8:30 A.M. Sunday Worship 9:45 A.M. Sunday School (beginning September 24th)
Blooming Grove United Methodist Church
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

BGUMC Pastor's Page

 

Link here for an introduction to Pastors J.J. and Stefanie

 

Link here for the Announcement of Appointment from Bishop Ough

 

April 2018 - Thoughts From Pastors J.J. and Stefanie Morgan...

 

 

 I was recently reminded of my connection to the first Psalm that I had ever memorized. It was on the occasion of my confirmation, many years ago, that I embarked on a journey to commit this thing to memory. I did it so that I could stand before the congregation in Danube, MN, and share with them what I had learned. For this letter, I am sharing the Psalm from the New International Version.

Psalm 23: 1-6 1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup over- flows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I was reminded of my boyhood connection to this Psalm this past weekend. It came to me as I was preparing for a young man’s funeral service. Amidst my preparation, prayers and ponderings on what I was going to offer during the service, this Psalm rang out in my heart. How many of us have been in the midst of life when we have been struck by such awesome words like the beauty found in this Psalm? How many of us have allowed those words to dance around in our hearts for a while as we savored their meaning? Friends, I can tell you that I allowed this Psalm to reconnect me to my boyhood, my faith, my church and my Savior Jesus. Some say that the 23rd Psalm is the most popular psalm. I think it is popular because of the comfort that is offered. I know that I thank God for my childhood pastor’s encouragement of me early on in my faith jour- ney, to commit God’s word to my memory. This Psalm has been one that has stuck with me and has provided for me in a variety of ways.

I know that many of you who have heard this Psalm once or twice before, and that you are probably aware of how it intentionally points us to Jesus. How it shows Jesus being the Good Shepherd and how He
is the one who walked among us as fully God and fully human long ago. And how Jesus is available to us in our times of joy and times of need. You may be a person who finds peace in this Psalm because of its empha- sis on Jesus. How it describes eloquently that He alone is the source of all comfort and peace. And that He is the one who “leads me beside quiet waters” and who “restores my soul” (vv. 2–3). I believe the Holy Spirit allowed this Psalm to minister to the people who were present for that young man’s funeral. I also know that the Holy Spirit has used this Psalm for me this past Easter season, to give me a richer experience of Jesus’ love for me and the world.

Many of us have the sights, sounds, joys, excitement, and leftovers in the refrigerator, to remind us of
the amazing Easter Season that we just experienced together. As a group of faithful followers of Jesus, we remembered together Jesus’ actions on Maundy Thursday and his institution of the Lord’s Supper. We have the visual images of Good Friday etched in our memories. The day that Jesus allowed himself to be hung on a cross for our soul’s sake. Then we have Jesus’ words and actions forever embedded in our hearts as captured by the gospel of John,
“"It is finished!" Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.” (John 19:30). But we also had the joy of Sunday morning, oh Sunday morning! What a glorious day it was when Jesus did what he said he was going to do. My Lord, what a morning when he rose up from the grave. Wouldn’t it be great if we could somehow find a way to be reminded of the joy of Easter and take it with us everywhere?

I have something for you to consider. Would you consider reading through the gospels and selecting a segment of the Easter story that brings joy to your heart? Then would you consider memorizing that seg- ment? You decide how many verses you would like to store in your memory to rely on in the future. You select the parts of Jesus' actions that you want to be reminded of during those unexpected moments in your day. For me, I am working on Matthew 28, the whole chapter. I know it will take patience. I know it will take time. I also know, that each time I work on memorizing scripture, I am filled with joy again and again. Would you join me in thanking Jesus for all he has done for us? Thank you Jesus.