Pasta Dinner and Auction

Pasta Dinner and Auction

Enjoy the fellowship of an Italian meal followed by the excitement of a Live Auction.

Saturday
September 14, 2019
6 pm
$10

Pasta with vegan sauce, meatball, salad, roll and dessert with a Silent Auction throughout the meal.  Gluten-free pasta available upon request.

The Live Auction begins at 7 pm.  

September 14, 2019 Pasta Dinner & Auction

Singers Needed – 2019 Leap of Faith Concert

Singers needed to join our annual Leap of Faith concert on Sunday morning November 3, 2019. Rehearsals are Thursday nights and every other Tuesday beginning at 7pm on September 5, 2019. Please email [email protected] if you are interested.

Rockville United Methodist Church is a small but very active church located at 142 Grove Street, Rockville, CT 06066. Our members volunteer to help the community year round. Sunday service is at 10:00 am. Guests are always welcome to our services. Our Fellowship hall is available for rent; we have full kitchen facilities. http://www.rockumchurch.com/home/.

Sermon: The Holy Spirit With and For Us

June 16, 2019
Day of Pentecost

Acts 2:1-21; Romans 8:14-17
Pastor SeokCheol Shin

The Holy Spirit With and For Us

Life Is Unfair
We have an unresolved long debate on life: “Is life good or bad” or “Is it easy or hard?” What kind of perspective do you have on life? Throughout my life’s journey in this world so far, I have learned that life seems unfair. Somebody is born rich, but somebody else is born poor; somebody has a lot, but somebody else doesn’t have much; somebody is healthy, while somebody else is unhealthy. That doesn’t mean that when we are happy with our privileged things, we must feel guilty and need to be in a lousy mood all the time. We need to recognize that life is neither easy nor fair.

I hope each of us realizes that life is hard sooner rather than later, so we will not have any fantasy of earthly life but seek out God’s help. Don’t get me wrong. I really don’t wish tragedies on anyone else. I don’t wish for anyone to worry about finance problems. I don’t wish for anyone to struggle with physical or mental illness. I don’t wish for anyone to have to deal with alcoholism or drug abuse in themselves or in their families. No Christian should wish harm to anyone. However, I am saying that life is hard and we are weak. Therefore, we must rely on God, the source of all creation.

Look Around and Look Up
When troubles come and we feel powerless, we may sometimes be tempted to give up our life. I had a time to look for a counselor when I was really tired of my life. One day my therapist asked, “Have you ever felt suicidal?” I said, “Sometimes yes, but I endured it.” She continued to ask, “What made you overcome it?” At my lowest point, I was tempted to give up my life, but then I had to think about somebody else, particularly, my mother.

When we get to the end of a rope and feel there will be no more hope in life, we need to look around and look up. If we just give up and finish our life because it is too painful to endure, we may be free from dealing with pain and despair, but we should know that somebody else has to carry our burdens instead of us. Our suffering is not gone; it is only moved to another person.

What if our Father God just gave up on us because he is really sick and tired of forgiving our sins and taking care of our lives? Then, God might be free from all problems happening in the world, but we human beings would have to deal with all the troubles and tragedies with our own limited power. Without God’s support, no one could say, “Life is good.”

When life is really painful, don’t only look at yourself but look around and look up to see who is around you. Surely, life is neither easy nor fair, but we can still keep it going on and even celebrate it because God our Father, who is with us, doesn’t give up hope and love for us.

The Holy Spirit Praying for Us
In this Pentecost season, we give God thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit according to his Son Jesus’ promise to his disciples. What we couldn’t do, Christ has already done for us. He has lived the life we cannot live and died the death we don’t want to die. And Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Christ has sent the Holy Spirit on us, so that we can call God “Abba, Father” (v. 15). As God’s children, we have the power of the Holy Spirit, our Counselor and Comforter, the One who stands beside us and prays with us and for us, especially in our tough times.

In Romans, the disciple Paul talks about the present suffering we have to deal with as long as we live on earth. According to him, the whole creation is groaning like a woman in labor pains (v. 22). Even men and boys feel pain like women in hard labor. What Paul says is, “Life is hard.”

In numerous cases, troubles come from our relationship with people, even people we love and trust. Our beloved can’t stay with us forever, but someday they will leave us alone. That is why the Lord Jesus warns us not to love anyone more than God! The person who never causes us a grief in our life, or even the person who loves and cares for us still cannot be our God. No matter how good they are to us, they will all fail us later as they die or leave us!

