Pastor's Page


Our Heavenly Father’s Unconditional Love

posted Jul 3, 2019, 9:08 AM by Bowmansville UMC

Read: Romans 5:6-11

Scripture tells us that love is the very essence of who God is (1 John 4:7).

So if you don’t believe that He loves you unconditionally, you’ll never really know Him or have genuine peace about your relationship with Him. How do you define “love“?

It is Jesus unselfishly reaching out to mankind, giving Himself to us and bringing good into our life regardless of whether or not we accept Him.

Romans 5:8 tells us that His care and concern are so immeasurable that He laid down His life for us while we were still His enemies.

In fact, the Bible says that He first began to express His love toward us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-5).

That means your actions had absolutely nothing to do with His love for you!

God’s commitment to us has absolutely no conditions or restrictions and isn’t based on whether we love Him back.

Nor does He have more love for “good” people who may strike us as more worthy.

He loves us even in our sin, even when we don’t repent.

Does that give us license to disobey? No.

It gives us power to live holy lives, walk obediently with Him, and learn to love Him the way He deserves.

To follow Him is to receive the love He has been offering all along.

Every single moment, whether awake or asleep, we all live under the canopy of the Lord’s wondrous, absolute love for us.

But to fully experience that love, you must consciously receive it.

Say yes to this amazing gift that God wants to pour out on you.

Bask in it, and let it overflow to those around you.

Pastor Jim


Pentecost

posted May 30, 2019, 8:24 AM by Bowmansville UMC



For the early church, Pentecost was the second most important part of the Christian year after Pascha or Easter. Originally, it commemorated both the Ascension of Jesus and the descending of the Holy Spirit, but became two distinct celebrations by the end of the fourth century.

As Christianity became legal, there was no reason not to have as many celebrations as possible.)

Pentecost also became a favorite time for baptisms with its focus on the work of the Holy Spirit within the church and within our lives. The holy day continues to be a wonderful celebrative time for rites of passage including baptism, confirmation and the reception of new members.

           Pentecost Sunday represents an ending as well as a beginning: the end of the “Great Fifty Days” of the Easter Season (Pentecost means “the 50th day” in Greek) and the beginning of the commemorations of the early church. Pentecost also gives us an opportunity to ask ourselves the question, “What is our community ‘on fire’ about?”

Whatever you do to focus worshipers on the movement of the Spirit in our midst, remember the question: What is stirring within us? What is our/YOUR passion for ministry?

           What sets us ablaze (or at least warms our hearts)? Remember how Wesley said his heart was strangely warmed? How he had his conversion moment……have you folks ever had a conversion moment…..I have! I have talked about it.

This can give a theological and missional under-girding for worship celebrations, providing a “why” for the “what” of worship planning.

           May the Holy Spirit work in surprising ways in your church this year!                                 

  Pastor Jim

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A few nights ago, I had to comfort our dog Duncan, during a thunderstorm. He’s not usually affected by most weather, but the thunder noise had him scared. He shook like a leaf in the wind. So I held him and talked to him. I took a blanket to cover him to sleep under and sat with him until he felt brave enough to settle under the blanket, and that didn’t happen till the storm had passed. Once he was calmer and safely tucked under his blanket, “we” both went to bed.

But before I fell asleep, I thought about his need for comfort and how we’re not much different in this respect. Aren’t there times we all need to feel safe and to be reminded that we’re going to be okay? Maybe it’s not a thunderstorm, but a situation that makes life feel out of control.

The diagnosis: A relationship that’s falling apart.        Sadness and grief.      Financial struggles.

Or so many other possibilities, like our governing body of the United Methodist church sometimes God will change what’s going on around us, but often He will provide comfort for what’s going on inside of us instead.

 “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT

          Because He comforts us first, we are able to comfort others. We may not be able to change someone’s circumstances, but we can be there just to sit and let our friends know they not alone.

