Due to technology challenges this morning at church, we are unable to post a video of the sermon. Below, is a written version of today’s sermon. Thank you for your flexibility and understanding.
Funeral Surprise (Mark 15:37, 42-46)
Surprises can be exciting! Some surprises can be shocking! Here’s a surprising story about the later of these two emotions… A couple had been married for nine years and had three children. The husband fell ill and within a few days died. With support from friends and family, she kept strong. After the funeral services and just before people disbursed, a woman came to the wife with a shocking surprise. The woman claimed she had two children with her late husband, a boy and a girl. The woman addressed the man as “our husband.” Sometime after the funeral, the woman presented birth certificates and pictures of the children with the late husband. The wife could not believe what she saw. The evidence was too strong to be disputed!
The journey to the cross and burial of Jesus holds some surprises. When John the Baptist died, Mark reports his disciples made preparations for John’s body (Mark 6:29). However, after Christ’s crucifixion, Jesus’ disciples are not around to take care of His body. With bewilderment, they had all quickly dispersed from the man they once held allegiance to. Moreover, Simon the Cyrene was a surprise character as he carried the cross for Christ when His disciples once again were not present (Mark 15:21). In addition, after Christ’s arrests, the disciples were no longer claiming Him as the messiah but what a glorious surprise when the centurion confessed what the disciples could not by stating, “Surely this man was the Son of God! (“Mark15:39).
The surprises do not stop at the crucifixion. Joseph of Arimathea. a member of the council of the Sanhedrin, took it upon himself to take care of Jesus’ crucified body. Why is this so surprising? The Sanhedrin were the religious leaders who sent Jesus to Pontius Pilot to be crucified. The Sanhedrin hated Jesus. Joseph was the exception. Joseph had been responsive to Jesus’ message of love. Jesus touched his life. Requesting Jesus’ body showed Joseph’s bold witness. Furthermore, Joseph demonstrated generosity. Joseph laid the body of Christ in his personal tomb and wrapped Jesus in expensive fine linen. Joseph went out of his way to honor Jesus. Joseph’s courageous witness and kindness displays discipleship. Shockingly, a member of the Sanhedrin gave us one of our first examples, post-crucifixion, of discipleship.
Joseph of Arimathea was demonstrating exactly what Jesus had been teaching, compassion and love. Jesus cared for others; He came, He showed compassion, and He died for us. Out of pure love for humanity, Jesus took our place on the cross to relinquish our sin giving Himself up as a living sacrifice.
The movie, Armageddon, focuses on a burly, oil-mining veteran by the name of Harry Stamper, played by actor Bruce Willis. Stamper had been called upon to take part in a last-ditch mission to save the human race from a massive asteroid on an unstoppable collision course with planet Earth.
Landing a space shuttle on the surface of the deadly rock, Harry and his compatriots drill a hole deep into the asteroid’s core and drop into it a nuclear bomb that might just split the asteroid in two with the hopes of it missing the Earth.
At the movie’s climactic moment when the charge has been set and the shuttle is about to lift off the asteroid, something goes terribly wrong, and it becomes clear that someone will have to stay behind and manually detonate the bomb. Without hesitation, Harry Stamper chooses that job. In the final minutes, Harry speaks by videophone to the command center in Houston and says his last words to his daughter, Grace. With tears streaming down her cheeks, the daughter burbles to her dad: “Everything good I have inside of me, I have from you. I love you so much. I am so proud of you. And I’m so scared.” “There won’t be anything to be scared of soon,” Harry assures her. “I’ll look in on you … I love you, Grace.”
Moments later, Harry kneels on the surface of the asteroid as it violently shakes with volcanic eruptions. Struggling to maintain hold of the detonator, he watches the shuttle safely escape. Then Harry stares … the beautiful blue planet rotating quietly in space. A gentle smile creases his rugged face as he whispers, “We win, Gracie,” and then presses the detonator.
Suddenly, the screen fills with a racing stream of images as seen through the love of this father’s eyes. We see back in time to a sunny day when Harry is pushing his laughing little girl on a backyard swing set. We’re treated to a blur of images reflecting the glorious and grainy moments of miraculous human life. We see a moment out in the future when Gracie will be dressed as a radiant bride on her wedding day. Then, the asteroid erupts in a blinding explosion, fractures in two, and careens clear of our planet, as the surprised, saved humans of the Earth explode in wild cheers!
Just as planet Earth was headed towards destruction in the movie, we were headed towards devastation because of our sin. God took it upon Himself to offer His son as a sacrifice for humanity. The surprise in this part of the journey is God still loves us despite our despicable, selfish ways! Surprise! God loves you despite _ (you fill in the blank here)! The Father and God the Son looked with compassion at the children of this Earth and chose to intervene in a way that required a cataclysmic self-sacrifice. Jesus’ death was for all of humanity. We are loved by God! Thanks be to God! Amen.
