The Talladega Cluster of the Cheaha District gathered on September 29, 2013, for a 5th Sunday Service and Singing at New Hope UMC. The 5th Sunday services have grown increasingly popular within this small community, and the sanctuary was filled.
First, each individual choir performed a song or two. Then, members from all attending congregations who sang in the Afternoon of Praise in August gathered to sing "Jerusalem, with Holy City," a crowd favorite. The musical portion of the service concluded with a grand finale--the New Hope UMC children’s choir, who wore their purple choir t-shirts, and joyfully sang a soul-stirring song of hope and assurance. Their performance lifted the spirits of all in attendance.
District Superintendent Sherill Clontz then preached a sermon based on Luke 9:51 and Luke 14:25-33, reminding the congregation that, “Jesus doesn’t want fans, he wants followers!…Jesus wants people as committed to this broken, hurting world as he is. He wants people who realize that in order to make a difference in this world, we have to be willing to make sacrifices for its sake.”
The congregation was reminded that, “Salvation may be free but discipleship is costly!…The world is God‘s creation and all the people on it are God‘s beloved children. And if we love God, we‘ll love the people of God as much as God does. Therefore, we will be willing to sacrifice, to give up, and to bleed for the sake of the world that God so loves.”
She continued, “The good news is that the Christian faith is not about what we‘ve got to do but what we get to do! It‘s a get to not a got to!”
Clontz closed her sermon with these thoughts and reminders: “What is it that is keeping you from totally surrendering all to Jesus?…What does this congregation need to let go of in order to fully follow Christ into ministry in this community?…Jesus is inviting you in his grand project of turning the world upside down! But the invitation is not without cost.”
The service ended with the congregation singing, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” Those gathered then shared a delicious BBQ dinner.