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Classic Worship: 8:45 & 10 a.m.

Contemporary Worship: 11:15 a.m.

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Just A Thought or Two: Always in Training

THIS SUNDAY, OCT 2nd, 2016

(traditional worship with a more intimate atmosphere, includes special music and sermon)

(traditional worship with special music and preaching, including a children’s moment)

(contemporary, informal worship with preaching and children’s moment)



cooking chili & gumbo


Have you arrived?    Whether it is hitting a baseball, mastering the best available knowledge about dark matter, cooking Cajun gumbo, or praying, have you arrived?    I ask the question because there was a time in my life, as a child, when I thought people became experts at something and no longer needed to grow.   Once you “had it” then you “had it.”  Adults graduated from school, and then they moved beyond the learning chapter in life, I once thought.


The truth is that even when we master the current body of knowledge about dark matter, or how to hit a fastball, or cook Cajun gumbo, or raise roses, or pray, we need to keep growing.   Not to keep learning, not to keep growing, not to keep exploring, not to keep stretching, means we’ll go backwards.   There is joy in continuing to grow, continuing to make new discoveries, and there is a vague discontent that settles in when we stop learning new and better ways to do what it is we do.

A world famous flutist was filling concert halls around the world.   He stopped practicing the basics, and James Galway discovered he was losing his edge.  Others might not notice, but he knew.   So, Galway began spending time each day playing the scales.     When golfers reach the top of their profession, they don’t stop working on their long game or putting game.   I was meeting with the staff of a great leader of a great church in Kansas City this week, and they commented that Adam Hamilton will often ask, “What do you see in how I handled that?   What do you notice is going on, and how could I have done that better?   I need you to be honest with me.”

We’re never too good to stop.  Amazing cooks, gardeners, musicians, and leaders keep leaning forward into the next discovery, sharpening their edge, and there is joy in that.


A veteran first-century leader (and missionary pastor) named Paul , wrote to a courageous and faithful young Christian leader named Timothy in the small epistles we know as 1st and 2nd Timothy.   Timothy had already proven himself to be a person of extraordinary spiritual depth and amazing courage, yet Paul tells him (1 Timothy 4:7b-8) to remember to keep training:  “Train yourself for a holy life!   While physical training has some value, training in holy living is useful for everything.   It has promise for this life now and the life to come.”

Training season is never done.  Whether you are cooking Cajun gumbo, raising roses, leading a business or school or church or city, writing poetry, hitting a fastball, or praying: training season is never done.

Keep growing.   Keep stretching.   Keep learning.


Paul writes to young Timothy (Timothy 4:14), “Don’t neglect the spiritual gift in you that was given through prophecy when the elders laid hands on you.  Practice these things, and live them so that your progress will be visible to all.”

What spiritual gift has God given you, and are you in danger of neglecting it?   Are you in danger of coasting on the spiritual discoveries and mountain top experiences you had long ago with God?   Is it possible the Spirit set your heart on fire with a desire to serve, to make a difference (working with youth, tutoring children, providing freshwater wells for African villages, volunteering at a free medical clinic in Haiti or Redbird Missionary Conference, etc.), and that is now only a dim memory?


There is a part of me that almost feels funny being at the “Leadership Institute” at the Church of Resurrection in Kansas City with several members of our First Methodist staff.   Our staff is rather young, and yet what is a Lead Pastor who is in his mid 60’s doing going to one more of these leadership gatherings?    After going to these sorts of things in San Diego, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, and Kansas City for more than 30 years isn’t it time to stop?

I watch our staff, I listen to the team with me, and I smile at their energy and discoveries.   It’s so good!   And I am here because I believe God has called all of us -even veterans of many trails like this preacher-  to keep learning.  God doesn’t want us to neglect the gift we have received, but keep letting the Holy Spirit stretch us.

We’re not the a congregation resting on yesterday’s discoveries; instead, we are a community encouraging one another to keep practicing, keep learning, and keep growing.   Kansas City isn’t just about barbecue and the blues, but it is -at least this week-  a place of discovery and learning for us.   Which seems like the right place to be when you are serving a faith community that is all about lifelong learning!


