Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that this week I was reminded of a lesson from college biology. In genetics, there are two terms that describe the basis of all life: genotype and phenotype. The genotype of an organism is its genetic makeup, the DNA that has been inherited by its parents and ancestry, and is the incontrovertible essence of who they are. The phenotype is the unique way that genetic material is expressed into the physical characteristics that are visible to the outside observer.
An organism has no say in its genotype, but there are lots of factors that determine its phenotype. Environment, personal behavior, temperament, and conscious choices all influence one’s external appearance, even despite what their genes might dictate.
For decades, this church has become clear about its DNA. We share a common theological and spiritual identity as a transforming community of people who are centered in Christ and rooted in the Bible. We are also a people who are warm-hearted (open to a diversity of people) and open-minded (open to a diversity of perspectives). Making God’s love real is in our genes.
But this Sunday (October 15), we will marvel at how a God of extravagant variety uses our young people to show the diversity of ways that our DNA can be expressed in the world.
In our Youth, we will see the genetics of the faith transmitted to a new generation of Christians, who are part of a culture that is dramatically different from the one most of us were raised in. They will live out their commitment to Jesus in what is essentially a post-Christian world, in which — for perhaps the first time since the fourth century A.D. — religious conviction is no longer assumed in western culture. Yet these kids, with their array of skills, passions, dreams, and backgrounds, have each pledged to follow Jesus, and share with the world the love of God in their own unique way.
Genotypes are given; phenotypes are a matter of choice and context. Our young people remind us that the Spirit is alive and well and at work, expressing the 140 year heritage and ancestry of Matthews United Methodist in new and exciting ways.
Youth Sunday is always one of my favorite days of the year. All of us can be balcony people for our young people this Sunday. It is a day when we can offer our deep love and support for the next generation. It is a day we “older” adults can express some generational hospitality. It may not be your music or your style of worship language. You may see a skirt too short for your tastes, or a ball cap or even hear something that causes your head to turn, but they are ours and they need us to continue to invest deeply in their lives.
I invite you to join me in saying “thank you” to our United Youth Staff Community: Rev. Corey Millet (Did you know Pastor Corey is a provisional deacon in The United Methodist Church?), Joshua Marshman (Did you know Joshua is a child of our United Youth?), Amy Benjamin, Jamie Conder and a whole host of adult volunteers who lead the way. We have a remarkable cadre of women and men our youth “hang out” with on a regular basis. They are outstanding people of faith and commitment.
Mark DeVries is one of the most insightful persons in this country related to young people. I once heard him challenge a congregation saying, “We are to catalyze a constellation of relationships around every young person in the church, a web of intergenerational, vertical connections that keeps them anchored in the faith.” Friends, we are that “Cloud of Witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) for the next generation. Let’s not miss a moment of influence. Sunday is one of our most important days to “show up” in their lives.
Oh, and when Youth Sunday 2017 is concluded…be sure to say “thank you” to the United Youth that give witness to their faith. You never know the impact you might have on them.
Flourish: A New Old Look at Faith and Finances
What would it take for you to make a radical change in the way you earn, save, and spend your money? On a deeper level, what would be required for us to experience a fundamental shift in the relationship between our faith and our finances? Faith and finances … these two areas of our lives sometimes seem poles apart. And yet, should our finances be shaped by our faith? How can the current economic environment be an opportunity to discover new ways of thinking about the way we earn, manage and use our money?
From Sunday, October 22 through Sunday, November 12 in our 801South and morning Sanctuary worship services, we will offer a positive and practical word about the way biblical principles can help us flourish in difficult times. These worship experiences will be based on John Wesley’s (the founder of our Methodist movement) classic sermon on “The Use of Money” in which the founder of our Methodist movement called money “a most excellent gift” and provided basic principles for economic health and well-being. The purpose is to help each person find the way they can flourish in this economy as they link their faith with their finances.
140th Anniversary of Matthews United Methodist & We Are Matthews Open House
On Sunday, October 22 in our Sanctuary services we will celebrate 140 remarkable years of faith and service here at Matthews United Methodist. I do hope you’ll be present. At our 11 am hour we will have a number of special guests from the past that you will want to see. The morning will also include a very special GodStory featuring our very own Tyleta Morgan who has, thanks be to God, been around this place since time began. I’m so excited for you to see and hear her beautiful story that is so deeply connected with our transforming community.
Also on October 22, as a part of our We Are Matthews efforts, we will have an Open House. Perhaps you know someone that might be most comfortable by just dropping by our Open House from 12:15 pm to 1:15 pm. It will include birthday cake (140 years), walking tours through the building, and lots of people to answer any questions.
This Sunday in Worship
This Sunday (October 15) will be filled with many different expressions of worship. Our morning Sanctuary worship will be filled with young people. CCH (Centro Cristiano Hosanna) and Pastor Roldan will continue with the “Stewardship of the Kingdom” series from Matthew 25. In 801South we are finishing up our short series on inspired leadership by breaking down more leadership myths and looking at how we can lead in every direction. God’s grace, through worship, is demonstrated in this community of faith in so many different ways.
Peace and Every Good,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know Zachary Coe earned his Eagle Scout badge on March 13, 2017. Zachary completed his work with Boy Scout Troop 19 in Waxhaw. Way to go Zachary!
Did you know that Bob Aycock and Cameron Stokes Shaw are teaching Sunday School along with their spouses in the four-year-old classes that their children attend? Bob and Cameron grew up attending Sunday School and Youth Group at Matthews UMC.
Did you know our Boy Scout Troop 39 cooked over 8,300 pounds of pork, 694 quarts of Brunswick Stew, and made about 140 gallons of their own “secret recipe” sauce last week? Troop 39 has been cooking barbecue for this annual event since 1975 to subsidize activities for each scout in our troop.
Did you know Todd and Ann Hunter celebrated the marriage of their daughter, Katie, this past weekend in Nashville, TN? Congratulations Christopher and Katie Salas!
Did you know Global Impact dollars provided the clay, Butler High School provided the facilities and instruction and Rainbow Express Ministries provided the enthusiasm and the hands to mold the clay? You can check out the handmade mugs at Will Beans Coffeehouse in The Commons each Monday through Christmas from 8:30 – 10:30 am.