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Middletown United Methodist Church
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
Category: Religion & Spirituality
Location: Louisville, KY
Middletown United Methodist Church Podcast
by Middletown ...
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July 16, 2020 09:25 AM PDT

Bold. How many Christians embrace this word? What does it mean to be a bold witness for Christ?

Often, the term bold, used in relation to Christian witness, generates images of brash, obnoxious people, trying to strong-arm others into believing the Christian faith. In this week’s passage, Peter demonstrates a Holy Spirit-produced boldness to preach, teach, and heal in the name and authority of Jesus Christ. How does his boldness compare with our notions of being a bold witness?

The United Methodist Church pioneered a Holy Boldness ministry to engage in urban evangelism, eradicate racism and other forms of oppression, and forge interfaith and community relations for the generate economic development.

June 16, 2020 08:47 AM PDT

Today’s passage features two essentials of Christianity: repentance and social responsibility. Repentance is the prerequisite for personal salvation: remorse over sin and sincere faith toward Jesus Christ. Social responsibility demonstrates our compassionate love for God (and creation) and neighbors. A prickly tension sometimes arises over the latter.

The culture surrounding the early church was communal, ours is not. The American rugged individual persona, endemic in our culture, may hinder our ability to remember the communal benevolence practiced by the early Christian church.

Could it be that the purpose of repentance is to redirect our view from self-centered navel-gazing to compassionate consideration of others? Take time to explore the implications of repentance and social responsibility for both the first-century and twenty-first-century church.

June 09, 2020 07:47 AM PDT

The Holy Spirit enables people to speak and hear in other languages. This week, we witness another miracle: evidence of the transformation of Peter from cowering denier of Christ to courageous proclaimer of the risen Lord. Peter’s proclamation comes in response to mockers in Acts 2:13. They said, “They are filled with new wine,” a comment about those enabled to speak in other languages by the Holy Spirit. Peter’s counter to their comment (prophecy from Joel 2:28-32) underscores the Pentecost experience as the inaugural event of Israel’s “last days.” During these last days, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

June 01, 2020 07:35 AM PDT

Jesus dominated the four Gospel accounts, but the Holy Spirit dominates the book of Acts. Luke’s second book (Acts) begins with Jesus’ reminder of his pre-Resurrection promise to send his followers the Holy Spirit.This is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now (Acts 1:4b-5).

In the second chapter of Acts we find the arrival of the Holy Spirit promised by the Resurrected Jesus in Acts 1:4-5. God pours the Holy Spirit on a community of believers. The Holy Spirit is not given to be co-opted for one’s personal, privatized use. Instead, God gives the Spirit as a distinguishing mark of a people who belong to God, people who will be sent to bear witness to Christ throughout the world.

We are reminded by this passage the ways that the Spirit cannot be contained and cannot be shut up in homes for our personal private devotional life. The life of the Spirit always leads us outward. We are also reminded that the Spirit is working even we can’t imagine or understand. It is easy to focus our faith life on God the Father and God the Son, but the Spirit messes with our conceptions. We can’t pin the Spirit down, instead, she runs out ahead of us, always leading as we play catch up. We may be socially distancing, but that doesn’t stop the working of the Spirit in our lives.

Some scholars note the church’s tendency toward bitarianism, worshiping God the Father and God the Son, while regarding the Holy Spirit as a marginal member of the Holy Trinity. Think of the ease with which we utter the Lord’s Prayer that begins its focus on the first person in the godhead: “Our Father.” We frequently punctuate our prayers with the second person in the godhead: “In the name of Jesus.” But how much prayer time, meditation, and Bible study do we devote to the third person in the godhead: the Holy Spirit? If our tendency is to keep the Holy Spirit cloistered in the smallest spaces of our devotional lives, only allowed to make public appearances once a year during Pentecost, then we are ignoring the tremendous promise of comfort, guidance, and empowerment Jesus offers us.

June 01, 2020 07:35 AM PDT

Jesus dominated the four Gospel accounts, but the Holy Spirit dominates the book of Acts. Luke’s second book (Acts) begins with Jesus’ reminder of his pre-Resurrection promise to send his followers the Holy Spirit.This is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now (Acts 1:4b-5).

In the second chapter of Acts we find the arrival of the Holy Spirit promised by the Resurrected Jesus in Acts 1:4-5. God pours the Holy Spirit on a community of believers. The Holy Spirit is not given to be co-opted for one’s personal, privatized use. Instead, God gives the Spirit as a distinguishing mark of a people who belong to God, people who will be sent to bear witness to Christ throughout the world.

We are reminded by this passage the ways that the Spirit cannot be contained and cannot be shut up in homes for our personal private devotional life. The life of the Spirit always leads us outward. We are also reminded that the Spirit is working even we can’t imagine or understand. It is easy to focus our faith life on God the Father and God the Son, but the Spirit messes with our conceptions. We can’t pin the Spirit down, instead, she runs out ahead of us, always leading as we play catch up. We may be socially distancing, but that doesn’t stop the working of the Spirit in our lives.

Some scholars note the church’s tendency toward bitarianism, worshiping God the Father and God the Son, while regarding the Holy Spirit as a marginal member of the Holy Trinity. Think of the ease with which we utter the Lord’s Prayer that begins its focus on the first person in the godhead: “Our Father.” We frequently punctuate our prayers with the second person in the godhead: “In the name of Jesus.” But how much prayer time, meditation, and Bible study do we devote to the third person in the godhead: the Holy Spirit? If our tendency is to keep the Holy Spirit cloistered in the smallest spaces of our devotional lives, only allowed to make public appearances once a year during Pentecost, then we are ignoring the tremendous promise of comfort, guidance, and empowerment Jesus offers us.

May 26, 2020 09:15 AM PDT

This Sunday, Senior Pastor, Gary Gibson, delivered a sermon based around the scripture of Matthew 4:18-22. This was the time that Jesus called his first disciples.

"18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him."

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