Jim McDonald's blog

Love Our Neighbor

As Valentine's Day approaches we are inundated with visions of love. While this love tends to focus on one special someone, we can also take the opportunity to reflect on all those we love in our life, to make sure that we remember how important our interpersonal relationships are. To remember to Love Our Neighbor.

What makes for a blessed life?

This Sunday, and for the next several Sundays, we will be taking a fresh look at the powerful words of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew, chapters 5, 6, and 7. These well-known teachings have comforted and perplexed, humbled and empowered people for centuries - and they still do. They are glimpses of what it is like to live in the Light of the Kingdom of God here and now.

We'll start off with the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-10, and see how those surprising words about what makes for a "blessed life" turn our world's assumptions upside-down.

Points of revelation

Earlier this week, college football completed its season with a surprising finish in the final minutes. Sometimes in life, things do take us by surprise. John the Baptist was surprised that Jesus asked him to baptize him. After all, this was Jesus. But why would Jesus need to be baptized? What does it mean that God got wet with mud between his toes and fully put on our humanity? What does it mean that Jesus got immersed in the river and we get immersed in Jesus? Together in worship this Sunday we will think together through some of these ideas.

Happy New Year!

What a glorious sight it was to see so many at church on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas morning to celebrate together the birth of Jesus Christ.

As we finish up this week of celebration and vacation, we turn our sights to the Epiphany, which marks a visit to the baby Jesus by The Magi also known as the Three Kings or Three Wise Men. In my sermon this Sunday, I will use words from three different scriptures to highlight three kinds of Kings we find in the Bible.

I hope you will join us on Sunday morning to ring in the Epiphany and the New Year.

A new twist on an old story

This week has brought us a burst of winter with freezing temperatures and snow, snow, snow. Next week may bring us more of the same, but it also brings us Christmas, the celebration of the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. In worship this Sunday, I will focus on the Christmas story from Luke 2:1-7. I will tie it into the ways we find God's glory active in today's world. So while Sunday promises to be a chilly day, we hope that the fellowship of worship and our warm welcoming sanctuary filled with beloved Christmas carols will entice you to come hear a new twist on an old story.

An Ordinary Christmas

In these weeks before Christmas, we find ourselves hauling out our ornaments and decorations, which spend so much of the year stuffed away in boxes, now ready to transform our homes for the holiday season. We  find city streets filled with holiday lights, wreaths and Christmas trees turning ordinary streetscapes into festive boulevards. Everyone puts out their finest spread because, after all, the Christmas story is extraordinary and we want to be prepared to receive it.

To Live Tomorrow Today

Our week has been filled with expressing our gratitude; for our family, our friends, our faith. As we all are recovering from what was hopefully a blessed Thanksgiving Day, we begin to turn our thoughts to the season of Advent, which begins this Sunday. Advent is the season not only of preparing for Jesus' birth, but for the time when Christ will come again.

Thanksgiving Reflection

"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."

President John F. Kennedy, Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, November 5, 1963

The Beauty in Hymn Singing with Alice Parker

One of the many joys we had this week was the pleasure of watching our preschool students parade through the office dressed in their finest Halloween costumes. It is always a "treat" to see the excitement in their eyes.

Treasures and Your Life

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure to walk alongside 90 of fellow DGFUMCers in the annual South DuPage CROP Hunger Walk. We were there to support hunger-fighting efforts around the world and in our own backyard and also, let's face it, to see John Smoke wear a Chicago Bears jersey. Worth every step!

The CROP Walk is just one of the many ministries that our church supports in ways both big and small. These ministries could not be done without the giving of your time and gifts.

"Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."  (Luke 12:34)

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