Sep 26, 2014

The Evangelism Principle or How to Promote Your Own Church

I hope, that like you, I try to do my best to invite people to our church and its worship. When I run into folks who are new to the area or those that I know do not have a church home, I always invite them to be a part of the FUMC of Arlington. We have so much to offer people of every age and stage of life. It is for this reason that I believe the sermon series Unbinding Your Heart is so important to our work here together.

Please remember that we have a wonderful church. We do so much for so many in this community, that it is really staggering. We, through our children’s ministry and our ECYC preschool, influence so many people. We visit and pray for more shut-ins than any United Methodist Church I have ever known. Our record in community activities that benefit children, such as H.O.P.E. tutoring or our back to school clinic and the Arlington Reads program, is well recognized. We are in the process of beginning another Habitat House build and the list goes on and on and on.

Yet, what is really surprising is that we are tentative about inviting people to Sunday school and worship. I would ask all of us who are active at FUMC of Arlington to take some time and not only invite people to worship, but also be in prayer for those persons among us who are trying to find a church family. We should at least show them the courtesy and hospitality of letting them know us before they decide.

Our congregation has so much to offer so many, it would be a shame to keep our light under a bushel basket. If we don’t invite others to be a part of us then we miss an opportunity to know others and let them get to know us. It is not difficult. All it takes is some attention and the confidence that we are doing our best to help connect people to God. Let’s work together to advance the gospel through our ministries.

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Sep 19, 2014

Is it Worth the Climb?

Several years ago, one of my pastor friends lost a church member who had fallen off the side of a rockface. Earlier the same month at least a dozen people lost their lives during a helicopter crash as it tried to rescue climbers from K2, a mountain in the Himalayas, after an ice slide. Why would people take such risks and climb in such dangerous places? I think only those who dare to do what these folks attempted can answer such questions. “Unbinding our hearts” may be one way to share the excitement of the life of faith.

Several years ago, on some cable television station or another, I saw a program about the climbing of Mount Everest. However fanatical we might think such adventurers are, they still try to conquer the mountain. What struck me most was that the expeditions had a lot in common with the building of God’s realm through the ministries of the church. Leaders make mistakes and the followers get both tired and discouraged. The result, however, is worth the price—at least to those who are passionately faithful. May we enjoy the blessed journey together!

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Go Serve

Sep 12, 2014

It Is Well With My Soul

I have heard the hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul,” (UM Hymnal, # 377) many times in my ministry, but I never knew the moving story behind the song until recently.

When the great Chicago fire struck in 1871, Horatio Spafford, an attorney heavily invested in real estate, lost a fortune. About the same time his only son, age four, died of scarlet fever. Spafford drowned his grief in work, pouring himself into rebuilding the city and assisting the 100,000 who had been left homeless.

In 1873 he decided to take his wife and four daughters to Europe. When an urgent matter detained him in New York, he sent his wife, Anna, and four daughters on ahead. He saw them settled into a cabin aboard the luxurious French liner, Ville du Havre (the name of the hymn tune), and promised to see them soon.

During the dark hours of 22 November 1873, as the Ville du Havre glided over smooth seas, the passengers were jolted from their bunks. The ship had collided with an iron sailing vessel, and water poured into the ship and the Ville du Havre tilted perilously. Passengers clung to posts, tumbled through darkness, and were swept away in power currents of icy ocean. Within two hours, the mighty ship vanished beneath the waters.

The 226 fatalities included the four Spafford girls—Maggie, Tanneta, Annie, and Bessie. Mrs. Spafford was found nearly unconscious, clinging to a piece of the wreckage. When the 47 survivors landed in Cardiff Wales, she cabled her husband: “Saved Alone.”

Horatio immediately booked passage to join his wife. En route, on a cold December night, the captain called him aside and said, “I believe we are now passing over the place where the Ville du Havre went down.” Spafford went to his cabin but found it impossible to sleep. He said to himself, “It is well; the will of God be done.” He later wrote his well-known hymn based on those words.

“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.’ And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll; the trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, even so, it is well with my soul.”

Thank goodness, not many will know the depth of sorrow experienced by Horatio Spafford. It is difficult to imagine the pain that comes with the loss of a child, much less the loss of five children. But, we all have losses to bear in life. Many of those losses are painful beyond description at the moment they occur.

Where do we turn and how can we come to terms with a terrible loss and still keep sanity and soul unbroken? There is a sense in which each person must find her or his own way through the darkness. Obvious prescriptions from those who have not been there are not usually helpful. But to know someone has been there and managed to keep soul and sanity intact is helpful and hopeful.

So, where are we on the way to being able to say: “It is well with my soul?”

Perhaps we need never have to find out.

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Go Serve

Sep 5, 2014

Tired of Television? How About a Good Book?

One of the best-kept secrets in Arlington, Texas, is the two fine libraries FUMC of Arlington. Don’t miss your opportunity to explore two of the best church libraries in the state of Texas—one for children and the other for adults. We as a congregation should be proud of our dedicated church library staff. They not only order first-rate books for us to read, but also keep these first-rate books in good order.

Whether or not you are a Sunday school teacher trying to prepare a lesson, a child who loves to have parents read to her or him, or simply a person who has a curious streak, our church libraries have
something to offer everyone. Come in and browse or even check out a few good books for the “back to school days” of September. For all of us, I say, to our great and dedicated librarians “Thank you!” And know that during our Unbinding Your Heart sermon series you may find some things to augment our church-wide study!

Sincerely, your friend,

David N. Mosser

P. S. Remember the celebrated words of Mark Twain: “The man [person] who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man [one] who can’t read them.”

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