Welcome to Brecksville United Methodist Church

Have you heard about Brecksville United Methodist Church?  We are a medium-sized congregation right on the square in downtown Brecksville.  We are all about sharing lives of faithfulness, mutual support, spiritual growth, and service to the community.

Our doors are open to everyone. Whatever your gender, age, race, background, vocation, orientation or belief system, we invite you to come and experience God’s grace with us!

If you’re not active in a local place of worship, come and spend some time with us!

Peace and Blessings, Pastor Clark

Radical Love- The Iniquity of Us All

Sermon Summary, October 21, 2018

Isaiah 53:4-12

Thy Kin-Dom Come: Radical Love- The Iniquity of Us All

God seeks us out. Even when we are disobedient. Even when we don’t seem to care. Even when things look hopeless for us, and we can’t seem to find a way out, God seeks us out.

Isaiah wrote some 700 years before the time of Jesus, and this passage of the suffering servant is just so descriptive of the suffering that Jesus went through, that it is hard to imagine that Isaiah had anyone else in mind when he wrote.

Isaiah describes us as sheep. Now we have come to know that sheep are stupid creatures- prone to wander off and unable to protect themselves from wolves and other predators. The shepherd and his voice are their only protection.

One thing I hope we can agree on- you and I are sinners. Because we have turned to our own ways, God says our hearts are full of iniquity, which means crookedness or warped. Since we don’t want to be seen as warped, we will stick with crookedness. We have developed a crookedness in our character.

Jesus said that we have a problem. We are sinners and we need a savior. Until folks accept that they have a problem, they will not look for help, for a savior.

So, people who do take Jesus as their Savior, know that they have a problem. They can’t get out of this alive, and they can’t get out of this by themselves. God knows this, also. And the law required that sinners should die. That is what we deserve, so God took our place.

We start our Stewardship campaign with a perfect example of the radical love of God in Jesus the Christ. Jesus put on flesh and bone, became us. It is a “kin-ship” that has fostered life-giving, life-changing relationships for more than 2000 years now. Jesus modeled giving his whole self for the benefit of others. This is our model for a life of relationship. Whatever is necessary. It is a radical, counter-cultural example of life together in the Spirit. It defines our community, and the very Kingdom of God. When that happens, when we give of ourselves for the benefit of others, our church, our community, us, and in particular Jesus are all lifted up and everyone wins. This is the life we are called to. To God be the glory!

Sermon Summary, October 28, 2018: Oh, and one more thing...

Sermon Summary    October 28, 2018
Thy Kin-dom Come: Radical Justice: “Oh, and one more thing…”

Matthew 5: 38 - 48


Mark Twain once said this about the Bible: “I have no problem with those parts of the Bible I don’t understand. It’s those parts of the Bible I do understand that gives me fits.”

The message of Jesus is a counter-cultural message. This passage, from the Sermon on the Mount, reminds us that if we are to truly follow Jesus and be a Christian, we may have to give up some of what we have come to know as our “rights”. 

The first rule or “right” that Jesus talks about in this text is the “eye for an eye” law of just retribution. This is found three times in the Pentateuch, as well as in the ancient Law Code of Hammurabbi. This was accepted so feuds and disagreements did not escalate. The loss of an eye could only be appeased by the loss of the other’s eye. Nothing more nothing less. No distinctions of wealth or class, an eye is an eye and a tooth is a tooth.

Jesus also says, “Don’t resist an evil person.” Instead of resisting, instead of seeking some sort of legal recourse, Jesus tells his listeners to turn the other cheek. This seems startling. Turning the other cheek may not be a defensive, counter attack action, but it still is a definitive action. If you turn your other cheek, you take away the same slap from your aggressor, yet you remain right in front of him.

The same type of spirit is found in the other two directives of Giving up one’s cloak and tunic, and going the extra mile. In both instances, Jesus encourages folks to go beyond the original request to voluntarily do something more. This takes the power back from the oppressor, and encourages one to exercise free choice which is beyond what one was asked to do. The shame then falls on an oppressor who would leave one naked, literally without the shirt on one’s back, or require a citizen to do more work than was allowed by law. And then, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. This sets up apart from any other religion.

OH, and one more thing, lest you think Jesus asks something of us that he would not do himself…consider with me how his crucifixion reflects all of these principles. He would not/did not

*Practice retributive justice of eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, life for a life.

*He did not resist evil people

*He was slapped around and turned the other cheek.

*He gave up his clothes

*A Roman soldier conscripted work from a citizen to carry his cross

*He modeled his love for enemies, prayed for those who persecuted him form the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

What a Lord we serve! To God be the glory!

Sermon Summary November 4, 2018

Sermon Summary    November 4, 2018
John 14:1-14
“Dwelling Places”

In a mother’s womb were twin babies. The first baby asked the other, “Do you believe in life after delivery?”

The second baby replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what will be later.”

“Nonsense,” said the first. “there is no life after delivery. What would that life be?”

“I don’t know, but there will be more light than in here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths.”

The doubting one laughed, “That is absurd! Walking is impossible. And eat with our mouths? Ridiculous. The umbilical cord supplies nutrition. Life after delivery just can’t be. The umbilical cord is too short.”

The second baby held his ground. “I think there is something and maybe it is different than in here.”

The first baby replied, “No one has ever come back from there. Delivery is the end of life, and after-delivery it is nothing but darkness.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said the twin, “but certainly we will see mother and she will take care of us.”

“Mother?” the first baby laughed. You believe in mother? Where is she now?

The second baby calmly and patiently tried to explain, “She is all around us. It is in her that we live. Without her there would be no life.”

“Well, I don’t see her, …so she doesn’t exist.”

To which the other replied, “Sometimes when you’re in silence you can hear her, you can perceive her. I believe there is even greater life after delivery and we are here to prepare ourselves for that reality when it comes…”

Jesus told the guys in our reading for this morning that it was time to go. But he promised that he would come back. The only way to grab hold of the faith that Jesus encouraged them to hold onto is to simply believe in Jesus. The only way to know radical peace and comfort in the world, and in the time to come, is found in Jesus! He is the cornerstone that holds it all together.

Someone needed your time this past week. Were you gracious in giving it? Maybe you knew of a need that you could meet. Were you generous? Every day your spouses, children, neighbors, co-workers, school mates, even the strangers you meet are saying to you in thousands of ways, “Show us God”.

So I simply ask you, have you come to truly know Jesus? As his disciple, can you look at your life and your giving and say that people see Jesus in you?

   

About Pastor Stein

Pastor Stein is a graduate of Kent State University with a BA in Telecommunications. In 1992 he was ordained Deacon from Methodist Theological School in Ohio and then as Elder two years later. He comes to Brecksville United Methodist Church from Hope Ridge United Methodist Church, serving in the same capacity since 2003. Previous appointments include Granger, Aurora, and Boardman United Methodist churches.

In service to the Conference, Pastor Clark has been Chair of the Editorial Board, served on the Board of Communications, the Leadership Committee for Communications, the Akron District and Western Reserve District Committees on Ministry, and has been Chair of the Board of Trustees for the East Ohio Conference Peace with Justice Project.

Pastor Clark is married, has four children, and loves to spend time with his family as well as being in the company of other people. His passions include music, movies, sports and fishing, or a good fish story!