Dr. Mosser's Blog

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  • September 30, 2022 - "Follow the Leader"

    In 1993 Donald Phillips wrote: Lincoln on Leadership; Executive Strategies for Tough Times. This little book is a treasure trove of ideas about how to employ leadership methods in daily life. Whether you are a mom, coach, business leader, salesperson, teacher, or store clerk, we all have life circumstances that call forth leadership. No one had a more difficult beginning in leading than did Abraham Lincoln—whose 213th birthday we observed this year.

     

    We all think we have challenges. But Lincoln really had it rough. Merely ten days before Lincoln took office in 1861, the Confederate States of America seceded from the Union. They took all Federal agencies, forts, and arsenals within their territory. To make matters worse, a minority of the popular vote elected Lincoln. His own advisors regarded him as little more than a gawky, second-rate country lawyer with no leadership skills. Thus, few leaders ever began their leadership tenure with fewer advantages than did Lincoln.

     

    What Lincoln did, however, was to become our most honored and revered president. Don Phillips outlines how his leadership techniques might help people direct organizations: schools, jobs, or a personal life. Lincoln on Leadership examines Lincoln’s diverse leadership abilities and how we can apply them in today’s complex world.

     

    We each have a degree of influence with other people—sometimes in the family, classroom, or neighborhood. Yet, not everyone knows how to employ influence. Thus, the better we understand our God-given gift of influence, then the better we can use it for good. To be a leader, disciple, or follower of Jesus is to employ our influence to further the aims revealed in God’s realm. This realm signifies God’s intention for creation.

     

    So, the better we understand our leadership influence, the better we understand the why and how of our leadership gift. Disciples are, in fact, stewards of the leadership talents that God has entrusted to us. When God endows a disciple as a leader with spiritual influence, then God expects such persons to use them to build up the realm of God.

     

    Every person has a gift (or gifts) to offer God’s realm. The chief task of leadership is to aid members of Christ’s church to identify their talents, nurture these talents, and then set these talents loose on the world. If God can do this in efficient ways, the gifts that our local church can offer our community and the world would be too wonderful for words.

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

    David Mosser

     

    Come, Worship

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  • September 23, 2022 - "A House Divided Against Itself"

    Friedrich Nietzsche was a provocative, and still much quoted, 19th Century German philosopher. He was a severe critic of religion, especially the Christian religion. He once suggested that “The last Christian died on the cross.” And, concerning Christian evangelism, he said: “If the church wants the world to believe in redemption, then the church ought to look a little more redeemed.”

     

    There is enough truth in that criticism to trouble those of us who have been involved in the effort of evangelism. Most of us could easily recite an occasion or two in which the church has not looked very redeemed. There are extreme exponents of the individualism who in their determination to “have it their way” all the time provoke dissension continually. Their failure to get along with others is more often than not a reflection of their inability to be at peace within themselves.

     

    In my early ministry there was a church out on the edge of town named “Wego Baptist Church.” Intrigued by this name, I called several Baptist pastor friends and asked about the church. None of them knew how the church got its name. Pressed by my curiosity, I stopped at the church one day and asked the church secretary about the name. She told him an interesting story.

     

    Back in the 1940’s a conflict that divided the church’s membership evenly. Half the people wanted the church to take one ministry approach, while the other half wanted a different ministry approach. They could not decide. The conflict devastated the church. After much debate they decided to separate. One group said to the other, “We go and you stay.” In order to commemorate this moment in the history of the church, the dissenting group decided to call their new congregation the “Wego Baptist Church.”

     

    Sometime the church does not look very redeemed. It is strange—and encouraging—that God often uses our failures to further the Kingdom—no credit to our hard-headedness. Lest my Baptist friends think I am casting aspersions on their church, I have seen quite a few “Wego” Methodist churches recently—and Episcopalian, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, etc.

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

    David Mosser


    Come, Worship

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    Go, Serve

  • September 16, 2022 - "Our Neighborhood Banking?"

