Pastor's Page

 

  February 16, 2018

 I am looking out my office window.  I see the first clover flowers of spring.  It is a promise of the beauty to come to our region.  I know our cold winter of 2018 is not finished with us.  I have read the weather reports.  I feel this winter in my soul.  It is a long, cold and stormy winter. 

 To me this is the first step in the journey of Lent.  I know the ending.  It will be a beautiful celebration of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  To reach the ending, I must begin living in the present, the cold storms of winter.

I see promise of spring flowers.  I see the first green weeds of the year.  Spring is near and I will live into it.  I also see the promise of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the new life He offers me.

I must begin his winter like journey to Jerusalem to reach the ending with Him. 

 

 

Lord, have mercy on these winter days.

Lord, have mercy as I live into these cold storms of life.

Lord, have mercy: I will begin and complete the journey to Easter with the joy of Spring.

Grace and Peace,

Jay Barnes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 14, 2018

Dear Ash Wednesday,

I have so many emotions racing through my heart.  I have learned of the death of 3 people with which I have shared ministry.  One was a church secretary, another was a church member and another was a United Methodist pastor.  Each of these griefs leaves me to carry a different weight of sorrow and loss.  I will miss each of these.  I will miss one because we shared many hours of work and struggle.  I will grieve another because of the shared struggle to help family members in life and death.  I will miss the third because we shared a vocation.    

            Today I remember my losses.  I also remember, “From the dust we have come…and to the dust we shall return”. It is Ash Wednesday.  I remember I too will die.  I will leave loved ones to grieve for me.  But I must also prepare to meet my Maker.  It will require repentance, prayer and a closer walk with you, Lord of Ash Wednesday. 

Grace and Peace,

Jay Barnes

 

 

January 25, 2018

 Dear Web Watchers:  

“Jesus loves you, and you are doing a great job!”  I shared this with a pastor today whose town got roughed up by a tornado last Sunday night.  Some church members had lost their trees and experienced damage to their homes and property.  He had spent the last 2 days removing debris and slinging a chain saw.  He was a more than a little tired.  I knew this would be something to lighten his day. It helped him remember his purpose:  Jesus.  It helped him remember his task was to be the presence of Christ in and after a storm.  It helped him to put one foot in front of the other. 

 

Thanks to longtime friend Felecia Davis of Liberty, Texas  for sharing this word of encouragement.  It reminds me of my purpose, my task and to take one more step in the right direction.  When the going gets tough the tough just say:  “Jesus loves you and you are doing a great job!”

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Jay    

Dear Web Watchers, 

Well, 2 months later and I write to you again. 

        What breaks your heart?  The above picture taken from a Beaumont, Texas Facebook site breaks my heart.  In the last 12 years I have been personally affected by Hurricanes Rita in 2005 and Ike in 2008.  Judy and I were in the Hurricane Rita evacuation since we lived about 1/4 mile from Clear Lake in Seabrook, Texas.  I loved that neighborhood.  I could walk into my front yard and see sail boat masts bouncing on the lake at a nearby marina.  I learned you may shelter from with wind but you run from the tidal surge.  In 2005 we spent 36 hours in the car driving from Seabrook to Longview, Texas.  We escaped damage in 2005. I will always remember the traffic jam from Houston to Corrigan. 

         We lived in Liberty, Texas for Hurricane Ike in 2008.  We stayed in our home and rode out the storm.  Our home did not receive damage; however we lost 5 large trees in our yard to the wind.  Our new neighbors came with chainsaws to clear our driveway.  One of our neighbor’s Father brought a trac-hoe and cleared 4 large oaks in the front yard.  He saved the church about $1800 in labor and equipment rental. 

           Damage from storms whether it be floods, tornadoes, fires, or hurricanes break my heart because I have lived through3 of the 4 mentioned above.  All are devastating.  In each case you not only lose your belongings, but you lose an anchor to your life, home.

            Because of this, I am hosting a mission team to go to the Beaumont area on October 22.  We will have a planning meeting this Sunday, October 15 at 4:00 pm.  We will meet in the fellowship hall of the Naples, First United Methodist Church.  If you are interested, leave a message for me at the church at 903-897-5596, or join us for our planning session on Sunday, October 15. 

            Remember when Jesus asked the disciples to feed the 5000?  They responded we don’t have any food much less to feed so many.  He asked the disciples to be His hands and heart.  When we become a Christian presence and help people in these settings, we help them move forward to their new future.  We help them find a new anchor to their lives.  We do it in Jesus name.

           Grace and Peace,

          Pastor Jay

 

 

August 8, 2017

 

Dear Web Watcher,

Again it has been a while since I made a posting. 

 

Has God ever sent you a note?  I know that is a dangerous question.  Currently the Tuesday morning Bible Study is discussing issues raised by reading, Wm. Paul Young’s book “The Shack”.  One of the issues of this very powerful novel of grief, healing and recovery are critiques of modern Christianity. One of those criticisms concerns God’s activity today.  Is God still speaking and how do you know it is God?

