Jesus loves you
and we want to get to know you.
Welcome, and thank you for visiting Waltz United Methodist Church online, or in gathered worship. We hope that our website highlights the worship, fellowship, and service opportunities available.
We worship in a traditional style, in traditional hymns, and preaching from the Bible.
Please feel free to read more about our church on this site, or come in for a visit. We would love to greet you and share with you our love for Jesus Christ and for you, our neighbor.
Our mission is to be fully devoted to Jesus by opening our arms to those in search of the truth. All are welcome.
We show God’s love and concern for our fellow man at every opportunity. Through works of charity and opening our doors to listen and love, we feel that we are walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
Our traditional Worship Service begins at 9:30 AM.
If you haven't visited us yet, know that you will be a stranger for only about 2 minutes - after that you're family. All are welcome!
We celebrate Communion on the first Sunday of each month.
We will soon begin outdoor worship as weather permits. It's a wonderful setting.
Contact us: 7465 Egypt Rd
Phone: (330) 722-1015
Pastor Les is continuing his regular office time, on Wednesdays 9-12 AM, You may call his cell phone to make an appointment if you have a special need
Altar Cross at our outdoor Worship Service
(Thanks for the photo, Eric)
Monday August 15 10:15 AM Bible Study
Wednesday August 17 10:00 AM Prayer Shawl Ministry
10:00 Am Trustees Meeting
Monday August 22 10:15 AM Bible Study
Monday August 29 10:15 AM Bible Study
Monday Sept 5 Labor Day (No Bible Study)
Saturday Sept 10 Fellowship Breakfast
(Hungry Bear Restaurant
We welcome Ed Gugliucci to our membership as a transfer from Brecksville UMC with a gift of a Prayer Shawl made by our Prayer Shawl Ministry knitters,
Special Prayer Needs:
Beth Norton's mother-in-law, Pat, being treated for cancer.
Alan Eaken is in Medina Hospital having had a stroke
Caroline Christley is being treated for cancer
John Marshall is recovering from knee transplant surgery.
Doris Roberts will be having eye surgery Friday, August 12, followed by a week of uncomfortable convalescence.
Duane Erhart is preparing for heart valve replacement surgery.
Pastor's Corner: I will be publishing the weekly Sermon Notes here that correspond to the Sunday Sermon available on our Facebook page (Waltzumc Church)
Sermon Notes: Showers of Blessings.
Intro: Oral communication has become a dying art. It should be a time for one person to express a thought, ask a question, or make a request, while another listens, and responds. The speaker then becomes the listener, and the previous listener continues the dialog as speaker. The interactions as speaker and listener allow communication and understanding. But too often, people speak, but then fail to listen, or understand, a response. Or during the response, they’re already formulating their next talking point and not listening to the speaker. By then, neither party is hearing the other. if either had taken time to hear what the other was saying, there would so much more understanding between people.
I. Prayer As Communication
A. Prayer is communication with God, but often suffers the same fates, even though it’s more of a heart-to-heart communication. We may ask God our heartfelt question, but if we don’t listen long enough we may begin assuming His answer, or fail to understand His works already in progress. And wonder why God hasn’t answered our prayer.
B. Having put their four-year-old daughter Mandy down for a nap, her parents decided on a project to clean the basement.
“Mom!” a voice came from upstairs
“Down here, Mandy”, her Mom began.
“Mommy” the voice called out more frantically.
Her Mom tried again, “We’re downst-
“Mommee!” now crying out in real panic.
Mom raced upstairs, seeing Mandy’s tears streaming down her cheeks.
“I thought you had left me here all alone, Mommy,” she sobbed
“Honey, I tried to answer, but you kept calling so you couldn’t hear my voice.”
How often does God have the same problem with us? We become so involved in transmitting, we can’t receive His message.
C. There are prayers that don’t require answers. Praise prayers, like our opening hymn, praising the Lord as the Almighty, the King of Creation. Or Thanksgiving prayers, when we express our thanks for particular blessings. We might begin a time of prayer by acknowledging His past blessings before we ask for more, like we did for our Call to Prayer and the Morning Prayer. When we acknowledge Him as the Fount of our Every Blessing as we sang in our Hymn of Preparation, we actually become our own listeners of our prayers to God. Still, the most conventional view of prayer is asking, expecting something from God, and anticipating His response of Yes, No, or Wait.
D. This morning, I want to expand our thinking, and see prayer outside this conventional box. What if God has already been answering our prayers, even before we asked because He already knew what we really needed? Our prayer would then focus on us trying to identify particular needs but preparing ourselves to see – and understand - His works already in progress.
E. Like the quarter Mom gave us that I talked to the children about. She knew what we would need, even before we left her. Her love had already provided the answer to our need before we thought about our need. God’s love is even greater. His love doesn’t just wait for us to ask, and then decide how He’ll answer us. His love knows and anticipates our needs, even things we may not need, but is provides just for our true happiness. His love knows what will harm us, and shows us His better way. But His love doesn’t force us to hear Him, or accept His answers. His discipline may help get our attention, but how often do we miss God’s response to us because we aren’t listening for it, or we don’t ask for understanding. Our prayers should be more than asking, but rather to hear and understand His response, because His responses are so much more complex than a mere Yes, No, or Wait. His blessings are not as simple as responses to individual prayers. His answers are more often like showers of blessings.
F. When we think of a shower, we might first think of the dedicated area in our bathroom, where we have control over its output. But let’s expand our concept of a shower to be more like an outdoor rain shower. We may have anticipated such a shower, pleased at the timing and meeting our needs, or maybe not, but we can’t control the output, or the extent of the area extending beyond ourselves. But God’s shower of blessings provide water for flowers and crops that provide food for various animals. It replenishes rivers, streams, and ponds that also provide homes for aquatic life. It helps our ecosystems. So God provides for our much greater needs, even without our asking.
