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Dear Friends,

Filling Up Pouring Out“Filling Up and Pouring Out” is a phrase that captures the heart of who we, as children of God, should long to be. In Romans 5:5 Paul says that, “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Our lives are filled continually with God’s love and we are called to share that love with others.

We are travelers together on this journey of faith, supporting each other along the way. My  hope and fervent prayer is that you will experience God’s overwhelming love in ways that transform your life and the lives of those around you.

Blessings on you and yours,
Allen

A Mother’s Love: Sermon Audio

What do Mother’s Day and Ascension Sunday have to do with each other? For many of us, the first way we experience unconditional love, is through our mothers. Can this be an image of Christ’s love for us and an image of who we are to be as the body of Christ?

If you can’t play the audio file in your feed reader or email client, then click the following link: http://allenmcgraw.com/?p=1390

Sermon Title: A Mother’s Love
Preacher: Allen McGraw
Date: 5/8/2016
Time: Morning Worship Service
Location: First United Methodist Church of Water Valley
Scripture Reference: Luke 24:44-53

Love. It’s More Than Words: Sermon Audio

Jesus said that we are to love each other. But not just any love, a particular kind of love. “Love each other the way I have loved you.” That is a scary proposition.

If you can’t play the audio file in your feed reader or email client, then click the following link: http://allenmcgraw.com/?p=1386

Sermon Title: Considering Who Jesus Isn’t
Preacher: Allen McGraw
Date: 4/24/2016
Time: Morning Worship Service
Location: First United Methodist Church of Water Valley
Scripture Reference: John 13:31-35

Consider Who Jesus Isn’t: Sermon Audio

This week, the Lectionary turns our attention to Jesus as “shepherd”. But before considering who Jesus is, maybe it’s necessary to consider who Jesus isn’t. Jesus is always who we need him to be, but rarely who we want him to be.

If you can’t play the audio file in your feed reader or email client, then click the following link: http://allenmcgraw.com/?p=1383

Sermon Title: Considering Who Jesus Isn’t
Preacher: Allen McGraw
Date: 4/17/2016
Time: Morning Worship Service
Location: First United Methodist Church of Water Valley
Scripture Reference: John 10:22-30

Remembering Your Name: Sermon Audio

Jesus appears to the disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and asks, “Simon, Son of John, do you love me?” Why does Jesus call him Simon? I thought he changed his name to Peter. Maybe Peter has forgotten who he is.

If you can’t play the audio file in your feed reader or email client, then click the following link: http://allenmcgraw.com/?p=1381

Sermon Title: Remembering Your Name
Preacher: Allen McGraw
Date: 4/10/2016
Time: Morning Worship Service
Location: First United Methodist Church of Water Valley
Scripture Reference: John 21:15-19

He is Risen Indeed (An Easter Sermon): Sermon Audio

“Christ is Risen! / He is Risen Indeed!” This is a call and response heard in Christian churches around the world. Easter is a call to experience abundant life through the resurrected Christ. So, it is especially fitting for Easter celebrations. Resurrection is a promise we anticipate and a reality we experience.

If you can’t play the audio file in your feed reader or email client, then click the following link: http://allenmcgraw.com/?p=1376

Sermon Title: He is Risen Indeed
Preacher: Allen McGraw
Date: 3/27/2016
Time: Morning Worship Service
Location: First United Methodist Church of Water Valley
Scripture Reference: Luke 24:1-12

Victory has a Price Tag (A Palm Sunday Sermon): Sermon Audio

Palm Sunday and the Triumphant Entry are the focus of this sermon. Celebration comes easy when we think we’re on the winning side. But what happens when our expectations come up against Christ’s call to take up our cross?

If you can’t play the audio file in your feed reader or email client, then click the following link: http://allenmcgraw.com/?p=1372

Sermon Title: Victory has a Price Tag
Preacher: Allen McGraw
Date: 3/20/2016
Time: Morning Worship Service
Location: First United Methodist Church of Water Valley
Scripture Reference: Luke 19:28-40

“Who Reads Titus?” – Ending the Lenten Journey

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

“Who reads Titus?” was a tongue-in-cheek question that was recently asked in our Fellow Travelers Sunday school class as we tried to discern what we would study next. The question wasn’t asked to suggest that we shouldn’t study Paul’s letter to Titus, but to make the point that there are those stories/books that we know well and those that we don’t.

titusWe’ve spent the last three Sundays studying Titus, and will probably spend many more. This short letter is proving to be a real thought provoker. Long after the class is over the question, “Who reads Titus?”, will stay with me. Mostly because it was pretty funny, but also because it reminded me how important it is to spend time exploring the remote corners of God’s holy scripture. I’ve spent the last few weeks re-reading The Epistle of Paul to Titus several times over and I have been amazed at how God has used this short letter to both encourage and challenge me.

That’s exactly what we need, isn’t it? To be both encouraged and challenged? Encouraged to look beyond our circumstances and trust God who lead us, and challenged, to “take up our cross” and follow the one who gave himself for us. In a profound and mysterious way, scripture does that. Not because there is something inherently magical about the words on the page, but because the words on the page point us to the Mystery beyond; the Mystery who calls us beloved children and delights in our child-like wonder. But it’s easy to lose that sense of wonder when we search scripture, not for a relationship, but for answers.

Someone asked me once, after I confessed to really knowing very little about God, “How can you be at peace with all the unanswered questions.” My response was simply that, “Unanswered questions don’t really bother me, because it’s not answers I’m looking for. I’m looking for a person, and his name is Jesus. And in him, I have all the answers I’ll ever need.”

So, as your Lenten observance comes to a close and we prepare to celebrate the resurrection on Easter morning, I’d encourage you to spend some extra time searching the scriptures, not for answers, but for a relationship, a relationship with the one who loves you perfectly, the one who knows you intimately, the one who comes to show you a better way.

Blessings on you and yours, Allen

First Sunday in Lent (2016): Sermon Audio

This was to be the sermon on the first Sunday in Lent (2016), but due to other elements running long earlier in the service and because we had a large number of visitors, it seemed best to toss the sermon notes. If you want to hear what happens when I go “off script” then here’s your chance.

If you can’t play the audio file in your feed reader or email client, then click the following link: http://allenmcgraw.com/?p=1363

Sermon Title: Temptation in the Wilderness
Preacher: Allen McGraw
Date: 2/14/2016
Time: Morning Worship Service
Location: First United Methodist Church of Water Valley
Scripture Reference: Luke 4:1-13

All Saints 2015: Sermon Audio

The commemoration of All Saints Day on November 1st is a long-standing Christian tradition. We gather and proclaim that Christ’s church is more that what we see, consisting of saints from all times and places. How do you relate to the title “saint”?

If you can’t play the audio file in your feed reader or email client, then click the following link: http://allenmcgraw.com/?p=1340

Sermon Title: All Saints 2015
Preacher: Allen McGraw
Date: 11/1/2015
Time: Morning Worship Service
Location: First United Methodist Church of Water Valley
Scripture Reference: Revelation 21:1-6a

I Want To See: Sermon Audio

I have preached a lot of sermons over the last ten years, but this has to be my personal favorite. It is the story of Blind Bartimaeus. We hear him cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” What will be our response?

If you can’t play the audio file in your feed reader or email client, then click the following link: http://allenmcgraw.com/?p=1336

Sermon Title: I Want To See
Preacher: Allen McGraw
Date: 10/25/2015
Time: Morning Worship Service
Location: First United Methodist Church of Water Valley
Scripture Reference: Mark 10:46-52