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New Series - Worship Preview 6.30.24

First United Methodist Church         


This Sunday: 10:30am – “Jesus is the Question?!” Rev. Christopher Eshelman preaching. Scriptures: Psalm 42:1-11 and John 1:29-42


The last two Sundays have been wonderful celebrations at First United Methodist. On Father’s Day we heard from our Appalachian Service Project team about their recent trip to Kentucky to make a woman’s home safer, warmer, and drier by building a ramp and replacing a rotted bathroom floor. Then last week we joined in worship with our neighbors from 1st Presbyterian to celebrate a wonderful week of VBS. During VBS and in that service we heard the stories of Thomas and Bartimaeus asking for what they needed, we encountered God’s abundance in the feeding of the 5000 and the story of Elisha and a widow’s jar of oil, and last we heard of a young girl who spoke up and helped Namaan encounter healing both physically and spiritually. Wonderful stories of faith that aren’t about simple certainties, but rather about using our voice, asking questions, and sharing what we find.


Together these celebrations remind us that it is good to get out of our comfort zones and routines, good to serve and encounter God’s presence among others, and it’s good to return “home” and to normal – cherishing our routines and traditions – those signs of “who we are” all the more as one part of the diversity of God’s beloved community. One of the songs from VBS week that has been stuck in my head had a chorus that went like this: “So let me wonder, So let me dream, let me live a life that’s free to ask my questions, to understand, to find out who you are and who I am.”


Have you ever known someone to say: “when I get to heaven, I’m going to have a lot of questions for Jesus!” I’ve certainly said something like that. Sometimes we meet people who insist “Jesus is the Answer!” – and while I believe that is true, I also think it may mislead us into thinking Jesus is about rote, simple answers and absolutes.


Again, faith is not about certainty – it’s about a growing encounter with God. And anyone who has spent time with children knows that one way we grow is by asking questions. Author Martin B. Copenhaver points out that Jesus is asked roughly 187 questions in the four Gospels – and that he directly answers, by Copenhaver’s count, maybe 8 of them! Jesus does not seem to be about simple answers! Going further,

In the gospel stories, Jesus then asks around 307 questions, most of them open ended!  “What are you looking for?” “Who do you say I am?” Jesus uses questions frequently and I think we have something to learn from that.


For the next several weeks, we will be exploring some of these questions – and how they help lead us to a deeper encounter with Christ and a growing faith. This series is an invitation to you – to wonder. To dream. To encounter the freedom a growing faith that embraces mystery and is rooted in awe offers – to ask your questions and grow in understanding and assurance of God’s love for you. I hope you will join us at 10:30am each Sunday at 3rd and National. You’ll be greeted with open hearts, open minds, and open arms. Blessings on your journey!


Upcoming Events: 

We are giving our volunteers a week off for the July 4th holiday, so there will NOT be a Feeding Families Meal on Wednesday, July 3rd,  We look forward to seeing you again on July 10th. Happy Fourth! As we celebrate, we invite you to reflect: God has, indeed, blessed America. May America do that which God blesses.


Friday, July 26th, 1-4pm  Aging Forward / Adventures in Learning

The national Shepherd’s Centers of America that we are affiliated with has rebranded as Aging Forward! Same local programming will continue the fourth Friday of each month through September. Join us on Friday, July 26thfrom 1-4pm in First United Methodists Fellowship Hall (3rd Street Entrance, downstairs) for local speakers on a variety of interesting topics.

Intended for retired adults to encourage fellowship and lifelong learning, Fort Scott’s Aging Forward! Adventures in Learning programs are free and open to anyone who would like to attend. Refreshments provided. Mark your calendar for August 23, and September 27th as well! – and invite a friend!




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