G. Or consider a snow shower. We’re told that each snowflake is unique. We might be able to isolate and examine individual snowflakes, like particular blessings. But we would be able to identify only a relative few, even in a light snow shower. Yet the unidentified snowflakes would continue to build up around us. Even if we can’t identify most of His individual blessings, we can begin to recognize the abundance of blessings that surround us.
H. God’s responses go far beyond simple cause-and-effect answers to our prayers. Answers to our prayers are like that snowflake in a snow shower, or a drop of rain in a rain shower. We might be able to isolate some that way, but how many raindrops are in a rain shower, or snowflakes in a snow shower? How many blessings does He provide before we even ask, because He knows our needs even before we do?
II. Psalm 65: 4-13
A. With this expanded concept of prayer, let’s look at our Scripture lessons. Our reading from Psalms 65 begins with saying that people who are called to his courts are happy…blessed. We are called into God’s presence by His grace, until we accept Him, and invite Him into our life. We may think our prayer of acceptance caused God’s response, but God had already been acting on us, and all around us, until we responded to Him. From there our prayers are more appropriately focused on understanding how God wants to use us, but He already has plans in progress to prosper us, not to harm us, as the prophet Jeremiah assures us. We may present our plans in prayer to Him, but his showers of blessings are already around us. The question is: Are our prayers in sync with His perfect plans for us?
B. In this psalm, often considered a prayer of thanksgiving for the harvest, we see the earth filled with His showers of blessings. Watering and enriching the land abundantly. Streams filled with water to provide people grain, just as God had already ordained. Drenching earth’s furrows, leveling its ridges, softening it with showers, blessing its crops. This psalm of praise was a prayer acknowledging the needs God had known and met with His showers of blessings. It would have been impossible work for humans. But impossible is merely a God sized task.
C. Now I don’t want you to hear me that prayer isn’t important because God is already at work regardless of what we do. Because prayer is essential. Not to tell God what we need, or how we think He should act, but as a way of understanding God working in our behalf. Getting our wills synchronized with His. Jesus shows this with His exemplary prayer in Gethsemane. He had come to be the Perfect Sacrifice. He had lived the perfect, qualifying life. Yet, in His human fear, He prayed to be spared from the Cross, yet knowing the futility of such a prayer. God’s shower of blessings depended completely on His sacrifice that would bless mankind throughout the ages. Jesus’ prayer aligned His will with His Father’s Will. “Nevertheless, Father, Your Will be done.”
III. Luke 6: 27-38
A. Earlier I said effective communication allows a listener to respond, and a speaker to listen. We shouldn’t consider prayer to be only us speaking to God, then listening for God’s response to us. It’s also God speaking to us, and our responding to His requests. We see this in our Gospel Lesson from Luke.
B. God wants to shower us with blessings of peace – His Peace. His total wellness, His Shalom. So, here He makes his prayer request to us, although sounding more like a command. Love Your enemies. Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat You. There’s no value to loving only those who love us. Even those who don’t love God, do that. But loving our enemies, even if they don’t love us in return, is what God asks of us. God’s shower of blessings will then include cleansing us, healing us, changing us. We become more God-like in our mercy and kindness. Think of the showers of blessings He could send if we were to answer His prayer of us. We can’t expect God to provide peace on earth until we comply. Hate and peace are incompatible.
C. He further tells us not to judge others. As Christians, we should be critical of this world’s evils. But judging someone is to condemn them to hell. And that’s God’s domain, never ours. But here Jesus is saying that how we treat others, with forgiveness, mercy, and kindness is how we can expect God to treat us. Forgive others and we will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to us. So, here again, imagine what showers of blessing, better yet, downpours of blessing, we would see if we responded to others as Jesus asks of us.
D. I like the final verse of this passage. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” It would be like asking someone for a cup of flour, and see them measure out a full cup, then press it down to make room for more, then pour even more on top of the full cup, so much that it overflowed in your lap. People in Biblical culture would wear something like an apron so they could buy measures of grain from the market. The overflowing cup of flour would be received in their lap into that type of apron. So, we can imagine God’s rewards, His showers of blessing, like this cup of pressed down flour filled beyond overflowing so that you would need an apron to catch all the overflow. Give to others generously and God’s generosity to you will be like that.
E. There was a king whose carriage overtakes a farmer carrying a large bag of wheat over his shoulder.
“May I have some of your wheat?” the king asks.
The farmer pulls out one kernel of wheat from his sack and hands it to the king.
“Thank you” says the king, and hands the farmer a gold coin from a large box of gold coins, and drives off. The farmer is left wondering how much more the generous king would have given him if he had given him the whole bag of wheat.
F. We have a generous King like that. Our God asks us for a portion of our lives, and rewards us generously for what we give Him. But if we were to give as generously as He asks of us, how much more generously would He give us? What showers of blessing might we experience?
G. Christ Jesus Himself personifies that. Paul writes in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” which we will also use in our Communion liturgy. God doesn’t wait for us to ask for Him to shower us with blessings. He gave us His Son while we were yet sinners, because of His great love. Our prayer should then be to forgive us our sins that we might fully embrace His greatest of gifts, and let our lives be changed to conform to the wonderful plans He has for us.
Conclusion: Even now, Jesus invites us to His Table to share a Communion meal with Him, reminding us of His Love so great He would even give His life for us. Not by our request, but by His initiative to us, with showers of blessings, underserved forgiveness and mercy, filling our lives. Generously given, in good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. Amen.