It is not just the people in our lives. Deliberately or not, we also hurt our own lives. Sometimes our body lets us down. Sometimes our emotion lets us down. The disciple Paul confesses about his weakness in Romans 7: “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it…. Wretched man that I am!” (7:19-20, 24).

But Paul doesn’t give up hope although he knows life is hard or sinful. He continues to say, “Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (vv. 24-25). Taking our attention from ourselves to Jesus Christ, Paul encourages us not to look at ourselves but look around and look up to find the salvation that comes from God.

God made us for worship. If we do not worship the true God but still say we worship the Lord, then we may only worship God’s gifts instead of the Giver. For now, we may be happy because we feel our lives are blessed with all those gifts. Yet, if we only worship God’s gifts and all the gifts are gone away, we may have to see ourselves struggle with the sense of emptiness of life. Loved ones die or leave us alone. Children grow up and go their own way. Our bodies grow weak as we get older. Our money has never saved us from the power of death and sin. Worship wrong things, and, yes, there will be a time we may have to say again that life is hard.

In this regard, the Lord Jesus was not being mean when he said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). He didn’t mean that we must not love and trust any one, but he was warning us not to worship wrongly. He was trying to remind us that God our Father is the true One who can save us from troubles and help us live in peace and joy.

Time to Receive the Holy Spirit
When we feel we hit the bottom of life, it’s time to look around and look up, not to give up. In the midst of our troubled life, Jesus promises all his disciples and us today, “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you” (John 14:18). He promises to send the Holy Spirit to be with us forever (v. 15). In Romans, Paul says that the Spirit is to pray with and for us. Therefore, we are not alone, not abandoned, not orphaned, and not deceived by anything false from the world because the Risen Christ stands in our midst by the power of the Holy Spirit.

When we are afraid, when we are in want, when we lack faith, it is time to turn to God and receive the Holy Spirit. Life is not easy, but life is good because the Holy Spirit is now with us, praying for us, leading us, carrying our burdens, and providing hope of life for us. Thanks be to God! Amen!

2019 Peach Festival

Ham and Bean Supper with Peach Shortcake
August 17, 2019
5 to 6:30 pm
Adults: $15
Children 6-12: $5
Children 5 & under: free

Ham, beans, potato salad, and our very own Peach Shortcake!

Credit Cards Accepted
Take-out is available.  Walk-ins welcomed.
Call for information/reservation 860-875-6562

Take home a snack from our baked sale. 

Sermon: Waiting for the Holy Spirit

June 2, 2019
The Day of Ascension
Acts 1:1-11; Luke 24:44-53
RUMC, Pastor SeokCheol Shin

Waiting for the Holy Spirit

Difficult to Wait
I have never been good at waiting. When I go to attend a meeting, I always take along a book or a magazine. When I come to McDonald’s to buy a cup of coffee and see there is a long line to stand, I move on to Dunkin Donuts or any other convenient store. When I drive my car and stop at a red light, do you know what I do? I pick up my cell phone and check my emails or Facebook messages. Honestly speaking, I am not good at waiting. Waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting in the post office, and even waiting for water to boil, all of these raise my blood pressure! Unfortunately, our life journey is all about waiting, waiting for birth, waiting for graduation, waiting for marriage, waiting for having children, waiting even for death…

The world makes us wait, but God also says “wait.” When we pray to God, God answers us sometimes with an immediate ‘yes’ or ‘no’ based on his will and wisdom of what is best for us. However, I believe more often God answers us with his third response, “wait.” We pray hard but we are still broken-hearted because God says “wait” and we are not good at waiting.

Commandment to Wait
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus called his disciples and commanded them to go out to the world and preach the Gospel to all nations. But just a few seconds later, he told them “to stay in the city of [Jerusalem] until they receive the power from on high” (v. 49). And then in Acts chapter 1, Jesus was suddenly carried up into heaven (v. 9), which we now call “the ascension of the Lord.” Jesus commanded “Go out but stay!” How can we understand this contradiction of Jesus’ commandment?

While meditating on this Scripture, I imagined myself as one of the disciples in the upper room. So after the Lord has disappeared, I see myself shrugging my shoulders, saying “What?” I might look around to see the other guys there, and complain, “He just gave us a job to do, and we are all ready to do it. Then why doesn’t he just let us go and do it? What are we supposed to do in our waiting time?”

