“A Harmony of Goodness” by Rev. William F. Meier

A ninety-year-old was asked recently as to the secret of his living so well and for so long.  The wise old man smiled at the question and replied, “Clean thoughts.”

Clean or good thoughts might be another way of talking about the “fruits of the Spirit” that have shaped our worship life in these past months as part of our “Year of the Spirit” theme. 

“…love, joy, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, and self-control.” Paul suggests; live in God’s Spirit, and these things will flow through our lives.  During the month of June we’re on “self-control” and so I briefly thought about focusing upon that, but my preaching professor always urged us to have a mastery of the subject matter of our sermon before preaching on it.  Thus I had to go in another direction.  So “fruits of the Spirit.”

Response to MCCI Report with Prescriptions

I read a story a few months ago that I couldn’t ever get out of my head. It’s about a family who lived in the Tennessee Valley during the Great Depression. The federal government put together a plan called the Tennessee Valley Project to build a dam and create more jobs. The family, who lived in a homestead cabin, knew that the dam would create new jobs, that their neighbors and their town would benefit from the work and opportunities. They knew that the government built them a new home outside the area of the lake, but on the day that they were to move, the father came out on the porch of that little cabin and told the government workers that they weren’t leaving. The construction workers didn’t know what to do until someone thought to send in a social worker to listen to the family’s concerns. She sat with them all morning, drinking a cup of coffee and getting to know them. Finally she asked them to tell her why they were refusing to move so she had something to report back to the construction crew. The father of the house looked at her and said, “Do you see that fire in the fireplace?” as he pointed to the only heating and cooking source in their small home. “My grandfather tended to that fire his whole life because he didn’t have any matches and the neighbors was too far away. Then my father tended to that fire his whole life, and I have been tending to it my whole life. I'm not about to let that fire go out now.” This gave the social worker an idea. The next day she brought with her a large apple butter kettle. She explained to the family that they could put the coals in the kettle, that she had kindling and wood ready in their new home, and that they could bring the fire with them. The family asked her to leave as they discussed this. When they invited her back into their cabin, they were each taking turns shoveling up the coals into the bucket and then they walked together, carrying the fire of their ancestors to their new home.

“Spiritual Gifts: The Nuts and Bolts of the Holy Spirit’s Work”

Before the typical sermon time, this is what happened in worship:

1 Corinthians 12 from The Message was read.

Introduction of the Spiritual Strengths Finder

We often think of the Holy Spirit as swooshing in to change hearts and minds-- and I've experienced that spirit. But what we often don't think about is that the nuts and bolts of the spirits' work is already within us. The spirit gave us spiritual gifts as part of who we are-- and when we become mature Christians, we can use them fully for the work the spirit has for us now. These gifts have been a part of us since we were born— and they are maturing in is as we rely on Christ and the Holy Spirit to bring them out in us.

"The Spirit is on the Loose!" By Pastor Leah Rosso

Many years ago now, my husband's parents lived in South Korea. Todd and I decided to go visit them for a summer and one of my goals was to go to the United Methodist Church in Seoul-- a church of more than ten thousand people. About halfway through the summer we figured out how to get there and showed up on the doorstep of this enormous auditorium. I had expected to go and not understand much, but instead we were whisked away to the foreigner section, where they had headphones at the ready. We sat down, put on our headphones, and had our choice of listening to the service in Spanish, German, French, English, Chinese, Japanese, and several more. As I sat that day, participating in worship and watching as thousands of people spoke all different languages in prayer and song and responsive readings, it just felt right to have all kinds of people from all over the world, each hearing God's Word in our own native language.