Morning Worship 11:00 AM, January 8, 2012

The audio of the service with Rev. David Humphrey preaching from a text in St. Mark’s Gospel.

Asbury Sermon – January 8, 2012

Asbury Contemporary Service & Children’s Program Audio

The audio of the December 18, 2011 Contemporary Service at Asbury UMC is now available.  It includes the children’s program and Christmas favorites!  Click on the link!

Asbury Comtemporary – December 18, 2011

Christmas and New Year’s Schedule 2011-2012

Worship Services for Christmas Eve, December 24, 2011 will be as follows:

7:00 p.m.  Service of Carols and Candlight

8:15 p.m. — 9:00 p.m.  Quiet Communion available

11:00 p.m. — 12:00 a.m.  Quiet Communion available

All services in Sanctuary.  All Welcome!

 

For Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25, 2011 —

9:45 a.m. One service in the Sanctuary.  Please join us!

12:00 noon Community Cantata with “Singing Christmas Tree” at Centennial United Methodist Church, 44 E Mt Vernon St, Smyrna.

 

For New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1, 2012 —

Our normal Sunday Schedule will resume

 

Sermon & Cantata Audio – December 18, 2011

The Rev. Dr. David Humphrey preaching and the Chancel Choir singing the annual Christmas Cantata (portions).

Asbury UMC Sermon & Cantata December 18, 2011

Sermon from December 18, 2011

Funny Way to Save the World

Pointers

Luke 1:46-55

There is this bicycle race in India where all the rules are topsy-turvy from what you’d expect.  The object of the race is not to go a set distance in the least amount of time.  The object is to go the least distance in a set time.  The slowest cyclist who stays upright wins (Leith Anderson, author and pastor of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota; from sermon “The Height of Humility”[9-12-99], online:preachingtoday.com).  It is beautifully, wonderfully out of kilter, off, skewed, topsy-turvy – but it points to something.  It is a pointer to a whole new reality.  To whom or what do you point today?

Now when I was young my mother taught me in no uncertain terms it was impolite to point.  Like “Hey , ewwww, look at that man with the ugly blue nose over there!”  “Stop pointing, honey, it’s impolite!”  But I want to suggest that sometimes in some ways, pointing can be good — spiritual pointing.  Denise introduced us to this concept last week.  It’s not all about us.  To whom or what then, does your life point?

One thing I love about the gospel writer, Luke, is that even before he gets to the birth of Jesus in chapter 2 he has this whole long chapter about people who point to the coming of Jesus.  And they don’t just point to the ohh and ahh sentimental vulnerability of the baby in a manger, they also point up and out to the whole holistic worldwide salvation this baby was to effect and offer the human race.  They point others in toward the manger and upward to glory – to what or to whom are you pointing people today?

Luke 1 is the longest chapter in the NT and these people are like you and me – in both their flawed vulnerability as well as their heroic courage.  Let’s look at them briefly and talk about how we also might point others in toward the manger and up toward glory today.

First there is Zechariah, the father of John the Baptizer.  He is one of these guys who are like some of you, perhaps.  You’ve tried to be faithful most of your life.  Probably been in and out of church, mostly in for many years but sometimes you wonder has it been worth it.  It seems I’ve never accomplished anything much spectacular or significant for God.  I wonder if Zechariah felt like that.   And then he got his big chance he’s told he’s going to be the father of the forerunner of the Lord, and he blew it.  He got scared, he lost his nerve.  He had his big chance to get into the hall of faith, the Cooperstown of Christianity, and he blew it.  Ever felt like Zechariah?  And we don’t hear from him – for a little while.

Then there is Mary, this probable teenage girl, improbably cast to be the mother of our Lord, not of the intelligencia, not of the upper crust.  Not a scum of the earth total nobody, but an almost nobody.  You ever felt like that, or seen people like that, people who feel like they are not total nobodies, but almost nobodies, most of time?

And yet Mary pointed to Jesus and the topsy-turvy Kg, this salvation he would bring into the world – both the tender mercy and the powerful, powerful redemption he would bring to bear upon everything wrong in this world.  In her song, called the Magnificat she sings this in verses 50-53

And his mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear him.

He has done might deeds with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their heart

He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble

He has filled the hungry with good things and sent away the rich empty-handed.

