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Sanctuary Service: 8:45 & 10 A.M.
Open Door Service: 11:15 A.M.
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Just a Thought or Two: Sometimes the News Is Good…

Join us for worship at First Methodist!

Sunday – May 7th, 2017

8:45 AM  | Classic Worship
10:00 AM | Classic Worship
in the Sanctuary at First Methodist

11:15 AM | Contemporary Worship
The Open Door at Buskirk-Chumley Theater




One of the things we learn in this world is to be suspicious of good news. If it sounds too good to be true, then it must not be true.

More than a few of us have received calls, emails or texts loudly announcing that we have won some amazing gift or trip. Then, once we start asking some questions, it turns out that we haven’t won a thing—someone is trying to sell us something.

Once you read the fine print at the bottom of the page, you often discover the good news wasn’t really good news after all.

Can anything good come from there?

As Jesus is beginning his earthly ministry, the Galilean is walking near some of the disciples of John the Baptist. Simon Peter, and his brother, Andrew, decide to follow Jesus—something has convinced them the carpenter’s son is the Messiah. A man named Philip also joins the band of followers, Phillip turns to a friend named Nathanael saying (John 1:45), “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law and the Prophets: Jesus, Joseph’s son, from Nazareth.”

Nathanael responds, “Can anything from Nazareth be good?”

Nazareth didn’t have a very good reputation. It was a rather insignificant place; the town was just a wide spot in the road.

Despite that, God gives a great and good gift to the world in the person of Jesus. Sometimes the good news is just good…there isn’t any negative fine print.

And then there’s my phone

Long ago, my smartphone stopped being very smart. Over 4 ½ years old, it would pocket call people at random. Friends would get calls from me when I thought my phone had been safely stored in the pocket of my jeans or my book bag. One afternoon I inadvertently called a District Superintendent and heard his voice coming from my jeans pocket. Well, you get the point.

So, this past week I called the company that provides my service. The woman walked me through the purchase of a new smartphone and she casually said, “The phone will be .99 cents.”

Well, I didn’t believe that! Each time she said “you are getting a great deal at .99 cents” I thought I had heard incorrectly. Curious, and more than a little suspicious, I asked, “Is this a rebuilt phone?” (At less than a dollar, a rebuilt phone would have been just fine.)

No, it is a new phone, she explained. So, I checked a website which reviews electronics and learned about my first-rate, power-packed, small smartphone. I ordered the phone and then alternated between delight and the feeling that something must be wrong.

The triumphant return met with…skepticism.

When my phone arrived in the mail a day later, I charged it and then went off to share my good news. My delight, my good news, was met with skepticism.

Jesus tells a story in Luke 15 about a shepherd who finds his lost sheep. “And when he finds it, he is thrilled and places it on his shoulders. When he arrives home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost sheep.”

Grinning from ear to ear, I would announce, “I bought a smartphone for .99 cents!” With only a few exceptions, people would stare at me and say something like, “What kind of a phone can you get for .99 cents?” Or, “Have you read the fine print? You’re gonna pay…they’re gonna make you pay.”

I’ve read the fine print and there isn’t a downside.

The good news is just good news.



This really isn’t about a phone

This devotional isn’t really about the price I paid for my phone. It is really about the possibility that there is good news that is just that…good news.

We’re not being taken. There isn’t some bad news lurking in the fine print at the bottom of the page.

God loves us. That is good news. It is what it is. Grace is good news. Forgiveness is good news. The empty tomb is good news. Sometimes good news is just that… good news.

I would like you to remember this as you head out to live your life in a world which has been trained us to be suspicious of good news. I want you to remember this as we go out to love people in God’s name with no strings attached. We love because we have first been loved, 1st John 4:7-21 says. We love people not to win them to anything, not to persuade them to join our group or enter the church or adopt the Apostles’ Creed, but we love people—just because God first loved us.

Sometimes good news is just that…good news. There is no disappointing fine print.


Join us this Sunday as we continue our series THE STORY. We’ll be talking about the story of a puffed up brat who became a prince. Invite a friend or two to join you as we experience the story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50).

Everyone will also be invited to share in God’s open table for Communion. In a world where people are eager to label others and fan the embers of fear, God calls us to God’s Communion table where all are welcome!

Thanks to all who gave to the Korean Parsonage Offering. We will be sharing more than $27,000 with our brothers and sisters on East 3rd Street. Also, thanks to all who give generously and faithfully so God can bless people through us here and around the world.


Diane Purnell, the wife of the Reverend George Purnell, former Lead Pastor at First Methodist, is a patient at the Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis. She was diagnosed last week with acute myeloid leukemia. Diane and George are hopeful. Your prayers and cards are appreciated. Her address for the next four weeks is:

Diane Purnell
c/o Simon Cancer Center
rd Floor, Room C-28
1030 W. Michigan
Indianapolis, IN 46202

We appreciate your prayers as our lay teams, assisted by the pastors and staff, work through applications we are receiving for positions in children’s ministries, youth ministries, and college ministries. Watch for news about an Associate Pastor. She has been appointed and our Staff Parish Relations Committee has met her, but we cannot yet announce her name.

It is a joy to be one of your pastors!




This week we’re continuing our sermon series, THE STORY. If you don’t yet have your own copy of THE STORY, you can purchase one from the church office for $10 or order online here.  If you’re interested in going deeper, the Adult Companion Guide is also available.



First Methodist