Unless you are brand new to First Methodist Mansfield, you have probably heard Pastor Caesar share one of the songs he learned as a child growing up at Mount Nebo Baptist Church. Caesar has been known to break out in song in the middle of doing a baptism, before leading a prayer or even in the middle of a sermon.
If you are new to this devotional resource, you may not know the reason why we call this First 15. I know the rhythm and routines of our lives are varied and unique. My wife Stephanie and I are morning people. Our 14 year old daughter loves the summer months when she can wake up just in time for lunch.
In June 1640, Nicolas Herman joined a monastery in Paris. He lived the rest of his life as a member of that religious community, where his main responsibilities included working in the kitchen and performing other menial tasks to support his fellow Monks.
Today we begin the First 15 readings associated with our Summer of Joy message series. I am grateful for the chance to give Pastor Tina a break in the month of June and to share these times of reflection with you. As we move into this new season, I want to challenge all of us to claim the joy that is available in Christ.
Often, we think of the church a group of individual Christians. As a church staff, we often talk about the ways we can encourage, disciple, teach, and equip the individuals in our church. Our hope is that each person in our church becomes a fully-devoted follower
This periscope, or section of scripture, is called “The Fellowship of the Believers.” ”Fellowship" is a word that we Christians use a lot, usually referring to a group of people gathering to socialize. But the word "fellowship" used in Acts 2 is the Greek word “koinonia.”
In most of his letters to the churches he mentored, Paul almost always used the plural form of the word you. In each of these writings, Paul was addressing a community or a group of believers. But, if we read the text without thoughtful consideration, we might not notice the plural “you.” We would most likely assume
We have an active and large group of retirement-age folks in our church. Some of them are longtime members of First Mansfield, and others are new to our congregation. But what they all have in common is their desire to keep on giving, serving and living life to the full. Many are mentors, teachers, or Bible Study leaders in our church. And most of them are still serving in some way. I love it!
Why does the term “accountability,” give us such angst? I think the thought of making oneself totally open, honest, and vulnerable with another person creates a deep fear in most of us. “What if they see the real me?” “What if they don’t like the real me?” It’s easier for people to put on their daily “mask” and avoid their true self.
We live in a country that allows us to worship, pray and learn about God any time we want to. We are fortunate to have this privilege. Many people have fought to help us get and keep that freedom. We celebrate Memorial Day to remember people who died fighting to protect our country and our freedom.
The church was the first institution in history to bring together Jews and Gentiles, men and women, slaves and free, all on equal ground. “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”
The few verses above are part of a larger text, a letter from Paul to the Thessalonians. Paul was a mentor to the Christians in Thessalonica, as he was to many, many converts to Christianity. He was one of the greatest evangelists in history, but he didn’t stop at conversion. Paul spent much of his time training and mentoring people, and writing letters of encouragement and instructions those whose he couldn’t be near.
Developmentally and behaviorally speaking, the goal of parenting is self-regulation. Sounds sort of clinical I know, but bear with me. When a child is born, they can do nothing for themselves. An adult must feed them, clothe them, nurture them, and keep them safe. Eventually, however, the child begins to learn to do all these things for themselves.
We are all adopted. None of us actually deserve the family we have received with God as our heavenly parent. Verse 5 above tells us, “In love God predestined us for adoption.” It was part of God’s plan all along because he loved us. It doesn’t really make sense to most of us. We feel unworthy of such a gift, but God chose us. God chose to make us part of the eternal family, and for that, I am grateful.
People are often expecting God to show up in some mystical, magical, way. And while sometimes God does appear in very mysterious ways, most of the time, God shows up through the actions and care of another human being. When we respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit