“Why Do We Do Communion?” Sermon by Pastor Tanya Linn Bennett (October 1, 2017)

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Why Do We Do Communion? – Sermon by Pastor Tanya Linn Bennett (October 1, 2017)

For World Communion Sunday, special circuit elder and guest speaker Rev. Dr. Tanya Linn Bennett gave a message asking the question “Why Do We Do Communion?” Dr. Bennett explores the history, diversity, and inclusive power of the sacrament known as Holy Communion.

“Why Do We Go To Church Every Week?” Why Do We Do That Pt. 5 (September 24, 2017)

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“Why Do We Go To Church Every Week?” Why Do We Do That Pt. 5 (September 24, 2017)

Why do we come to church? You go to school to get an education so you can make a living. You go to work to make money so you can pay the bills. You go to the gym for exercise and better health and possible to loose weight. You go to the mall to shop for clothes and the grocery store to buy food. You go to the lake to fish and ski, the ball game to cheer on your favorite team, and golf course for fun.

But church? Why go to there? Why get up early on one of your few off-days? Why go through the hassle of dressing up and the getting the kids ready? Why go to the trouble of finding a parking space around downtown South River? Why go to church?

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering about that little question, you’re not alone. Surveys tell us that as many as 79% of Americans identify themselves as Christians, yet only 20% of Americans attend church regularly. I guess some people look at going to church as a bother — an unnecessary burden to be avoided whenever possible — a perfectly good hour wasted in order to keep a wife or a preacher or a parent off their backs. Others see it as sort of like punching a spiritual clock or earning brownie points with their Maker.

When speaking to the millennial generation, many would consider themselves “spiritual but not religious.” There is an animosity towards the institutional church, and this idea that one can experience spirituality alone in the confines of their home better than in public with other people and distractions.

But to someone who understands church and what it’s really all about, going to church can be the most spiritually fulfilling, inspiring thing you do all week.
Specifically, the one point I want to drive home today is THIS:
Attending Sunday Worship is admitting the fact that you cannot walk in your faith journey alone.
1. Singing together aligns our vibrations and knits our hearts together
2. Powerful uplifting words can be spoken over you and over me
3. Generosity can be practiced and tested
4. Corporate Prayer reminds us to breathe: to exhale the troubles in our hearts and breathe in the same God.

There is something immensely prideful and self-centered when one says: “I can do this all by myself.”

You cannot walk in your faith journey alone.
1. The church gives you community.
2. The church gives you strength.
3. The church points you true rest.

Exodus 20:8-11 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
8 Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 10 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.

Acts 2:41-47 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Life among the Believers
43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds[a] to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home[b] and ate their food with glad and generous[c] hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

“Why Do We Pray?” Why Do We Do That Pt. 4 (September 17, 2017)

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Why Do We Pray? | Why Do We Do That Pt. 4 (September 17, 2017)

From around 60 to 62 AD, the Apostle Paul was under house arrest in Rome awaiting trial with the very real possibility of execution looming over him. Surely, he had the right to be anxious. It was under these circumstances that Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, and in the fourth chapter, Paul provides the only true and ultimate solution to the suffocating power of anxiety.

And that is prayer.

Now you might say: “Okay, Pastor James, I’m glad you found the solution to my anxiety, but your answer is giving me an anxiety attack because I don’t know how to pray!” Well, you Paul had you covered almost 2000 years ago – because our Philippians passage today helps see that PRAYER IS BREATHING.

Philippians 4:6-8 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

“Why Do We Give Tithes and Offerings?” Why Do We Do That Pt. 3 (September 10, 2017)

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Why Do We Give Tithes and Offerings? | Why Do We Do That Pt. 3 (September 10, 2017)

Why is giving tithes and offering so important, and why does it have to happen during a worship service? What is held in the power of giving that provides an experience that otherwise can’t be experienced in worship? Pastor James Lee of Conklin United Methodist Church continues the message series “Why Do We Do That?” in this sermon given on September 10, 2017. During this series, we will revisit why we do “this or that,” to deepen our experience of the full worship service.

We read from 2 Corinthians, where Paul was writing to the church in Corinth and taking up an offering for the Christian church in Jerusalem. Chapter 9 and chapter 8 before it are one of the most extensive passages on giving one can find in the Bible. Specifically, we learn that:

Tithing and generous giving…
1. … honors God.
2. … empowers the church.
3. … matures your faith.

2 Corinthians 9:6-15 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
6 The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 9 As it is written,
“He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness[a] endures forever.”
10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.[b] 11 You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12 for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. 13 Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

“Why Do We Listen to Sermons?” Why Do We Do That Pt. 2 (September 3, 2017)

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Why Do We Listen to Sermons? | Why Do We Do That Pt. 2 (September 3, 2017)

Why do we preach sermons in worship? Why is it an essential part of our worship? Why is it so important that we open up the Bible and someone talks for a couple minutes – in some churches hours – each Sunday? What is in the act of preaching and listening to sermons that we cannot get in any other act of worship? What is it about the SPOKEN WORD, what is IN the SPOKEN WORD that we cannot find in other acts of worship? Pastor James explores scientific and scriptural evidence to argue the following:
WORDS ARE POWERFUL. Specifically,
1. Words have the power to change
2. Words have the power to make things real
3. Words have the power to carry grace

Genesis 1:1-3 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

1 In the beginning when God created[a] the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God[b] swept over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Romans 10:8-9 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
8 But what does it say?
“The word is near you,
on your lips and in your heart”
(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);
9 because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

“Why Do We Sing In Church?” Why Do We Do That Pt. 1 (August 27, 2017)

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Why Do We Sing In Church? | Why Do We Do That Pt. 1 (August 27, 2017)

The most holy ritual done week-after-week can become a mindless routine, and it’s easy to forget why we do what we do in worship. The singing, praying, and listening to sermons – what does all that mean? If a non-Christian were to walk into our service and ask us why we do one of these rituals, could we answer them? Pastor James Lee of Conklin United Methodist Church begins the message series “Why Do We Do That?” in this sermon given on August 27, 2017. During this series, we will revisit why we do “this or that,” to deepen our experience of the full worship service.

Why is singing hymns and songs of praise so important in a worship service? What is held in the power of music that provides an experience that otherwise can’t be experienced in worship?

Psalm 96:1-6 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
1 O sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples.
4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be revered above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Honor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Colossians 3:15-17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ[a] dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.[b] 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.