out Christ’s ministry so clearly, that Christ’s own light shines through us?

Sermons in this Series: 
December 31 – Known by the Light – Called to Joy
January 7 – Known by a Watermark – Called to Life
January 14 – Known on Sight – Called to Be
January 21 – Known as Fishers – Called to Cast a Wide Net
January 28 – Known to Stand Our Ground – Called to Justice
February 4 – Known by Touch – Called to Heal
February 11 – Known by Our Company – Called by the Saints

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Series: Mary, Did You Know?

mary smallerAdvent Series- Mary, Did You Know?
Mary’s perspective on the birth of Jesus

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for God has looked with favor on the lowliness of God’s servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is God’s name.”    – Mary, Mother of Jesus

To any young, unmarried, peasant woman, the coming of God’s presence on earth in the life of a human child would be life-changing. But for his mother, that change is so much more. Could Mary have possibly grasped how her life, and the life of all the world, was about to change?

The God who lifts up the lowly and brings justice for the oppressed also draws the weary and outcast into the closest circle of blessing. God also uses the lowly, the weary, the oppressed and the outcast to accomplish God’s very presence in the world. No one knows this better than Mary. This Advent, we will walk in her sandals for a while, pondering what God’s coming might mean, exalting that God lifts up and transforms the world, and wondering at how that means God can use us.

Did Mary know that God could use even her in powerful ways? Did she know that Jesus was more than a remarkable child? Did she know that grace and love would conquer the social stigmas of her life, and would overcome the greatest pain and loss she would ever know?

I think she had an inkling. Do we?

Sermons in this series: 
December 3- Save our Sons and Daughters (Mary’s fear and faith)
December 10- One Day Rule the Nations (Mary’s Yes to God)
December 17- Kiss the Face of God (Pageant Sunday)
December 24 (10:30 am)- The Praises of Our Lamb (Mary’s joy and our joy)
December 24 (7 pm)- The Great I Am

Series: A Place at the Table

Slide5Lebanon UMC: creating a place at the table* for everyone

* tables of food, conversation,
decision-making, and communion

Together at Lebanon United Methodist Church, we are creating a place at the table for everyone. We believe this is God’s calling and vision for us, drawing on our gifts of hospitality and inclusion, and meeting the longing we see in our community for food and for connection.

In his ministry, Jesus often drew people together around a table: to converse together, to learn and listen, to feed physical and spiritual hunger, and to share in God’s presence. When we set a table as Jesus does, we invite people into deep community. In worship, we are setting a place for each person at every table: the communion table, the banquet table, the tables of friendship, conversation, and decision-making. We will especially recognize the tables of conversation during our Reconciling Sunday service (October 22, featuring a conversation-message with Pastor Becca and Jonathan V.), and the connection of communion with those who have gone before during our All-Saint’s worship service (November 5).

We also will come together around the table in other ways this month:

Saturday, October 14, noon – a place at the food table
          – Saturday Afternoon Lunch Together free meal for the community

Sunday, October 22, 3 p.m. – a place at the tables of conversation
– “Seeing Each Other: A Panel Discussion about Stereotypes and Their Effects”

Wednesday, October 25, 7 p.m. – a place for healing
          – prayer service for healing (you are invited to bring a picture or symbol
of someone or something in your life in need of healing)

It is God in Christ who invites all to this table—come exactly as you are.

Sermons in this series: 
October 8 – Whose Table Is It?
follow up action: Free Community Lunch Oct 14, creating space at the food table
October 15 – Guest preacher Chris T.
October 22 – 10 Years Reconciling: past, present and future (a dialogue message)
follow up acton: Seeing Each Other panel discussion, Oct 22, 3 pm
A place for healing- October 25, 7 pm, bring needs for healing to the table of grace
October 29 – Expanding the Table
November 5 – Save me a Place – Communion Table with the Saints

 

Series: Imagine the People of God

Slide6Fall Worship Series – Imagine the People of God

“Believing, receiving, becoming God’s love, imagine the people of God.”  – Mark Miller

What does it look like to live as a community of “the people of God”? How are our lives transformed when we believe, receive, care, share, seek, and dream as God’s children?

This fall, we gather together again as the Beloved Community, the people of God. We will look at the lives and experiences of the early church as they sought to be faithful disciples of Jesus, and we will dream and vision of how we as a church can be ever-better vessels of God’s love on earth. Together we will unlock the gifts God gives us for our life together: gifts of imagination, compassion, transformation and fruition.

