Jim McDonald's blog

Power and Lent

This Sunday, our scripture will be John 10:17-18, and I will be using that passage to focus on how power relates to Lent, and how Jesus changes our human propensity to grab for power.

I will mention some of the "church despisers" over the years, like Marx, Freud, Michel Foucault, and Nietzsche as those who laid bare much of our contemporary understanding of Atheism. Then I will share what has come to be my view of the Cross.

It's supposed to be in the 50's this Sunday! -- but like all things Illinois, we will have to wait and see.

A Parable and Lent

This week I will be discussing the Parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14:15-24). This was one of my most difficult sermons, but I thought about this passage recently.  I will relate how the story of the man who had to widen the circle of those invited to his banquet might pertain to Jesus' final days.

The Foundation for Peace

So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father.
- Ephesians 2:17-18

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Table

"On that day let us gather in sanctuaries dedicated to worship and in homes blessed by family affection to express our gratitude for the glorious gifts of God; and let us earnestly and humbly pray that He will continue to guide and sustain us in the great unfinished tasks of achieving peace, justice, and understanding among all men and nations and of ending misery and suffering wherever they exist."

The One at the Center

This Sunday, we will be honoring members and loved ones of our congregation who have died during the past year, and who in many ways, were a window to God's creative love - whether in the ways they served the church or loved your families into being.  We know and give thanks that they are all now safe with God.

When We Transform "All" into an “Alleluia”

We have a wonderful service of joyous music planned for this Sunday morning at our Together @ 10 - 10:00 a.m. service. Seven choirs, including our four children's choirs, our youth choir, our adult choir and our bell choir, will lead us in worship as we celebrate Choir Dedication Sunday. The scripture this Sunday will be Psalm 150 and I will preach on the threefold office of Jesus Christ as described in the Old Testament and more fully developed by John Calvin. I will relate the ideas of Jesus as a prophet, priest, and king to the arts and particularly singing.

To Delight in the Child

When we begin life's journey, we ask or wonder about two questions.

The first is "who am I?" This question also gets raised at others times in the afternoon and evening of our lives, but here at the beginning, we wonder if we are wanted here in this place. Is this a safe place for me to flourish, to pay attention to my gifts?

Let up without letting go

This month Mother Nature let fly many arrows from her quiver. From multiple hurricanes, to the recent earthquake in Mexico, to the record heat in our own backyard, we continue to be reminded that life can often be unpredictable and messy.

The Evening Time of Our Lives

This month we have watched in sometimes shock and sometimes awe at how nature can inspire both fear and wonder in us. We continue to send our thoughts and prayers to those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Due to the overwhelming response to the UMCOR donation challenge, the Mission, Justice and Community work area is once again offering a matching grant challenge of up to $2,500 for donations to disaster relief through UMCOR made starting this Sunday through the end of September. Thank you for your support of this important ministry.

Dancing with the Saints

This past week we all watched with dismay and sorrow the devastation created by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey as it hit Texas and moved across the state to Louisiana. The images of homes and towns completely covered in water were almost overwhelming. Yet among those pictures we also saw those of neighbors helping neighbors, of first responders carrying victims to safety and of strangers reaching out to save others.


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