More anxiously, Jesus didn’t say how long they should wait. So I am wondering to myself why didn’t he just come right out and say, “I want you to wait ten days until the Feast of Pentecost.” If my Lord said the time period to me, perhaps I would have asked “why 10 days, Lord?” And Jesus would probably answer, “That is just part of my plans, you don’t need to know but just trust and wait.” Well, I might be disappointed and still wondering, but at least I would have known what the time limit was, and so I could wait for 10 days. But the problem is that Jesus didn’t let them know how long they had to wait. That just drives me nuts.

I am not good at waiting, and in this case I don’t even know how long I should wait. So after waiting several days, I would probably do a slow burn about my waiting. I would even think that I am only wasting my time doing nothing. But it is clear that Jesus Christ demanded his disciples to wait, and I’m glad it was them and not me.

The Lord knows I am not good at waiting, and as far as I know the world around me isn’t good at waiting either. In fact, all of us live in a world that teaches us constantly not to wait for anything; “hurry and get it now, otherwise you will lose it.” We don’t like waiting because waiting means denying ourselves and admitting we are not in control.

As a servant of God, I follow the strength God imparted to my heart to do good work for the sake of God’s glory so it may be a win-win for both of us. But it seems that God often directs me to wait, and I have to remain powerless with my anxious heart.

Yet, I believe when God says, “wait,” God doesn’t want us just to remain idle and get lazy. There will be something we need to do to prepare for God’s work. When God says “wait,” our question must be not “Why do we wait or how long do we have to wait,” but “What can we do while waiting on God?”

Waiting in God’s Discipline
Maybe, there is something we need to do during our waiting period: In today’s Scriptures, Jesus Christ calls his disciples to go out and preach the Gospel of God’s forgiveness of sins in his name: “The Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things” (v. 46-48). In other words, Christ gives us authority to forgive sins and set people free from the bondage of their sinful life. What a powerful authority Jesus’ disciples have!

Yet, even though we are called by God to forgive others in Jesus’ name, we know we are not special people; we are not better than anyone else in the world; we are also foolish people before the Lord. Thus, we know we don’t deserve the privilege to forgive any others living around us?

The Lord also knows that we are not perfect enough to forgive and bless others. That’s why he commands us to wait until God touches and purifies our hearts. Before we go out in the name of Jesus, we need to stay and wait until God comes and transforms us first, so that we can go out to help others and lead them to the way of God’s forgiveness and salvation.

For Christian, waiting in the name of Jesus doesn’t mean that we just sit and waste our time doing nothing. To Jesus’ disciples, waiting means daily disciplines. When God says wait or when we feel left alone, it is a time for us to look into our own hearts. We must recognize that we are poor and weak, kneel down before the Lord, and submit all of our powers to him. Confess God is the Lord and I am his mouth, hands, and feet to serve his people. In our waiting, we may deny ourselves, give up our own powers, and completely rely on God’s power and grace, so that we may stand as “witnesses of those things” that Jesus Christ our Lord entrusts to his disciples.

Waiting in Hope
As God’s children we don’t have any doubt in our faith that God is our heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is our Savior. Nevertheless, we still happen to experience the time of wonder, the time of thirst, and the time of anxiety. We feel like we have been only waiting and waiting and waiting, but God’s grace is still far away.

Why? Why do we have to wait, and how long do we have to wait? Maybe God wants us to wait more until we completely submit ourselves to God only. During our waiting time, we may be more desperate for God, more dependent on his power, and more humble and faithful in our relationship with God. Thus, even if we feel left alone as we wait, it can be a time for us to get closer to God; it can be a time for us to experience God’s power and grace.

Waiting is not easy at all, but let us continue to wait in our prayer and hope because the Lord has promised us that he will send upon us the Holy Spirit when we trust and wait in our faith for his promise. Amen.

Sermon: The Holy Counselor

May 26, 2019
Sixth Sunday of Easter

Psalm 67; John 14:23-27
RUMC, Pastor SeokCheol Shin

The Holy Counselor

Emotional Roller Coaster of Life
What a beautiful season we have enjoyed these days! The weather is getting warmer, the days are lengthening, the sky is dazzling blue, the air is fresh, and our yards are shining in green. We are surrounded by all sorts of signs pointing to the beginning of summer, and I am sure that we all have been looking forward to this seasonal change.

One major event of this time of year in our country is graduation— graduating from kindergarten, elementary school, high School, college…. If your family is celebrating a graduation this year, congratulations!!! Last Sunday our church had a special service dedicated to and led by our children and youth from the Sunday School. During our service, we recognized kids graduating from their schools, or promoted by one grade, and we prayed for their next adventures. I am so proud of our kids and thankful of all the teachers who have nurtured them in our Christian teachings.