 

Theologians call this the social reversal of the Kingdom.  Mary saw it.  When the rich tax collector Zaccheus found redemption he got involved in Jesus’ generosity and it still happens in peoples’ hearts today.  Bishop NT Wright calls it God’s putting the world to rights.  Our job this Christmas is not necessarily to put the world to rights, but it is to point to the One who is and will one day finish the job.

I’ve been intrigued by, partly disturbed by, partly grudgingly respectful of, the Occupy protests being held in cities all over the world this fall.  When I read statistics like in the 1950s big-company CEOs in the US earned about fifty times the pay of an average worker while just a few years ago in 2004 the average CEO made 531 times the salary of the average worker (David S. Mason, professor Emeritus of Political Science, Butler University, online: http://endoftheamericancentury.blogspot.com).  Other statistics I read say it’s more like 261 times the average worker now.  The late Peter Drucker said nobody should make more than 20 times more than someone who works for him or her (“The Drucker Exchange,” online: http://thedx.druckerinstitute.com2011/02/turning-up-the-heat-on-ceo-pay/) .  So much for Drucker’s influence but it leads me to ask the question in the last 60 years in the corporate and financial board rooms of America has anybody been pointing to the presence and ethics and teaching of Jesus when those boards of directors were setting such salary structures for their companies?  I think not very much.  And make no mistake about it we are all reaping the fruit of that failure.

Yeah, right, so what can we who are flawed fearful people like Zechariah and almost nobodies most of the time like Mary supposed to do about stuff like that?  We hear from Zechariah again at the end of Chapter 1 and he talks there about (verse 74) being delivered form the hand of our enemies that we might serve him without fear and (verses 77 & 78) by the forgiveness of sins because of the tender mercy of our God.  We can point people in toward the manger to the tender mercy of God, and up in glory to the salvific power of God to turn everything in our culture that is wrong topsy-turvy and make it right.  Yeah, it’s a funny way to save the world, but point there anyway.  Simply point them in toward the manger, up to glory.

I want to close with one practical suggestion on how to do that?  We’ve been talking last year and this year during advent about worshipping fully by spending less, giving more, loving all.  I asked you last year to think and pray about maybe taking up one of those ideas like only giving 3 gifts to people in your family this year or trying the $ 100 Christmas.   I feel like Dr. Phil.  So how’s that working for you?  Remember that?  However it’s going, I want to offer another practical assignment this year.  Try it in the week between Christmas and New Years.  Have a contest at your house to see who can come up with the best idea for having the most fun together spending the least amount of money – the most spiritually enriching fun for the least money.  Then tell somebody about it.  It may not be as wildly topsy-turvy as the slowest shortest bike race.  I don’t know that you’ll make a huge immediate impact on the US economy, but you never know who you might point to Bethlehem.

By the way, remember that question, what can flawed fearful, almost nobody most of the time people do to put God’s world back to rights?  Think of it this way.  Anybody remember the name of the CEO of AIG who made 13.9 million dollars after taking a 50% pay cut the year before his company collapsed?  Yet we remember well Zechariah and Mary and especially the one to whom they pointed.

On a night of wonder Jesus was born.  People before then and since have pointed to him and his still unfolding salvation – in toward the manger/tender mercy, up toward glory/powerful redemption.  They were and are those who pointed well and point still — pointers.  This year, will you be one?

   Rev. David B. Humphrey

Asbury United Methodist Church, Smyrna, Delaware

December 18, 2011

Asbury Contemporary Service – December 11, 2011

The Rev. Denise Founds preaching – and praise music – that will bless your heart and lead into the worship of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  Follow the link to enjoy the audio or download.  PTL!

The Practice of Worship

The Practice of Worship

The audio recording of the Rev. Denise Founds preaching at the December 11, 2011, 11:00 AM service at Asbury UMC.  These recordings air every week on WDSD-FM, Dover, Delaware at 7:30 AM on Sunday.  Follow this link to listen to the audio or to download.  May God bless!

The Practice of Worship

Asbury 11:00 AM 12/4/2011 – Audio Recording

Pastor David Humphrey preaches on the patience of God – and ours!  This link connects you to the same recording which airs on WDSD FM each Sunday at 7:30 AM.  May God bless!

Asbury UMC 11:00 AM Service – 12/4/2011