I couldn’t stop the thunderstorm, but I could comfort Duncan while he was afraid and shook like a leaf. I couldn’t stop my mom’s acute kidney failure a few years, but I could sit with her in Hospice so she didn’t feel alone. So many things we can’t control, but we can be there. Even when we can’t understand the situation or the pain, just being present can often be enough. It validates another person’s emotions. It says, “You don’t have to walk through this alone.” And perhaps, as God works through us, it even shines some light into the dark places in our lives. Friendships in the Love of Christ.                                          

 Pastor Jim


The Gift of Grace

posted Apr 18, 2019, 2:28 PM by Bowmansville UMC

The Bible is clear that we cannot save ourselves by doing good works.

Our works are nothing more than filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6), so “all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them” (Gal 3:10).

Over and over again, we are told that “no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith” (Gal 3:11).

It is only “by grace you have been saved through faith.

And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph 2:8-9).

Several of the other world religions base their rewards on the works they do. Of course, if there are no works in a believer’s life, then someone who claims to be a believer has a dead or useless faith (James 2:14-26).

Are there any of us who JUST come to church on Sunday?

We are not saved by works, but saved for works…works that God has planned for us to do from before we were born (Eph 2:10).

We are not saved by those works, but those who are saved, will work.

Genuine saving grace will bear fruitful works for God’s glory, but the grace of God is what we receive that we did not deserve.

Common Grace

Common grace is the world, sinners and saints, all sharing in the blessings this life on earth. Some of the blessings of common grace include family, food, sunshine, rain, pleasure, laughter, and so many other things that we all enjoy in this life.

Even if the sinner is unaware of God’s provisions, they are still recipients of God’s common grace.

In the Methodist/Wesleyan way of thinking this is called Prevenient Grace (the first Grace)

It is grace that is common to all, as it is poured out on all. Jesus told the crowds that God “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt 5:45), so God blesses those who don’t even acknowledge Him with all of the general blessings that are found in the world, but even though “favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:10).

It doesn’t matter…God still “gives food to all flesh” (Psalm 136:25a).

Uncommon grace is the idea that God blesses the world in general, and does not withhold blessings based upon a person’s character. 

Both a man who hates people and treats them in a harsh manner, and a man who loves people and is generous and kind, will receive the same amount of rain for their gardens. God’s uncommon grace is showered upon the rich and the poor, the sick and the well, and the good and the bad.

Only God’s saving grace is specifically given to those who have been brought to repentance and faith in Christ.

The greatest blessing of all is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.

There is no greater blessing than the grace of God, but even this is a free gift of God.

Uncommon Grace

The grace of God is different from the common grace given to all.

To begin with, Jesus tells us to do things that are contrary to our own nature.

For example, Jesus says some of the most uncommon things known to man. Radical things like, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28).

That is not something you’ll find much of in the world, and it’s certainly not in the ways of mankind to respond in this way, but we are not children of this world, but the children of God. The Apostle Paul writes that “while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom 5:6). He didn’t wait till we’d be strong, because He’d have had a very long wait for that…like, forever. By God sending Jesus Christ, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).

To go even further, even “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Rom 5:10). This is exceedingly rare, since “one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die” (Rom 5:7), but to die for ungodly, wicked enemies of God!? That’s an uncommon grace…an infinite love. That’s the grace of God.

Conclusion

Christ died for the ungodly, so that means He died for all of us.

At one time, we were all an enemies of God (some still are), but God sent His Son to die for all who would repent and trusted in Him.

Jesus has shown His love by living a sinless life and dying for us so that we might be “reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Rom 5:10). If ever there was a time to be saved, it is today.

Tomorrow may not come for some…and that means judgment will have come before they had the chance to repent and believe (Heb 9:27).

There is still time today…today is the best of days to be saved (2 Cor 6:2).

None of us can say with 100% certainty, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” (James 4:13), so it’s not wise for us to “boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring” (Prov 27:1).

Today is the day of salvation……..Pastor Jim


April Prayer Time with God

posted Mar 31, 2019, 2:07 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Mar 31, 2019, 2:39 PM ]

Have you ever taken the time to evaluate your journey with God?  Are you growing in your love relationship with Him?  You may be thinking, “Can I really know if I am growing spiritually?”  Yes, there are ways you can evaluate your spiritual growth.  One way is to think through your prayer journey.  Are you earnestly praying more? Are you doing a committed prayer time each day?  Because prayer is talking with God, ask yourself if your communication with Him is getting better.

