Sermon Cast – Who Stole Baby Jesus?

Date: January 18, 2015
Preacher: Rev. Ryan Krauss

Scripture: Luke 2:22-40
Description: There must be a near universal desire in humans to hold babies. Or to want to hold babies. My sister recently gave birth to an adorable set of twins; at a large family gathering in October (my wedding), it was absolutely impossible for me to get a finger on this adorable children because EVERYONE ELSE wanted to hold them. It goes without saying that snatching a baby away with asking is simply “bad form.”

Baby-snatching is the name of the game in the little-known Scripture from Luke 2:22-40. Jesus’ parents have taken the infant to the temple to perform several necessary rituals, when all of the sudden they are bombarded by strangers Simeon and Anna; the former snatches the little boy up in the middle of a prophetic frenzy while Anna goes on an evangelistic spree not unlike the shepherds in the Christmas Story. All this while Mary and Joseph where just trying to get their child blessed!

The devout, if strange, actions of Simeon and Anna teach us an important truth about leading a life of joy and celebration. We must continue to trust in God’s promised hope of a new and brighter tomorrow. No matter how bad today gets, no matter how overwhelming the circumstance, God will continue to sustain us and provide new vigor and possibilities in the morning (Psalm 3:5).


Sermon Cast – The World’s Strangest Stewardship Sermon

Date: 1/11/2015
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T Krauss

Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, Matthew 2:1-11
Description: Stewardship is that one great topic, that one great spiritual discipline that no one in the church enjoys addressing. While Jesus arguably talk more about finances in the Gospels than any other topic, his followers have had a poor track record on the subject. Many of us are familiar with either churches, institutions, or sermons that beg a little too much, pile the guilt a little too thickly, or simply come off as way too greedy that whenever the pulpit mentions the dollar sign, we close our ears. It’s Epiphany, and stewardship has been one of my own wake-up calls and ‘ah-hah’ moments  recently.

The essence of stewardship is cheerful giving (2 Corinthians 9).

Paul writes that giving should be a cheerful affair! Giving should come from an overflowing heart. Yet, if this is true, I also believe that receiving the prayers, gifts, talents, and tithes of a congregation should also be done with joy! Here is where the institutional church does a poor job: we do not say “Thank You” well or often enough. I encourage you to listen to this message and hear a very heart-felt “Thank You.”

-Pastor Ryan


Sermon Cast – Home for Christmas: You Can Count On Me

Date: 12/7/2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scripture: Isaiah 40: 1-11, Mark 1:1-8
Description: In the second week of our Advent Sermon Series, we consider the topic of commitment. The iconic song “I’ll be Home for Christmas” brings to mind the hope of trustworthiness with the lyrics “You can count on me.” In this respect, every decision of family or friends to travel great distances during the holidays is an act of commitment. Purchasing plane tickets, driving for great lengths and hours are all evidence of our connection to and support of those we love. At Christmas time, the message of the Christ Child is one of God’s unwavering commitment to us.


Sermon Cast – Home for Christmas: The Last One In

Date: November 30, 2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scripture: Mark 13:24-37
Description: One of my favorite Christmas songs is a rendition of I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Vince Gill. Whether in grade school, college, grad school, and even now in the ministry, I always want to be home for the Christmas holiday. I know that not everyone has the same experience, but home for me is safe, nostalgic, and filled with the ones I love most.

As we begin to celebrate Advent in 2014, we remember that a central piece of the Christian story is that Jesus, who once made his home with us (John 1:14), will also one day return ‘home’ to us again. This is commonly called the Second Coming. Jesus asks us to ‘be alert’ and ‘be awake’ not out of fear but out of hope. A child waits at the window sill for mom or dad to come home from swing-shift out of the simple joy of being brought back together again.

So Jesus calls us this Advent to come home for Christmas. Our true, heavenly home. While we wait, we live in the hopeful expectation of being reunited with our great Savior, in spirit now but in the flesh on a great day to come.


Sermon Cast – Collaborate with God

Date: October 19, 2014
Preacher: William Marshall

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:1-7
Description: Lay Preacher Jack Marshall provides the final message to the fall series “In Progress,” a look at the development of our spiritual journeys in God’s hands, under God’s guidance, and as co-laborers for God’s heavenly rule on earth.


Cardboard Pumpkins

Halloween is occasionally criticized by the Christian community for a variety of reasons: the celebration is pagan, occult-ish connections abound, the holiday promotes unbiblical superstitions. While I’d rather defer to greater authorities on these subjects, I’ve written a concise piece on the Christian origins of Halloween in this month’s newsletter. My conclusion? Halloween is a natural and fitting Christian Holiday!
On October 26, 2014 at 4PM Watsontown United Methodist Church hosts a Trunk-or-Treat event for the Watsontown/Warrior Run area. This event is perfect for families and children uncomfortable with some of the conventions of Halloween, the lateness of official trick-or-treating, or the uncertainty of selecting neighborhoods to visit. The church parking lot on 1319 8th Street Drive will be lined with open trunks from which children may gather candy. Additionally, the multipurpose room will be open for social time, refreshments, and games. In several other room of the church, children may listen to a Halloween story or help out with this season’s mission project: Operation Christmas Child. Join us and tell your friends!