    Years ago, I saw an intriguing photo and article in The Dallas Morning News from 21 May 1997. It was a construction photo of the building of the Overton Bank and Trust in Dallas on the Dallas North Tollway. On one side of the bank was construction; however, there remained a house on McKinnon Street where Ramon Rodriguez had lived since 1949. He refused to sell his land and house to the bank, although the bank made him a generous offer and owned the rest of the block. The bank proceeded with plans to build around the aforementioned Mr. Rodriguez’s house and property. The photo looked funny: all dirt with one tiny house in the middle.

               

    How often in life do we stand pat against progress and how often do we get with the program? It is often a difficult determination, but one thing is for sure--we are all called to make these decisions regularly. There are many ways to make decisions, but one way is to live a life that has our priority set before we get to “the moment of decision.” Part of what our faith does for us is gird us to make decisions. Karl Barth once said something to the effect: “I was saved in the year 33 when Jesus died on the cross.” This is not a bad way to approach life.

               

    By the way Mr. Rodriguez said he was not selling to the bank because, “They just haven’t offered me enough.” I hope God’s offer is good enough for each of us!

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

    David Mosser

     

    Come, Worship

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  • September 9, 2022 - "Why should People Join a Church?"

    Why should we join a church rather than simply attend? In the olden days no one would have asked this question. Belonging to a church was a mark of maturity and to make a vow to something as noble as the church was a good thing. Belonging was a sign of making covenant with others—to vow that as you depend on others so now they can rely on you.

     

    After Jesus ascended, the church became the “body of Christ.” It is the place where people live out their discipleship to Jesus. We began 2022 with a worship series on life in the church. We explored what it meant to belong to Christ’s church, which is the body of Christ in a tangible way. Christ is the foundation upon which we build the church, but what does it take to build the church? What kind of community does God establish through us? What difference does church membership make in our lives? What does it mean to belong to the body of Christ? These are questions we live daily as genuine Christians.

     

    On occasion when I officiate a marriage ceremony, a couple asks (okay—the bride asks): “will you read 1 Corinthians 13?” This text is a beautiful hymn of love, and it extols the power of love in a covenant relationship. What we sometimes forget is that 1 Corinthians 13 is situated into a much larger context of Paul’s letter that addresses the spiritual gifts God uses to build up the church. Among these gifts we find faith, hope, and love.

     

    In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul describes of what spiritual gifts consist. Here is where Paul teaches about gifts of teaching, healing, prophecy, and speaking in and interpreting other tongues. There are other gifts also. Paul tells us that people possessing those gifts are all important. No person possesses a gift so great that that person can go solo without the need of other people possessing other gifts.

     

    Why should we join and become a member of Christ’s church rather than simply attend? A couple of things come to mind.

     

    First, people should visit a church long and often enough to feel comfortable and ask good questions about the church’s ministry. Not so much questions like: what can you do for my family or what can I get out of this place. No; good questions of faith ask: where in this church may I best serve Jesus?

     

    Second, people join a church to convey the sense that others can trust them—they want to become a part of the household of faith. Third to join means making a covenant—like at marriage or baptism. We promise ourselves to God and others. We join the church so God can absorb us into a “cloud of witnesses!”

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

    David Mosser


    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

  • September 2, 2022 - “Deliver Us from Adversaries: Fight Fire with Prayer”

    Read this scripture verse, please:

     

    “And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. Melchizedek blessed Abram and said,

        ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High,

            maker of heaven and earth;

            and blessed be God Most High,

            who has delivered your enemies into your hand!’

    And Abram gave him one tenth of everything” (Genesis 14:18-20).

     

    A church in Georgia, where my good friend Rev. David Jones retired, published a rather long prayer list. The church thought it would be helpful to identify the reason for each person being on the list. In this way, the congregation could pray for specific needs and problems, rather than praying in vague generalities. There were all the usual things: hospitalized, bereaved, and those facing surgery.

     

    But beside the name of one individual on the list, the church had written: “pain in the neck.” Most churches have a member or two who deserves that description! However, few churches put it into print! And it does seem sometimes that only prayer can cure that affliction. Prayer is a powerful spiritual weapon against the forces of evil. Pray today for Salado UMC, for your fellow church members, and for our nation. Prayer is our best and brightest hope.