John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, stressed the need to keep growing in Christ.  Life was a journey of discovery as God grew us all the way along.

How have you been growing in your faith, in the way you love and serve and give?   What new discoveries are you making about life, about your soul, and about God?   Or have you been neglecting the gift God placed in you when people put their hands on you (in your baptism and confirmation)?   What would it take for your heart, once on fire with love for God and a desire to change the world, to re-ignite?


See you in worship this Sunday at 8:45 or 10 in the Sanctuary, or at 11:15 in the Buskirk-Chumley for The Open Door.  We’ll be celebrating World Communion Sunday, and beginning our series “Defying Gravity.”  You won’t want to miss Susan Yeley’s brief sharing about the radical generosity she has experience at First Methodist (she’ll be at each service).

Financial Wellness is Sunday from 5:30-6:30 in Room. 218/219.   Last week we had over 20 persons for a great session on the basics of getting a handle on our financial lives.   Join us!  Learn more at www.fumcb.org/financial-wellness.

Also, if you are new to First Methodist and/or The Open Door, our “1st @ First” will be on Monday evening from 7-8 p.m.   This informal, one-hour time is your opportunity to get to know other newcomers, meet the pastor, and learn some basic information about First Methodist.  Email cforeman@fumcb.org to learn more.

Grace and peace,
Mark Fenstermacher


Financial Wellness Continues This Sunday Evening!


If we are a church that loves people and wants people to be well (just as Jesus wanted the rich man to be well…to be free…to be happy!), then we need to offer resources. So, a team of great volunteers, led by Jonathan Purvis, are working with me to offer a very simple 4-week series of classes about money we are calling Financial Wellness.

Financial Wellness will be continue this Sunday evening from 5:30-6:30 here at First Methodist. Sessions will be straight-forward, easily understandable for non-money types (like me!), and last only one hour. Presenters will be people from inside our church, people you probably know, people you can trust. They will be sharing what they know… helpful insights from their experiences. Each evening will also include a time for questions!

There is no cost for the course. Childcare will be provided (we would like to know if you will be using our childcare) and refreshments will be served.

The topics for Financial Wellness will be:

  • 9/25 – Financial Health & Getting Out of Debt.
  • This Sunday: 10/2 – Beginning & Building a Budget.
  • 10/9 – Handling College & Getting Ready for Retirement.
  • 10/16 – Having a Lasting Impact.

Register online and learn more at: www.fumcb.org/financial-wellness
Or email first.financial.wellness@gmail.com




Getting Into First Methodist on Sunday Morning

The alley doors have been locked these past few Sundays in answer to safety issues, but this has made some members of our congregation unhappy. So, we will have the Northwest alley door unlocked on Sunday mornings with someone there to greet and assist you.

The wooden doors on 4th street should be used an emergency exit only. Remember, you can always use the Sanctuary entrance by Thurston Parlor to help eliminate traffic congestion at the Southeast door.

The Ushers will be leaving the Sanctuary doors open until after the children’s moment, giving parents enough time to re-enter the Sanctuary without the doors clanking after each person enters. We realize that having the doors open may make it difficult for some to hear, but perhaps changing your seat to the center may help. Leaving the doors open will also make late comers less of a distraction.





View details online, contact the church office and/or pick up a brochure for the Holy Land Trip in February of 2017. Led by Pastor Mark Fenstermacher, the trip is with experienced tour operator EO (Educational Opportunities Inc.). At this point it appears we may have approximately 20 persons making this life-changing journey. The cost is just over $3,000 per person (including airfare, hotel accommodations, tour guide, motor coach transportation in Israel, morning and evening meals, etc.) for those who did not register by July 11th. Contact Ms. Cath Foreman if you have questions.  Click here to view the trip website




This Sunday we begin our sermon series titled “Defying Gravity!”  See you soon!

Defying Gravity




First Methodist