The Midweek Message

from Senior Pastor Magrey deVega

 

 

Midweek Message: My Summer Reading List, 2017

Dear Hyde Park Family, Sitting at my desk, staring at the stack of books awaiting my eager attention this summer: “Bid Our Jarring Conflicts Cease: A Wesleyan Theology and Praxis of Church Unity” by David Field. My continuing work with “the broad center” of the...

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Midweek Message: A Prayer for Pastors

Dear Hyde Park Family, By the time you read this, I will be in Orlando at the latest gathering of the Florida Annual Conference, along with your other clergy, your lay delegates, and about a thousand other United Methodists from around the state. It is always an...

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Midweek Message: Hello Summer!

Dear Hyde Park Family, Hello, summer! Whether you are making plans to get away for a vacation, or looking forward to long days of leisure at home, I trust that this season will afford you and your loved ones a chance to rest and rejuvenate a bit from all your busyness...

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Midweek Message: Staring Up at Heaven

Dear Hyde Park Family, A few weeks ago, my daughters and I spent a few days vacationing at a nearby hotel. Lounging poolside, I noticed a group of older elementary-aged kids, laughing and jabbering as they swam. Then, we all looked up at the sky, and noticed an...

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MidWeek Message: The Long Shadow of Mental Illness

It is an illness that affects about one in five Americans every year: nearly 43 million people. It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada. The World Health Organization estimates that it poses a greater economic and social burden on global market...

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Midweek Message: The Broad Center of the Church

May 11, 2017 Dear Hyde Park Family, Next year, the United Methodist Church will be fifty years old. And it will be in its forty-sixth year debating homosexuality. That is a long time for family members to be at odds. The dispute has only grown more hostile over recent...

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Midweek Message: Comfort in Continuity

May 4, 2017 Dear Hyde Park Family, This past weekend, I felt like a teenager again. Last Friday night, my daughter Grace and the Plant High School Wind Ensemble performed two selections that immediately transported me back to my high school days. As soon as I heard...

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Midweek Message: Make ’em Laugh!

April 20, 2017 Dear Hyde Park Family, Stop me if you’ve heard this one… A minister got up before the congregation to deliver the Call to Worship, only to discover a problem with the microphone. He tapped it with his hand, blew into it loudly, knocked it a...

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Midweek Message: Golgotha Cross

April 13, 2017 Dear Hyde Park Family, http://hydeparkumc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/18226_Three_Crosses_And_Empty_Tomb.mp4 Golgotha’s Cross By Raymond Kresensky, 1892-1955 What is the cross on Golgotha to me – But the brave young Jesus murdered there?...

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Midweek Message: The Violence of Love

March 30, 2017 Dear Lenten Pilgrims, Last Friday was the 37th anniversary of the death of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the great Catholic martyr. Romero was one of the most prominent figures for human rights in the 20th century, and spoke on behalf of the poor and the...

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Midweek Message: Is God Mad at Me?

March 24, 2017 Dear Hyde Park Family, When I was an elementary student at a local Christian school, my classmates and I were all fearful of principal Jack Santhouse. He seemed at least 6-1/2 feet tall, with broad shoulders and sullen eyes, a square jaw, and a sharp...

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Midweek Message: To Grace, on Her Sixteenth Birthday

March 16, 2017 Dear Hyde Park Family, Part of the privilege of having a forum like the Midweek Message is that I get to share whatever is on my mind with a wonderful readership like you. Often the content is spiritual, other times social commentary, and other times...

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Midweek Message: Two Prayers

March 9, 2017 Dear Hyde Park Family, Several years ago, I received a precious gift from my dear friend and lifelong mentor Rev. Dr. Jack Stroman, the senior pastor who nurtured my call into ministry when I was a youth at Pasadena Community Church in St. Petersburg. He...

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Midweek Message: 10 Other Things You Might Give Up for Lent

10 Other Things You Might Give Up for Lent Dear Lenten Pilgrims, A recent online, non-scientific survey [link provided below] by Christianity Today revealed the most popular things people give up for Lent: 1) social networking, 2) chocolate, 3) Twitter, 4) alcohol,...