     

    Action focus: Pray for both your friends and your enemies if you want to be more Christ-like!

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

     

    David Mosser

     

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

  • August 26, 2022 - "Weather and self-fulfilling prohecies"

    I once read an amusing story about circular reasoning and self-filling prophecies that derive from it. We might want to do some thinking on our own from time to time and not always simply follow the crowd.

     

    It was autumn, and the Indians on the remote reservation asked their new Chief if the winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was an Indian Chief in a modern society, no one had ever taught him the old lore and mysteries. When he looked at the sky, he couldn’t tell what the weather was going to be. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he replied to his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect firewood in order to be prepared.

     

    Also, being a practical leader, after several days he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, “Is the coming winter going to be cold?”

     

    “It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold indeed,” the weather service meteorologist responded. So, the Chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more wood in order to be prepared. A week later, he called the National Weather Service again. “Is it going to be a very cold winter?”

     

    “Yes,” the National Weather Service meteorologist again replied, “it’s definitely going to be a very cold winter.” The Chief again went back to his people and directed them to collect every scrap of wood they could find. Two weeks later, he called the National Weather Service once again. “Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?”

     

    “Absolutely,” the service replied.  “It’s going to be one of the coldest winters ever.”

     

    “How can you be so sure?” the Chief asked.

     

    The weather service meteorologist replied, “Because the Indians are collecting wood like crazy.”

     

    I rest my case.

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

    David Mosser

     Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

  • August 19, 2022 - "Gifts that Keep on Giving"

    The following few paragraphs address the background of our church establishing a permanent fund to ensure the continuation of our ministries for decades to come.

     

     

    My late friend, Jerry Trigg, pastor of the FUMC, Colorado Springs, once shared how Riverside Church in New York City accomplished a national ministry. Its visionary pastor, Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, had printed at the bottom of his personal stationary these words: “Include Riverside Church in your will.” Fosdick encouraged each family within that congregation for years, of whatever measure of wealth or poverty, to make a difference to the next generation. Fosdick, on behalf of his church, reminded his people that “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!”

     

    Perhaps like me, you may have trouble seeing beyond next week. However, some remarkable people have the ability to envision how to be faithful to their church in year 2022, 2035—or even in 2076. This kind of faith understands the importance of gifts that keep on giving. I am flush with pride to pastor a congregation that looks with hope toward its future—and does something about it now. These are people who make their stake in the future today.

     

    When I was pastor in Graham, Mabel Johnson proved her loving foresight. She demonstrated this aforementioned foresight by remembering First United Methodist Church in her will. Mabel loved her church where she was a member for twenty-four years but no one suspected she had any wealth. She was the best visitor of “shut-ins” I have seen in my ministry. 

     

    Mabel’s gift to the FUMC Foundation was over $100,000. In addition, she left our Samaritan Fund an equally generous bequest. Thanks to the generosity of people similar to Mabel Johnson and her spirit, perhaps our SUMC Foundation can grow as well. These kinds of gifts help maintain the church’s ministry to this community and beyond for many years. We thank our Foundation folks for their hard work.

     

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

     

    David Mosser

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

  • August 12, 2022 - "About Being a Church Together"

    A pastor friend shared this viewpoint with her congregation:

     

    “Seven in ten Americans now say they can be religious without going to services in a community of faith. This is a radical departure from Paul’s vision of the church where the experience of God is always in community. For Paul, there is no room for individualism . . . .  [An] experience of God requires a community of faith . . . .  No one completes the salvation journey solo, and it is only as a community that [we] discover the fullness of God’s plan.”

     

    Whether it was the Hebrews journeying in the wilderness as a community or Israel choosing a new king, the people acted together in a spirit of faith. When Jesus selected his disciples, it was not an accident that they formed a small community of learners around Jesus.

     

    We all do better together than we do as individuals. Come help us be a better church. You will find yourself in your church’s improvement. Perhaps you may find improvement in yourself as well.