            The protagonist Mack is filled with grief.  One day he receives a written note from God, not postmarked, in his mail box.  At first he believes it is a very sick joke.  He was taught in seminary that God has stopped speaking to people.  The only way God speaks is through direct quotes from the Bible with interpretation from scholars.  The times of direct revelation have passed.  There are good reasons for this teaching.  However, in the book we learn that God is still speaking and is revealed to Mack in healing ways. 

            I believe God is still speaking and sending us notes.  I believe God speaks through Scripture.  I believe God speaks through sacred song.  I believe God speaks through teachers, preachers, family and friends.  God speaks even people with whom we disagree.  Sometimes we have to really listen and ask the Holy Spirit to help us hear with the ears of our hearts. 

            When was the last time God sent you a note and did it lead to healing in your life?

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Jay 

 

PS  I ask for your prayers on a personal note.  I am personally connected to 2 of the 3 Boy Scout families whose sons died in the boating accident at Lake of the Pines last Saturday.  Memorial services will begin on Thursday.  Please keep these families in your prayers.  Also pray for those who will be leading the memorial services which celebrate their lives.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 27, 2017 

Dear Friends,

One of the great gifts and responsibilities of being an ordained elder or pastor in the United Methodist Church is the administration of Holy Communion.  I remember my first attempt to lead the sacraments.  I went to “The Book of Hymns” of the United Methodist Church and started to memorize the long version of Holy Communion.  I gave up after about an hour. 

But I realized my 9:30 am Church in the Wildwood did not use the Book of Hymns.  They were using the Stamps-Baxter “Hymns for the Heavenly Highway” hymnal.  There was not one printed prayer in the entire book.  They did not have “The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion” with its use of the language of Thomas Cramner and The Book of Common Prayer. Panicking because I couldn’t memorize the sacred words, I created my first multipage bulletin using the “A.B. Dick Stencil” and printer.

Blessedly I had those beautiful words, “Almighty God, unto who all hearts are open and all desires known and from whom no secrets are hid” printed on typing paper.  I finished this disastrous printing project with numerous mistakes after 8 pm on Saturday, July 1, 1977.  I had ink under my fingernails. 

I also did not ask permission from the District Superintendent or the ordained pastor from the next United Methodist Church to bless the Sacraments over the phone. I knew it was the first Sunday of the month and United Methodists celebrated the Lord’s Supper.   I stumbled boldly forward ignorant of church law.  Thanks be our God is more merciful than a United Methodist District Superintendent, the Board of Ordained Ministry or the Correct Worship Police.  The Holy Spirit was present and the people received the Sacraments from a young man who knew he was handling the holy. 

Entire books, weekend retreats and seminary courses have been written and presented on the subject of the Sacraments.  Being a well-trained United Methodist pastor I now know we accept only 2 sacraments, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion.   Each Christian denomination has their understanding and teachings. Some denominations restrict those who receive the bread and wine (or grape juice substitute).  Others invite any and all to share this meal.  This is just the beginning of differences. 

Holy Communion is a joyful occasion for me.  It is a time when my soul is fed by a little bread, a sip of the unfermented juice of the grape, and a lot of prayers that I read “In Remembrance of Me”.  It is a gift of God.  It is the presence of the Holy. It is a work beyond our hands and words in which the Holy One reaches into the soul.  I often smile and greet those to whom I offer the sacrament.  Sometimes I forget a name or get someone’s name wrong.  But I know, most importantly, it is what God is doing in that moment that it is holy.

Join us for worship this Sunday in Omaha at 9:30 am or Naples at 11:00 am.  We will read the words, break the bread, sip the juice and “do this in remembrance of me”. 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Jay

 

 

 

June 21, 2017,

Dear Web Watcher,

I have been neglectful of my writing you.  One of the great struggles of updating a Web site and Pastor’s page is to actually do it. 

  The above picture is one of my sacred places.  It doesn’t belong to me.  It is the Chapel on Chandler Mountain at Camp Sumatanga outside Gallant, Alabama.  I was there on Saturday afternoon, May 13, 2017.  There are two ways to the chapel.  One is to hike up a steep climb that takes some people about 35 minutes.  I am slower and require several stops to catch my breath.  The second way to the top is to drive.  Both methods of ascent have their beauty.

 

It is a sacred place for many reasons.  I love the vista.  I am able to look over the hills, down into the valley and up to the heavens.  The Holy is both transcendent and immanent.  I experience God as above the heavens and then sitting beside me on a rock ancient as the Appalachian Mountains. 

It is sacred because we have made it so.  Someone years ago placed a cross and shelter to mark it as holy.  There had to be a person with a dream and a committee to make it difficult to complete.  Yet they persevered to erect a chapel frame and a cross so you and I would become full of awe and the holy. 

It is sacred because it is a place of memory.  I climbed this mountain the first time in August 2015.  Since then I have climbed it about six or seven times more over the last two years.  I shared moments of quiet, picnics and sore muscles with fellow pilgrims,  They are now friends.  I smile at the warmth of the memories and know they are holy. 

I have several sacred places.  I hope you have some too.  They fill my spirit so I can continue to go forward and serve my Lord Christ Jesus and His church. That is what sacred spaces do.  

