Pastor's Page

“Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.  Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world.” Philippians 2:12-15 NRSV  
           The United Methodist Church is living through its most difficult time in my memory as a denomination. We seldom make the nightly news as a denomination when we feed the hungry, nor do we show up in the headlines of local papers when we are the first on the scene of a disaster with our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). I imagine that we will be front page, above the crease material for the next few months as we wrangle and struggle to find our way into the future God has for us – it will not be an easy ride. 
           With that said, I want to commend our church family at the Baldwinsville First United Methodist Church for the integrity and love you have demonstrated as we have begun this journey.  We do not agree on every issue.  There is deep passion and conviction on both sides of the national debates that gather together each Sunday at 17 West Genesee Street in Baldwinsville New York.  The most beautiful thing that I get to witness from my vantage point in the pulpit of this congregation is a diverse group of Christ followers who have chosen to love each other and Jesus more than we love our positions or fears. I do not take this attitude for granted, and I wanted to take this space this month to thank-you all for your kindness and love for each other and the Kingdom of God. 
           Several years ago, I heard Pastor Chuck Swindoll share the following piece that he wrote about the importance of maintaining our Christ like attitude. I share it with you this month as a word of encouragement and hope.

ATTITUDE by Charles Swindoll

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company... a church... a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes” 

The mission of making disciple of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the word goes forward with us! No matter the twists and turns on the national stage, this will be our call. Come and join us for worship this Sunday at 9:00 or 10:30A.M. - we'll save you a seat!is not noted here, and we have no way of knowing, but I can't help but notice that Matthew comes to faith very soon after the Sermon on the Mount of chapters 5,6 and 7. I can't help but wonder if Matthew was in the crowd on that hillside a couple of chapters ago. Perhaps he heard Jesus Rabbinic teaching, and found the teaching transforming and irresistible! That would make sense that days later as Jesus passes by he quickly leaves everything to follow.Take a look with me at a subtle development that usually goes unnoticed in the Gospel of Matthew. We are in chapter 9 - roughly a third of the way through Matthew's Gospel account and someone gets invited to the party! Why, it's Matthew himself!Take a look with me at a subtle development that usually goes unnoticed in the Gospel of Matthew. We are in chapter 9 - roughly a third of the way through Matthew's Gospel account and someone gets invited to the party! Why, it's Matthew himself!It makes me wonder and recreate some of the story in my imagination. I wonder what Matthew's life as a tax collector was like before this day when Jesus invites him to come and follow. Apparently Matthew was a devout Jew -- at least he carefully couches all of his Gospel account in context of the Jewish heritage.As a tax collector, he would have been outcast and hated by all of his Jewish nation, and yet he would have been rich and powerful.It is not noted here, and we have no way of knowing, but I can't help but notice that Matthew comes to faith very soon after the Sermon on the Mount of chapters 5,6 and 7. I can't help but wonder if Matthew was in the crowd on that hillside a couple of chapters ago. Perhaps he heard Jesus Rabbinic teaching, and found the teaching transforming and irresistible! That would make sense that days later as Jesus passes by he quickly leaves everything to follow.What is your salvation story? What led up to you hearing the invitation to come and follow Jesus? Perhaps today you and I will be a part of another persons call to follow our savior and friend Jesus of Nazareth!PRAYER: Lord God, thank-you for the circumstances, the sermons, the pastors and people that went into our call to follow you. Use us this day and everyday to invite others to come and follow! Amen.     In Grace and Peace, Bill Mudge