Notes from the pastor

Notes from the pastor

 
 
 
Author:  Pastor Ross Carter (September 21, 2017)
 
He lay in bed one night thinking of how off-track his life had gotten.  She sat at the stoplight one day and wondered why she didn’t feel as close to God as she used to feel.  It happens that they are both lifelong Christians; but over time they have drifted from God.  How did it happen?  Well, they could blame it on the...(more)
 
 
 
Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (September 7, 2017)

You know the story.  Peter, called out by a water-walking Jesus, finds himself in real danger on the storm-churned waters of the Galilean Sea and needs the rescuing hand of Christ. Water of the sort Matthew describes always represents chaos in the Bible’s language, but it is also understood as a kind of womb for new life...(more)

 
 
Author:  Pastor Ross Carter (August 15, 2017)
 
In the wake of the activities like those that took place this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, we may tend to struggle for handles on the situation.  I don’t think I need to insult your intelligence by telling you that what took place was wrong.  You already know that.  Hate in any form is shameful; and...(more)

 

DISCIPLESHIP: A LIFELONG PILGRIMAGE

Author:  Pastor Ross Carter (August 10, 2017)

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.  And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.  So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.  Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear...(more)  

 

LIVE HIM

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (June 8, 2017)

In Colossians, Paul argues, “Live in Christ Jesus the Lord in the same way as you received him. Be rooted and built up in him, be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught.” Or, to use The Message’s paraphrase, “Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him.” Live him. What a brilliant understanding...(more)

 

Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (May 4, 2017)

Two of the hardest days in the life of a United Methodist minister’s family, is the day they first arrive and the day they leave to move to a new appointment.  What makes this year’s move so unique is that I will not be taking a new appointment but will instead enter retirement.  Diana and I will begin a new and very different adventure...(more)

 

ROLLED STONES

Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (April 20, 2017)

According to Greek mythology, there is a figure named Sisyphus, a man who was doomed by the god Zeus forever to roll a large stone up a hill in Hades.  Just before the stone reached the top, it would roll backwards, against every effort of Sisyphus.  Forever straining at pushing this mighty stone, Sisyphus would spend eternity...(more)

 

FORESAKENNESS AND THE CROSS

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (April 6, 2017)

“From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.  And about three o’clock, Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”  Of the words Jesus voices from the cross, this question from Matthew’s Gospel shatters our illusions that Jesus can save us by any other way... (more)

 

MEMBERSHIP HAS ITS PRIVILEGES

Author: Pastor Ray Wittman  (March 23, 2017)

Membership has its privileges when you join a local gym or golf club, or you buy season tickets for your favorite basketball team, Duke, State or Carolina, but not in the local church.  People sometimes get a little confused when they join the local church.  They think now that they are members, they should get special perks like...(more)

 

BOATLOADS OF SHAME

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (March 9, 2017)

One of my favorite songs by The Avett Brothers is “Shame.”  The chorus goes something like this:  “Shame, boatloads of shame / Day after day, more of the same. / Blame, please lift it off / Please take it off, please make it stop.” When I listen to this song, it calls to my mind the impact that shame has on people and relationships...(more)
 

A QUIET TRUST

Author: Pastor Ray Wittman  (February 23, 2017)

As we make our journey through Lent to Easter, I am reminded of an expression my father used when I was growing up.  Whenever he could see that I was discouraged, or when I confided in him that I was losing hope, my dad would ask, “Where is your faith?”  Now, if this came from anyone other than my father...(more)

 

BELOVED-NESS

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (January 12, 2017)

Baptism marks our entrance into this shared life of grace, love, and service to others we call the Church.  In baptism, we recognize the gracious action of God to seek us out when we’re lost in ourselves, trapped in the dark of trying to figure out who we are.  The sacrament of water and Spirit reminds us who and whose we are... (more)  

 

HOLY WAITING

Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (December 6, 2016)

Waiting has never been one of my strong suits.  Even as a child I had a hard time waiting for Christmas.  Learning that Advent was a season of holy waiting in preparation for the coming of Jesus didn’t at first make it any easier.  But now that I have grown older, and hopefully wiser, I have discovered the importance of lingering...(more)

 

WHAT NOW?

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (November 17, 2016)

The opening of most of Paul’s letters provides these wonderful portraits of life in the earliest Christian communities.  With the exception of Galatians, Paul always includes a celebratory account of the good work that was taking place in these early church communities.  Almost always, there is brief mention... (more)

 

EXTENDING THE TABLE

Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (November 3, 2016)

The season of Thanksgiving is upon us and soon Advent and Christmas will follow.  Although our culture may undervalue Thanksgiving as compared to Halloween and Christmas, nevertheless for many of us it still remains one of the wonderful highlights of the year.  For me it has come to signify... (more)

 

REAL DISCIPLESHIP

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (October 9, 2016)

