Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Greetings in Christ!

I want to wish you all a, “Merry Christmas!”

Truly at this Christmas Season, we are filled with reminders. We are reminded of all the “holiday” sales, we are reminded to watch special television programs, we are reminded to read our Advent devotionals, we are reminded to purchase our poinsettias, we are reminded to attend the Christmas eve service (6:00 p.m. by the way), the Christmas day service (10:30 a.m.), we are reminded of the office party, etc. etc.
Then without a notice, a blurb, or announcement we are reminded inwardly of the familiar feelings of joy and sorrow. You don’t need to be reminded that the Christmas season is the happiest and the loneliest time of the year. Christmas, by its very nature awakens us inwardly and reminds us of those sensitive painful places. Nor Scrooge or the Saint can escape it. Maybe this is why we make so many resolutions for the next year? We need to believe that our dreams, both personal and in general will be fulfilled.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness
on them light has shined.” (Isaiah 9:2)

The light of Christmas comes and invades our loneliness, our busyness, and our forgetfulness and offers healing and invites us home.

“The wondrous gift is given; so God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of His heaven.”

So this is your Christmas reminder, you are greatly blessed because of the love of God, which was showed in such a powerful way by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to come to this earth. If you will allow it, Christ comes to live in you. Therefore, “God is with us!”

Pictures of a trip I hosted to Israel Jan. 2016 of the Shepherd's field in Bethlehem

Christmas Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Brian Sanderson

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

I want to briefly share my experience last week from my next to the last R.I.M (residence in ministry) retreat. The retreat took place at a hotel in Orlando, and focused on improving productivity, teamwork, and communication using DiSC, (I am an I.D. in case you're wondering). I'll let you research DiSC.

I wish the test was more affordable and more folks could take it as it was very helpful for my peers and myself. I am thankful for all that the FL Conference has done to prepare Provisional Elders like myself. The retreats that they select, and/or create for us have all been beneficial both personally and for ministry. However, there was something special for me about this one. Maybe it's just where God wanted me to be? Maybe because our paper work for FE (full connection) was due the following week and mine was already turned in? In any case I feel that God used this assessment and learning in a very special way to help me make sense and process my style for behavior and leadership.

So for your encouragement: Remember God's timing is always right on time, and God's grace is always sufficient.

Monday, September 19, 2016

It was a productive weekend for ministry. Several from the Church and myself caravanned up to Madison, Fl. for the 'Day at the Ranch,' a celebration of the ministry of the Fl. United Methodist Children's Home. The day included speakers, music, tours, food, and fellowship. Of course being from Madison I had to take my van full of passengers through the beautiful historic district of Madison and by our house to see where the Pastor and family hail from. I am very proud of the wonderful ministry being accomplished for the residents of the Children's Home in Madison, Fl. through the donations of the United Methodist Church of florida and all the many volunteers who serve these precious youth many lives are being saved and shaped for life.

After the worship service we enjoyed a catered dinner and informative presentation given by a local funeral home. Following dinner a group of us went to a local nursing home/rehab facility to share worship and the Word with them. Every third Sunday we go and sing hymns and I'll share the scriptures and an abbreviated Word from my Sermon. When I can't be there others from the Church step up and continue the ministry. The call to make disciples doesn't come with an age expiration date. We all need to worship and to grow in our faith together throughout all of life.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

I've been preaching a sermon series on the fruit of the Spirit based on Galatians 5:22 "By contrast (to the vices) the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."
Each week I pray for and seek the Spirit's guidance and move into and out from that text on the various topic, this week happens to be 'goodness' which causes me to pause and reflect with you.

Have you considered 'goodness' lately? Your 'goodness'? God's 'goodness'? I'm using a Call to Worship Sunday that I would like for you to read. It combines the themes of the sermon series/of Pentecost (by the way this happens to the twelfth Sunday)/and goodness.

L: Great is the Lord!
P: God's greatness is beyond our understanding.
L: Yet God has revealed God's self in Jesus Christ.
P: Through Jesus we have come to know the absolute love of God.
L: Lift up your hearts and praise the Lord!
P: May God continue to bless God's people with peace.
L: Though many places in the world are bound in war.
P: The peace of God is poured out for all people.
L: Though discord and struggle have become factors in the lives of the people.
P: The love of God is lavished on all people.
L: Let us praise the God of love and peace.
P: Let us experience God's freedom offered as peace and justice for all people.

Truly Let Us,

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Sunday morning Church began as usual. The Sunday school groups were in session and all seemed to be in routine mode. As the Scriptures were being read, discussed, and as folks were contemplating deep spiritual insights the loudest boom came out of nowhere from behind the Church! Now everyone was certain that canons are illegal to fire within the city limits so the nearest class ran out to investigate.

Upon inspection a few Church members discover a large Oak tree limb had fallen onto a power line immediately behind the sanctuary. When the limb fell it caused a fuse to blow (we don't think it was the transformer?). The electricity and the explosion of the fuse (sorry I'm not an electrician) caused the limb to catch fire. Now understand this is a huge Oak tree that extends onto our neighbors yard and over the Church sanctuary. I joined in and began to pray a hip pocket prayer out loud while a call was made to the fire department.