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

    David Mosser

     

     

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

  • August 5, 2022 - "Sir Christopher Wren"

    I am fond of a story about the great English architect Sir Christopher Wren. One day, while re-building the magnificent St. Paul’s Cathedral after the Great London Fire of 1666, Wren walked anonymously among his workers—sort of a 17th century version of “Undercover Boss.”

     

    He asked three men building a wall what they were doing. The first answered: “I am cutting a stone.” The second said, “I am earning three shillings a day.” The third man stood up tall and proud. He answered, “I am helping Sir Christopher Wren build a great cathedral to the glory of God.”

     

    The third man understood that his contribution, though small, had purpose and was essential to the final outcome.

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

    David Mosser

     

     

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

  • July 29, 2022 - The Oppression of Utter Certainty

    What we experience about life often fails to match what others grasp and understand. For those for whom harmony of understanding is essential to emotional security and mental comfort, this universal fact is a source of much frustration and anxiety. In the opening chapter of his classic book, The Immense Journey, anthropologist and naturalist, Loren Eiseley, offers an insightful caution concerning his view of reality which he gives in the remainder of his book. He writes: “On the world island we are all castaways, so that what is seen by one may often be dark, obscure (or hidden) to another.”

     

    Many things conspire to keep us from seeing things alike. Our experiences, our ignorance (or education), our prejudices, and our deep (and often unconscious) personal needs condition our views.

     

    How futile it is for us to expect others to share our perceptions of reality with uniform exactitude. We may learn from each other, but we will never be alike. Those who nurture serious expectations of uniformity are doomed to disappointment; and those who are obsessed by expectations of uniformity are the budding bullies of our time. They would extinguish the human mind, which is the primary light by which God rescues us from darkness and ignorance, chaos, and fear.

     

    We are never in greater danger of error than when we are absolutely certain that we are absolutely right. The most destructive and inhumane times in history have been those in which some person or group of persons have been absolutely sure they were absolutely right. Then they used the power at their disposal to impose their views of reality on all who were under their domain. The most unpleasant people I have ever met have been people who were absolutely sure they were absolutely right. Their mission in life seemed to impose their views on everyone else by whatever means necessary.

     

    To be a little uncertain or at least only moderately sure is to be human—and humane. The encouraging word for today is that you do not have to be absolutely sure in order to be right. After all, the people with whom Jesus had his most serious problems were those who had no doubt whatsoever that they were absolutely right. Think about that the next time you are absolutely sure that you are absolutely right.

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

    David Mosser

     

     

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

  • July 22, 2022 - "Christmas in July"

    All the churches I have served have had a special fund used to help poor people. The decision on who and how much was often at the minister’s discretion or one or two others. Here in Salado, we have given Rolly this important task. In some churches (but not Salado UMC) there were some general guidelines such as “deserving people” or “needy Christians.” These stipulations always troubled me. It was not so much that I wanted “carte blanche,” as it was that there was in those guidelines an exclusiveness not in the spirit of Jesus, as I understand that spirit.

     

    Most of the people who need help do not measure up to the common definitions of “deserving.” Many of them were not Methodist, or protestant, or even Christian. Many of them were not very nice people, and more than a few of them were not “grateful.” I do not want to upset anyone’s local church guidelines, but I do not recall that Jesus reserved his help for “deserving people, Jews, grateful, or nice people.” Jesus helped people. I know it disturbs some over helping those without regard for “deserving, Christian, grateful, nice, etc.,” but should a Christian draw lines Jesus did not draw?

     

    I love the story told by the late Dr. Fred Craddock about Dr. Oswald Goulter, a missionary he knew who after years of service in China the Communists put under house arrest. They finally released the missionary on the condition he would go home. He wired his mission board for travel money. He went down to a coastal city in India to take a ship. While waiting he heard there were lots of Jews sleeping in barn lofts there. They had been denied entrance in every country except India, and they had gone inland and were sleeping in barn lofts. It was Christmas. Dr. Goulter went around to those barn lofts and said to the homeless Jews: “It is Christmas! Merry Christmas!”

