Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wedding Bells!

Congrats to Melissa and Quincy, who were married during their Sunday evening small group - to the surprise and delight of the group!

Military - Bridges to Healing pics

Thanks to Khris and her team for the fabulous hospitality and event planning, to dad and his team of presenters from the Military Ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, to everyone who attended. Prayers for new collaboration, connection, and ministry effectiveness!

Signs (4): Flesh and Blood

John 6:1-15, 25-40, 52-61

Yesterday, we hosted a wonderful seminar and training event for ministry with the military. It featured some wonderful food, including crab asparagus bisque, tomato bisque, and chicken and wild rice soup. One of the evaluation forms, at the question, “What was the best part of this event?” responded: LUNCH – all caps, underscored twice, with extra exclamation points. Khris, when she was told, joked, “It must have been a man.” Thanks once more to everyone who had a part in making it a great day.

A friend of mine says that whenever he eats, he is always thinking about his next meal. I suppose it ensures an enduring appetite, but it would certainly distract me from enjoying the one I was eating. On the other hand, one reason we say “Grace” at our meals is not simply to express thanks for what is before us but also to anticipate the final feast in the coming kingdom of our Lord.

Now, we’ve got a similar situation for Jesus. Five thousand men (for the purposes of the story, the women and children were not counted . . . so we have no idea how many the total was) were fed by Jesus. It was the best part of their day, and all they could do was think about their next meal: “You are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” (John 6.26).

John is a master at little details – the kind that we would otherwise overlook – at giving these little details theological and biblical weight. All four of the gospel accounts include this story, but John has some unique details and phrasing.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Youth Development Center

Last Saturday, a team served breakfast to the kids at the YDC, where some of our folks serve vocationally. Thanks to everyone who helped and who coordinated this simple - and FUN - outreach. Today's mission is hosting our Military Ministry training event at the church building.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Recital Hospitality

The reception afterwards, in the Social Hall. Thanks again!


Scenes from last week's piano recital ... The vocal recital is tonight at 7:00! Thanks to Marsha for bringing her students here, to the students and families for all the hard work, to Michael and the Praise Team for help with set up and hospitality. And, I saw some old neighbors - now Marsha's students - for the first time in a couple years. A number of our own young people performed. Congrats to all!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spiritual Strength for Soldiers

A military veteran and a minister will be working together to help local church groups learn how to spiritually care for U.S. soldiers returning from combat situations.

Bo Bohanan, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War, and the Rev. JP Bohanan, pastor of Bethany United Methodist Church, also are father and son.

They will hold How to Minister to the Military and Lead Combat Trauma Spiritual Care Groups from 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Bethany UMC, 1401 Mount Rose Ave. in Spring Garden Township.

Check out the entire article by Eyana Adah McMillan of The York Dispatch.

Monday, March 21, 2011

New Member!

Welcome Keenan! (Pictured with Doug and Pastor JP)

Signs (3): Sabbath and Life

Psalm 67 (call to worship)
John 3:1-17 (children)
John 5:1-30 (message)

Such a remarkable story! The guy who is healed is not exactly a likeable fellow. Jesus meets him and asks about his hopes and dreams, but he only complains about not having a friend or helper to get him to the water. Jesus heals him, but he doesn’t bother to even learn Jesus’ name. And, once he figures it out, the first thing he does is inform on Jesus to the religious authorities. Not exactly a sympathetic or “deserving” character. (See Raymond E. Brown, John I-XII, p 209.) So, at least on an emotional level, I have no problem with Jesus showing up and saying, “Stop sinning, or something worse might happen to you.” Know any folks like this? If they believe like I do, they are just an embarrassment, to me if not to Jesus.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


The United Methodist Church responds to disasters all over the world.  For news on our connections in Japan, keep checking the site of our General Board of Global Ministries.  Gifts can be received in worship any time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Group

Meeting at Melissa & Quincy's on Sunday evenings. We read the Bible, gather to discuss what we read, pray together, and have great food.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Congrats Grad!