At Lebanon UMC, we are creating a place at the table for everyone! Join us as together we imagine better relationships, better community, a better church, and a better world!

Sermons in this series: 
September 10 – Imagination
September 17 – Caring, Sharing (Compassion)
September 24 – Transformation
October 1 – Fruition

Series: A Future With Hope

future with hope series sepia light

Summer Worship Series – A Future With Hope 

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” — Jeremiah 29:11

 We ease into the summer season: a time for planting, growing, and sitting back to enjoy the fruits of hard work. As flowers, vegetables, and trees flourish in their own time and season, we are reminded that growth takes time, and that God’s timing is often much longer and more far-reaching than our own.

Have you ever been frustrated or impatient with how long it takes to grow and change as God’s people? Maybe you wish your life would turn around right now, or that there could be a “quick fix” for our congregation as we live into our mission and ministry, or that the world could instantly be filled with the hope and joy God offers. But growth takes time, and we who plant the seeds of hope and change, who nurture the tender shoots of new life, are in it for the long haul.

This summer in worship, we plant, we tend, we wait with patience, and we celebrate the promise and presence of God now, and in our future filled with hope.

Sermons in this series:
June 18 – A Future With Hope
June 25 – The Opening 
July 2 – The Planting
July 9 – The Nurturing 
July 16 – The Residing 
July 30 – The Building 
August 6 – The Bearing 
August 13 – The Sustaining 
August 20 – The Remembering 
August 27 – The Releasing 
September 3 – A Future With Hope 

Series: Emerge

emerge seriesEaster Worship Series – Emerge

Sometimes, creation itself tells of God’s glory and of the Resurrection promise! Nature offers a perfect symbol for the journey through hardship and loss, sorrow, death, and new life and joy.

The butterfly has long been a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus as well as the resurrection of believers as we emerge from the power of death. Like caterpillars, it might be hard for us to imagine the new life that is in store for us, and we find safety and security in the enclosing darkness of our own cocoons.

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Butterflies and a cocoon grace the altar.

A symbol of spring, the butterfly truly reflects the beauty of nature. The butterfly emerging from its cocoon represents the resurrection of Christ from the tomb.  Just as the butterfly comes forth with a new body, those who trust in Christ come forth with new and transformed life. The butterfly also represents flight, freedom, and creative thinking.

In this Easter season, we will examine our own transformations from cocoons and tombs to the unfurled beauty of all God calls us to be.

Sermons in this series:
April 16 – Emerge: Tombs and Cocoons
April 23 – Re-Form: Leaving Comfortable Places 

April 30 – Open: Into the Light 
May 5 – Stir: Waking Up
May 14 – Unwrap & Unfold: Unbound 
May 21 – Let Go: Leaving Behind what We don’t Need 
May 28 – Fly: Daring New Heights 
June 4 – Journey: The Places We’ll Go 

Series: Gifts of the Dark Wood

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“I awoke in a Dark Wood where the true way was wholly lost.”       – Dante

The journey through the “dark wood” is an unavoidable part of life. Whether by the awareness of our own brokenness, the changing circumstances in our lives or our world, or through the losses and failures that seem to haunt us, at some point we all find ourselves in a place that feels like a dark wood. No matter the path we followed in, the pathway out seems wholly lost.

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Our worship space during “Gifts of the Dark Wood”

Rather than run from the darkness, we must begin to see that the only way out is through. And here, where ego is at last stripped away, we are perhaps open at last to God’s guidance and way. As we experience uncertainty, emptiness, and temptation, as we become lost and thunderstruck, as we disappear and find ourselves out of place, these struggles turn to gifts. The Dark Wood becomes the place where God awakens us to the fullness of life.

Our worship series for Lent, based on the book by the same name by Eric Elnes, invites us to lose ourselves in the Dark Wood, and trust in Christ to draw us out. In the midst of darkness, we might find not only our way through life, but find ourselves.

IMG_9973Sermons in this series: 
March 5 – The Gift of Uncertainty (When Broken Wings Learn to Fly) 
March 12 – The Gift of Emptiness
March 19 – The Gift of Being Thunderstruck
March 26 – The Gift of Getting Lost
April 2 – The Gift of Temptation
April 9 – The Gift of Disappearing