Pastor's Page


Spring time plowing......Easter and beyond!

posted Apr 19, 2018, 6:25 PM by Bowmansville UMC

As a young boy on my grandfather’s large farm in Millers, near Lyndonville NY I watched him plow fields that had never been cultivated. On the first pass the plowshare would turn the soil and along with the dirt, up would come large rocks that he hauled away. Then, he would plow the field again, and then again, to further break up the soil. With each pass the plow turned up other, smaller rocks that he cast aside. The process continued, requiring many passes through the field.

Growth in grace can look like a similar process.

When we first become believers, some “big” sins may be exposed. We confess them to God and accept His forgiveness. But as the years pass by, and as God’s Word passes through us and sinks into our innermost being, the Holy Spirit brings other sins to the surface. Sins of the spirit once thought to be mere peccadilloes—small, seemingly unimportant offenses—are revealed as ugly, ruinous attitudes and actions. Sins like pride, self-pity, complaining, pettiness, prejudice, spite, self-serving indulgence.

God reveals each sin so He can cast it aside. He reveals to heal. When harmful hidden attitudes come to the surface, we can pray as the psalmist David did, “For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great” (Psalm 25:11).

Humbling exposure, though painful, is good for the soul. It’s one of the ways in which GOD “instructs sinners in his ways.” He “guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way” (vv. 8-9).

PRAYER-Thank You, Lord, that You remember us according to Your love. Instruct us and guide us. Teach us to live as those who have been forgiven much.

God’s desire to cleanse us of our sins should be matched by our desire for that cleansing. In Psalm 139 David reflects, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (vv. 23-24).

His prayer expresses a longing for the cleansing and restoration that can only come from God. John echoes that invitation in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

And Jesus Himself stands ready to help. John wrote, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1). What a great promise!

Is unconfessed sin hindering your relationship with the Father? He stands ready to forgive!

Pastor Jim


Ten Things to be Thankful for......

posted Apr 3, 2018, 9:53 AM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Apr 3, 2018, 3:24 PM ]

“If you believe one-tenth of what you say you believe you should be ten times more excited than you are.”

And I ask myself the question: Where and why do we fall short?

Maybe it’s this . . .

– We fail to remember that being called “believers” means we “believe.”

– We fail to remember what it is we believe.

– And we fail to give thanks.

We believe that God gave.

And we received.

And when we receive a gift, what should be our natural response? Thanksgiving.

God has given us numerous gifts for which we can be eternally grateful.


Here are TEN to start out with.

#1 – God’s Son

“Our Savior Jesus Christ. . . gave himself for us.” (Titus 2:14)

God’s Son wasn’t forced into being our Savior.

Jesus Christ gave Himself freely.

Why?

#2 – Forgiveness of Sins

“. . . that [we] might receive forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 26:18)

Each of us deserves the worst punishment imaginable for the filth of our sins.

Christ took it on Himself that we might receive forgiveness in its place.

#3 – Family Status

“As many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God.”

(John 1:12)

We have received the right to be called the children of God.

We have the same family status as God’s own Son.

#4 – Grace

“. . . grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (2 Timothy 1:9)

God’s favor when we didn’t deserve it – when we deserves His DIS-favor – was so certain to be ours that He gave it to us long before He brought anything into existence.

#5 – the Holy Spirit

“. . . ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

The Spirit of truth indwells us, fills us, rebukes us, seals us, and produces His fruit through us.

#6 – Peace

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” (John 14:27)

Christ left us His peace.

It is ours – available and apart from any peace we could achieve from any other source.

#7 – Wisdom

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God. . . and it shall be given.” (James 1:5)

When we need wisdom, we can ask for it. And He will give it willingly.

Again and again.

#8 – Victory over death.

“Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

(1 Corinthians 15:57)

Because Christ rose from the dead, death will not have victory over us.

#9 – An Inheritance

“. . . that they may . . . receive an inheritance.” (Acts 26:18)

This inheritance is incorruptible, undefiled, does not fade away, and is reserved in heaven for us.

We’re “joint heirs” with God’s own Son.

#10 – Everlasting Life

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Since we believe what we say we believe, let’s be more excited,

more joyful . . . more grateful.

Ten times more.


He is Risen!

posted Mar 27, 2018, 12:34 PM by Bowmansville UMC

Greetings in Christ!

He is Risen!

In a world of challenges such as we are facing today, isn’t it wonderful to know that we serve a risen Savior?

When Jesus arrived on the scene over 2,000 years ago things were much different than they are now in so many ways, yet the human heart is still very much the same now as it was then.

People were divided then as now as to “what” the answer is.

Those of us at Bowmansville UMC, who know Christ know that it’s less of a “what” question than a “who” question.

There’s a song written by Andrae Crouch that simply makes the statement that “Jesus is the answer for the world today.”