Please fast forward to 2:21 for the service to begin. Thank you.
Call to Worship
L: Come to worship this day. Bring with you all your joys and sorrows.
P: Jesus will offer hope.
L: Come to worship this day believing in the power of God through Jesus Christ.
P: Jesus will bring us healing.
L: Come to worship this day feeling the presence of God.
P: Jesus will teach us new ways to live. AMEN.
Hymn: He Leadeth Me
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 9:16-23
Hymn: Freely, Freely
Scripture: Mark 1:23-28
Sermon Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton
Hymn: Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Prelude: Surely the Presence Michael Rodgers
Call to Worship
L: Come, let us praise the Lord!
P: We praise God with our whole heart!
L: God’s works are great!
P: Open our hearts and spirits to see your works, O Lord!
L: Come, let us worship the Lord who has saved us!
P: May our lives reflect the wondrous love of God that all may see and know of God’s greatness. AMEN.
Hymn: Be Thou My Vision Michael Rodgers
Scripture: Psalm 111 Lynda Reese
Hymn: He Touched Me Michael Rodgers
Scripture: Mark 1:21-22
Sermon Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton
Hymn: Seek Ye First Michael Rodgers
Call to Worship
L: Christ is calling you as disciples
P: Lord Jesus, let us follow you faithfully.
L: You will be led into fields of mission and service.
P: Lord Jesus, where you lead us, we will go.
L: Listen for Christ’s call to you.
P: We are ready to serve the Lord. AMEN.
Hymn: “Are Ye Able”
Scripture: Psalm 62:5-12
Hymn: “Take Time to Be Holy”
Scripture: Mark 1:14-20
Hymn: “Rescue the Perishing”
Call to Worship
L: Lost . . .
P: wandering without purpose, meaning,
value, acceptance, or place.
L: We wander lost. But the Spirit of God descends like a
dove upon us. We hear the ancient words that name and
claim us as children of God.
P: We are cleansed, refreshed, and made new in the love
of those words.
Hymn: Wash, O God, Our Son and Daughters UMH #605
Scripture: Psalm 29
Hymn: Baptism in Water TFWS #2248
Scripture: Mark 1:4-11
Hymn: Shall We Gather at the River UMH #723
Prelude (We Three Kings)
Call to Worship
L: Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations
P: You are the one true God who reigns forever.
Hymn: O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing pg. 57
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-13
Hymn: O God, Our Help in Ages Past pg. 117
Scripture: Matthew 25:31-46
Words of Assurance and Pardon
Hymn: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross pg. 298
The Covenant Prayer
Hymn: A Charge to Keep I Have pg. 413
Dismissal with Blessing
Postlude (My Hope Is Built pg. 368)
Call to Worship
L: Darkness—we who walk in darkness
P: have seen a great light:
L: a light that is a joy for all the earth,
P: a light that announces new life.
L: In joy we greet this light.
P: In this light we see that our savior has come.
Hymn: O Little Town of Bethlehem
Scripture: Ephesians 1:3-14
Hymn: Rock-a-Bye, My Dear Little Boy
Scripture: John 1:1-14
Hymn: Go, Tell It On the Mountain
This Christmas we are reairing the 2016 Christmas Cantata, “Christmas at the Manger.” May this service be a blessing to you and your family. Merry Christmas!
Please click on the link above to watch Second Sunday of Advent Service
Christ the King Sunday
Thank you to everyone who helped us with our first in-person worship service in several months. Today was my first in-person service with Wesley Memorial and it was a blessing! Thank you to Suzanne Burnett for being our liturgist and H. Steven Walker, Director of Music Ministries for our hymns, prelude, and postlude. Sermon Title: Gentleness. Scripture: John 8:1-11.
Scripture: Hosea 3:1-5. Sermon: Faithfulness by Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton. Prelude: To God Be the Glory/My Tribute and Postlude: Rock of Ages by H. Stephen Walker, Director of Music Ministries. Song: Thank you by Michael Rodgers, soloist.
Scripture: Luke 6:27-36. Sermon: Kindness by Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton. Prelude: The Old Rugged Cross, Hymn: What a Friend, and Postlude: Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus by H. Stephen Walker, Director of Music Ministries.
Sunday Scripture: Revelation 6:9-11 Sermon: Patience by Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton; Prelude: Standing on the Promises Hymn: Softly and Tenderly; Postlude: Victory in Jesus by H. Stephen Walker, Director of Music Ministries. Song: Soon and Very Soon by Michael Rodgers, Soloist.
Please come to the church at 11:00 am today for drive thru communion. Scripture: Romans 8:1; Sermon: Peace by Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton. Thank you to Lynda Reese for helping with the communion liturgy. Prelude: Sweet Hour of Prayer and Postlude: Hymn of Promise by H. Stephen Walker, Director of Music Ministries. Because He Lives and Let Us Break Bread Together by Michael Rodgers, Soloist.