I encourage you to take the time to think through your prayer journey.  The following are some of the elements in my prayer journey that show me if I am growing spiritually:

Trust in His Promises

Do I trust God and His promises more than I did twelve months ago?

“Up to this time, you have not asked a single thing in my name; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy may be full” (John 16:25).

Ask Specifically

Am I asking for specific things, or do I pray generally? You will recognize when your prayers are answered if you ask specifically.

“For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him.

And then helping you do what He wants” (Philippians 2:13).

Intercession (This is a BIG one.)

Am I praying for others on a regular basis?

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone” (1Timothy 2:1).

Cultivate a Quiet Heart

Do I have a quiet heart? Panic and peace cannot occupy the same place.

“When He gives quietness, who then can make trouble?” (Job 34:29).

Resting, Trusting, Leaning

Do I trust and rest in God, or do I let circumstances determined my feelings?

“But I have stilled and quieted my soul...” (Psalm 131:2).

Thankfulness, Praise and Worship

“A single grateful thought toward heaven is the most complete prayer.” – Gotthold Lessing

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.” Psalm 122:1

Spiritual Warfare

Do you dress yourself with the armor of God each day?

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against authorities, against the powers of the dark world and against the forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 5:12).

Pray Without Ceasing...Talk to God about everything.

“Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

“The real reason for prayer is intimacy with our Father.” – Oswald Chambers

Father, we know You want to have a close, growing relationship with us. Lord, we also want to know You more. Deep within our souls we want to know You. Amen.

By Katherine Kehler (Used by Permission) with additions by Pastor Jim


The Passion of Jesus

posted Mar 31, 2019, 1:57 PM by Bowmansville UMC

Well Lent is here folks, and we are full into the Passion of Jesus these next few weeks.

The Passion accounts in all four Gospels speak to my heart, and I hope yours also.  They are stories of failure and of courage, despair and hope, political machinations and theological inspiration. I wonder if readers of the Gospels read the Passion of Jesus with compassion.

In every good story, there is history and there is risk; and the stories of Holy Week, also called Passion week are brimming with both history and risk.

The history part provides the foundation and often what’s going on and why!  If we get the history wrong, we will misunderstand what the Gospels writers were trying to tell us!

The risk brings the anticipation, the danger, and the potential for great loss or great reward! We as Christians should always be willing to take a risk, to be open to new ideas like the Disciples were when Jesus called them to be his first Disciples. There is a deep stability in the stories in the Gospel for us Christians to realize.

Jesus' Passion during this time was not understood by any of his Disciples during their time, but we as Christians some 2000 years later see His Passion with historical eyes.  We also need to understand His Passion towards all humanity, his Love for all mankind (humankind) that only the Son of God could accomplish as God’s eternal plan.

Jesus is about to give up His life, which requires determining what a life is worth!  And that means WE have to determine what OUR lives are worth. What is worth dying for? What is worth living for? What are our (Christian) values and have WE lived up to them?

Lent is a period of atonement, which is a time to repair past wrongs. We might think of the term “atonement” as meaning “at one-ment”, being with one another, being reconciled!  One way of understanding the cross is that it represents atonement between humanity and divinity, that Jesus takes the responsibility for the Sins of human beings and cancels them out with His death on the cross.

BUT the Passion narratives in the Gospels should also prompt us to think about reconciliation in OUR OWN lives as well.  During Lent, we should ask ourselves, “What should I have done that I did not do? What risks should I have taken (for Jesus) that I was afraid to take? When did my sense of “self-preservation” trump over my sense of courage?

The Gospel is not always easy to follow, but take heart and be courageous, Jesus is with you and with me, each and every day if we take heart and follow HIM. Lent is about giving our inadequacies and be a Limitless Person in Jesus Christ.

For we are Easter People, let us walk with the Lord every day and bring others to the good news about Jesus taking on the Sin of the world and the saving Grace of him.

