Gary M. Schimmer

CHRISTIANITY: Hand Signals by Gary M. Schimmer

May 9, 2018

From: Emmaus Road Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs.” (Matthew 19:14b) Receiving Holy Communion is one of the spiritual stepping stones in the Christian faith.  In the early Christian church even infants communed by tasting drops of wine that the priest placed on their tongues.  Centuries later that early Christian practice changed, and now children in the first grade or in upper grades commune for the first time. It was the practice of my congregation to offer children their first Holy Communion in the third grade, as I recall.  They received instruction before they received this sacrament.  On the other hand, younger children still [...]

CHRISTIANITY: Lights Out by Gary M. Schimmer

May 2, 2018

From: Emmaus Road Live as children of light. (Ephesians 5:8b) I have enjoyed doing children’s sermons since I began my ordained ministry decades ago.  Each Sunday I talked to children about the meaning of one of the Bible verses from the lectionary.  I always tried to make one point in my talks.  I used signs, toys, pictures, and movements to illustrate my message. One Sunday I talked about Jesus’s message for people to be the light of the world.  Now that concept was not easy to communicate to children because it was a metaphor.  Nonetheless, I gave it a try.  I gave each child a little flashlight.  They aimed their lights at each other and on the walls of the church building.  I emphasized that Jesus wants us to be the light [...]

CHRISTIANITY: Pizza And A Movie by Gary M. Schimmer

April 25, 2018

From: Emmaus Road Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash to disciples’ feet. (John 13:5a) They said they came from Hollywood, where they worked to film the 1960s sitcom, Petticoat Junction.  They landed in the small Georgia town where I was the pastor of the Lutheran congregation.  It always puzzled me how these two filmmakers left the glamour of Hollywood to live and work in a town and country setting in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains.  I met them as they worked for a major pizza chain.  They were filming community events and then inviting the community to the local pizza restaurant for dinner and a movie. Somehow I got the idea of filming A Day in the Life of a Pastor, starring yours truly.  I approached [...]

CHRISTIANITY: Humor—No Monkey Business by Gary M. Schimmer

April 18, 2018

From: Emmaus Road Then God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no gods before me.” (Exodus 20:1-3) No Monkey Business What can we do to keep the attention of children in Sunday school?  A new Bible curriculum may include the latest technology with fast-paced songs and flashy lessons to nurture faith. But before the latest technology hit the classroom, we used flannel boards, brightly colored Bible story leaflets, and songs with hand motions.  (Remember the old Sunday school song, “The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock?”)  And some Sunday school teachers even tried show-and-tell in class to capture the attention of restless [...]

CHRISTIANITY: Humor—Hey, Jesus! by Gary M. Schimmer

April 11, 2018

From: Emmaus Road Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:24) Hey, Jesus! They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” (John 12:21) The congregation’s membership grew rapidly because it was located in a thriving community with many new businesses and housing subdivisions.  Young families climbing the corporate ladders were mortgaged to the hilt, enrolled their children in good schools, and looked to worship in welcoming congregations. It wasn’t unusual each Sunday for several new families to show up in the congregation I served.  One Sunday a new [...]

CHRISTIANITY: Humor—A Hymn Forgotten by Gary M. Schimmer

April 4, 2018

From: Emmaus Road Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:24) A Hymn Forgotten Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. (Psalm 33:3) While attending divinity school, I was asked to lead the women’s Pentecost service at the congregation where I worshipped, taught catechism class, and helped to lead the youth group.  With some apprehension, I agreed, knowing that this would be my first time to preach. In preparation for this service, I worked with a retired pastor who would play the organ for this service.  In our phone conversation, we selected several hymns for all to sing. When I mentioned one of [...]