April 12, 2018: Alpha Course and Balaam

PastorPastor's Blog

April 2018 Sermon SeriesI love being a pastor and I love even more that I get to serve at Faith UMC. This week I’ve been through a wide range of emotions – it was full of ministry moments I won’t soon forget. I felt excitement and anticipation as we got ready to kick off the new sermon series “Is That Really In The Bible?” But I was also nervous and cautious about how to handle the crazy / weird stories I’d be preaching about.

As I worshiped last Sunday, I experienced gratitude, awe, and appreciation for all the people who share their gifts to make our worship experience(s) possible. And I had a few flashbacks to my first weeks and months here at Faith. I remembered how we had no stage lighting, no drum enclosure to help with sound, and a big, blank wall on stage. Oh how far we have come — through the hard work and generosity of many people who continue to make worship at Faith meaningful and beautiful.

From the opening song, through communion, to the sending forth, I was filled with joy …and sadness. Joy observing how the Holy Spirit is working in our church; joy experiencing God’s work in our midst. But also sadness knowing my days here are numbered, as I count down to my departure.

I felt sadness and nervousness when I woke up Monday with no voice. I thought “I don’t have time to be sick — I can’t be sick now — we have 2 adult baptisms coming up on Tuesday night at Alpha. I can’t miss that!” I wanted to be there and celebrate with everyone. Alpha is designed to be a safe space for persons who may or may not have faith in Jesus to ask questions in a non-threatening environment. It is through love, hospitality, and the space to ask questions at Alpha that Barry and Judi Warner found their home at Faith UMC (and their ministry as part of the Alpha team). It was only fitting that we baptize them on the last night of Alpha. On Tuesday, I was filled with gratitude, joy, honor, knowing they have found their faith in Christ and their desire to continue following Jesus, at Faith and on the Alpha Course.

Now I find myself in the middle of this week looking forward to Sunday with anticipation, joy, gratitude, and a little apprehension. I am praying for allergies to get better so that I will have my voice; I am praying for wisdom regarding how best to teach the strange and weird story of Balaam and his talking donkey. Yep, it is in there (Numbers 22:1-35).

I can’t wait to see you in worship and to share another week in ministry together. I hope you will consider checking out this story for yourself. And join me Sunday morning to see how God is speaking in and through his people (even animals).


Rodney WhitfieldRodney Whitfield
Lead Pastor