One week after Trunk-and-Treat, the youth group of WUMC, along with scouting organizations and other young people, will participate in a Box City simulation. This event will run from 4PM Saturday November 1 through 12:00PM Sunday November 2. Designed to raise awareness to poverty and hunger, these young people will craft a ‘town’ out of cardboard boxes on the church lawn and dwell in them for the evening. In conjunction with Box City, the young people will be receiving donations to support the local mission Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Community donations toward this cause will be accepted at the 8th Street Church during the hours of the event. For more information, click the newsletter link above.


Sermon Cast – All You Need, Ever

Date: 10/12/2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scriptures: 2 Peter 1:1-7, 1 John 4:7-16
Description: Today was a special day in worship at WUMC. In honor, recognition, and thanks to community First-Responders, we hosted a service and luncheon, inviting many local fire fighters, police officers, emergency workers, and dispatchers to join us. Johnny Jolin offered several special music selections, and a memorial wreath was purchased in memory of those who are no longer with us.

The Scripture passage from our In Progress sermon series is apt for such a day as this. In the ‘road map’ of 2 Peter 1:5-7, the pinnacle and goal of the Christian journey is sacrificial love.

The entire service for 10/12 is recorded on CD; if anyone would like a copy, please contact the church office.


Sermon Cast – Undercover Glory

Date: 10/5/2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scriptures: 2 Peter 1:1-7, 2 Corinthians 3:7-18



Sermon Cast – In Progress: XXX Files

Date: September 28, 2014
Preacher: Rev. Ryan T. Krauss

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:1-7, Mark 7:14-23
Description: ‘Discipline’ and ‘self-control’ are unpleasant words. For a culture that values excess and my pleasure at the expense of others (just take a look at advertising slogans like Burger King’s “Have It Your Way”), curbing our appetites is neither stylish nor desirable. Yet, as 2 Peter 1:5-7 elaborates on the qualities of a maturing believer, self-control holds a prominent place.

In religious vocabulary, self-control seems confining. If our hearts are liable to all of the things Jesus warns about in Mark 7:21-22–sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly–is it really my responsibility to contain and resist all of those things? What dreadful and taxing tasks! I thought the life of faith was about hope and freedom (Galatians 5:1) rather than creating a new list of things I cannot do!

In reality, self-control is no via negative. Self-control is more than choosing what not to do. The athlete who spends hours training, rests well, and follows good nutrition is exercising self-control. Discipline–and consequently the life of faith–is all about instituting good and life-giving practices in ourselves. And if our hearts or full of these things, full of God (2 Peter 1:3), then we will simply have little room for damaging indulgence or excess.


October 2014 Newsletter and Events

Fall is in full swing, and Watsontown United Methodist Church is taking every opportunity to live in to our mission to: know Jesus Christ, grow in Jesus Christ, and go be like Jesus Christ. The October 2014 edition of our monthly newsletter is sizzling off the press, and you may click the link –> HERE <– to read it for yourself! Each page is full chances to connect and serve with our faith community.

Perhaps you are interested in getting to know some new people or spending time with good friends on a scenic excursion? WUMC is hosting a train adventure to Jim Thorpe, PA on October 5th. Tickets cost $9 to $24 depending on which car one chooses (payable on location). A group will be car pooling from the church at 10:30AM and meet down at the train station together.October 12 will be a very special day at WUMC and in the greater Watsontown Community. On that Sunday, our 10:30AM worship service will honor and recognize the many first responders in our communities. This celebration will include a meaningful worship service followed by a light luncheon and social hour. First responders who plan to attend are asked to notify the church office so that we may prepare adequately. ALSO on October 12, the borough of Watsontown hosts the annual CROP Walk. CROP is an international movement to raise awareness for and combat hunger. This year’s CROP walk begins with registration at 1:30PM at the Watsontown Elementary School. The Walk will proceed to the Watsontown Park at 2:00PM (individuals may also arrive at the park without making this trek). No fundraising packets are required this year; instead a donation cover charge is requested of all children ($5) adults ($10) and families ($20 max). Events at the park will include a walk for kids, presentation by Kingdom Kidz Puppet Ministry, and more!

With Halloween just around the corner, Watsontown United Methodist Church invites the community to a wholesome family gathering on October 26th at 4PM. This is our annual Trunk and Treat event and provides a fun alternative and/or addition to normal trick-or-treating. Kids and families are welcome to stroll through our parking lot of decorated car trunks as volunteers hand out candy. Games, story time, refreshments, and a mission project will take place inside the WUMC class and multipurpose room. So pick out your best costume, and join the fun!

As always, we welcome you EVERY Sunday to join us for worship, prayer and study at 8:00AM (Praise Worship), 9:15AM (Sunday School), and 10:30AM (Traditional Worship). Come see what God is doing at WUMC!