It’s NOT about the bunny, or chicks, or baby ducks or an Easter candy egg.

It’s ALL ABOUT JESUS our Lord!

Blessings,

Pastor Jim


Time for Change: Reflections on Lent and Easter 2019

posted Feb 26, 2019, 2:27 PM by Bowmansville UMC

     Few times in the Christian year calls us to reflect on transformational change like Lent leading toward Easter.

     Springtime is lush with rebirth, new beginnings, and new growth. Too often, however, we want to race to the Easter Resurrection without fully embracing the Lenten process that leads there. Lent reflects the forty days that Jesus wandered in the wilderness — tempted by Satan — in readiness for a ministry destined to end in tragedy.

Few of us can relate to the level of sacrifice and commitment that Jesus displayed in his forty days, yet Lent provides us with an opportunity to deepen our spirituality by engaging in regular discipline from Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday. The wilderness — the desert days of Lent — is the true path toward spiritual transformation.

     There is a compelling metaphor that helps us embrace the wilderness and prevents us from racing to Easter.

     It is the metaphor of the seed.

     Jesus began his teaching ministry with the parable of the sower (Matthew 13) and referred to seeds and trees, fruit and branches, throughout his ministry.

To see the metaphor of Christian growth and spiritual development contained in a seed is to learn valuable lessons about change and transformation. Receive these six lessons from the seed as six weekly devotionals for this Lenten season. Incorporate them into your daily meditations so that they might grow to full bloom in your heart.

 

Lesson One: Seeds Need a Rich Environment

A seed that lacks appropriate soil may sprout, but will quickly wither and die. Even in the best soil, without water and nutrients, growth will be limited. Without sun and cultivation, plants will decay and spoil. Seeds require a rich, healthy environment in which to grow. This applies to the environment in which we grow as Christian disciples. There must be an ongoing flow of comfort and security, challenge and inspiration, learning and service. Without such an environment, discipleship growth is stunted, stagnant, or worse, dead. We create an environment for our spiritual formation through prayer, study, worship, fellowship, and service.                                                                                                                                                                                   

Lesson Two: Seeds Can't Be Rushed

When seeds do not sprout, take root, and grow, try yelling at them.

Of course, that is a preposterous idea. No one would ever think that they could somehow rush the normal growing process.

Seeds require the amount of time that they require.

In God's plan, the time things take is the right time.

People, however, get impatient. Our culture puts pressure on us to rush through everything.   We live in an age of instant gratification. Seeds teach us that we need to learn to wait, to develop patience.

Christian formation is a process of seed like growth. Patience is the key ingredient to transformational growth.

Lesson Three: All Seeds Grow at Different Rates

Plant a package of seeds, and immediately you see diversity in the rate of growth. Some sprout almost immediately and begin a steady rate of growth. Late sprouters often become early bloomers. And some normal beginners end up stunted and sickly. Growth is rarely even, and it is often chaotic. Nothing we do will change this diversity. Where seeds are concerned, we are comfortable with different rates of development. This is not always true with our attitudes about Christian believers. We often adopt a "cookie-cutter" approach to disciple making that makes some seem advanced, while others lag behind. The seed teaches us that to mature in different ways at different times is the only true normal.

Lesson Four: Change Happens in Stages

Examine any plant as it grows from seed to maturity, and you will find that it is hard to believe you are looking at the same plant. While the growth follows a smooth process, it proceeds through distinct stages. These stages are marked by unique characteristics and are a measure for the relative health and well-being of the plant at any given time. Our spiritual development progresses through stages as well. Belief and inquiry deepen to devotion and discipleship. Learning and following evolve into teaching and leading. Growth within the community of faith matures to a life of service in the world. We move through ages and stages of faith development as we grow from seed to sapling to fruit-bearing tree.           

Lesson Five: Seeds Contain the Past and the Future

Each seed is the product of previous generations and contains within it all the genetic code for the future. Seeds are filled with the information that yields transformation. Each generation builds upon the last and lays the foundation for the next generation. The Word of God is the information we contain — passed down throughout the ages and preserved in us for the future — that holds the power to transform us. When we give ourselves time to grow, we unleash the God-given power to become mature Christian disciples.

