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Sermon from 01-17-21

We meet for worship this Sunday halfway between the second impeachment of our current president and the inauguration of our new president.  We also meet with our country deep into the depths of a pandemic that is continuing to take lives at a record setting pace.  If ever there has been a time when we need to be reminded of our connectedness to one another, it is now.  And that connectedness goes well beyond our own country. We need reminders of our connection to sisters and brothers around the world, as well as to the earth itself. This Sunday is, in the United Methodist Church calendar, Human Relations Day. This Sunday is celebrated each January on the day before Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday is recognized.  It will be good to be together and worship as a church family – even if online!  My message this week is titled “We All Need…Somebody” and is based on John 1:43-51.  I hope you will be able to join us – either live at 10:30 or later by recording.  Bless each of you!  - Pastor Derek

Sermon from 01-10-21

We fast forward quickly through Jesus’ childhood, youth, and young adulthood. The lectionary moves us directly from the departure of the Wise Men to Jesus’ baptism at the age of 30. Down and out to the Jordan River goes Jesus, joining people from all over the land of Israel. In Mark’s gospel, the heavens are “torn apart” as the Spirit descends following Jesus’ baptism. God’s presence breaks in, making it clear that God has not abandoned the world, but intends to reclaim it, and us, in the embrace of unconditional love. After a week of continuing deaths due to COVID, and chaos in our nation’s capital, it will be good to gather together in worship Sunday morning. May God’s grace surround you now and always.  See you online Sunday at 10:30.  - Pastor Derek

Sermon from 01-03-21

A happy and blessed new year to everyone! This Sunday in worship we will be celebrating Epiphany Sunday. During this Sunday and season, we lift up the theme of Christ's unveiling, the recognition, and the celebration that the light of God's love and salvation have come into the world - for everyone. This is symbolized in Scripture by the visit of the "Wise Ones" from the east (Luke 2:1-12).  They follow their wisdom to locate and worship the Christ child in Bethlehem.  My message, titled "Home By Another Way," will invite us to reflect on our journeys and how the things we have experienced and seen impact the directions our lives take. We will be celebrating communion, so you are invited to have communion elements (bread, crackers, juice, wine) on hand.  We will also be invited to pray together - out loud! - the Wesley Covenant Prayer.  Methodists have prayed this prayer at the beginning of each new year for centuries(!).  Join us online at 10:30 this Sunday...instructions for connecting are included below.    - Pastor Derek

Sermon from 12-24-20

Worship: Our “Traditional” Christmas Eve service, on Facebook Live.  Gather with your family in your home, and have your candles ready as we will close the service in the dark singing “Silent Night” by candlelight.

Sermon from 12-06-20

As we gather for worship this Second Sunday of Advent, we acknowledge that being displaced can mean several things. We can be displaced mentally or emotionally. We can be displaced spiritually. And we can be displaced physically. And of course, there are all sorts of combinations including each!  The Good News is that God seeks us out and offers us hope – even and especially in our times of feeling displaced.  My message, “Displaced: No Room for Them Anywhere, It Seems,” connects us with the story of Mary and Joseph needing to travel to Bethlehem, and upon their arrival finding no room in the inn (Luke 2:1-7)!  Mary Edlund will be sharing her and her husband Lee’s experience of being displaced during these days. And we will be celebrating Holy Communion together. You are encouraged to gather elements (bread, crackers, and juice or wine) you can use in your space as we take communion together.  See you Sunday morning at 10:30 am on Facebook Live!             -Pastor Derek

Sermon from 11-29-20

"Displaced: Where Hope Finds Us"   Our Advent theme for this year is an acknowledgment of our existential predicament as we begin a new Christian year together.  Most, if not all of us, find ourselves in a much different place than we expected to be when 2020 began. And the paths we have followed to arrive at this new reality has been a journey we likely would not have chosen if we had been given a choice!  But here we are.  Here we are.  For the next few Sundays, we will hear from some Smoky Hill members who have, and are, experiencing displacement in some very real and significant ways.  This Sunday Kristi Skarphol will share her experience as a High School teacher. We appreciate Kristi opening a window for us to see into a part of her life that has changed dramatically in 2020. My message this week is titled, "Displaced: Were Perfect Openness Becomes Possible."  It is based on the Annunciation story in Luke 1, and the Magnificat, Mary's Song, in that same chapter.  The Good News is that God finds us even in - and maybe especially in - those times when we are feeling most displaced and lost.  I hope you will be joining us online - 10:30 Sunday morning!  -Pastor Derek