     

    They said, “We’re Jews.” He said, “I know, but it is Christmas.” They said: “We don’t observe Christmas. We are not followers of Jesus.” The old missionary said: “I know, but what would you like for Christmas?” They argued with him and he said: “If somebody gave you something for Christmas, what would you like?” To get rid of him they said: “Some good German pastries.”

     

    Dr. Goulter finally found a pastry shop in India with German pastries and he cashed in his passage ticket and took baskets of German pastries to these Jews. Then he wired his mission board for money for another ticket.

     

    When that story was being told, a young seminarian sitting in the front row was absolutely incensed. He said to Dr. Goulter, “Why did you do that? They don’t believe in Jesus!” Dr. Goulter said, “But I do. I do.”

     

     

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

     

  • July 15, 2022 - "Africa"

    A man went out hunting alone. He had the good fortune of killing an elephant, but no matter how he tried he could not bring the elephant back home. He hurried back to the village and appealed to his fellow villagers to help him bring his elephant home. They asked: “Whose elephant is it?” The man said with pride: “It is mine.” The people refused to help him. He went back to his kill and tried to devise some way of moving the elephant alone, but could not. After reflecting on his problem, he went back to the village and repeated his appeal for help. The people asked: “Whose elephant, is it?” He said: “It is ours!” The whole village came to his aid at once.

     

    Ownership is essential to cooperation in almost any enterprise. Shared ownership is an essential factor to the health of any institution. It is not my marriage, but ours. They are not my children, but ours. The church does not belong to the pastor. It always bothered me to hear someone refer to “David Mosser’s church.” The city does not belong to the mayor. The state does not belong to the governor, or the country to the president. A sense of shared ownership is essential to true democracy in any institution.

     

    “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of misery”—Churchill.

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

    David Mosser

     

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

  • July 8, 2022 - "Welcome"

    How many times have you felt ill-at-ease while trying to take care of some legitimate business in an unfamiliar place? It is not an unusual experience, except for extroverts.

     

    There are many circumstances in which some of us feel uncomfortable unless someone inside the system reaches out to us in a manner that puts us at ease. These are places we dread going; and we get out of them as quickly as possible. This may be due to some personal "hang-up" we have, or it may be due to characteristic bureaucratic insensitivity on the part of those who are in charge of the system (DMV for example).

     

    Some of the places where I have been uncomfortable or where I have seen people who were uncomfortable are: hospitals (particularly emergency rooms), courtrooms, tax offices, banks, police stations, church offices, and all varieties of waiting rooms. The list seems endless.

     

    How refreshing it is to find sensitive and understanding people working in these systems who will reach out to help the nervous “customers” who have come to pay taxes, get treatment, give testimony, or seek help. How painful it is to see hardened bureaucrats treat innocent people with alienating behaviors and indifference. Granted, there are customers (users), occasionally, who are unpleasant or manipulating persons. That should not give license to treat everyone as if they fit the worst model. Someone should train people in every "up-front" institution (or place of business) in the art of kindness and courtesy; and if they cannot or will not learn these practices, they should not have regular contact with people.

     

    Bureaucratic structures are apparently essential people, but we should make every effort to see that these structures do not degenerate into indifference which hurts the people they are supposed to help.

     

    Most of us work in some kind of organization to which people come for service or help. Without these worrisome people who need our services, we would be unemployed. When people come to your desk, counter, or waiting room tomorrow, think of how you would like to be treated if you were in their place and they were in yours. If you think of it in that respect, you are much more likely to express attitudes and behaviors that say “Welcome to My World.”

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

     

    David Mosser

     

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

  • July 1, 2022- "The Fourth of July"

    The Fourth of July marks a transition between being part of another nation’s colonial holdings and becoming an autonomous nation. We celebrate this next week the freedom afforded by the Declaration of Independence. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in secret to approve Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, and thus a new nation was born.

     

    We often celebrate transitions—between being a student and being a graduate; between being single and being married; between having a work status and being retired; between living and dying and this list is as long as we are alive. Truly change never really slows down, but we must meet it head on all the days of our life. My guess is that the better we handle and understand changes and transitions, then the better we thrive as God’s people.