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Midweek Message: A Guide to Prayer for a Way Forward

Feb. 23, 2017 Dear Hyde Park Family, “Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may.” — John Wesley, “On Catholic Spirit” It is likely no...

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Midweek Message: The Faith (and Questions) of a Child

Feb. 16, 2017 Dear Hyde Park Family, Last night was “Ask the Pastor Night,” one of my favorite annual events in the church. It was with Club45, a Wednesday night gathering of our fourth and fifth graders. As was the case last year, I am amazed by the...

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Midweek Message: A Valentine’s Day Prayer

Feb. 9, 2017 Dear Hyde Park Family, Valentine’s Day is one of those commercialized holidays that most folks either observe or ignore. It may be that you have a special someone with whom next Tuesday will be a time of celebration. For others, it may be a...

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Midweek Message: Fear is not from God

Feb. 2, 2017 Dear Hyde Park Family, Here’s a verse I’ve been praying through this past week. It’s from 2 Timothy 1:7, and I invite you to read it. Slowly, closely, and prayerfully: God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love,...

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Midweek Message: Sit in the Back, or Help Them Soar?

Dear Hyde Park Family, One of the first churches I served after graduating from seminary was a small, rural congregation in the deep South. I was young and eager to please, and still somewhat oblivious to the realities of ministry in the real world. Within the first...

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Midweek Message: Seeking the Light

Dec. 22, 2016 Dear Hyde Park Family, Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day. We who are anxious over many things look...

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Midweek Message: Light for Your Longest Night

Dear Hyde Park Family,   Each year, Dec. 21 marks the winter solstice, in which our northern hemisphere is tilted furthest away from the sun.  Winter will officially begin with the longest period of nighttime all year and from then, our daylight will gradually...

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Midweek Message: The Gospel According to Ricky Bobby

Dec. 8, 2016 Dear Advent Pilgrims, It is easy to forget that none of the gospels were written by Currier and Ives. We like to envision that the first manger scene was tranquil and serene, with lowing cattle and twinkling angel light. All was calm, and all was bright....

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Midweek Message: The Hole and the Line

Dec. 1, 2016 Dear Advent Pilgrims, If you ever find yourself inside any of a number of cathedrals in Europe, you would best look up as well as down. Look up, and you may notice a dazzling painting of sun rays, all surrounding a hole in the middle of the ceiling,...

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Midweek Message: A Thanksgiving Poem and Prayer

Nov. 24, 2016 Dear Hyde Park Family, On this day when we gather with family and friends in a spirit of thankfulness, I offer you these two selections. The first is a poem by the great e.e. cummings, whose trademark playfulness with punctuation and grammar is evident...

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Midweek Message: What Happens When We Die?

Nov. 17, 2016 Dear Hyde Park Family, Even after three years of formal seminary training and nearly twenty years of church ministry, I still sometimes feel ill prepared to answer the deepest faith questions that people ask. It’s the ones that keep us up at night,...

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Midweek: What is Still True

Nov. 10, 2016 Dear Hyde Park Family, We are now in the wake of the most captivating, bewildering presidential election of our lifetime. The unexpected results from last Tuesday defied predictions, as a fitting end to a campaign season that upended conventional...

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MidWeek Message: Trick-or-Treat: Guess who’s at the door!

Oct. 27, 2016 Dear Hyde Park family, Halloween Night, 2016 It is a bustling evening in the neighborhood. Crowds of costumed children fill the street, loaded with bags of candy. At the end of a cul-de-sac is the home of a lovely couple named Tom and Alice, who have...

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Midweek Message: Some Wise Words from Mr. Rogers

Dear Hyde Park Family, Watching the news lately has felt like a grueling, punishing, full contact sport. So I thought we could all use a healthy dose from our favorite neighbor, Fred Rogers. Like many of you, I grew up in the charming television neighborhood of Fred...

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Midweek Message: Making God’s Love Mobile Friendly

Dear Hyde Park Family, Many historians and biblical archaeologists agree that one of the greatest contributors to the spread of Christianity in the first century was not just the work of Paul, or the disciples, or the early church.It was, in fact, the comprehensive...

