The Midweek Message

from Senior Pastor Magrey deVega

 

 

 

Midweek Message: Be Still and Breathe

Dear Hyde Park Family, Are you an elephant or a frog? Once upon a time there was an elephant standing in a pond happily eating some twigs. The twigs were so tasty and nutritious that he felt like he was in heaven. As he was about to take another bite, the twig slipped...

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Midweek Message: Happy Pi Day! (God Loves You!)

March 14, 2019 [Setting: This past Tuesday, in the living room of the parsonage. A conversation between my older daughter Grace and me.] Grace: Hey, Dad. What are you working on? Me: [mumbling] My Midweek Message. I’m kind of stuck. Grace: What is it about? Me: Well,...

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Midweek Message: Facing Temptation

Dear Lenten Pilgrims, Most paintings of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness show both Jesus and Satan, and their portrayals often couldn’t be more different. Jesus usually appears with bright, shimmering glory, and Satan is often a...

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Midweek Message: The Church We Long for is…

Dear Hyde Park Disciples, Well, the people have spoken. You all did, actually, and the Spirit through you. Last Sunday, at the conclusion of each sermon, we invited you to call out the words or phrases that came to mind to complete the statement “The...

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Midweek Message: A Pastoral Word for the General Conference

Dear Hyde Park Family, Happy Valentine’s Day! On this day when we celebrate human love, I invite you to take some time to remember with prayerful love our United Methodist Church, as it prepares for an important gathering in about ten days. From Feb. 23-26, 862...

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Midweek Message: Extra, Extra! Read All About It!

Dear Hyde Park Family, You may remember that in the Fall of 2017, as we were beginning the visioning process, I asked you to share your response to this question: “Twenty-five years from now, if a reporter were to write an article about this church, what would your...

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Midweek Message: Together is Beautiful

Dear Hyde Park Family, Like many of you, I will be watching the Super Bowl this Sunday, with more interest in the commercials than in the game itself. I have already viewed many of them online, taking a special interest in one for Coca-Cola. It’s called “A Coke is a...

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Midweek Message: Does It Spark Your Joy?

Dear Hyde Park Family, So, what sparks your joy? That’s the trendy question of the day for fans of the popular Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” based on her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and...

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Midweek Message: Where Church Happens

Dear Hyde Park Family, As part of my seminary education, I spent a year working at the St. Vincent Hotel, an emergency overnight shelter for the homeless in Dayton, Ohio. It was during that time that my supervisor, a Catholic monk named Brother Al, gave me one of the...

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Midweek Message: Adventure Yourselves!

Jan. 10, 2019 Dear Hyde Park Adventurers, First, three huge words of gratitude! 1. Thank you to the 200 volunteers who, along with our talented staff, helped pull off another powerful season of Christmas services. You helped welcome a record number of worshippers to...

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Midweek Message: Where God Was Homeless, We Are At Home

Dear Hyde Park Family, “The House of Christmas” by G.K. Chesterton There fared a mother driven forth Out of an inn to roam; In the place where she was homeless All men are at home. The crazy stable close at hand, With shaking timber and shifting sand, Grew a stronger...

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Midweek Message: God Meets You In The Darkness

Dear Hyde Park Family, In her excellent 2014 essay in Time magazine titled, “In Praise of Darkness,” noted preacher Barbara Brown Taylor says that we Christians have long had an aversion to the darkness. “From earliest times, Christians have used “darkness” as a...

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Midweek Message: The Two 3:16s

Dear Advent Pilgrims, So, how’s the Christmas gift buying going? I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that every year, the December shopping frenzy in this culture feels more frenetic and hectic than the year before. The shopping lists get longer, the mall...

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Midweek Message: God’s Vision Includes You

Dear Hyde Park Disciples, Advent is a time of longing, expectation and hope, and is therefore the perfect time to share with you the results of long-term strategic visioning process that our Vision Team has been conducting over the past fourteen months. I invite you...