Scripture: Philippians 4:4 Sermon: Joy by Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton; Prelude: For the Beauty of the Earth; Hymn: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee; Hymn: Shout to the Lord; Postlude: Christ for the World We Sing by H. Stephen Walker, Director of Music Ministries.
Scripture: Ephesians 5:1-2. Sermon: Fragrance of Love by Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton. Prelude: Are Ye Able, Hymn: What Wondrous Love Is This, and Postlude; Glorify Thy Name by H. Stephen Walker, Director of Music Ministries. Song: Soon and Very Soon by Michael Rodgers, Soloist.
Scripture: Galatians 5:22-23 [5:16-21]. Sermon: You Are What You Eat by Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton. Prelude: To God Be the Glory/ My Tribute and Postlude: There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood. When We All Get to Heaven and Blessed Assurance by Michael Rodgers, soloist.
***After the song, Let Us Break Bread Together, please come to the church for drive thru Holy Communion at 11:00 AM (Sunday, September 6) outside the church. Scripture: Ezekiel 37:1-14 Sermon: Restoring Dry Bones by Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton. Prelude: Sweet, Sweet Spirit and postlude: Nothing But the Blood by H. Stephen Walker, Director of Music Ministries. Michael Rodgers, Soloist, Dem Bones, Let Us Break Bread Together, and Give Thanks.
Scripture: Ezekiel 36:26-27 Sermon: A New Heart in Exile by Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton. Prelude: Through It All and postlude: He Touched Me by H. Stephen Walker, Director of Music Ministries. Michael Rogders, Soloist, I Want to Be Ready and He Touched Me
Scripture: Ezekiel 34:23-24 [1-22], Sermon: Caring Shepherd and Sheep by Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton. Prelude: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee and postlude: Rock of Ages by H. Stephen Walker, Director of Music Ministries. Michael Rodgers, Soloist, Thou Art Worthy and Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us.
Scripture: Ezekiel 34:23-24 [1-22], Sermon: Caring Shepherd and Sheep by Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton. Prelude: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee and postlude: Rock of Ages by H. Stephen Walker, Director of Music Ministries. Michael Rogers, Soloist, Thou Art Worthy and Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us.
Scripture: Ezekiel 18:30-32; Sermon: U-Turn Needed by Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton; Prelude: “Standing on the Promises,” “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood,” and postlude: “I Surrender All” by H. Stephen Walker, Director of Music Ministries.
Scripture: Ezekiel 18:14-18; Sermon: Learning from Bad Examples by Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton; Prelude: “To God Be the Glory/My Tribute,” “Lord, I Want to Be a Christian,” and postlude: “My Hope is Built” by H. Stephen Walker, Director of Music Ministries.
Sunday Morning Service 8/2/20; Scripture: Ezekiel 18:1-4; Sermon: Who’s to Blame? by Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton; Prelude: Victory in Jesus; Postlude: Softly and Tenderly, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by H. Stephen Walker, Director of Music Ministries; Shall We Gather at the River by soloist Michael RogersContinue reading “Worship Online, 8-2-20”
Scripture: Ezekiel 8:1-4 [1-18] Sermon: Temple Inspection by Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton. Prelude: “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” and Postlude: “Rescue the Perishing” by H. Stephen Walker, Director of Music Ministry. “Were It Not for Grace” by soloist Michael Rodgers.
Sunday Morning Worship Service 7-19-20, Scripture: Ezekiel 4:4-8, Sermon: Not Another Day by Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton. Prelude: “Holy, Holy, Holy” and Postlude: “God Will Take Care of You” by H. Stephen Walker, Director of Music Ministries. “Farther Along” by soloist Tyler Vanderkooy. [Since the recording of this video, the city and county mayors have joined together and agreed to educate businesses and individuals who are not wearing masks initially, but if the mask mandate continues to be violated, fines will be distributed.]
Scripture: Ezekiel 3:1-12
Sermon: Food for the Soul by Rev. Dr. Joshua Felton.
Prelude: “O Worship the King” and Postlude: “I Love to Tell the joy Story” by H. Stephen Walker, Director of Music Ministries.
“God and God Alone” and “As the Deer” by soloist Michael Rogers.
Scripture: Ezekiel 1:1-3 [1-28]
Sermon: Church in Exile
Featuring Michael Rodgers, H. Stephen Walker
Fourth Sunday After Pentecost
Scripture: 2 Kings 2: 1-15
Sermon: It’s Not a Relay Unless You Pass the Baton by Lynda Reese
Featuring Michael Rodgers, soloist
Wesley Memorial UMC seeks to offer the hope of Christ in loving community. We would love to have you join us on a journey towards greater meaning, purpose, and hope in your life! Many have already found this church to be a great place for personal connections and relationships that will last a lifetime, and we think you will too. Thanks for visiting our website. We look forward to seeing you!