Congrats to Gail on her December graduation!


Our staff and council, in our reading for March, read John’s gospel. I was impressed with several repeating themes. One is the way in which Jesus repeatedly refers to God as his Father. This relationship is the touchstone for his ministry and a focal point for the religious reaction against him. “I must do my Father’s work.” “I and the Father are one.” Jesus invites his disciples – that’s us! – to join him in that oneness, to be part of that family, to find our truest self and our highest calling in relation to and in mission with our God.

I was also amazed by how many questions show up in the text. It seems to be John’s way of teaching. Jesus is asked a question, and he responds with a question.
  • Are you the King of the Jews? (Pilate, 18.33)
  • Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me? (Jesus, 18.34)
Instead of giving a “straight” answer, Jesus gives a “slant” answer. He pushes back, forcing us to make conclusions, take a stand, express our faith, find words for holy mystery. In chapter 18 alone, at least 15 questions are asked . . . by Jesus, Pilate, a slave, a woman, a security official. Sometimes, we think that our witness requires having answers. In John’s gospel, witness seems to involve at least as many questions as answers!

I encourage you to read John, joining the staff and council, and connecting to the Sunday message series through Easter.

Monday, March 14, 2011

24 Hours that Changed the World

This Lent, on Thursday evenings, we are doing Adam Hamilton's study 24 Hours that Changed the World.  Join us for dinner (free) at 6:00 pm, followed by Scripture, video, and discussion!

Signs (2): Signs and Wonders

Matthew 4:1-11 (children)
John 4:45-54 (message)
Missing the stop sign in Mont Alto ...
The point of the sign is not the sign itself, but what it points to.

Some background:
As we begin this story, we are reminded of the first sign in Cana of Galilee: Jesus turning water into wine. These signs in John’s gospel are linked. They both occur right after Jesus returns to Galilee from Judea. Unlike the other signs in John’s Gospel, they do not lead into extended preaching by Jesus. And, the sequence of the story telling is the same.
(1) Jesus is approached with a request
(2) Jesus seems to refuse . . . with what sounds rude and out of place
(3) The person persists
(4) The request is granted
(5) People respond in faith
(See Raymond E. Brown, 1966, The Gospel According to John I-XII, Anchor Bible Commentary 29, p. 194.)

Last week, Mother Mary comes to Jesus: “They have no more wine”
Refusal: “What is that to me? My hour has not yet come”
Persistence: “Do what ever he tells you”

This week, that exchange is with the official, who asks Jesus to heal his son.
Refusal: “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe”
Persistence: “Come down before my little boy dies”

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Signs (1): Saved the Best Till Now

John 2:1-12

There is so much in this passage. There is a wedding feast, a crisis for the caterer, and a miracle – or “sign”. There is happiness and celebration and party – and Jesus, contrary to popular perception, really seems to like a good party. And, in theological themes, there is epiphany, crucifixion, Holy Communion, glorification, new creation, prayer, invitation, and more.

Some notes:
Epiphany, verse 11, “He thus revealed his glory”. “Revealed” = Epiphany.

Hour: Three times in the gospel we are told that Jesus hour “has not yet come” (2:4, 7:30, 8:20). When it does come, Jesus defines it for us as the hour in which a seed falls into the ground and dies (12:23f) and as his glorification (17:1), the time when he will be “lifted up” (3:14).

Wedding: What hour is Jesus waiting for? He is waiting for his own wedding! He is preparing to take his own Bride. John the Baptizer speaks of him in the very next chapter, in 3:29-30, “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must increase; I must decrease.”

Wine: In John’s gospel, Jesus drinks wine only twice: Here at this wedding and – when he is thirsty – upon the cross (John 19:29-30). In our wedding vows, we promise ourselves to each other “until we are parted by death”. In Jesus’ wedding, it was his death that unites him to his Bride, to us, his Bride, his Beloved.