As the fire slowly began to engulf the limb the Church was also slowly filling up with worshippers. I went inside to greet folks when shortly thereafter I was informed that the fire department had arrived and we were told that they would need to call the power company and for us to expect the power to go out at some point so they could work on the line. Once the service began we made the announcements beginning with information as to what all the excitement was about (not that there usually isn't a great deal of excitement stirring) and for folks not to worry if at some point during the service the power goes out that this would be expected and all will be fine.

The Service began just fine and we made it about a quarter of the way when it happened---the power went out. Now of course this isn't that big of a deal, it was day time so we had enough light coming through the windows to see. It was hot but we have fans in the pews and my sermon only needed about 50 minutes, (just kidding, only 45). I have a loud mouth so I just turned the volume up. The big deal is that I believe this predicament that we found ourselves in was no accident. You see my sermon was prepared earlier that week and the topic--Being connected to the Power of God! What an illustration! Pastors have books on illustrations, we keep journals, etc. etc. in the attempt to connect the Scriptures to our lives. Nothing in my experience compares to showing up at Church and the illustration actually physically coming to life in your presence for you to use.

We were in our second Sunday studying John 15. First we looked at the section on the vine and the branches. Christ is the vine and we the branches. Disciples of Christ are to be connected to Christ where we receive the Spirit, the nourishing sap that flows throughout the vine to produce fruit. We then transitioned into Christ's command to love one another, and we best do this as we remain in His love. I encouraged the Church by pointing out how valuable each one is and that we need Christ and we need one another, and that we must remain connected to Christ. We must remain in His love. We must remain connected to the power source. (this is a quick synopsis, I encourage you to go back and read John 15)

I am happy to report that the fire was quickly extinguished and the power eventually came back on some time after the service ended. Although the electricity went out, the power of God did not. The power of God lives on in each of us as we remain in christ and bear His fruit. This is an illustration that I won't soon forget.

In Christ,
Pastor Brian

Friday, April 22, 2016

Insert Name: A Prayer for healing


Prayer is such a gift! Prayer connects us to the Father, helps us to know our purpose, and moves God's grace to work in our lives. I need God. I need God's grace. I need purpose. I need prayer. I would guess you do too. If your life is anything like mine then you are in need of prayer too, especially prayers for healing. Most of my ministry includes praying with and for others, especially for healing. So I thought I would pray this prayer and leave it as a template for you and your loved ones in need of prayer:

Compassionate and All-Powerful God,
I pray for your loved one, ____ who is ill, I commend their body, mind, and soul to your care.
Be powerfully present and comfort them in their sickness, and ease their suffering. I pray for deliverance, knowing that nothing is too hard for our Lord.
Lord I pray for, _____ , your Word calls me to pray for healing. I believe you hear this earnest prayer that comes from my heart. I thank you that you have proven to be faithful and your promises are true. I have faith in you Lord, to heal, _______, and I also trust in the plan you have for their life.
Lord I don't need to understand your ways, I trust that your ways are not my ways, and that your thoughts are not my thoughts. I ask you to look with mercy and grace toward, _____ nourish their mind, body, Soul, and Spirit in this time of suffering, comfort and renew them with your grace.
I pray that they feel your presence and that you bless them with your care. Renew their strength, and heal, _____ ailments that they may be restored to full health: mind, body, and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
May,_____ know and feel your healing presence now and throughout this process of care. Grant your strength, your peace, your love. And may you, through this difficulty be glorified in their life and also all who join me in prayer for, ______.

In Christ our healer, redeemer, I pray

Monday, April 11, 2016


Greetings friends,

I have a question for you. Do you have questions? I'm certain that you do. I believe it's human to question things. As we seek answers we are some how becoming more satisfied with who we are, and more satisfied within our context. Of course this assumes that you don't go deeper and deeper into some sort of philosophical black hole.

I want to approach this topic from a Christian perspective. We are all probably familiar with the adage, "questions are good they lead to answers." Well... I think the assumption is that this will lead one to the truths of God and ultimately into a relationship with God, done deal. I am convinced that for many it is not that easy. I remember working with youth, many were churched but a great many were unchurched. Most of their questions didn't concern the existence of God, nor did they deal with God's abilities/inabilities but were usually questions concerning why humans behave the way they do? Of course you get the, "Did Adam have a belly button?" sort of questions for fun but from some place within we want to understand ourselves, and our purpose. I interpreted this concern as their desire to make a difference in this world.

When I went to seminary I was reintroduced to questions from a much deeper Christian perspective that was great for comparing with and arguing against the philosophies that I and others encounter in undergraduate studies. I appreciate the things I learned, the many notes I acquired, books read, fascination with the brilliance of my professors, and the tools acquired for arguing from a Christian perspective for The Truth. As good as this field of studies is and useful especially for believers I remember a simple comment that a professor made. The professor said something to effect of, "having all of the answers may be great for some (thank God for Christian apologetics-reasoned arguments for the faith, essentially) but usually what it boils down to is that those who need an answer for every argument and every question usually have a faith issue." Meaning, they lack faith and are on a personal search for answers.

I am currently preaching a sermon series on questions that we need answered as Christians. The first Sunday I released the pressure by revealing that our heroes in the faith all had questions, doubts, and struggled for answers,(and even some current celebrity Christians). I am excited for the possibilities this series holds. We will be offered the opportunity to move on beyond personal hang-ups, and invited to allow room for the Spirit of God to a deeper work in us, and put us to work in making a difference in this world as the Church we are created to be.

His Peace,
Pastor Brian