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Midweek Message: A Thanksgiving Poem

Dear Hyde Park Family, When Giving Is All We Have Alberto Ríos, 1952 One river gives Its journey to the next. We give because someone gave to us. We give because nobody gave to us. We give because giving has changed us. We give because giving could have changed us. We...

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Midweek Message: How Much Is Your Happiness?

Dear Hyde Park Family, A few years ago, Grace asked me to describe my happiest memories. I responded with some of the more obvious answers: the moments she and her sister were born, the day I married their mother, the night I was ordained as a minister. She agreed...

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Midweek Message: What Heartens Me

Dear Hyde Park Family, “Jesus sat across from the collection box for the temple treasury and observed how the crowd gave their money. Many rich people were throwing in lots of money. One poor widow came forward and put in two small copper coins worth a penny.” – Mark...

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Midweek Message: Remember Roy G. Biv?

Dear Hyde Park Family, “Roy G. Biv” “Every Good Boy Does Fine.” “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” “I before E, except after C.” You recognize these. They are tools we learned as children to collect and retrieve facts that would be helpful throughout our...

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How Eugene Peterson Changed My Life

Dear Hyde Park Family, On Monday, Eugene Peterson died. You may know him as the author of The Message, a popular paraphrase of the Bible. Others may know him for his many books on Christian spirituality and pastoral ministry. I remember him for the week I spent with...

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Midweek Message: The Last Place We Want God

Dear Hyde Park Family, Years ago, I read a hilarious book by Esquire columnist A.J. Jacobs called The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. Jacobs, a self-avowed agnostic, sought to...

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Midweek Message: What We Have Learned So Far

Dear Hyde Park Family, First, a quick word of prayerful concern for the people all along the Gulf coast and the southeastern United States who have been affected by the devastation of Hurricane Michael. Our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) will offer a...

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Midweek Message: One Song for the World

Dear Hyde Park Family, A few months ago, my daughters and I made another trip to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, and we rode the iconic It’s a Small World. That ride was a mainstay of my childhood, and I can remember our whole family cheering when we passed by the...

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Midweek Message: Living Upside-Down

Dear Hyde Park Family, The Museum of Illusions just opened this month in Dubai, U.A.E., and features a fascinating exhibit called The Upside-Down Room, in which a person can be photographed with the optical illusion that they are dangling from the ceiling. Since its...

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Midweek Message: For the Love of Nicaragua

Dear Hyde Park Family, Among the myriad of local and global concerns that may be filling your prayers nowadays, I ask you to include one with whom this church has personal connections. Over the past several months, the nation of Nicaragua has been seized by violence,...

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Midweek Message: A Prayer for Those Facing Storms

Dear Hyde Park Family, We all remember what we were feeling a year ago. As Hurricane Irma barreled toward us, we felt the wearying combination of dread, fatigue and agonizing waiting. Those who evacuated wondered what kind of home they would return to. Those who...

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Top Ten Traps for Taming the Tongue

Dear Hyde Park Tongue Tamers, This Sunday, our journey through the book of James takes us to the most vivid and practical section in the entire letter: How to tame your tongue (James 3:1-12). It is also a text for which I wrote a sermon that will be broadcast next...

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Midweek Message – 4 Tips for a Balanced Life

Dear Hyde Park Family, When I read James 2 in preparation for this Sunday’s sermon, in which James tells us to show no favoritism based on people’s outward appearance, I immediately thought about Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling.” You know the story. Our...

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Midweek Message: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

Dear Hyde Park Family, During one of my private devotionals this past week, I came across a story about Thomas Edison, who invented the light bulb after 1,000 unsuccessful attempts. An interviewer asked him, “Mr. Edison, how did you feel after failing 1,000 times?” I...

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Midweek Message: Love Covers All

Dear Hyde Park Family, How about some good news for a change? For those who experienced worship last Sunday, you heard me conclude my sermon with the powerful story of Ken Parker, a participant in last year’s gathering of white supremacists in...

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Midweek Message: The MAD That You Feel

Dear Hyde Park Family, Like many of you, I was heavily influenced at a young age by Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, a television show experiencing renewed nostalgia thanks to the recent documentary about Fred Rogers’ life. (My favorite film of 2018 so far.) One of my...

