Cracked Earth

 Sunday, July 12 


 “The Apostle Paul’s Greatest Hits” 

 This week “A Matter of Trusting—Not Trying” 

   Scripture Reading: Galatians 2: 15-21 

A Message From Pastor Ron - July 10

We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. How do we know? We tried it—and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen! Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement, we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good.

Galatians 2: 15-16 (The Message)

Dear Friends,


Many of us have been raised to understand that, “there is no free lunch,” and that it is our responsibility to “pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.”  That, we have been told, is “the American way.”  This work ethic, of course, has proven to be the inspiration for more than a few remarkable accomplishments. 

I recently read Stephen Ambrose’s novel entitled, “Nothing Like It in the World” which gives a detailed account of the planning and building of the transcontinental railroad.  It is truly amazing to think of what this monumental construction project was able to face and overcome in the course of linking our nation together with a railroad.  The grit and determination that was required is beyond our comprehension.  This accomplishment remains today a stunning testimony to the work ethic that inspired it.


That’s the good news. The bad news is that grit and determination will only take one so far—especially when it comes to matters of faith.  While there is nothing wrong with having a strong spiritual work ethic, it is important for us to recognize that it can, at points, be a liability in our efforts to experience the relationship with God that we long for.  Simply trying harder to earn the salvation we seek is often a prescription for frustration and failure.

That is, of course, what the Apostle Paul discovered as he tried to earn his salvation by putting together an impeccable spiritual resume.  He was under the impression that if he just worked hard enough, if he was just disciplined enough, and if he was just persistent enough, he could earn his salvation and then wear it like a gleaming merit badge.  But Paul was wrong about that and it took some painful moments of frustration and failure to convince him of his faulty approach.

This week, I begin a new series of sermons entitled, “The Apostle Paul’s Greatest Hits.”  This series is designed to provide a summary of the key thoughts and insights that Paul shared with the early Church and with us.  This Sunday we will be thinking about Paul’s central teaching that right relationship with God (salvation) is not the product of trying harder to earn it, but instead, learning to trust that God’s grace and God’s love comes to us not as a reward for our efforts, but simply as a gift for being who we are.

Given our inclination to “earn our way,” this can be a difficult concept for us to get our arms around.  I hope that you will be able to join us online at 10:00 A.M. as we attempt to do just that. It’s hard to believe, but we have just reached the half-way point of summer!  I trust that you are able to experience the opportunity to spend some time outdoors and enjoy these days of summer—even with the Covid limitations that that we face.

Grace and Peace,



Worship is currently held via LIVESTREAM

8:00 AM Meditation and Dialog

10:00 AM Contemporary and Traditional

​Newcastle United Methodist Church

P.O. Box 235

Newcastle, CA 95658

(916) 663-2250


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We have the opportunity as a congregation to be a part of God's work, and we depend on your financial support so that we may continue to offer the vital ministry that we do. We thank you in advance for choosing to support this ministry.


Newcastle United Methodist Church

Attn: Treasurer

P.O. Box 235

Newcastle, CA 95658


What if there was a Church that:

Actually practiced what it preached…

Valued asking questions just as much as having answers…

Honored the past while embracing the future…

Saved a place for everyone at the table…

Viewed difference not as a threat, but a possibility…

Believed that listening was a prerequisite for learning…

Viewed service to others as essential to its witness…

Chose not to avoid conflict, but to confront it with courage and love…

Was open to new ideas and thinking outside the box…

To be honest, we are not quite there, but we are on our way.  This is the kind of Church that we dream about being and the kind of Church that we are committed to becoming. If you would like to help us become the Church we are dreaming about, we would love your company!  Please come and check us out.



We are a community-based church since 1888. We welcome you. Our commitment is to love and worship God and share our joy and God’s love with others.


In the welcoming place of radical hospitality, informal and inspirational worship, amazing and grace-filled love, you are welcome, no matter who you are or how you come. God loves you.

We offer stimulating Bible studies, midweek men’s and women’s breakfasts, study and sharing; lots of smiles and laughter, serious discussion and thoughtful sharing. Our Sunday Morning Watch service is quiet, thoughtful and contemplative. Our contemporary worship service is warm, full of music, prayer, scripture and with thought provoking messages.

Life is so much richer with a strong sense of community. We invite you to enjoy the fellowship of our church family. Join us on Sundays and feel the love!

In Christ's most amazing love.

​A D D R E S S

P.O. Box 235
Newcastle, CA 95658


Worship is currently held via LIVESTREAM

8:00 AM: Meditation and dialogue.

10:00 AM: Contemporary and traditional worship.

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