Lesson Six: Seeds Have a Purpose Larger Than Themselves

Growth is not the purpose of a seed, but a means to an end. Unless seeds give rise to new seeds, they fail to fulfill their purpose. Transformation never happens for its own sake. Change happens to lead us to a new place. Growth occurs that we might not only know more, but that we might do more. Seeds are judged, ultimately, on the fruit that they bear.

Christians should never content themselves with growing in their knowledge and love of God. Growth that fails to lead to a change in behavior is cancerous, not healthy. We grow for a reason, and that reason is something much larger than any individual's needs.

The lessons of the seed help us see Lent, not as a time of sacrifice and denial, but as a time of preparation and anticipation — preparation for the work to which God calls us and anticipation of the fullness of life that God promises.

Lenten Blessings,     Pastor Jim


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Some Pastoral thoughts about the world around us

and

those we meet every day.

 

Everyone has a belief system even if they realize it or not.

 

Even those who claim there is no God have faith that He does not exist. Did you ever think it in that way, even Atheist believes in something…there is no God?

 

What we believe affects every area of our life and shapes each decision we make, yet few of us take the time to really think about what we accept as true.

 

All belief systems have a foundation.

Some people base their convictions on what fits their lifestyle, reasoning, and desires.

 

But that is not to be the case with Believers,

Jesus calls us to adapt life to our faith in Him and the authority of His Word.

 

Scripture says “whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

 

Anytime we add other ideas to the Bible or pick what apply's of the Bible to believe, we make our own version of faith.

 

The Bible is the only true and reliable foundation for belief because it contains the recorded thoughts of God.

 

Knowing what the Bible says is important for developing a sound system of beliefs founded on the truth and wisdom of God.

 

This world offers philosophies that sound good but are laced with lies.

 

A faith anchored in what the Bible teaches is your protection against any lies.

 

Every time you have a problem, search the Bible for the answer.

 

Start your day by reading the Bible and asking God to help you understand what He is saying.

 

God loves communicating with His children, pray each day and as you spend time with God, He’ll open your mind to know His thoughts.

Pastor Jim



Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors

posted Jan 27, 2019, 12:53 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Jan 27, 2019, 12:55 PM ]

The foundation of The United Methodist Church has always been to follow God’s call of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.      We as United Methodists have this Slogan……..Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.  Since 2001, our brand promise, “Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.” has been featured on billboards, television ads, and computer banners promoting The United Methodist Church.   The word open describes the state of our hearts, minds, and doors.   Sometimes we put it this way, “Our hearts, our minds, and our doors are always open.”  It is a symbol of welcome.      

Does the Bowmansville congregation remember that beginning in 2009, United Methodists were encouraged to “rethink church” as more than our Sunday gatherings. I remember it in the other churches I served.    I think that we need to RE-start the talk about how “church can happen anywhere,” because we are the church wherever we gather to worship God and love and serve others.       

REAL church does not only happen on a Sunday, REAL church happens when we in the spirit of Love thy neighbor, help and reach out to our brothers/sisters/neighbors.....and who is our brother/sister/neighbor, EVERYONE we meet each and every day. Matthew 12:50 "For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”      

As this denomination goes through earthly changes, the Holy Spirit of God is still working with people here in Bowmansville UMC.....and around the corner and throughout the whole world as well. What the United Methodist church decides....or changes....or NOT changes, we need to be Christians and resemble Jesus as people see us, not our physical form, but our Spiritual form in how we meet people. Luke 10: 27 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your (your entire) mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself."     

