Pastor Paul Burris's Memo

December 2023

January, 2024

From Pastor Paul,

Why Go to Church?

A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. "I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time, and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all."

This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:

"I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this. They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!" When you are DOWN to nothing.... God is UP to something! Faith sees the invisible, believes in the incredible and receives the impossible! Thank God for our physical and our spiritual nourishment! (Email forward from unknown author)

It is my prayer that over the course of the past year that our worship services and my messages have in some way provided you with the spiritual nourishment you have needed in your daily lives. It is also my prayer that in the coming year you will make an attempt to be a part of worship here at Calvary United Methodist Church. Church is not only a place where we come for our spiritual nourishment. Church is also a place where we come to be a part of the family of God. Church is a place where God’s plans can be worked out through a group of believers with a common cause. Church is a place where God’s love is on display weekly as we find new and unique ways to minister to, not only one another, but to others. Church is the physical body of Christ in action.

I would like to personally thank all of you for your role in making Calvary United Methodist Church a vital part of this community. You are truly a blessing and I pray that God will bless you as much this coming year as He has my family and I in 2023. See You Sunday!

In Christ Service,

Pastor Paul

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December, 2023

From Pastor Paul,

Luke 9:18-20 18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” 19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets from long ago has come back to life.” 20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 20 Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” (NIV)

As we go through the day we talk to the Lord and read his word. We are trying to get closer to him and allow him to work through us. We want his power and anointing, but do we really know him? In order for most people to get something from someone, the person doing the giving needs to know the person receiving. You say I know Jesus and have a personal relationship with him. I ask this question do you really know him? If someone walked up to you and started talking to you about Jesus, do you know enough about him to convince them that they need him in their lives? Not just as Hell insurance but as Lord and Savior. If you have a personal relationship with someone you know how they think, act, and what they would do in a particular situation.

I do not want an answer right now, but I do want you to think about these questions and answer them. No, we do not have to defend Jesus or the word of God, but we do need to be able to explain who Jesus is and what he is like. Make your answer personal, generic answers do not convince anyone about anything, but personal answers can.

Jesus asked his disciples in Luke 9:18b "Who do the crowds that I am?" and they answered him John the Baptist, Elijah, and one of the old Prophets. Then Jesus made it personal and asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" in verse 20. Then Peter answered from what he had seen, heard, and experienced from Christ himself that he was the "Christ of God". Peter could not have answered that question in that manner if he had not known Jesus on a personal basis.

So the first question is this who do you say that Jesus Christ is? And why do you answer in that way? In other words, explain your answer. The next question is a bit deeper. Other than Hell Insurance, why do I need to make Jesus my Lord and Savior? No, I am not going to answer these questions for you, you must answer them for yourself in a personal way. I must answer them for myself also. The next question is a bit tougher. The Bible says that Jesus lived, showed us what he expected from us through his life then was crucified and on the third day rose again. How do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he lives today?

You may think that I am trying to place doubt in your mind and turn you away from God. I am not. I am trying to get you to dig in and really get to know Jesus Christ. Most Christians alive today cannot answer these questions or even the very basic questions. How are we to win people to Christ when we don't even know who he really is? If you cannot answer these questions, it is past time to get down and serious with the Lord and his word. When you get serious, he will show you and prove to you who he is. I believe that once we can answer this important question then our observance of the birth of the Christ child this Christmas season will take on a whole new meaning.

 See you Sunday!

        Pastor Paul

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