Rockford United Methodist Church

A Message for You

April 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

Our Easter Attitudes by PASTOR DICK RILEY Rockford United Methodist Church The day of Easter came and went this past Sunday, but the celebration of Easter is something that can happen all year long! Easter, you see, is an historical even, but it’s even more than that. Easter is also a celebration of Christ’s victory over sin and death, but it’s even more than that! Easter is really about an attitude. In fact, it’s about four different attitudes: 1. Easter is an attitude toward life. The disciples were convinced, following the resurrection, that they could turn the world upside-down—that nothing could stop them. Why? Because they knew—they had experienced—that Jesus Christ was alive—risen from the dead—and because that was true, nothing that they proposed would be impossible. Easter is the conviction that, because Christ lives, I too, through faith in Him, shall also live! What a great attitude toward life! 2. Easter is also an attitude toward death. We all know that death is real, but the Bible teaches us—and in Easter, we celebrate—that death is not final; it is not the Last Word in our lives. Life, true and abundant life, is available to all through our faith in Him who rose from the dead on that Easter morning. What a great attitude toward death! 3. Easter is also an attitude toward the future. Christians know that Easter is a foretaste of what the world ought to be—a foretaste of the Final Victory over death and despair, over hatred and hostility, over pain and poverty, and over sin and sadness. What a great attitude toward the future! 4. Easter is, finally, an attitude toward God, being aware, as Mary was in the Garden that Easter morning, of that Unseen Presence—that Holy Presence—in our lives, and knowing that He will always be there, with us and for us! What a great attitude to have toward God! I encourage you to worship this week in the church of your choice, and continue celebrating our Easter attitudes!

A Message for You

January 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

Forgetting the past, looking forward by PASTOR DICK RILEY Rockford United Methodist Church A pastor from Atlanta once said that it always bothered him in a track meet when the runners were running the hurdles and would knock one or two of the hurdles down. He said that he felt as if they should go back and straighten up the hurdles they had knocked over. He said that if his mother were coaching the team, she would certainly make the runners go back and straighten up the knocked-over hurdles! It was important to her, you see, that the runners leave things “neat and in order” for the next runners. “But,” said the pastor, “hurdlers who win the gold medals don’t look back. They ignore the fallen hurdles and just keep on running to the finish line.” I don’t know if the Apostle Paul ever ran the hurdles in a race, but I do know that he understood one of the basic principles of Christian living. He wrote: “I am still not all that I should be, but I am focusing all of my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us,” (Phil. 3:13-14). As Christians, we are called to continually grow in our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and the only way that that is possible is for us to accept the grace of God’s holy forgiveness which He offers us through our faith in Christ our Lord. This will set us free from all of our failures of the past. As we begin this new year of 2011, my prayer for all of us is that we will accept the grace that Christ provides so that we can quit worrying about our mistakes and failures, and, instead, focus on our growing and personal relationship with Him. You see, when grace and growth are the driving forces of our lives, we can be sure that we will truly have a happy new year!

A Message for You

November 17, 2011 // 0 Comments

Christmas: a more joyous occasion  by PASTOR DICK RILEY Rockford United Methodist Church Once upon a time, just a few days before Christmas, two men who were neighbors decided to go sailing while their wives went Christmas shopping. While the two men were out on the water, a storm arose. The water became very rough and both men struggled to keep the sailboat under control. As they maneuvered their way toward land, they suddenly hit a sandbar and the boat became grounded. Both men jumped overboard and began to push and shove with all their strength, trying to get the boat into deeper water. With his legs almost knee-deep in the sandy mud, the waves bouncing him hard against the side of the boat, the wind ripping into his face, and the water chilling his bones, the one man turned to his buddy and said with a knowing grin, “This sure beats Christmas shopping, doesn’t it?” I can’t help but think how often, not only Christmas shopping, but also the whole Christmas season becomes an experience in frustration, exhaustion and depression. Too often, the joy of Christmas is lost because our focus becomes centered, not on the Christ whose birth we celebrate, but rather on our desire to have joy—whatever it costs us! As we move closer and closer to the Christmas celebration, perhaps if we made a more conscious effort to put Christ first—to put Christ above everything else—Christmas might become the most joyous occasion in our lives and in the lives of those around us. It might actually become that most joyous occasion that God intended. Let’s try it! Go to the church of your choice this weekend, and begin to get in the spirit!

A Message for You

September 15, 2011 // 0 Comments

The Pennant Season  by PASTOR DICK RILEY Rockford United Methodist Church The pennant races are one and, as professional baseball moves through the month of September, many teams, including the Detroit Tigers, are fighting for an opportunity to play in the World Series. The teams have already begun working harder in order to secure a position in the post-season play. Many players on a pennant-contending team seem to play with more intensity. The front office will now begin bringing up fresh players from the minor leagues and even trade for some talent to give their team that extra edge in the pennant drive. Everyone seems more determined to finish the season on a high note. Excitement fills the air as fans watch their team in hot pursuit of a championship pennant. And, in many ways, September is also the time when the Christian church enters its own pennant race, striving to achieve the goals it set out for itself at the beginning of the year. It is, therefore, a good time to remember the words of the Apostle Paul, who wrote: “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 3:14). Remembering those words, September—within the Body of Christ, within the church—is a time when the leadership as well as the rest of the people within the church begin doing things with more intensity; with more determination. It’s a time when our worship services, our educational classes and opportunities, our outreach programs and our fellowship times are fine tuned to make sure that our calendar year finishes and our program year begins on a high note, as we “press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” Want to be a part of a pennant race—of a championship team? Then visit the church of your choice this weekend as you worship, pray, learn, reach out and have wonderful Christian fellowship with one another!

Area teens bring Squire on mission trip to Appalachia

July 14, 2011 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL We live in a time nowadays described as “The Age of Entitlement.” Not so for a group of selfless Rockford area high school and college age students. This is Rockford United Methodist Church’s (RUMC) 22nd year of bringing a team of youth to serve one week in the Appalachia Mountains region in a home repair ministry under the auspices of the Appalachia Service Project (ASP). This amazing group, and those who have gone before, freely give one week of their summer vacation in offering up their time and enthusiasm to help in ASP’s effort to eradicate substandard and, oftentimes, third world housing in Central Appalachia. The 2011 RUMC team had the good fortune to be housed in a year-round regional ASP Center in Chavies, Ky., in Perry County, where they were fed and lodged for the week. Accommodations were dorm-like with bunk beds topped with sleeping bags brought from home. We mention they were fortunate because other ASP teams, not assigned to a regional center, oftentimes found themselves sleeping on floors, or if lucky, on cots. While on site, the RUMC team joined forces with another team of youth representing a Presbyterian church from Pennsylvania. The RUMC team was divided into six crews, each led by two adults, one nurturing and the other with home-building knowledge and each assigned a home very much in need of repair. Client families, either because of their age or abilities, or simply a lack of funds, are unable to do so for themselves. Many many of these families live below the federal poverty level. Over the course of the week, six the crews fanned out across the county and removed and replaced rotten floors and walls; built a wheelchair ramp and replaced parts of the roof; removed and replaced band joists, and the floors and walls of a condemned mobile home; tore down and replaced an entire room with flooring, insulation and drywall, then painted the walls and sided the house; replaced a roof with tin, sided the house, and painted the porch; dug a drainage ditch, landscaped, and built a deck on the back of a house in front of a door that previously had led to a drop-off; among many other things. […]

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