• ReadThursday Thoughts for August 5, 2021
    Conquer Fear, Loneliness, and Worries

    Worried? Unhappy? Christ Offers New Life

    August 5, 2021

    Sitting in my favorite chair on the porch, I have a full view of the special daylilies I have planted over the years. They are to bloom from June-September if the buds are not gobbled up by the herd of deer that make gardening in my yard a challenge. During this dry summer it has been an outright battle with the four-legged thieves with the soulful brown eyes and they have been on the winning side of the war. I have a new weapon in the fight against such thievery in the form of an inflatable tube dancer that I turn on at night. Sorry, my enthusiasm for my new tactic has gotten me totally off subject.

    As I sat surveying the damage the maundering raiders had caused, I watched a tiny hummingbird visit the stems where flowers once were that offered a nourishing sip of nectar. But there was nothing left but a dried-up scar atop a stem. She darted to the feeder then back to the stem over and over again. Why would she do such a thing?

    It made me wonder if we don't sometimes do the same. Do we ever revisit in our mind what is past that offers no sustenance or joy? Are there situations or people that are toxic to us but we can't seem to let go of them? Has the past put a stranglehold on moving forward? What do we need to do to leave harmful memories and experiences from the past in the past? It may be as simple as disciplining our minds to forget a disagreement with someone to seeking medical help from a professional for complex and deep-seated matters.

    No solution is quick or without setbacks. Why do we think we can handle those things that hold us back on our own? Have you ever heard the admonition which is credited to A. Einstein: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". Why do we hang on to what haunts and destroys us and affects the rest of our lives?

    Jesus doesn't want us to destroy ourselves, just the opposite. He came to set us free so that we might move on to bear fruit that serves others. In Philippians 3:13b-14 Paul wrote, "But one thing I know: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." We have things we need to be doing for others, ourselves, and for the Kingdom.

    Isaiah 43:18-19 says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!

    Christ has changed us, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20

    We have hope for the future as we read in Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."

    I pray that we remember this verse and seek life-affirming experiences and people who help us see the promise of God's love and leave the scars of the past behind.



    1. Jul
      Sunday, July 18th  •  9:30–10:30 am (EDT)
      Faith Bible Classroom, Bridgewater UMC
      219 North Main Street, Bridgewater, VA, 22812
      1. Aug
        Wednesday, August 11th  •  6:30–7:30 pm (EDT)
        New Beginnings classroom, Bridgewater UMC
        219 North Main Street, Bridgewater, VA, 22812
        1. Sep
          Sunday, September 19th  •  5:00–6:30 pm (EDT)
          Wildwood Park, Bridgewater VA 22812
          1. Youth Group at Elkton Area United Services. Pictured left to right: Tyler Hohenstein, Colton McDorman, Samuel Wright, Callie McDorman, Reese Leach, Taylor Ann Joralemon, Molly Early, Blake Hohenstein, Hannah Cook, Audrey Hildebrand, Sydney Leach, and Karen Chamblee.

            Summary of the Youth's Mission Week

                In July, the Youth Group spent a week engaging in local mission work in the town of Bridgewater and Rockingham County. Our work has made me ponder the words of Jesus to His disciples in the Great Commission, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19 Common English Bible). It has been an honor to see how much our youth have grown and bonded over Mission Week. We made an impact on the organizations we were able to help.

                     We responded to Jesus's words He gave us in the Great Commission. In addition, we lived into the Mission Statement of The United Methodist Church, “The mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” This statement is based on Jesus's words in the Great Commission. How are you responding to Jesus's words to us in the Great Commission today?

            1. published a bulletin

              ReadBridgewater United Methodist Church
              10th Sunday After Pentecost Proper 15
            2. ReadAugust BUMC Newsletter and Friday BUMC eBlast for July 30
              Sept. 19, August worship services, YOUTH MISSION WEEK, Best Wishes for Jennifer, Socks/Underwear/Hair Clips needed for Children's Clothes Closet, Kits for Conference, August Birthdays & Anniversaries

              Back to Church Sunday is September 19

              FROM PASTOR STEVE

              As your pastor, I have been concerned with two questions.

              1) How do we help people inside the church grow in their faith?

              2) How do we reach new people with the love and hope of Jesus Christ?

              These questions are not new but still need to be addressed if BUMC is to grow and return to anything close to the pre-COVID life of our church. The past eighteen months have been hard on the church. When we look at BUMC, some might say that we are down for the count. I am not of that mind. I believe God is not done with us yet.  That God is waiting for us to roll up our sleeves and restore life into His church. 

              I want to share with you an idea that can do just that. It is called Back to Church Sunday (BTCS). As the name suggests, it is about getting people to coming back to church. COVID has made worship attendance difficult; it has been hard for folks to return to church as the public restrictions subside.  Regular church attendance is a habit that we develop over time. Not coming to church is also a habit, as we have learned to adapt over the last eighteen months by worshiping online. We are thankful for the ability to hold online services, and we will continue to do so, but online worship is not the same as in-person worship. BTCS will be a springboard that can help us to encourage in-person attendance at BUMC. 

              BTCS is not just about reaching out to our church family; it is about sharing Jesus with those in our community who may not know him. At BUMC we are concerned for people who are far from God and want to make it a priority to reach out to them.

              Whether a person is far from God because they have fallen out of the habit of attending church or have never been a part of the church BTCS is a way to reach out to them and encourage them to join us BUMC. 

              Our church is called to tell others about Jesus. We are the body of Christ in our community. BUMC, as messy as it can sometimes be, is absolutely vital. It is a place where we celebrate who God is and what God is doing in our midst, in our community, and our world.

              BUMC is where we find a community where all people can grow and develop as God intended. It is a place of encouragement and support when we are going through difficult times. It is a place where others come around us in our distress.

              God has put our church right where it is in this moment to make a difference. It is no coincidence that we are here to share the light of Jesus at this moment in time.

              What can you do to share the light of Jesus Christ with others in the Bridgewater community?

              Most importantly, become a prayer partner for Back to Church Sunday, which will take place on September 19th, here at Bridgewater UMC. 


              Keyways that you can pray:


              · Pray that God will move in the lives of our church family and in the people in our community. That we will welcome many people to our church.

              · Pray for people – Ask God for the names of five people to put on your heart that you can invite to BTCS. Pray for boldness as you extend your invitations to them.

              · Pray for the pastors & Church Leaders – That the gospel will be presented in a way that speaks to the hearts of all those who come to church.

              · Pray that the church will be ready to welcome newcomers as well as those who have not been to church in a while.