Sermon from 11-22-20

Paul, in his second letter to Timothy, writes these words: “For this reason, I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you…”  In Paul’s absence, it seems that Timothy’s zeal and excitement about sharing the Gospel has waned a bit.  There is something about presence – both physical and spiritual – that helps us to remain steadfast and focused in our lives of faith.  During the past eight months, we have needed to be physically apart as a local expression of the Body of Christ.  For some, myself included if I am being honest, there have been times when being separated from our siblings in Christ has brought challenges to keeping the light of faith burning bright.  This Sunday morning, Stewardship Celebration Sunday, is an opportunity for us to be renewed and reminded that our faith in Christ is never in vain, and that God continues to work miracles of love and hope – and that God does this not only FOR us but THROUGH us.  Are you ready to be used by God?   We will see you on Facebook Live Sunday morning at 10:30, and for those who can come Sunday afternoon at 4 pm in person at the Gazebo.      -Pastor Derek

Sermon from 11-08-20

This Sunday’s sermon scriptures are Psalm 116:1-9, 12-14 and Mark 8:34-37. It is entitled: “Give from Love Instead of Fear.”
Have you ever silently reflected on why you give to the church, causes, and to people? Have you really reflected on the motivation behind your altruistic deeds, all of which are about giving? Perhaps words like duty or obligation come to mind. Maybe you tell yourself, “because I ‘should’ give” or do this particular act. Or...and you are not alone, maybe you give out of what’s left, after you feel financially secure.
Have you ever given out of your lack because you have a crazy faith in God’s promises to provide for all your needs? When duty or “should” is our motivation, or if we give  God what is left over; then we are operating from a place of fear and not faith. This means we don’t truly trust God’s love for us and are not resting secure in God’s love. As a result,  we give from a place of fear and not love. Last year, I talked about giving as a spiritual practice or discipline. This Sunday’s sermon further extends that theme.      -Pastor Felicia

Sermon from 11-01-20

All-Saints Sunday has always been one of my favorite Sundays of the Christian year.  While we remember those who have died over the last 12 months, the tone is not one of sadness, but of triumph and victory. An old phrase, using traditional language, proclaims that the celebration on the First of November is about the transfer of membership from the Church Militant (at work) to the Church Triumphant!  This year we remember and celebrate the lives of 3 saints from Smoky Hill whom we have said goodbye to: Eve Pistorius, Linda Parks, and Larry Arterburn Our celebration of Communion takes on special significance this Sunday, as we intentionally recall that our celebration includes the Communion of Saints.  My message, titled “These Are They,” is based on Revelation 7:9-17, and specifically verse 14.  Let us join together online at 10:30 am (remember to reset your clocks this weekend!) and I invite you to gather communion elements as we share in this meal as a family.       
  -Pastor Derek

Sermon from 10-25-20

“Social Distancing” has become so much a part of our daily vocabulary, that we hardly notice the negative implications of a phrase like that anymore.  This Sunday’s scripture, Luke 16:19-31, is the story known as The Rich Man and Lazarus.  It is about wealth, and the dangers of accumulated wealth, but it is also about the ways we distance ourselves from one another – and what that does to our very souls. I would encourage you to read the story, perhaps a couple of times, before Sunday morning. Allow its various meanings to sink in and speak to your heart in whatever way God might intend.  The title of my message, borrowed from our friends in the Real Estate business, is “Location, Location, Location!”  Join us on Facebook Live Sunday morning at 10:30, or later in the day or week on our various platforms.      -Pastor Derek

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