Sacred 4-Letter Words: FULL

Pastor Craig Carter In our current sermon series, we’re looking at some English words consisting of four letters that help us live as God intends us to live. But they are not the type we normally associate with the phrase, “four-letter words.” Instead, they are Sacred 4-Letter Words that enable us to be holy as God is holy. Last week we observed that our #1 enemy in living the Christian life is SELF. It is “the disease of me” that has infected every member of the human race from Adam and Eve onward. Jesus applied the cure when He is …

Sacred 4-Letter Words: SELF

Pastor Craig Carter Last week I introduced a new sermon series called “Sacred 4-Letter Words.” In it, we are going to explore some English words to live by, consisting of four letters each, that help us become what God wants us to be – holy as He is holy. Before we get to ones that will enable us to fulfill our God-given destiny, I first want to address a word that keeps us from accomplishing our objective. What prevents us from living a holy lifestyle? It is sin, which is the ultimate four-letter word (but not of the sacred variety). …

Sacred 4-Letter Words: HOLY

Pastor Craig Carter When my children were little, they were home schooled and lived a fairly sheltered existence. I served a small church in rural Alabama and their regular baby sitter was a young lady from our congregation who was like an adopted daughter to us. She was their primary connection to the “outside world” and, being a teenager, exposed them to a pop culture. On one occasion, after leaving them with her for a while, when we arrived home they informed us, “We watched a movie with Gigi and they said a bad word!” Holding our breath and imagining …

A New Year of Holiness

Pastor Craig Carter What are some words associated with Christmas? First, let’s eliminate the obvious answer the preacher is looking for: Jesus. What else comes to mind? From a cultural point of view, it may be naughty, nice, snow, cheer, jolly, or debt. Topping the Christian list has to be joy, hope, peace, and believe. While those words all have a connection to the Christmas story told in Scripture, we’re leaving out the most common one – holy. Some form of the word appears 70 times in our Advent devotional guide by J.D. Walt. Think about it: Christmas is a …

A New Year of Contemplation

Pastor Terry Tatum Each year around this time I tend to reflect on the past year, or years. I think about what was, what is, and what could have been. Without any prompting my mind just goes in that direction. Reflecting on 2020 has been different to say the least. I really love to hear the scriptures read regarding the birth of Christ, the wise men, the shepherds, the virgin birth, and that there was no room for them at the inn. It causes me to truly contemplate where I am and where I’m going. This week during our church-wide …

A New Year of Anticipation

Pastor Craig Carter Today is the second Sunday of Advent. As we anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ birth on Christmas we also look forward to the day when Christ will come again. The Apostle Paul describes Jesus’ promised return in this way… The Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout,           with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God … Then we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NLT) How would you respond to this news? Your father is coming! It all depends on the situation, doesn’t it? …

Paying it Forward: A Christmas Blessing

Mary McQuagge, Children’s Minister In the weeks after Hurricane Michael countless churches within the United Methodist connection came forward to help Bay County and surrounding communities in our time of need. This year the city of Lake Charles, Louisiana was hit with not one, but two major hurricanes. In the aftermath, God led our church to opportunity to pay forward the kindness we had been shown through a partnership with University and First United Methodist Churches in Lake Charles. We are so thankful to God for using us to provide a Lake Charles Christmas Blessing! Our members graciously donated toys …

A New Year of Awakening

Pastor Craig Carter Is anyone ready for the year to be over? 2020 has been one for the record books. It certainly has been the craziest in my lifetime. Someone has described it as “the gift nobody wanted, but it keeps giving and giving.” Let me remind you of just a few of the things that have happened this year: The year began with Australian bush fires, locusts in Africa, and the impeachment of the President (seems like long ago, doesn’t it?). Hurricane season started early and lasted late (and I’m not sure it’s over yet!) It brought 30 named …

How to Live with Power

Pastor Craig Carter The primary message in the Letter of James is that Christian faith should be demonstrated through Christian action. It’s not enough to know the right thing to do, real followers of Jesus actually do it. So the key verse is found in chapter one, verse 22: Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. (James 1:22a NLT) James argues against a brand of Christianity that simply accumulates biblical knowledge. It’s something I believe is commonplace today as we seem to have developed what I like to refer to as “alien believers.” Do you …

How to Live with Wealth

Pastor Craig Carter This fall we have been engaged in a church-wide study of the Letter of James. This New Testament book is filled with practical advice and shows us “how to live” as Christians. In many ways, the letter of James serves as a commentary on Jesus’ teaching as it touches on many of the themes Christ addressed. One such theme is money. You’ve probably heard that Jesus talked about money more than any other subject. That being the case, it is not surprising that James addresses the topic as well. Jesus made it very clear that material possessions …