REEL TRUTH at WUMC in August

The Gutenberg Bible – First Bible Printed

The Bible is a collection of sacred words written down for us and for all generations. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Scripture is a testimony to God’s relationship with people throughout time and many persons’ experiences of God in the adventure of life. The Bible is “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16) and points to the true Word of God Jesus Christ who is the healer of our brokenness and hope of the world. During the month of August at Watsontown United Methodist Church, we are going to take a fresh and exciting look at Scripture by going to the movies! Actually, the movies are going to come to us. WUMC will be hosting family-friendly movie nights every Saturday in August; the doors will open at 6:00pm and the movie will be begin promptly at 6:30pm. The movies are all G-rated from lists of popular and classic works by Disney/Pixar. Movies will be shown on our awesome new projector!

But the movie experience goes further. Every Sunday, the sermon will use video clips from the previous night’s movie. In this way, we will look at the Silver Screen side-by-side with the Bible to better understand God’s will for our lives and provide a fresh look at faith in all of the avenues of our lives. Refreshments will be provided, so invite your family, friends, neighbors, even random people on the street. The movie schedule is listed below:

August 2nd – The Lion King
August 9th – Monster’s University
August 16th – Finding Nemo
August 23rd – Beauty and the Beast
August 30th – Frozen


Sermon Cast – Beauty IN the Beast

Date: August 24, 2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan Krauss

Scripture: Matthew 7:1-6
Description: Matthew 7 is a deceptively simple command by Jesus: “Do not judge, let you too be judged.” I say deceptively simple because the notion of non-judgment is often manipulated to justify immoral behavior (i.e. just think of the lyrics to a recent Miley Cyrus song in reference to excessive debauchery: “Only God can judge us…”), or, as the text of Matthew 7 expounds on, we often make judgments while forgetting we ourselves are guilty of similar offenses. Drawn to its essence, I think this teaching by Christ invites us to adopt humble–not blind–perspectives so as not to exclude anyone from the Grace of God.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is a marvelous case study on proper approaches to non-judgment. Bell, for instance, is the only character wise and humble enough to offer compassion and assistance to the Beast. He has great faults (like a temper and mistrust); and while Belle does not condone these traits, she nevertheless sees into the person Beast can become. Our spiritual role in avoiding judgment is much the same. God asks us to curb our judgments…especially unfair ones…for the sake of proclaiming to the whole world that EVERYONE can receive the grace and healing of God through Jesus Christ, if only we earnestly and truly repent.


Sermon Cast – Finding and Being Found

(c) Aljosa V. — Labeled for Reuse

Date: August 17, 2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scripture: Mark 10:46-52
Description: Our lives are a journey meant for finding and being found by Jesus Christ. Many of us conceive of this journey as a one-sided endeavor. Just like I jump into my car and attempt to find a location to which I have never driven (usually bad news!), the spiritual journey toward God can be stressful, taxing, and discouraging when we believe our efforts our the only ones that matter.

The truth is that God is not a stationary target that we try to locate in a cosmic game of Marco Polo. Like the plot of Finding Nemo, the father Marlin–with the help of many sea creatures–searches for Nemo simultaneously as Nemo seeks to escape the dentist office. Likewise, in the scripture lesson of the morning, Bartimeaus is not left to his own devices to try and locate Jesus; Jesus calls him out and approaches him too. My friends, do not feel discouraged when God feels absent. God is finding you.







Sermon Cast – God Wants Monsters, not Lone Rangers

Date: August 10, 2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scripture: Exodus 18:13-27
Description: Teamwork is a very curious virtue. In our own sports culture, teamwork is said to serve as a unifying element, though often despite athletes who still compete, train, and promote only themselves. For ministry and witness, becoming a ‘Lone Ranger’ is a tremendous liability; no single person has all of the spiritual gifts and talents to usher in the entire kingdom of God.

The story from Exodus is pointed. Moses is overwhelming himself with helping the people. His father-in-law Jethro comes up to him with the challenging statement: “What you are doing is not good!” Moses needs to share the burden–and the blessing–is caring for the Israelites. So it is also even in our most mundane tasks. Is there a skill you want to pass of to your kids? Share the burden and let them join in. Feeling overwhelmed by a ministry, project, or service? Take a gut-check to see whether you are driving others away or inviting them to join?


Sermon Cast – Jewish Queens and Lion Kings

Date: 8-3-2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scripture: Esther 4:1-14
Description: This week marks the first day of the August-long sermons series called REEL TRUTH – Bible at the Movies. In this sermon series, we are hosting 5 family movie nights at our church and then using film clips to further discuss scripture on Sunday Morning. The film for this week was Disney’s The Lion King.

Simba’s journey throughout the film is one of identity and purpose. Is he the true king? Is he responsible for his father’s death? Can he ever return to Pride Rock? How can he set things right? And though we are neither lions nor kings, we also feel the pull to discover identity and purpose. How fortunate and how humbling that our purpose would be to strive to become God’s children, created for good works (Ephesians 2:10)?

