Mark's Memos

Take Me to the River

November 14, 2019

There is a story about the early days of Henry Ford and Ford Motor Company. It concerns a machinist with Ford Motor Company who had "borrowed," over a period of years, tools and other automobile parts.  Although it was against company policy, "everybody did it," and management did nothing about it.

One day, however, the machinist was converted.  He was baptized and became a believer who took his baptism seriously.  The day after his baptism, he gathered up all the "tools" he had collected over the years, loaded them into his pickup, took them to the plant and presented them to the foreman with his confession and request for forgiveness.

The foreman was so overcome by his honesty that he cabled Henry Ford himself, who was visiting a European plant.  After reading the entire event in detail, Ford immediately cabled back this response: "Dam up the Detroit River," he said, "and baptize the entire plant.”

This is the last week in our series of the traits of a Jesus Follower. This week as we conclude examining the traits of a Jesus Follower we will look at doing good.  The sermon will explore what it means to do good in following Jesus and what makes this an essential trait of a Jesus Follower. 

I hope you will join us in church or online as we seek to be Jesus Followers who are seeking to good.

 

Grace and Peace,

Mark

Stand Firm on Dark Days

November 10, 2019

During his 1960 presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy often closed his speeches with the story of New England's Dark Day and Colonel Davenport, the Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives.

 

On May 19th, 1780, the sky of Hartford darkened ominously, and some of the representatives, glancing out the windows, feared the end was at hand.  Quelling a clamor for immediate adjournment, Davenport rose and said, "The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. Therefore, I wish that candles be brought."

This week we will explore the fourth trait of a Jesus Follower.  This week we will look at the trait of every Jesus Follower is to stand firm.  The sermon will explore what it means to be a stand firm in following Jesus regardless of what may be going on the world or our personal lives.

I hope you will join us in church or online as we seek to be Jesus Followers!

Grace & Peace,

Mark

Saints on Parade?

November 4, 2019

George was sitting at a stoplight one morning. The lady in front of him was going through papers on the seat of her car, and when the light changed to green, she did not obey its command. A green light is a commandment — not a suggestion.

When the light turned to red and she had still not moved, he began (with his windows up) screaming epithets and beating on the steering wheel. His expressions of distress were interrupted by a policeman, gun drawn, tapping on his window.

Against his protestations of, “You can’t arrest me for hollering in my car,” the policeman ordered him into the back seat of his squad car and took him to the station.

After about two hours in a holding cell, the arresting officer advised him he was free to go. George said, “I knew you couldn’t arrest me for what I was yelling in my own car. You haven’t heard the last of this.”

The officer replied, “I didn’t arrest you for shouting in your car. I was directly behind you at the light. I saw you screaming and beating your steering wheel, and I said to myself, 'What a jerk.' But there is nothing I can do to him for throwing a fit in his own car. Then I noticed the cross hanging from your rearview mirror, the fish on the trunk lid and the “My boss is a Jewish Carpenter,” and the “Jesus is Coming Soon” bumper stickers, and I thought you must have stolen the car from a Christian.”

The challenges of the being a Jesus Follower in all our times is great.  This week we will explore the third trait of a Jesus Follower.  This Sunday is also All Saints Sunday for us at Chapel Hill.  Would it surprise you that Jesus Followers Are Saints? The sermon will explore what it means to be a saint following Jesus in these times.

I hope you will join us in church or online as we seek to be Jesus Followers!

Grace & Peace,

Mark

Two-Faces

October 27, 2019

As Vice President, George Bush represented the United States at the funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.  Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev's widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed.  Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev's wife performed an act of great courage and hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed: she reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband's chest.


There, in the citadel of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was another life, and that the life was best represented by Jesus who died on the cross, and that the same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband.

As we approach Reformation Day, October 31st, the Latin words of Martin Luther’s theology, Simul Justus Et Peccator, (at once justified and a sinner) seem appropriate for us to remember about all our fellow humans not just Brezhnev’s wife. 

This week we will explore the second trait of Jesus Follower.  That is one who seeks to model their whole life in the shape of how Jesus lived his life by following Jesus in every way possible.  This week we will look the trait of every Jesus Follower that is of being two-faced.  The sermon will explore what it means to be two-faced in following Jesus and what makes this a trait of every Jesus Follower 

I hope you will join us in church or online as we seek to be Jesus Followers!

Grace & Peace,

Mark

Persistent

October 20, 2019

--In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins -- not through strength but by persistence. --H. Jackson Brown

--It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up. --Vince Lombardi

--Never measure the height of a mountain until you reach the top. Then you will see how low it was. --Dag Hammarskjšld

--Persistence is not a long race; it is many short races one after another. --Walter Elliott

--Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts. --Winston Churchill

These next few weeks we will be exploring some traits of faithful disciples of Jesus.  One of the modern terms for a faithful disciple is a Jesus Follower.  That is one who seeks to model their whole life in the shape of how Jesus lived his life by following Jesus in every way possible.  This week as begin to look the traits of a Jesus Follower we will start with persistence.  The sermon will explore what it means to be persistent in following Jesus and what makes this an essential trait of a Jesus Follower 

I hope you will join us in church or online as we seek to be Jesus Followers who are persistent in our faith.

Grace & Peace,

Mark

Money: good, bad and sometimes ugly

October 6, 2019

In his book A Stewardship Scrapbook, William R. Phillippe notes that the Reformer John Calvin taught that material goods are instruments of God. He points out 3 key points:

 

THE GOOD:  Money becomes the means God uses to help persons.

 

"So God put wealth at our disposal … so that we may organize our life and the life of our community … to bring shalom, the fullest possible, sustainable life for all persons everywhere … to organize the society in which we live in a responsible way, in solidarity with all others. ..."

 

THE BAD: We often negate the good values of our money. 

 

Calvin also warned that the devil brings sin among us, and we become selfish and ingrown and try to insulate and isolate ourselves from the community. Thereby, we negate the good values of our money.

 

THE UGLY: Money can become our idol.

 

Through sin we can come to idolize our money and give it a place it should not have.  We can let it become divine with power over us.”

This week as we conclude our sermon series on “Growing our Faith through Generosity”.  We will be challenged to think about how our generosity is a legacy that impacts all those arounds us today and into the future as we strive to reach the next generation for Jesus through every aspect of our discipleship including our financial resources.

 

I hope you will join me this week in worship or online as we bring our stewardship commitments to the altar and I share a sermon titled “A Legacy of Generosity”.

Grace & Peace,

Mark

Rev. Mark Jardine is the Senior Pastor at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church. Born and raised in Bartlesville, he is a graduate of Oklahoma City University and hold his Master in Divinity from the Candler School of Theology of Emory University.
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