Even though that song was written a few years ago, Jesus is STILL the answer for this world!

While we are so thankful for the Cross of Christ, we must remember that it was the Resurrection only 3 days later that proved His sinless life and death on the Cross was valid and accepted by the Father as payment for Sin.

The Word of God tells us that through one man sin entered this world, yet it was through one man that sin’s penalty was dealt with! Romans 5:15 – “But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!”

As we enter the season we celebrate the Resurrection, may we never lose sight of the fact that Jesus came to deal with sin’s awful penalty.

It is through Him that we have freedom IF we receive that work He did for us!

We’ve received life so let’s be givers of life!

Use your words to bless and encourage one another, especially during this time that people are a bit more open to hearing the Good News of the Gospel!

May you and yours have a wonderful season of celebrating the Resurrection of Christ!

For we are Easter people……think about that….

In Him, Pastor Jim



Pastor Jim wonders......

posted Feb 26, 2018, 10:37 AM by Bowmansville UMC

Since we are in the Season of Lent, one of the questions I keep asking is....

“How can I think of Lent in a fresh way? How can I make Lent more than just giving up chocolate, pop, or some other habit we may have?”

One of the ideas I read was about how we address the gap between the cross on which Jesus hung at Golgotha and the empty cross that hangs in our sanctuary and in sanctuaries in most protestant churches.

The gap might be called Holy Saturday, the gap between the death of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus. Some theologians describe this time as a time of living in the between times of Jesus’ resurrection and Jesus’ return as promised to his disciples.

It is a time when Jesus has finished his work, but we do not see the fulfillment yet. It has a fancy name called “realized eschatology”. It is much like the end of World War II. The war was declared over, the documents signed; yet there were soldiers in isolated places who did not know and so the war continued for them until someone came and told them they could stop fighting.

We live in a time waiting for Jesus to come and rule over the kingdom. In the gap, we continue to live and wait. So maybe one question we might think about during Lent is, “How do we live in this gap?”

How do we live in a world filled with gaps caused by our own human brokenness and frailty?

What are the gaps in our lives that stop us from experiencing life in a more full and complete way?

How do we find life in the gaps of our lives? Is it through Christian fellowship? Well YES but maybe more… Is it living life and fellowship around other folks like the old saying goes…”Preach the Gospel….and use words ONLY when necessary”! Or maybe another cliché we use in prison ministry is …..”be the only bible another fellow may ever read!!!”

What if we all could lead lives that would make others question “WHY” we live our lives this way….and that doesn’t just mean going to church on Sundays, but our whole way of life of how we meet and greet others and how we interact with others helping them out in times of trouble, and in sharing of laughter also.

As your Pastor I try not to be “an old fogy” and get caught up in my old ways of what I THOUGHT a Christian was!!!!!......too many rules ….is a thought….

Jesus made it very clear what we are called to do as Christians is Serve others…and if needed…..use words…

May your Lenten time be blessed with an inner perspective of growth and wisdom in our Savior Jesus Christ.

Pastor Jim


What if we had Christmas in February?

posted Jan 26, 2018, 7:07 AM by Bowmansville UMC

I was wondering what this could mean for us in the shortest month of the year – which often feels like it drags on forever.

In the Book of Common Prayer, Christmas is extolled as a festival season and in the United Methodist Book of Worship, Christmas is extolled as a season of Praise and Thanksgiving for the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ, and that means more than only one day!

But, wait, there is more. The Birth of Christ was celebrated on December 25 but is truly only one of many of the events by which the church recognizes, truly by faith, the presence of God with us.

This festival season begins on December 25 and REALLY ends on Ash Wednesday – which is February 14 in 2018.

While the birth of our Savior opens the season, the Epiphany or “Manifestation” of God in Christ celebrates God’s Appearing and ties us to the Appearing of the Risen Christ AFTER Easter!

From the poverty of his birth, to the adoration of shepherds, to the mysterious gifts of the Magi, the texts of Christmas and Epiphany point us toward the mystery of God being revealed among us.

Through the season of Epiphany (which is truly a continuous journey which begins on Christmas Day), we receive the Baptism of our Lord, the Miracle of the Marriage Feast at Cana, the Call of the Disciples, the Sermon on the Mount, and many more stories of the manifestation of God with us.

Epiphany is a continuation of Christmas which celebrates the humbleness and hiddenness of God with us in our poverty and serves as a proclamation of God’s love coming alive – no longer limited to one nation, but announced for all humankind in every place and time. Praise God!

This is great news as well as “Good News" for you and me!

Christmas is alive and still ongoing. 

For those (few) who still have to take down their Christmas lights, trees, and decorations, this is great news.

For those who experience the length and coldness of winter days in this short month, we can wrap ourselves in the warmth of God’s Spirit revealing light and truth for all. (try keeping up your tree and lights longer!)

