Big Words: Ecclesiology

Pastor Terry Tatum This post is a continuation of our “Big Words” series, in which we are digging deep into the meaning of some of the big words that comprise the language of our faith.  Usually, I have a funny story about how Pastor Craig assigned me the least fun topic in the series, but not his time. He left me with an essential teaching in the church, a “Big Word” that I’ll bet many of you have never heard and if you have heard it, you probably have never heard it explained before. Today’s “Big Word” is Ecclesiology, which …

Big Words: Sanctification

Pastor Craig Carter Earlier in our current series we identified a term that is somewhat distinctive to us as Methodists – prevenient grace. Today we’re going to explore another term that has traditionally caused our denomination to stand out from the crowd – sanctification.  Whether we’re Methodists by upbringing or by choice, we hold tightly to the big word, sanctification. We also refer to it as holiness, or Christian perfection (the term our founder, John Wesley preferred).  According to John Wesley, “This doctrine (Christian Perfection) is the grand depositum which God has lodged with the people called Methodists; for the …

Big Words: Assurance

In our current sermon series, we’re looking at some Big Words that aren’t necessarily part of our common vocabulary and so they are sometimes difficult to understand. But these “big words” are the language of our faith that communicate what we believe as Christians. They form the doctrine, or teaching, of the Church. Throughout the series, we’ve pointed out that, as Methodists, most of our theological views are similar to other denominations, but in some areas we differ. Some of our differences are highlighted in an article I recently came across called, “How Many Christians Does It Take to Change …

Big Words: Salvation

Pastor Terry Tatum We are in a series titled Big Words, where we hope to explain some of the difficult concepts that we often speak of in the church world, but not everyone understands.  Two weeks ago Pastor Craig taught us about Prevenient Grace (the grace that precedes salvation), which led us to last week’s message on Conversion (where we go from who we are to who God has called us to be).  We covered the fact that conversion has two sides: Human and Divine. God’s part of the process is achieved by His grace alone while our part is …

Big Words: Conversion

Pastor Terry Tatum Last week, Craig taught us about Prevenient Grace. I have heard it said before that “Prevenient grace is the first light of the soul,” and if accepted, it leads us to the brink of saving grace.  Have you ever heard the term saving grace before? How about salvation, justification, or being saved? Over the next few weeks we’ll discuss all of these terms but for today’s purposes let’s just say that’s where we will end up once we begin to accept and live into prevenient grace.  To be clear, you must understand that there is one God …

Big Words: Prevenient Grace

Pastor Craig Carter On most points we, as Methodists, have similar views to other denominations but, in some areas, we differ.  I heard about a man who arrived at the gates of heaven and St. Peter asked, “What denomination?”  “Methodist,” the man replied. “Go to Room 24, but be very quiet as you pass by Room 8.” Another man arrived. “What denomination?” “Lutheran.” “Go to Room 18, but be very quiet as you pass by Room 8.” A third fellow showed up. “What denomination?” “Presbyterian” “Go to Room 15, but be very quiet as you pass by Room 8.” Perplexed, …

Big Words: Depravity

Pastor Craig Carter Last week I introduced a new sermon series called “Big Words.” In it, we’re going to explore the language of our faith that helps us understand what we believe and enables us to live accordingly. In essence, this series is a course in basic Christian doctrine.  As I mentioned last week, we’re going to look at these theological concepts from a distinctively Methodist point of view. In some cases, we have a lot in common with other Christian denominations but in other areas, we differ from one another.  One thing we can all agree on is that …

Big Words

Big Words: Introduction

Pastor Craig Carter I’ve discovered a lot of folks are reluctant to read their Bibles and dig deeply into what it means to be a Christian because of the “big words” associated with the faith that are hard to say and even harder to understand.  I’m not talking about names and places like Nebuchadnezzar or Mesopotamia. No, I’m referring to “big words” that aren’t commonly used in the English language that involve complex theological concepts.  When was the last time you used propitiation, justification, or sanctification in an everyday, casual conversation? Yet, those words are a part of the language …

Comeback Sunday

On Sunday, September 12th we celebrated Comeback Sunday. If you weren’t with us in person or online, I encourage you to watch the service here. I think you’ll agree that we have quite a comeback story to tell.  I wish I had kept a journal over the past three years because I think I could have turned the story of our congregation’s journey into a best-selling book. Better yet, in movie form, it might be a blockbuster hit.  Which makes me wonder, who’d play me? Don’t answer that! If our comeback story were a book or movie, it’d be the …

Back to the Good Old Days

Pastor Craig Carter Whenever a setback occurs, a normal response is a desire to return to the way things were.  The baseball pitcher who suffers an arm injury just wants to return to the mound.  A business that faces financial ruin longs to get back to operating in the black again.  Do you remember how we felt immediately after Hurricane Michael? We all wished (and prayed) for the return of running water, for power to be restored, and for our yards to be free of downed trees and debris. We talked about the good old days of when we had …