First United Methodist Church
of Gadsden

Changing Lives By
Sharing Christ, Making Disciples,
Serving People and Giving Hope

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This Sunday at Gadsden First UMC...


3-10-19   Sermon Notes   “The Journey to Easter Begins in the Desert”

We’ve known each other for about 8 months now.  We are still getting to know one another – making connections.  I want to share something with you that will help you understand me a little better.  Heart disease runs in my family.  That’s the thing.  What do I mean by “running in the family?”  Well – my father died at age 50 of heart disease, and he had a brother who died at age 49 and another brother who died at age 51 – both of heart disease.  My family doctor described my family history of heart disease as “ominous.”  That’s why I do some of the things I do.  That’s why I go to the doctor every 6 months and let them stick a needle in my arm (I hate needles) and draw my blood to check my cholesterol.  That’s why I take my cholesterol medicine, and my blood pressure medicine.  That’s why I’m trying to get to my target weight – trying to watch what I eat and exercise regularly.  I’m still working on the target weight thing, by the way.  All this because heart disease runs in my family.

Another kind of heart disease runs in all our families.  I’m talking about a history of spiritual disease in our innermost being…that part of us that is supposed to love God with all our hearts.  I’m talking about spiritual heart attacks. 

Did you know that Jesus had a heart attack?  That was what happened in the desert, right after he had been baptized.  Remember after Jesus’ baptism that heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in the bodily form of a dove, and a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son whom I love.  With you I am well pleased.”  What a place of heart contentment that must have been!  Then came the devil’s heart attack.  We read about it in Luke 4: 1-13.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”

Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written,

‘Worship the Lord your God,
    and serve only him.’”

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,

‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    to protect you,’

11 and

‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”

12 Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time. (Luke 4: 1-13  NRSV)

Jesus didn’t go to the desert for a vacation.  He was led by the Holy Spirit, and he willingly went to the desert.  For what?  To be tested…to have his heart attacked.  On Ash Wednesday, we start a journey that will lead us to Easter – to an empty tomb and a celebration!  But first, we start in the desert.  Why?  Because we also need to be tested.  Join me this Sunday, and we will learn how to survive the heart attacks.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Sam


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Sharing Christ, Making Disciples, Serving People and Giving Hope

Thursday Worship:

5:30 PM, Sancutary


8:45 AM:  "Celebration" Worship, Contemporary Style Worship --Gym.

10:00 AM: Sunday School and Small Groups- Education Building

10:55 AM:  "Traditions", Traditional Worship --Sanctuary

Wonderful Wednesday Dinner and Small Groups

5:15 pm Dinner

6:00 PM Journey Groups and Activities for Adults, Youth and Children

Nursery available on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights.


You Are Welcome Here!

This Wednesday, March 6,  join us for
Ash Wednesday, A Service of Renewal, 6 PM, in the Sanctuary

An Ash Wednesday worship service will also be held at 3:30 pm at Regency Pointe on March 6.  

Thursday Worship: 5:30 PM

 8:45 AM, Celebration, Gym
10:00 AM Sunday Shhool
10:55 AM--Traditions, Sanctuary

Wonderful Wednesday

Dinner: 5:15 PM
$5 Adults, $2 Children

Journey Groups, 6:00 pm

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