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Pastor Matt Riley                 pastormattpriley@yahoo.com             Union Sunday Worship 10:30am


SUNDAY'S BEGINNING February 2             9am Gray Summit — 10:30am Union


Over two hundred years ago, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, created three rules for money. In the late 1700s, an elderly John Wesley visited Methodists across Great Britain. Wesley had spent the past forty years of his life encouraging people to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. The Methodist movement was numerically strong and growing in influence. Wesley wanted to see the fruits of his labor.

In this country, the American Revolution was over. Wesley had just established the first Methodist denomination in the United States. The Methodists in America were growing rapidly. After investing his whole life in creating people called Methodists, however, Wesley returned from his preaching tour discouraged. Wesley wrote, “I am not afraid that Methodists should ever cease to exist. . . But I am afraid, lest the Methodists should only exist as a dead denomination, having the form of religion without the power.”5 Wesley saw cracks in his Methodist movement. Wesley had sown seeds that had he then realized had the potential to destroy the Methodists.

What had happened? Wesley had promoted serious Christian discipleship. The Methodists gathered weekly for Bible study and service. Men and women gave up drinking, gambling, and wasteful living. The Methodists worked hard. They lived simple lives. They saved their money. As a result, their holy living increased bank their accounts! Historically, the Methodists became shopkeepers and small business owners and thus the foundation of the English and American middle class.

Unfortunately, Wesley observed: “Wherever riches have increased . . . the mind that was in Christ has decreased. . . . For religion must necessarily produce both industry and frugality, and industry and frugality cannot but produce riches. But as riches increase, so will pride, anger, and love of the world.”6 The Methodist movement would fail if Methodists forgot how to use their money properly. In response, Wesley created three rules for the use of money. Wesley’s three rules are the foundation of our next worship series. Join us in February as we take a look at Wesley’s 3 rules and how we as a Worshipping Community can put them in to practice. (Adapted from Money $ense)

February 2: WEEK 1 “EARN”
Ecclesiastes 3:9-14
February 9: WEEK 2 “SAVE”
Genesis 41:46-49
February 16: WEEK 3 “GIVE”
Luke 12:13-34


Rehab is a word that can refer to many different things. Just a quick glance through the Wikipedia article on rehabilitation, or “rehab,” points to issues ranging from health (cognitive rehab, wildlife rehab, drug rehab, occupational rehab, physical rehab, psychiatric rehab, vision rehab, vocational rehab) to politics (restoration of disgraced politicians) to home improvement (Rehab Addict!). In general, the word rehabilitate means to restore to a condition of good health, ability to work; to restore to good condition or operation; or to restore a person’s reputation. Similarly, the annual observance of the Lenten discipline among Christians is a time to seek restoration for our lives. It is a time to reflect, take stock of our spiritual condition, and realign our lives. Our method for taking stock is the baptismal covenant as our reference point and making good use of the means of grace as our method. We enter the season through the Ash Wednesday call “in the name of the church, to observe a holy Lent: by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s Holy Word”

On each Sunday of this journey, the Scriptures provide the core guidance for the work of the week to come in our own lives and with others in midweek formation groups. We begin on Ash Wednesday by recognizing the limits placed on us by our mortality and the depths of our sinfulness. On Lent 1, we acknowledge we are entering a wilderness, uncharted and perhaps unchartable territory for us. On Lent 2, we become aware of the degree to which we need intervention and help beyond ourselves, and we identify how we can access it and start doing so. On Lent 3, we encounter the specifics of the kind of program that can keep us moving forward and learning this new normal, if we stick with it. On Lent 4, we address the sense of progress (and lack of progress) that comes with beginning to make some recovery. And on Lent 5, we remember with gratitude and hope the promise of healing and wholeness that awaits us as we continue to persevere, even in the face of challenging circumstances.

It is with that sense of gratitude and hope of a journey well-begun that we enter Holy Week. All of what has come before has prepared us to walk through this final leg of the journey with Christ and his church, through his suffering, execution, death, burial… and finally, after all of that, his resurrection.

February 26: WEEK 1 Ash Wednesday 5:30pm “Mortality”
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17, Psalm 51:1-17, 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

March 1: WEEK 2 “Wilderness”
Mark 1:9-15

March 8: WEEK 3 “Intervention”
Mark 8:31-38

March 15: WEEK 4 “Program”
Exodus 20:1-17

March 22: WEEK 5 “Recovery”
John 3:14-18

March 29: WEEK 5 “Promise”
Jeremiah 31:31-34
This page updated Feberuary 4, 2020
Questions, comments, submissions jma64658@hotmail.com