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Worship Preview for 3.6.22 First Sunday in Lent "Yet Praise"

First United Methodist Church

This Weekend: Sunday at 10:30am “Yet Praise” Scriptures: Psalm 42:1-11 and Matthew 11:28-30. Pastor Christopher Eshelman preaching.

The late Rev. Dr. Junius Dotson was a clergy colleague and, while we were not especially close, a friend as I began ministry. He served at St. Mark in Wichita and was a dynamic presence in the church and community. We interacted at district events and I learned a great deal from him - seeing him as a model of successful pastoral ministry. A few years ago, he was tapped to become the General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries for our entire denomination and continue to share his experience and expertise. One of the most powerful

ways he did so was by writing a slim volume on which our Lenten series is based. It’s called Soul Reset and it begins, with great humility, with a story of Junius’ own failure. Overworked, trying to control everything and do everything, he’d lost sight of his purpose and the bigger picture. He writes of collapsing while leading a funeral, and he shares the path of recovery from this kind of over-achieving, soul-draining exhaustion that is all too common in our culture. The last couple of weeks, I have preached about “having the mind that was in Christ” from Philippians 2 and about how often the disciples, by their own account, fell short. Like Rev. Dotson’s book, the gospels are candid about their failures and setbacks - for the purpose of helping them and us learn and grow as disciples. This week’s scriptures are the foundation of the Rev. Dotson’s book “Soul Reset” and will guide us throughout this Lenten season. It’s not about depriving ourselves in some sort of spiritual one-upmanship. It’s not about beating ourselves up. It is about being honest with ourselves, with God and with others about how we need to grow in response to God’s grace, which then enables us to do so! We enter into the journey of Lent so that we can fully appreciate and participate in the miracle of Easter. My friend Junius’s time of service here was cut short by cancer - yet his testimony remains. He is a part of my own great cloud of witnesses. We walk paths that have mountaintops and deep valleys, and we walk knowing, through Christ, that suffering and death do not have the final word. Love has already won. We are called to “yet praise” at our lowest moments, to take on the “yoke of Christ” and find, firsthand, that it is an easy burden as we participate in the “unforced rhythms of grace.” I look forward to sharing lessons from Rev. Dotson’s book, my own life, and the Scriptures throughout this season of penitence and preparation. Blessing on your journey. You are invited to worship at 10:30am Sunday in person or online - you can find links to our Facebook and Youtube at

This Week Wednesday, March 9th, 5:30pm Feeding Families in His Name – this weekly free meal is available to everyone without obligation.

Community Office Hours this week Pastor Christopher will be at Common Grounds 9:30-10:30am on Monday and appointments are available other times - call the church at (620) 223-1950.

Prayer Labyrinth Display - the display case at Hedgehog Ink! Has information about prayer labyrinths and some samples of paper finger labyrinths you can take home. Check it out anythie they are open during March.


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