Folks, there is no greater tool than prayer, and I ask each you in this congregation to pray each day for spiritual strength for each other, for our local church, and our United Methodist Church out in the whole world.      Pray for the wisdom which is found in Love your neighbor as yourself. Ask yourself what would Jesus do?      How about maybe “fast” and pray!.....give something up….not just meaning food, take a time to “fast” from TV, or something “worldly”, and get into the scriptures….into HIS Word…..Hear what Jesus has to say!                            And PRAY……. Pastor Jim 


Epiphany in January

posted Dec 30, 2018, 2:55 PM by Bowmansville UMC

Epiphany means manifestation. This festival comes after Christmas and following the "Twelve Days of Christmas" to celebrate the manifestation of Christ to the world as Lord. Advent, Christmas and Epiphany are the first three events in the church year to celebrate the life of Jesus Christ, the center of the faith of the Church.

In its biblical definition, the word manifestation is closer to the word revelation.  However, the word revelation can be understood in a general sense.

According to the Psalmist, God reveals God’s self in God’s creation: "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars, which you have set in place, what is humankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?" (Psalm 8:3-4)

Although God reveals himself in and through the wonders of God’s creation, this general revelation does not provide humankind with a personal relationship with God, the Creator.

A veil of the original sin prevents humans to personally know God and to enjoy a relationship that only God can provide when we have faith in his Son Jesus Christ.

Fortunately God, who is love, did not want to leave the creatures God had made in God’s image away from God’s presence forever. "But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of children." (Galatians 4.4).

When the time, Kairos, (Gods time) came to fulfill the promise according to the plan of God, the Word became flesh like us (Mark 1:15).

The Word of God came to rescue us all, we who couldn't rescue ourselves from the bondage of sin: Jews and Gentiles, men and women, rich and poor, privileged and marginalized. 

This is the Good News!  This is the joy and peace God brings to our broken world, to all generations of humankind. God reveals and manifests himself in a new, personal and redemptive relationship with sinners!

In the early centuries AD, and before the celebration of Christmas, Epiphany was a celebration of both the birth and the baptism of Jesus. In some Christian traditions, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, for instance, the celebration of Epiphany is still associated with the celebration of the baptism of Jesus, as recognition of God’s manifestation to humanity as the Son of God. (Mark 1:9-11) This I have seen in my travels to Israel this last January 10-19th 2018.

To recognize Jesus Christ as the Son of God is to recognize Jesus as Lord (Acts 2:36) and as the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Revelation 9:16).

In fact, to celebrate Epiphany should remind us of our own baptism, the initiation we have received to publicly identify ourselves with Jesus Christ, with his death and resurrection.

With God’s Blessings to your understanding,

Pastor Jim


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Christmas offers us the gift of entering into this New Year with the fresh reminder of God's presence with us and a renewed awareness of our call to be shaped by that awareness.

It takes intentional choices—the choice to pause, the choice to pray, the choice to worship, the choice to serve others—for us to allow ourselves to be shaped by Emmanuel, God-with-us.

Our U.N.Y. conference and all UMC conferences will be in intentional prayer seeking God's guidance for the year ahead and especially for the next two months for the Special Session of General Conference in February 23-26 2019.

I will be setting up a "prayer wheel" schedule and I ask you to sign up to pray for all of those in Special Session through the four days in 1/2 hour increments. 

I also plan on being in church here praying during those day time hours of conference.

All the Methodist conferences around the world will take part in intentional prayer together.

The aim of Praying Our Way Forward is "to ask and listen for God's leadership at this critical time in the life of our church and to encourage individuals to join the initiative by praying daily and fasting weekly for our church, mission, and future.”

As our denomination continues to disagree on human sexuality and especially the role of LGBTQA persons in the church, this prayer week invites us to recognize God's presence with us all even in the midst of disagreement and to listen for God's guidance on how to move forward with love.

I ask you to carve out time to be in prayer for our church from December 31 to January 6 this session of Epiphany in 2019, and throughout this time till Easter.

We have the opportunity to live with the awareness of God with us; we have the opportunity to testify to love.

Let us all pray as a faithful Christian in the name of Jesus Christ, opening ourselves and our denomination up to be shaped and reshaped by God's love that is real and alive for all people.

We trust that God is with us as we walk the path ahead.

God knows what is ahead for us here in Bowmansville, and in the world as Christians, put your prayers and faith in Him. As John Wesley said, “We are all working towards Christian Perfection in the name of the Lord thy God”.

