from our Pastor…


Thursday, April 2, 2020

I have chatted with several of our congregation this week and learned that the present crisis has not caused them to lose hope. Instead, they have called others to offer help and assurance. One reported that the next door neighbor mowed his lawn and washed his car for him.

On the first Palm Sunday Jesus took action, and the crowds on Jerusalem’s streets acted with enthusiasm.

Two frogs fell into a deep cream bowl,
One was an optimistic soul;
But the other took the gloomy view,
“I shall drown,” he cried, “and so will you.”
So with a last despairing cry,
He closed his eyes and said, “Good-bye.”
But the other frog, with a merry grin,
Said, “I can’t get out, but I won’t give in!
I’ll swim around till my strength is spent.
For having tried, I’ll die content,”
Bravely he swam until it would seem
His struggles began to churn the cream.
On the top of the butter at last he stopped.
And out of the bowl he happily hopped.
What is the moral? It’s easily found.
If you can’t get out — keep swimming around!

If you are physically able to do more than lie in a bed or sit in a chair — Be active!

God bless and give you hope and strength for these days.

–Pastor John


Tuesday, March 31, 2020
On this day when we should have been planning for the beautiful procession of our children marching through the Church on Sunday to open Worship by waving palm branches in remembrance of that first Palm Sunday, when Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem as the king coming in peace — we are instead still battling a deadly virus while wondering what end is in sight.
So, let us remember and practice the Scripture —
“Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable —
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy —
think about such things. (Philippians 4:6-8)
Praying that you have a day filled with comfort and peace,
–Pastor John

My discovery of the One Year Bible in late 1999 was a wonderful gift for me.  Nearly everyday in Old Testament, New Testament, Psalm or Proverbs, I get a special up-lifting thought for the day:

Deuteronomy 15 instructs the people of God to care for the poor among us; and through Five Loaves and Two Fish that is being done here in Poca.  Lately, the US Congress has been wrestling with the same question in response to the COVID 19 Pandemic.

This line from the Psalms is very meaningful at this time in my life–“Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.”

A warning against worry:  “Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind.  If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.”  –Arthur Somers Roche

God bless and keep you safe.

Pastor John


Saturday, March 28, 2020

When Moses brought to the people the stone tablets engraved with the Ten Commandments from God, he said:

“What does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 10:12

Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, I am being obedient to authorities by staying away from direct contact with people.  I have used drive thru at post office, pharmacy and to pick up a little curb-side food.  My physicians have kept in contact by telephone.  With Neil Casto and Steve Rhodes at the controls, and with me six feet or more away, I plan to continue to give a sermon and prayer at the Church each Sunday at 11:00 A.M. on the Web Site.  There will be some recorded music.  If you wish to talk, call me at (304) 562-7277.

On Sunday, March 29, I intend to preach on the topic, “What Are You Careful About?” based on the text Luke 10:38-42.  I hope you can be present in your home.

–Pastor John


Friday, March 27, 2020
Pastor John’s Message

Thanks Courtney Casto for Lesson with children.

“Sing to God, sing praise to His name,
extol Him who rides on the clouds–
His name is the Lord–
and rejoice before Him.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
God in His holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,
He leads forward the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun scorched land.” (Psalm 68:4-6)

Smile at this, and then think about it:

I was sitting in with my wife one Wednesday evening as she was teaching a five-year-old’s Bible class. It came time to have some animal crackers, and she asked one of the little boys, Joey, to lead the prayer for the crackers. Of course, it is always so precious to see children pray, and as Joey bowed his head along with the other children he began a most thorough sweet prayer: “Dear God, thank you for my mommy, my daddy, my brother, my sister. . . great grandfather. . . and thank you for my teacher. And God, thank you for the animal crackers. . .” Joey stopped right there in the middle of the prayer. Everyone began to squirm and get restless. We waited and waited and finally my wife asked Joey if there was anything wrong. Joey slowly raised his head and in a very low whisper asked, “Are we going to have anything to drink?” My wife said no, and immediately he bowed his head and said, “Amen.”

What a lesson in prayer this is for those adults who ritualistically roll through leading prayers, not really conscious of the need of those they are praying for.
–James Hewett

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Proverb for today in the One Year Bible is, “He who seeks good finds goodwill, but evil comes to him who searches for it.” (Proverbs 11:27)

It is always a blessing to know people are praying for you, and I am very grateful for your prayers for my good health.  If you would like your name or your concern to be put on the Poca UMC Prayer Chain, please call Mary Rinehart at (304) 755-2757.

The United Methodists of West Virginia are observing a Prayer Vigil tomorrow, Wednesday, March 25, for all 24 hours.  Choose an hour to join in this vigil (See Facebook — West Virginia Annual Conference Prays).

May God Bless and keep you safe.

Pastor John

~John Mason

March 19, 2020

Speaking of being subject to government authorities Jesus said, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” ( Luke 20:25)  Paul in his letter to Titus instructing him on doing ministry wrote, “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone.” (Titus 3:1-2)

While the New Testament Church set the standard for worshiping God every day and gathering for worship every Sunday, the actual practice here in West Virginia has always been affected by circumstances.  In pioneer days it was often several months between visits by the circuit-riding preachers.  And, we still have circuits so large that many United Methodist Churches gather only once or twice per month for Worship.

We are now being affected by a new kind of circumstances.  National and local health officials fear the worst is yet to come from the Coronavirus pandemic.

Therefore, following the direction of the Centers for Disease Control, the advice of our Bishop Sandra Steiner-Ball, the directions of our President, Donald Trump, and our Governor, Jim Justice, the Poca United Methodist Church will have no public services, classes or committee gatherings until the Centers for Disease Control and our officials lift the restrictions.  Because expenses continue, and you can continue your giving, the Finance Committee is accepting checks and money orders made to Poca UMC and sent to P.O. Box 516, Poca, WV 25159.

We plan to have daily messages from Poca UMC on this Web site, and a Worship Service with recorded music and a sermon from Pastor John at 11:00 A.M. each Sunday.  If you need a helping hand, call Johnie Pat Brown at 304-755-4788, and she may be able to find help.

We will also keep our Facebook and Twitter pages as up to date as possible.

Please continue to pray daily for your Church, for each other, and for the health and welfare of your neighbors.  This would be a good time to get into the daily reading of Holy Scripture in your Bible.  When you have opportunity, do random acts of kindness for others.

God Bless and keep you,

Pastor John


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