     

    What people in the original American Colonies had to decide was whether or not they could trust the promise inherent in a new vision of a New World. Or—whether they would simply continue to abide business as usual from the British crown. Of course, we know the rest of the story and how it turned out.

     

    For believers today the transition that is of vital importance is the transition from being an autonomous person to becoming a faithful believer who relies exclusively on God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Those who are genuinely mature understand Jesus’ words: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). The more mature we are, then the more we recognize that we are dependent on God as children of God. We worship a God who offers us, not only at the Lord’s Table which we celebrate on 1 July 2012, but in many ways and places the absolute love by which all children thrive.

     

    May we eat together this week as the household of faith?

     

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

     

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

     

  • June 24, 2022 - "VBS"

    To My Friends,

     

    Next week we embark on an adventure to capture the hearts and minds of many of our communities’ young folks. We have a group of dedicated teachers and others who will support their work. Perhaps, your gift is not to teach young people, but I would ask that all of us be in prayer for our VBS program. What we do during VBS will have a long and lasting effect on the quality of young people’s lives—and ours for years to come.

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

     

    David Mosser

     

     

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

  • June 17, 2022 - "Father's Day"

    I have a pastor acquaintance who wrote something profound in a sermon on 22 December 1996. I hope is as meaningful to you as it was to me. The Rev. wrote:

     

    I admire my father. He is now approaching his 80th birthday and he has decided that he is going to learn to use the computer even though I have always known that technology challenges him. The laptop computer is a gift that my brother in California and I gave him. Unfortunately, the computer has a modem in it and so, for the last five weeks or so, my father has been trying to learn how to use e-mail. We have three sons in our family and all of us are familiar with e-mail and so he will shift in getting advice.

     

    First, he will make long distance phone calls to California, then he will talk to my other brother in New Albany, and finally, if he is really desperate, he will call me for advice. “How can you help me make this e-mail work?” Occasionally, we will get messages through. More often, the phone rings and he says: “There is something wrong here.” I say, “You have to turn on the machine, Dad.”

     

    He said something recently that I found provoking. He said, “You know, this gift is a wonderful gift if I only had a son that came along with it.”

     

    There is a lesson about Father’s Day here. The most important thing about our gifts to others is the self we include with it.

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

     

    David Mosser

     

     

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

     

  • May 20, 2022 - "Aldersgate Day”

    Do you know what Aldersgate Day is? If not, don’t feel bad, many United Methodists probably can’t say exactly what it is. It was on the day/evening of 24 May 1738 that John Wesley experienced a spiritual transformation that led to the earnest start of the Methodist movement. Wesley’s faith had pretty much lived in his head, but not his heart. Wesley devoted himself to “Scripture, Tradition, and Reason,” but what was missing was the personal experience of Christ in his life. The important thing I want to bring up is that at the time of Wesley’s Aldersgate experience he was still intensely looking for a deeper and more satisfying experience of God.

     

    Even so, John Wesley made a journey from head to heart. As United Methodists we celebrate Aldersgate Day as that day when Wesley finds assurance. That is, Wesley finally feels the guarantee of God’s love. In his head, Wesley knew this faith in a rational way. Yet, at Aldersgate he finally feels that assurance. On Wednesday, May 24, 1738, John Wesley experienced his “heart strangely warmed.” This Aldersgate experience is crucial for Wesley’s own life and becomes a touchstone for the Wesleyan movement (see: The Book of Worship, United Methodist Publishing House, 1992, page 439). Paul in Romans describes this movement from head to heart. It is what God offers us all in Jesus Christ. Paul too might even call it a journey of faith.

     

    From the Journal of John Wesley:

    “In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”


    Sincerely, your friend,

    David Mosser

     

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

  • June 10, 2022 - "Worship and Tradition"

    As your pastor now completing five years, I am delighted that the cabinet appointed me to Salado. This is a village full of wonderful people who have the needs of others clearly in their minds and on their hearts. Few of us realize what a truly fine church we have. The following story reminded me that good churches are a precious commodity and we might stop and give thanks for Salado UMC.