Yet I believe graduation often brings us complex emotions. You must be so excited with the fact that “you are done,” feeling like you are going up to the top. But when you think about the reality with a question, “now what,” your feeling will be completely turned upside down. Maybe it is like riding a rollercoaster.

I think this “rollercoaster confusion” is a pretty good term to describe the feelings of the disciples in our text from John’s Gospel. Following Jesus, they must feel like they have all things in the world, but suddenly Jesus says that he is going away and that they can’t come with him. Their world is about to be turned upside down. It is no doubt their emotional rollercoaster is now heading down to the bottom.

The Promise of the Holy Spirit
John 14 is the chapter called Jesus’ farewell speech. It is time for him to say goodbye to his disciples and they will never see him again face to face. He knows that all his disciples must feel discouraged, and that’s why he starts with the encouraging message, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me” (v. 1). And then in the following two verses, he is comforting them with an essential promise: he is going to prepare a place for them and will return and take them with him to that place, so that they can be with him forever (v. 2-3). What he promises to them is God’s salvation and eternal life in heaven.

It is always good to know that we have a place to go when we die in this world. When we lose our beloved, we give thanks to God because we know he or she is in a better place with God. But we still wonder how we are going to make it without our beloved. How is it really possible for us to endure all those challenges and trials in the world without our Lord Jesus Christ? This is probably what the disciples were worried about when Jesus said goodbye to them.

As the disciples are deeply concerned about their life without him, Jesus assures them that he is not going to abandon them like a bunch of orphans; he is going to send to them another Advocate who will be with them forever (v. 16). What he promises to them is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity.

What was true of the disciples is also true of you and me of this day. Without the Holy Spirit to strengthen us, lead us, and protect us, we too will not make it. Without the abiding help of God, no one is able to live faithfully and godly. If we have to do it all in our own power, we will soon find ourselves very exhausted and even give up. As little children of God, we need the Holy Spirit who can guide and help our journey in this rollercoaster-like world.

In the yellow page of a telephone book, you can find all kinds of counselors: marriage counselors, wedding counselors, drug counselors, job counselors, school counselors, etc. Of course, you can always go to listen to them if you need. By the way, what is the purpose of counselors? Do they solve our problems or help us to solve our problems? We all have blocks in our paths to maturity. We all have painful trauma in our emotion, or persistent personality problems, or addictions that prevent us from living a good life. As far as I know, counselors don’t fix our problems (they are not like a mechanic), but help us to overcome them and grow stronger.

Sometimes, when we are in a difficult situation, we pray and hope that God just comes down to fix our problems and make important decisions for us. But this is an immature faith. The Holy Spirit does not solve our problems or make any decision for us, just like any good counselor can’t decide for us. Rather, we must see the Spirit as the “Counselor,” who comes to our side and gives us strength, courage, and wisdom, so we can make difficult or important decisions; and with that help we can solve our problems.

Some of you may be wondering, what if we happen to make a wrong decision because we still have to make decisions for ourselves? We don’t want to be deceived. We don’t want to go on the other way. Yet we want to go and be on the right way. For this, we don’t need to worry about our decision because we have the Spirit. Particularly, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as “the Spirit of Truth” (v. 17). Because He is the Spirit of Truth, He will not lead us astray. If we trust and follow Him, we will arrive at truth. Jesus Christ already proclaimed, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” As we belong to Jesus, we are also in the Holy Spirit who leads into all truth (v. 17).

When we follow this holy guide, we are taking in the Spirit of Truth. This Spirit is what helps us to see and respond to God’s grace and love. The Holy Spirit is the One who will take care of us, strengthen us, and lead us in the way we should go. In the wonderful treasured words of the disciple Paul, we may therefore be sure that nothing, “neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come … will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.”

Peace from the Lord
Often in life, there is a stark contrast between the resurrection in heaven and the actual trials in the world. We see it in a fractured economy, in the poor leadership of our government, in the loss of our beloved, in the struggles with our own health issues. Outside in the world, we have been celebrating the most beautiful days. But inside of our life, we have to struggle hard to survive in this world.

In the midst of this troubled life and this uncertain world, Jesus says to all his disciples and us today, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (v. 27). We can have peace even in the midst of the darkest time because we are not alone, not abandoned, not orphaned, and not deceived by anything false from the world. The Risen Christ is always present in our lives to help guide us by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we are afraid or when we are in want, let us always remember that Jesus sends the Holy Spirit as our Counselor to advise us, and guide and help us. This is what Jesus promises his disciples and what we should believe. Thanks be to God! Amen!