God knows we need more light, more truth, and more spirit of Joy in these winter days of February. We need Christmas to stay with us a little bit longer. Keep listening, looking and reaching for God’s presence and continuing manifestation this month. God is seeking us like the Magi sought our Savior.

Pastor Jim


Be a Salt Shaker

posted Jan 24, 2018, 10:52 AM by Bowmansville UMC


(partially from) Seedbed November 21, 2017

Colossians 4:5-6

5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.


CONSIDER THIS....

When I was a young teenager I had the good fortune of discovering a treasure-trove of a book on my parents’ bookshelf. 
A whole lot of those books were bible-based stories and various levels of bible study, though I’m not exactly sure why I pulled it off the shelf and even less sure of why I read it, but of the fact that it changed my life I could not be more sure. The author of the book was Dale Carnegie, and you have already likely guessed the title, How To Win Friends and Influence People. I was influenced on how he treated mankind and how he also gave away his estate later on in life.-JB
I remember a lot about the book, though one lesson stands out and towers above the rest. “Become genuinely interested in other people.”  It’s what I hear when I read today’s text:-JB
5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; 
By “be wise” Paul doesn’t mean, “be on your guard.” No, he means let your guard down. He means, don’t be about yourself. Be about them. It begins with Carneige’s rule: “Become genuinely interested in other people.” Why? Beyond the first step of noticing people, becoming genuinely interested in them is the posture of love. It lets them know they are, in fact, interesting.
Make the most of every opportunity.
What is the opportunity? I used to think the opportunity was to try and work in some way to share “the Gospel message” with them, which in retrospect looks more like trying to get people enlisted on my multi-level marketing discipleship pyramid scheme.
I think of the sharing the Gospel differently now. 
It’s more about the mystery than the messaging. You might have figured that the message of the Gospel is the mystery of Christ, and the mystery of Christ is Christ in us. 
To the extent I am attuned to “Christ in me,” I can be present to the person sitting across from me. 
To the extent I can be present to them, Christ will presence himself with us and the mystery will become manifest. As I become genuinely interested in another person, Jesus manifests his interest in them.
The opportunities are everywhere. The overwhelming majority of people in the world, outsiders or not, are not listened to. No-one leans into them and listens with genuine interest. This is what supernatural love looks like in ordinary clothes.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
I think of becoming genuinely interested in other people like salting a conversation. 
It brings out the flavor in them. It necessarily means becoming less interested in myself (a.k.a. less self-interested). What is it about salt that makes food so much more satisfying? 
Maybe we need to think more about passing the salt as it relates to what is on their plate and not so much about our own. Think about this statement-JB

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your son, Jesus, who is the salt of the Earth and who would so fill us with himself that we might become the same. 
Fill me with the fullness of Christ in my bearing toward others that I might become genuinely interested in them and that my interest could become an act of your love. We pray in Jesus name, amen.
 
Pastor Jim


This is God’s gift to you in 2018. Time.

posted Dec 29, 2017, 7:27 PM by Bowmansville UMC

Most, if not all of us, will get to enjoy this gift in its entirety. The question is, what will we do with it? How will you spend the time you are given in 2018? (hint-prayer) Others can guess a lot about us by how we spend our time. For people of Christian faith, the primary question is what God might say about us is by observing how we spend our time? A second question for reflection as we begin the New Year: how do you view time?

Wrap your mind around the incredible gift that time is a gift from God, equally, to each and every person and what a privilege it is to be given as stewardship of this gift!

The Apostle John quotes Jesus as saying, “I came that they may life and have it abundantly (or, “to the full”).” John 10:10.

Yes, when it comes to Jesus’ dream for us, living abundantly in that, Time is included in that statement.

Years later, in a short letter, the Apostle John wrote to a friend in Christ: “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2

John’s words in his gospel and later letter give us insight into God’s desire for our lives: to live abundantly, healthy, and prosperously (this means far more than material prosperity). This takes having a plan and on January 7, we’ll begin looking at an essential element of such a plan for every follower of Christ. PRAYER

One by one, we’ll examine several ingredients of an abundant, healthy, and prosperous life in Christ, through our worship and in discipleship and through prayer in and out of our church building. 

We’ll look at what the Bible, and what various professionals in each field, have to say about how these elements contribute to living well, living faithfully, praying faithfully, and living fruitfully for Christ.

From one of my beloved verses of scripture I share this thought looking ahead, “I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.” Jeremiah 29: 11 (CEB)

Well, this letter began with the title TIME, and I will end with a calendar number that has personal significance for me as time flies by: 21.

I’ll tell you more about this on the 21th of January as I and my good wife Pastor Cheryl return from the Holy Land.

I pray that in 2018 we all prosper and experience good health, even as our souls prosper.

If you agree, invite others to join you on Sunday mornings here at Bowmansville UMC and in prayer/healing services on the first Thursday of every month here at 7:00pm. (Take time to pray in 2018!)