     

    During a service at an old synagogue in Eastern Europe, when the congregation prayed the Shema, half the congregants stood up and half remained sitting. The half that wert seated started yelling at those standing to sit down, and the ones standing yelled at the ones sitting to stand up . . . . The rabbi, learned as he was in the Law and commentaries, didn't know what to do. His congregation suggested that he consult a homebound 98-year-old man, who was one of the original founders of their temple. The rabbi hoped the elderly man would be able to tell him what the actual temple tradition was, so he went to the nursing home with a representative of each faction of the congregation.

     

    The one whose followers stood during Shema said to the old man, “Is the tradition to stand during this prayer?” The old man answered, “No, that is not the tradition.” The one whose followers sat said, “Then the tradition is to sit during Shema!” The old man answered, “No, that is not the tradition.”

     

    Then the rabbi said to the old man, “But the congregants fight all the time, yelling at each other about whether they should sit or stand . . . . ”

     

    The old man interrupted, exclaiming, “THAT is the tradition!”

     

    It is a blessed thing to worship in a community of people who follow Jesus’ teachings to “love one another.” I am proud to be your pastor.

     

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

     

     

    David Mosser

     

     

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

  • June 3, 2022 - "Sin, you say?"

    People still sometimes talk about the temptation to sin. I think sin is not so ugly that any thinking person would know instinctively to beware. Rather, sin is seductively beautiful. From the office worker who pilfers pencils to the person who uses the company postage meter for personal business, life disguises sin as something that “really isn’t so bad.”

     

    In the Australian bush country grows a little plant called the “sundew.” It has a slender stem and tiny, round leaves fringed with hairs that glisten with bright drops of liquid as delicate as fine dew. Woe to the insect, however, that dares to dance on it. Although its attractive clusters of red, white, and pink blossoms are harmless, the leaves are deadly. The shiny moisture on each leaf is sticky and will imprison any bug that touches it. As an insect struggles to free itself, the vibration causes the leaves to close tightly around it. This innocent-looking plant then feeds on its victim (Our Daily Bread, December 11, 1992).

     

    Our task as the church is to help people see the big picture. We help one another see that little violations against ethics and integrity are important and DANGEROUS. Once someone told one of my children “that doing something bad was not bad. What was bad was someone catching you.” As long as some folks think this way, we as a church will have our work cut out for us. Thank God we are not alone. God helps us discern right from wrong—and we are all in this business of life together.

     

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

     

    David Mosser

     

     

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

  • May 27, 2022 - "Memorial Day 2022"

    This week’s blog comes from my good friend Rev. Rob Fuquay: “A Good Time to Remember and Say Thanks” (St. Luke’s UMC, Indianapolis, IN).

     

    “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,

    neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4).

     

     

    Max Lucado tells the story about an old man in Florida who people saw every Friday evening about sunset carrying a bucket of fish scraps to a pier. He would go to the side and begin tossing the scraps into the air for the sea gulls to eat. As he did, people walking close enough to hear him could make out his mumbling responses to the birds as if he thought they really understood him. He said, “Thank you, thank you.” Folks just thought he was a strange old man gradually becoming senile.

     

    What they didn’t know was that he was a World War II veteran. On a flying mission in the Pacific, he and his seven-member crew went down. They all survived the crash and made the wreckage into a life raft. They fought the sun, sharks, and hunger. After eight days their rations ran out. With no land in sight, and no sign of a rescue plane, they decided to have a worship service and pray for a miracle. Later they were napping when the man felt something on the end of his cap. It was a sea gull! He carefully moved his arms and swiftly caught the bird. They killed it and ate it. They used the intestines for bait and were able to catch fish. These fish allowed them to survive.

     

    The old man never forgot the sacrifice of the sea gull. So, every Friday night he fed the birds and said “thanks.”

     

    Memorial Day is important for our country—and us. We live with incredible freedoms, freedoms I wonder if we fully appreciate or even understand the cost at which they came. It is a day to remember and say thanks—thanks for those who sacrificed their lives for us. And it is a day to pray—pray for the day when nation does not take up sword against nation and we train for war no more.