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Midweek Message: Draw the Circle Wide

September 29, 2016 Dear Hyde Park Family, Stan Mooneyham is a former director of World Vision, a charitable agency that combats global poverty and hunger. At a national gathering of religious leaders from a wide spectrum of faith traditions – Catholic and...

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Midweek Message: What Makes a Sermon Stick?

Sept. 22, 2016 Dear Hyde Park Family, For the past three days, I have been in lovely North Carolina, attending the latest session of the Institute of Preaching. Last June, I was honored to be selected to participate in this year-long experience, designed to strengthen...

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Midweek Message: Listening for God’s Word

Sept. 15, 2016 Dear Hyde Park Family, So faith comes from listening, but it’s listening by means of Christ’s message. – Romans 10:17 (Common English Bible) Over the years I have heard a lot of metaphors for how to relate to the Bible. Most of them...

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Midweek Message: “What Religion Would Jesus Choose?”

Sept. 8, 2016 Dear Hyde Park family, Last week, New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristoff wrote an op-ed piece titled, “What Religion Would Jesus Belong To?” Several of you shared it with me, and it circulated in my social media news feed for a few days....

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MidWeek Message: God’s Love in a Bucket

Sept. 1, 2016 Dear Hyde Park Family, Back in 2013, historic flooding of the Little Sioux River in northwest Iowa devastated a small town of 5,000 people called Cherokee, where I lived and served for eight years prior to returning last summer. 200 homes were affected,...

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MidWeek Message: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Aug. 25, 2016 Dear Hyde Park Family, Feel free to hum along: Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go where...

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MidWeek Message: Hope to Boot

Aug. 18, 2016 Dear Hyde Park Family, I’m not sure which is proven more true by today’s Midweek Message: that I will do just about anything to come up with a good sermon illustration, or that I’ll use just about anything for a good sermon...

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Midweek Message: A Prayer for the Now Generation

Aug. 10, 2016 Dear Hyde Park Family, One day they’re in diapers, and then before you know it, they are off to high school. That’s what came to mind this morning as I drove Grace to Plant High School and Madelyn to Wilson Middle for their first day of...

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MidWeek Message: Building Bridges

Aug. 14, 2016 Dear Hyde Park Family, Imagine having to drive to St. Petersburg without using the Gandy Bridge, the Howard Frankland Bridge, or the Courtney Campbell Causeway. Imagine the travel time, the traffic, the headache. Those bridges drastically cut the...

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MidWeek Message: The Peanuts Movie

July 28, 2016 Dear Hyde Park Family: When I was in elementary school, I was obsessed with the Peanuts comic strip. Like millions of adults and children across the country, reading the latest entry in the newspaper was part of my morning ritual. I checked out and read...

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MidWeek Message: Creed

July 21, 2016 Dear Hyde Park Family, Over the last several years, Hollywood has had a remake craze. Mad Max. Annie. The Karate Kid. Fantastic Four. Godzilla. Star Trek. And how many Spider-Man and Batman reboots do we really need? Couple this trend with the number of...

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Midweek Message: The Martian

July 14, 2016 Dear Hyde Park Family, Back in the summer of 1991, I read Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park and couldn’t put it down. He was one of the foremost authors of “hard science fiction,” which is a kind of science fiction based on...

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MidWeek Message: Inside Out

July 7, 2016 Dear Hyde Park Family, I remember watching Toy Story for the first time, at the Salem Mall movie theater in Dayton, Ohio. I must have missed half the movie, mostly because my jaw kept hitting the ground and I kept turning to my friend Kelly in disbelief....

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MidWeek Message: Hyde Park at the Movies

Dear Hyde Park family, For as long as I can remember, I have always loved movies. I bawled like a baby when I saw E.T. (The first film I saw twice in the theater.) I laughed out loud at Innerspace (The first film my parents let me see on my own, along with my buddy...

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Midweek Message: A Defiant Alleluia

Dear Hyde Park Family, Last Sunday was among the most alarming mornings of my career. With each passing worship service, reports from Orlando were getting progressively more horrifying. And the meaning of the sermon that I had written several days prior became more...

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