Pastor Jim



Advent - God comes to live with us

posted Dec 15, 2017, 9:26 PM by Bowmansville UMC

The season of Advent is here!  We’re back to the beginning of the church yearly cycle.  And I celebrate my Second Advent season among you as your pastor.  I look forward to all the trimming of Christmas in our Bowmansville Sanctuary and the brightness of God’s light into the world.  It feels so good to be here and be able to join you in this challenging adventure of ministry in Christ’s presence; for God is surely in our midst!

And here is the core certainty of the season of Advent:  God comes to live with us.

At this time of year when we speak of this spiritual reality that God actually living amongst us, it just rolls off our tongues without much thought.  What if we were to stop and really take in what this means?  It is nothing short of a radical message; a revelation of something totally unique in all human history.

When you think about Christianity, no other religion makes a similar claim; no other religion even suggests that their God physically enters human time and space to live amongst us.  Advent is the season we focus in on this part of our faith.

The four Lessons that lead us to celebrate Christ’s birth this year begin with the call to stay alert, for Christ’s coming will overtake us when we least expect it (Matthew 24:36-44). They speak of radical changes leading to a reordering of expectations (Isaiah 11:1-10).  By the third week we see how God will turn over the tables of the status quo in unexpected ways (Luke 1:39-56).  A humble Hebrew couple become the bearers of the promise.  And Joseph is included in the story as the humble servant, who in his kindness to Mary is granted a heavenly visitation.  Thus he fulfills his parental role to name the child, Jesus and take him as his boy in their home. (Matthew 1:18-25).

The Advent Lessons end by giving us another name for Jesus; he will be known as Emmanuel, which means, God is with us.  This is radical Good News for all generations. We can believe that God is high and lifted up, but as Christians we make another claim; our God lives amongst us.  Thus in humility we can pray: “Lord, I need your help today. I have much to do and cannot do it alone. Walk with me and be my wisdom and my strength.”

As we immerse ourselves in the season of Advent this year, let us put on the garments of humility which will make it possible for us to hear God speaking to us from unexpected places; even in the voice of a child.

Blessings and love to you all...

Pastor Jim


Happy Fall Season, my Friends!

posted Oct 26, 2017, 1:56 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Oct 26, 2017, 1:58 PM ]

The season of hoodies, sweaters, bonfires, falling leaves, and changing colors is going to be upon us.

With the changing season comes the reminder that God is still ordering this wonderful world in which we live.

We are fast approaching a new season of ministry and mission opportunities.

There will be many chances for you to engage, or get reengaged, in the life and ministry of our church!

Let’s be working together to make a difference in our community and across the country and the world.

Please continue be in daily prayer for all of the areas hit hard by hurricanes and earthquakes, and keep the response teams of all church denominations in prayer as they help do the cleanup.

We will have more ‘hands-on’ opportunity to make a difference in the restoration in many of the areas hit by the devastation, so keep an eye on your email, and in the church bulletin.

I am also considering some type of an Open House at church as an open forum afternoon for the local community of youth to engage in a "ask the Pastor night". Of course Pizza and cold & hot drinks to be provided to those youth who come to ask questions of how the Christian church has answers to them in today’s society. Stay tuned for this event coming soon, and watch the church bulletin board. 

I write this with gratitude to God in my heart for leading me here to be in ministry together to all God’s people.

Pray for each other, pray for me, and pray that God will grant us courage to step out in faith together.

Be blessed, and be a blessing.


A Thoughtful Devotional....River Laundry

posted Sep 30, 2017, 5:51 PM by Bowmansville UMC

From the Upper Room 9-28-2017

Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.   James 2:17 N.I.V.

 

While riding through a large city in a developing country, I saw a mother and three children standing knee-deep in a muddy, green river. “Those people are washing clothes,” our driver explained.

That family washing clothes amid the polluted canal’s floating debris remains, for me, a poignant scene.

Certainly, such moments make me grateful for the conveniences I have, including a washing machine.

However, if the memory of that moment only makes me grateful for my own blessings, that would not be enough.

Although I may not be able to lead a campaign for ending poverty or improving access to plumbing in another country, I can offer compassion and help to those around me.

Maybe a grandmother’s lawn needs mowing, a neighbor feels desperate to find a job, or a student could use a math tutor. From picking up trash to giving away groceries, the needs are endless.

 

As Jesus reminded his disciples, “The poor you will always have with you” (Mark 14:7).

 

 In this hurting world, we can reflect Jesus’ love by acting to meet one need at a time.

wrote by Paula M. Miller (California, USA)

 

Thought for the Day: When I see someone in need, God calls me to act with compassion.

Read James 2:14-18

 

Prayer: Dear Lord, show us those who need compassionate words or actions.

Give us the will and the strength to serve them.

Amen.



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