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

     

    David Mosser

     

     

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

  • May13 , 2022 - "Confirmation/Senior Sunday"

    I have a thing about confirmation Sunday. I am quite fond of it because it is a day that some of our young Christians begin steps on the way to becoming full disciples of Jesus Christ. As a church we recognize their profession of faith. We here and now recognize them as our faith peers. Some of their new brothers/sisters are 85 years of age; others only a few years older than they are. Whichever, together we enter an adventure as Jesus’ disciples/learners.

    We recognize confirmands as full members of God’s universal church. Also, don’t worry, they are not on their own. All of us lean on one another and Christ for the things we cannot do for ourselves. We, in this sense, are a family—a group of people who look after and nurture one other. When one of us mourns something, we all mourn together. When one of rejoices, we all rejoice together (paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 12:26).

    At confirmation we have the privilege of giving and receiving. You confirmands are no longer children who only receive. No! You confirmands are now adults in the church’s eyes. You are now givers and stewards of God’s gifts to manage as a Christian. Perhaps, the greatest gift we celebrate today is the gift of the Holy Spirit that God pours out on us.

    Sunday will be a great day!


    Sincerely, your friend,

    David Mosser

     

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

  • MAy 6, 2022 - "Prayer for Mother's Day"

    My blog this week is a prayer for Mother’s Day (from Book of Worship, p. 438).

     

    For our mothers, who have given us life and love,

    that we may show them reverence and love,

    we pray to the Lord...

     

    For mothers who have lost a child through death,

    that their faith may give them hope,

    and their family and friends support and console them,

    we pray to the Lord...

     

    For women, though without children of their own,

    who like mothers have nurtured and cared for us,

    we pray to the Lord...

     

    For mothers, who have been unable to be a source of strength,

    who have not responded to their children

    and have not sustained their families,

    we pray to the Lord...

     

    Loving God, as a mother gives life and nourishment to her children,

    so you watch over your Church.

     

    Bless these women, that they may be strengthened as Christian mothers.

    Let the example of their faith and love shine forth.

    Grant that we, their sons and daughters,

    may honor them always with a spirit of profound respect.

    Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

    David Mosser

     

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

  • April 29, 2022 - "The Big Comeback"

    Thank the good Lord and with the deity’s help I am coming back this weekend to preach at 9 and 11 on Sunday morning, 1 May 2022. I am elated that this day has finally come upon us. I hope to see many of you that day; folks I have not seen since Christmas Eve or the following Sunday. Just for the record, my recent illnesses include COVID-19, gout, and a large pulmonary embolism. I was in the hospital and rehab, more or less, from 30 December to 2 March.

     

    In my absence, our church staff all pulled together in fine fashion. Paul did a wonderful job of filling the pulpit. He has many, many gifts and you have now experienced yet another. I am very fortunate to get to work along side these folks and I know it.

     

    One of the things I have pondered the last month or so is whether or not we could get a new young adult Sunday school class going. If a couple or two would volunteer to be hosts, then I would be happy to be the teacher for the first year. If you are interested, then let me know by saying a word to me on Sunday.

     

    We are on the runway of an exciting time of ministry for Salado UMC. Let us hope and pray that we have no more pandemics or floods for the foreseeable future. I am very grateful to be back.

     

    Sincerely, your friend,

    David Mosser

     

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve

     

     

  • January 21, 2022 - "No, You are Bad Luck"

    Sometimes, when in the midst of crisis, we tend to have our vision clouded under pressure. This fact reminds me of a story about a man who was critically ill in a hospital bed. His dutiful wife was at his side.

     

    As he looks up from his hospital bed, he says to his wife, “You’ve always been with me when I have had trouble. When I lost my shirt in a poor investment, you were there. When I had the car accident, you were with me. When the company fired me, you were there. I’ve come to the conclusion that you are bad luck!”

     

    It is always easy to blame others for things for which we ought to take responsibility. It takes a person of character to assume his/her share of blame—especially when it is our burden to bear.

      

    Come, Worship

    Stay, Learn

    Go, Serve