Folks we are all a work in progress, in His name, Pray! Pastor Jim



A Christmas Message.....Yes, it NEVER gets "old"!

posted Dec 1, 2018, 4:33 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Dec 1, 2018, 4:44 PM ]


Well the Christmas calendar season is upon us all; YES it is alright to say Merry Christmas this season of the year and actually all seasons of the year. (Though you might get a few weird stares)  For you see it is a season of HOPE, LOVE, JOY, PEACE throughout the whole year if we keep these things in our hearts and live them every day!

Jesus the Christ was born into this world to become the sacrificial (sin) lamb once and for all in this world to come!  Not one of us can ever in our wildest dreams do enough good works to our fellow earthlings (fellow man) that will ever come close to what Jesus bore on that Roman cross approximately 33 years later after that Christmas birth. For by works you are not saved!
Faith + works do not equal salvation.  Faith + nothing equal salvation PLUS “works” is the response for the simple love of God/Jesus my Savior.  The Holy Spirit nudges us to do good works for our fellow human beings all year long.

Jesus came into the world by a natural birth through Mary a young Hebrew Jewish girl who was favored by God as it was fore-told to her by Gabriel the messenger angel.
Born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, that he was, but He was born with all the earthly sounds & pains of birth that was described in Genesis 3:16 that God proclaimed to Eve.

In death on that Roman cross he also died feeling all the torment and agony of an earthly body.
But it is with anticipation of JOY we celebrate the Advent season and the Christ “mas” season throughout the year, acknowledging our Savior Jesus who was sent to this world for US here on Earth, for God so loved us, His creation so much more than any human being can ever realize, that we as human beings in our sinful nature, can we ever fully comprehend it.

So during this Advent and Christmastide season I ask all the world to take on the LOVE of CHRIST, our redeemer who paid the whole price for our SIN, past, present, and future.  Remember that JOY stands for Jesus (first), Others (second), Yourselves (third), so if we always put Jesus first, everything else falls into perspective.  For if we all take on the LOVE of CHRIST (JOY), I think that this world would be a far better place to live!
Pastor Jim


Happy Fall Season 2018, my Friends!

posted Oct 24, 2018, 7:06 PM by Bowmansville UMC

The season of hoodies, sweaters, bonfires, falling leaves, a rainfall or two, and changing colors is already upon us.  With the changing season comes the reminder that God is still ordering this wonderful world in which we live here in Bowmansville NY and the area around us.

We are fast approaching a new season of ministry. Advent is coming in December, a new church calendar year, and mission opportunities abound for us all, both young and old…..yes even if YOU are 90 years young…..

Our church is also asked to embark on a new (but not old) theme of Discipleship making.  This means not necessarily filling our pews, but of making Disciples of Jesus Christ to go out into the world. We have been blessed this year with visitations in our church, of both young and not so young, but as a faithful congregation in the name of Jesus Christ we welcome them all.  After all, we have a Mission Statement.... “The Bowmansville United Methodist Church will make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” (That doesn’t mean a continent away….just a block or two away…)

Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist church has a theme of “Seeing All the People”, and that doesn’t just mean many races or the color of their skin, but ALL God’s children of any Age or Dialect! We need to be reaching out to all we see in our daily lives, even if that just means going to the supermarket, and maybe helping a stranger.  Just maybe that person will no longer be a stranger, but a new found friend in Christ, if you just help in Christian love.

Jesus didn’t stay in the synagogue, he was out among the people. Our Bishop Mark Webb speaks of the very same thing many times when he gets a chance to be in a local church, which is quite often, I am told.

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’ opportunities 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 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.

Don’t forget to pray our new church prayer I gave to you all last month in the newsletter….

Heavenly Father here in Bowmansville we are a faithful congregation, bring to us here all who need a refreshment of soul, whose ears need to hear the Gospel of Love of Jesus Christ. Make me to be an instrument of Love for those in need and may they come to know the Love of Jesus here in Bowmansville UMC. I pray all of this, asking in the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. AMEN”

You have so many blessings, so be a blessing in Christ's Love.

Pastor Jim


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