Discipleship doesn’t mean following an idea about Jesus or a set of moral values.  Neither is it another activity to add to our already-busy lives.  Discipleship means following Jesus on a lifelong journey of transformation, in which our lives increasingly take on the shape of Jesus’s life...(more)

 

EARNING TO GIVE

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (October 9, 2016)

In the opening decades of the twentieth century, my Great-Grandpa Tilley was a businessman, and a well-to-do one at that. He and his brothers had made their bones as butchers, owning the corner market on Front Street in downtown Wilmington. Life was good for my great-grandparents and their seven...(more)

 

A VICTIM OF OUR OWN SUCCESS

Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (October 6, 2016)

 John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, observed that the Methodist people had become prosperous as a result of their discipline, frugality, and diligence.  Although this was not a bad thing, he saw the potential that one day such wealth would lead us to become “a dead sect, having the form of religion...(more)

 

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (September 22, 2016)

We hear this one word, and immediately our minds jump to capital campaigns, managing our finances, and the discipline of tithing.  Indeed, there are few things in the church that people fear more than conversation and preaching that concerns “stewardship.”  
I get it.  The word and the idea seem to conceal an agenda bent on getting ...(more)

 

 

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (August 4, 2016)

Normally, we hear Jesus’s words in John 14 read and preached at funerals because it strikes us first as a future promise.  However, I’ve come to read this passage also as the triune God’s gracious promise of love for us in the present. Jesus tells his disciples to trust in God because the Father’s household...(more)

 

 

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (July 7, 2016)

Your generosity and deep love have lifted us in the weeks since my mother’s sudden and unexpected death.  The overwhelming grief we feel has been softened by calls, texts, emails, gifts, food, and visits, the kind of hospitality that shows us the face of Christ.  It is impossible for us to express our gratitude...(more)

 

 

I BELIEVE...

Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (May 26, 2016)

 From the earliest time I can remember, we as a family have stood on cue in worship to recite the Apostles’ Creed.  “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.”  In the churches I attended, it was always done in unison, thoughtlessly by some, or with some intensity by others.  I witnessed the most bold and exhilarating confession...(more)

 

BRIEF THOUGHTS ON CONFLICT

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (May 12, 2016)

We often use Jesus’s statement in Matthew 18 as his promise to be present whenever only a few of us (two or three) can gather and agree on something, I guess to help us feel better if the sanctuary is empty on Sunday morning, or if folks don’t take discipleship seriously enough.  It’s an affirming understanding: Jesus will use whoever makes...(more)

       

SABBATICAL

 
Author: Pastor Ray Wittman ( April 28, 2016)
 
By now some of you are aware that I will be taking a short Sabbatical/Study leave this summer following Annual Conference.  I want to take this opportunity to explain what this means and why this is important to me.
Ministry is very challenging and very time consuming, and often stressful...(more

 

FAITH AS PARTICIPATION

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (April 14, 2016)

What interesting words from Paul! Here in the middle of Galatians, Paul lays down the core of his message: we are liberated by the grace of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ to participate in his resurrection life. Notice the italicized phrase. Many scholars over the years have pointed out that...(more)

 

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (March 31, 2016)

The Christian philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life must be lived forward but can only be understood backwards.”  These words ring true especially for those of us who have journeyed beyond the midpoint of life.  At some point you are suddenly made aware that you have been sold a short bill of goods...(more)

 

CROWDS, POLITICS, AND JESUS

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (March 17, 2016)

In this season of elections, partisan politics, and outright vitriol, the story of Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem speaks into our moment. Men and women rise and fall based on whether or not they win the admiration of the public. Some such figures, enamored by the attention, become .... (more)

 

EASTER PANIC!!!

Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (March 3, 2016)

It never ceases to amaze me at how candid the scriptures are when it comes to the telling of the resurrection story.  Whereas the Christmas story seems rehearsed and fine tuned for its theological purpose, the resurrection narratives are what you come to expect when something just happens out of the... (more

 

WHY LENT?

Author: Pastor Patrick Murphy (Februatry 18, 2016)

The Lent and Easter cycle is a revelation of God’s desire to use all of life for our wholeness and our healing. Lent points us to the revelation that God will pull life from death through the life of the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.

So why Lent? What makes it so important for our life together? (More)

 

TURNING TOWARD THE CROSS

Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (February 4, 2016)

Now and again, something happens in your life that becomes a defining moment.  It can result from a simple drive to the grocery store.  A child darts out in front of you and you don’t react in time.  It can be a chance encounter with a stranger who becomes a friend.  It can happen in the most unlikely places.  Regardless, your life...(more)

 

SUFFERING

Author: Pastor Ray Wittman (January 21, 2016)

With the season of Lent approaching it is difficult to avoid contemplating the meaning of human suffering.  Biblical texts, such as that from the prophet Isaiah, remind us that suffering is part of human life.  Try as we may to deny its reality, there is always some tragedy that reminds us that this world is not perfect, and we are not...(more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Published: September 20, 2017 2:54 PM
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