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Jay


September 29, 2016

 

Dear Web Watcher,

One of the gifts of this week is the red spider lilies.  There is a small cluster outside my office window.  Occasionally a yellow butterfly will light on the flower seeking the nectar and sharing the pollen.  The wind blows and I see the beauty of God’s nature.  My eyes watch bright green grass, red spider lilies, and yellow butterfly dance together in the wind.  I get to smile and marvel at the beauty of creation and know that God is still working in this world.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Jay

 

 

 

 

 

 


August 23, 2016

Dear Web Watcher,

Just when you thought it would turn into August, hot and dry.  South Louisiana in the area of Baton Rouge has experienced 31” of rain.  If you have seen any news accounts you realize 60,000 plus homes have been flooded and people are living in emergency shelters.  Last Saturday, August 21, Greggton United Methodist Church gathered, packaged and shipped over 500 Flood Buckets to South Louisiana. 

Let us start gathering our supplies and cash donations to help with this worthy cause.  This is a great opportunity to again help our neighbor.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Jay

August 5, 2016

Dear Web Watchers,

When we start to complain about the weather, I just remind myself, I live in Texas.  If it is August it is time for 2 a day football practices, marching season for school band, cross country for track and field, volleyball, precision dance or drill team and cheerleader practices.  We learn to accommodate ourselves to the weather and drink plenty of water. 

            One of the things we like to do is complain.  It is human nature.  St. Paul in his letter to the Colossians tries to teach us better.  “He says in chapter 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (New Revised Standard Version).

            I know it is hot.  But I am reminded I belong to God in Jesus Christ.  No matter how hot, and how much I complain, it is better to give thanks.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Jay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 18, 2016

Dear Web Watchers and Church Family,

I share with you from a heart full of joy.  Last night, July 17, 2016, several congregations gathered to worship at the Pewitt CISD Auditorium.  It was a wonderful time of praise, worship, prayer, and preaching.  Our law enforcement personel, fire fighters, paramedics, city and county officials were well represented.  The greatness of the evening did not come from what we did, it came from that we gathered.  Thanks to all from Naples and Omaha United Methodist Churches for your support and your presence. 

  Thanks to church leaders from our area who brought us together in the name of Christ.  To list all of us there is to not remember one or two.  Thank you for giving up your Sunday evening and giving to God and our community our worship and prayers for unity!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Jay

July 11, 2016

Dear Web Watchers,

It was a great joy to work with 4 young people and their families.  We spent almost 2 months preparing for their Baptism and Confirmation into the Body of Christ and membership in the United Methodist Church.  On June 26th at Glass Club lake we welcomed our new brothers and sister in Christ into the community of faith.

 As we began our journey I asked the young people and their families to make a covenant with me.  I explained and offered my expectations of their participation.  These are simple requests such as attending Sunday School and Worship, being on time and ready for our confirmation meetings, making up work if they missed a session, and attending a field trip.  I promised I would be prepared for each lesson, open to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives and arrange the field trip.  They signed their Confirmation Covenant and we went to work. 

 After about seven meetings Baptism Day was upon us.  I realized it was also time for the field trip.  I hastily arranged a trip to visit the District Superintendent and the Administrative Assistants, the Newgate Mission in Longview, Wiley College in Marshall, and Cornerstone Methodist Retirement Center in Texarkana.  This was about a 200 mile round trip.  It was a long and fruitful day.

 My purpose was to show these young students the United Methodist Church is bigger than our congregation.  We are connected to other churches. Connected the United Methodist Church works with the homeless, provides an opportunity for a college education, and offers a great community for retirees.  It was also to spend more casual time so we could grow in our relationship. 

 One of the biggest additions to confirmation was participation the North By Northwest District Camp at Lakeview United Methodist Conference Center outside of Palestine, Texas.  One of the grandparents wishes she could send her grandson back for another week.  He came back a different young man because of the ministry of church camp.  She wanted more of that experience for him. 

 It is awesome to see how the Holy Spirit works through young people in the ages of 10 to 15 years.  They have a long life’s journey ahead for them.  Through baptism they have been claimed by Christ.  Now may they remember their baptism and be thankful.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Jay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 2016


Dear Web Watchers,

                    Upper Elementary students are very serious and sincere.  One of our 4th graders ask if he could be baptised.  Of course I said yes.  I know God works in all hearts, especial those of serious and sincere 10 year olds.

                    Baptism has many meanings.  In the United Methodist Church it is one of two sacraments.  A sacrament is something we believe instituted by Christ.  The baptism of Jesus is recorded in gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke; it is reference in John.    Baptism is also an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.  The Holy Spirit of God is at work on the inside and we must do something, often physical, to express this inward work of the Spirit.  I could go on and write a book on the meaning of baptism from this point because hundreds of others have done so.

                   Baptism is always something freely given by God.  It is unmerited and unearned.  It is grace.   

                  Sunday night, May 1, 2016 I will begin teaching some young people about baptism and confirmation.  The Holy Spirit of God is moving in some young people's life and I want to be open to that work.  Please pray and support us as we begin this work of God.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Jay