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Midweek Message: The Ten Books I Read This Summer

Dear Hyde Park Family, With the start of school just around the corner, I hope that you and yours have had a full, enriching summer break. Perhaps that has included diving into a good book or two. For today's Midweek Message, I thought I would share the ten books I...

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Midweek Message: Adventure Yourself!

Dear Hyde Park Family, Be sure to read the end of today's Midweek Message for an important word about our upcoming congregational survey, and the way you can participate in the next critical phase of our Vision Team's work. SHIPWRECKED! First, I wish I could fully...

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Midweek Message: A Prayer for Pastors in the Year Ahead

Dear Hyde Park Family, Last week was the gathering in Lakeland of the Florida Annual Conference, comprised of clergy and laity from around the state. One of the highlights is always the service of licensing, commissioning and ordination, in which we celebrate persons...

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Midweek Message: More Than Mumbo Jumbo

Dear Hyde Park Family, On many Sundays, when we gather to worship, we affirm our faith using the words of the Apostles' Creed. It takes less than a minute to recite - forty seconds, by my watch - followed quickly with a time to greet those around us, then sit down to...

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Midweek Message: Commence with Empathy

Dear Hyde Park Family, We are in full swing of graduation ceremonies across the country and our community, which carries with it a new slate of commencement addresses that capture our attention. There is typically no set formula for what makes a good commencement...

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Midweek Message: “Spirit Shower”

Dear Hyde Park Family, You’ll want to be sure to read the end of today’s Midweek Message for a word of update and gratitude regarding our church’s visioning process. For now here’s a quick word about Pentecost, my favorite high holy day of the entire Christian year....

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Midweek Message: Go Clean Your Room!

Dear Hyde Park Family, Let me be the first one - and likely the only one - to wish you and yours a "Happy National Clean Up Your Room Day." That's right. It's a day wholly designated to encourage people to clean up their rooms. I have no idea about the origins or...

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Midweek Message: Duck Hunter Shoots Angel

Dear Hyde Park Family, It's hard to explain to you what the play Duck Hunter Shoots Angel is about without giving away all the fun. The title alone should be enough to suggest that if you watch the production at The Portico on April 27-28, you will walk away thinking...

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Midweek Message: Hey, What’s So Funny?

Dear Easter People, Think about the last time you laughed heartily at a joke, a story, or something you witnessed. What made it funny? Was it the timing? The surprise? The absurdity? And do you think that what you found funny was equally hysterical to others? Those...

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Midweek Message: A Poem for Holy Week

March 29, 2018 Dear Lenten Pilgrims, from The Crucified by Kahlil Gibran Oh, crucified Jesus, who art looking sorrowfully from Mount Calvary at the sad procession of the Ages, and hearing the clamor of the dark nations, and understanding the dreams of Eternity: Thou...

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Midweek Message: Start What You Finish

March 22, 2018 Dear Lenten Pilgrims, That's an odd twist on an old cliché, but it's good advice for any of us who are too quick to jump to Easter without moving through the Holy Week. Our stores may be stocked with chocolate bunnies and shrink-wrapped baskets, but...

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Midweek Message: Short People

March 15, 2018 Dear Lenten Pilgrims, I was four years old when Randy Newman's song Short People first hit the airwaves in 1977. You may remember it for its catchy hook and prejudicial premise: Short people got no reason Short people got no reason Short people got no...

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Midweek Message: The Greatest Uncertainty of All

March 8, 2018 Dear Hyde Park Family, We are now past the midpoint of our Lenten journey, and our series this Sunday explores what is perhaps the most profound and most difficult uncertainty for us to embrace: the uncertainty of our own mortality. It is a theme that...

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Midweek Message: Worried? Read This

Dear Lenten Pilgrims, This Sunday's worship theme is the uncertainty of worry and anxiety, a topic that I know is of widespread relevance to so many of us. Every Tuesday, the staff of this church read through each of the prayer concerns you send through your worship...

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