Simba’s journey reminds me of the journey of the biblical figure Esther, whose story could be a Disney movie in its own right. Take some time to read her tale, and remember that God has made us who we are…one purpose! Wherever life finds you today, perhaps God has placed you there for such a time as this (Esther 4:14).




Sermon Cast – Money Fish

Date: July 20, 2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scripture: Matthew 17:22-27
Description: Matthew 17:24-27 is a very curious story. In it, Jesus and Peter are accosted by tax collectors, appear to resist payment, but then get a miraculous catch of fish to pay for themselves. This is the sort of reading that one my come across during personal devotions, think “Huh, that’s interesting”, and simply move on wondering what the meaning is. Personally, I find this story intriguing because this is the only instance in all of the gospels where Jesus actually makes a charitable donation!

As we consider why Jesus gave to the tax collectors, God’s word continues to invite us to consider why we do–or do not–give to others or to ministries. In my reading, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of Jesus’ motivations for paying the tax was that he believed in or believed in the possibility of life-changing ministry and worship happening at the Jerusalem temple. This sort of motivation is key to meaningful stewardship. God calls us to be generous donors of time, talent and gift. God also asks us to seek out where a difference, where change is being made, and lay our support in that place.

On a side note, below is the recap video we showed about Vacation Bible School from just a few weeks ago. Enjoy!



Sermon Cast – The Urgency of Glory

Date: July 13, 2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scripture: Luke 15:1-7
Description: In my mind’s eye, the parable of the lost sheep plays out in an idyllic manner. The Shepherd (Jesus) counts the flock only to find that one is missing. Possibly leaving the sheep in the care of a gatekeeper, he then goes on a picturesque journey over rolling hills–Disney music humming in the background–as he searches for this wandering little scamp.

After some reflection, I wonder if the image is quite different? A frantic Shepherd (Jesus) who has NO desire for the lamb to be lost. He then begins running helter-skelter through fields and forest, screaming at the top of his longs to find the sheep. So I think it is with us, then, that Jesus urgently wants to find us, urgently wants to know us, urgently wants us to be knowing God.





Here Comes the Blueberry Fest!

Date: Saturday july 12, 2014
TIme: 9AM to 3PM
Location: 1319 8th Street Drive in Watsontown (17777)

In 24 hours, Watsontown United Methodist Church will undergo an annual one-day transformation. The festival committee has been hard at work all year coordinating food, vendors, and volunteers. In 24 hours, the world at Watsontown United Methodist Church will exude all shades of BLUE. The 4th Annual WUMC Blueberry Festival is upon us!

Each Blueberry Festival has so much to see and do! If you arrive at 9AM, the kitchens are open for the blueberriest breakfast you’ve ever had. The multipurpose room of the church will host a total of 26 vendors with all sorts of wares (from tasty goodies to duct tape apparel). For those who walk in at lunch time, this year’s main course is a pulled pork BBQ sandwich; the kitchen will also be turning out other delicious items like sausage sandwiches, blueberry buckle, and walking tacos to name a few.

Outside of the church building, eight more vendors pitch their tents. The side lot is also home to a number of family-friendly and children-oriented activities. Irish Meadows Stable will be present with a pony ride, veteran conductor Gene Farley will be pulling the barrel train, and of course the Dunk Tank will be ready to test pitching arms. Also keep an eye out for the bottle ring toss and Dr. Dale’s mini-golf extravaganza. Those who stick around later into the afternoon may also enter the blueberry eating contest!

Looking for a fun and leisurely way to spend your weekend after the craziness of the 4th of July? Look no further than the 4th Annual Blueberry Festival at Watsontown United Methodist Church. We’ll be looking for you!

Blueberry 2014 Logo



Sermon Cast – Faith and Trust: Part 2

Title: Faith and Trust, Part 2
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scripture: Genesis 22:1-14
Description: Last week we discussed Abraham’s near sacrifice of Isaac found in Genesis 22. Many interpretations of this passage praise Abraham’s unwavering devotion to God. Nevertheless, I have heard few sermons that take Isaac’s perspective of the events. What would it have been like to be the son of a father who said God needed the boy to be sacrificed? By taking this perspective, I think the text may have important truths for us about being open, communicative, and transparent with others about our spiritual journeys.


Sermon Cast – Faith and Trust: Part 1

Title: Faith and Trust, Part 1
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scripture: Genesis 22:1-14
Description: Genesis 22 is a very curious piece of Scripture. The testing of Abraham is lifted up by the writer of Hebrews as one of the milestones in Abraham’s spiritual journey, a moment demonstrating model faith. But ‘faith’ when used in everyday discussion is often treated as a commodity, as a ‘thing’ someone has that helps him or her believe in a God that is invisible. This is a very simple definition of faith; I prefer to use the word ‘trust’ when I talk about faith.

Trust is perhaps one of the more significant factors demonstrated by Abraham in Genesis 22. As Hebrews 11 mentions, Abraham must come to a place where he trusts God’s power to resurrect Isaac, since it is through this son that God also promised Abraham many children and grandchildren. So it is Abraham who learns that even in situations that seem outlandish or impossible, God may be at work in us still.