Pastor Bares: ‘The Gospel is all around us’ – American Press
Anyone who has ever heard Reverend Weldon Bares in person or online, read his column in a newspaper, “liked” his message on social media or heard him on the radio must surely wonder about his ability to communicate the depth and the power of the gospel in such a relatable, concise way.
On the one hand, he works there, continually returning to rework, complete, edit and contemplate the approximately 150 works in progress on his computer.
He was called to do it. It was the summer before his senior year in high school, and since then he’s been in a pulpit somewhere in Louisiana for over 40 years. He has pastored First United Methodist Church, Lake Charles, for 13 years.
“I hadn’t told anyone about it and I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I was a 17-year-old kid, so I went to talk to the pastor of my church, First Methodist. He was so happy and he prayed with me. church was, ‘Weldon Bares accepts call to ministry.’ I hadn’t told anyone about it, I hadn’t told my parents.
When he got home, his mother was holding the report card and crying with joy. Bares is the middle child of five brothers, and his mother had them in church every Sunday. His mother was not only the most influential person on his spiritual development, but also on that of his brothers. Perhaps even that of his father, who did not show the same constant church attendance until later in his life.
“He was supportive,” Bares said. “I think the reason he wasn’t in church as often as we were in his youth is because with five boys he just wanted to have some peace and quiet. “
Bares never looked back. But that doesn’t mean there were never challenges and dark nights of the soul.
“I have had and continue to have dark soul nights for praying and talking to trusted friends, especially over the past two and a half years,” he said. “I didn’t take any courses in seminary on hurricane recovery or dealing with a global pandemic. I learn as I go. »
At times like these, he turns to biblical truths, he said, truths that encourage and foster understanding of others, self and God. It’s not a cookie cutter. There is no solution or magic formula.
“Everyone cries differently,” Bares said. “Every dark night of the soul is different. And the times when we can’t understand is when we have to trust and carry on.
The irony is that a closer relationship with Christ often happens in darkness, he said.
On June 12, he spoke to his congregation about this irony, using Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark as a springboard.
Bares titled a series of summer sermons, The Sounds of our Lives and The Gospel. Each sermon is titled and uses a popular song as a springboard. Bares isn’t doing it to entertain in today’s increasingly secular society — even if that’s the case — or to reach young people. At a time when church growth is in decline, especially churches with downtown addresses, First United Methodist is growing.
“The gospel is all around us,” he told the congregation. “We only have to open our eyes, our hearts and our ears and the Lord whispers to us the gospel of mercy, grace and second chances.”
Springsteen’s biggest hit includes the following lyrics. I wake up at night/And I have nothing to say/I come home in the morning/I go to bed feeling the same/I’m nothing but tired/Man, I’m just tired and bored by myself.
Studying these words, Bares recalled his own alienation, his fatigue and his desire to go out and live the abundant life of John 10:10, the hope of David despite his broken soul, the interrupted feast of mercy of Elie and the courage it must have taken Paul and Silas to sing in chains and even Betty Ford. After her husband’s failed run for the presidency, she did a very quick and graceful dance – on the table in the Oval Office of the White House.
“He (Springsteen) was in the dark, but he was dancing,” Bares said.
Powerful message, packed with anecdotes and statistics – 22% of American adults reported symptoms of a depressive disorder from April 27 to May 9 – and the Gospel, always the good news.
“Darkness affects healthy people, sick people, teenagers, middle-aged people and baby boomers,” Bares told the congregation, “those with a lot of money and those who are struggling finance, married and single, Democrats and Republicans…”
Bares said God can do for others what he did for David, turn his sadness into a joyful dance.
“Sometimes God doesn’t take the darkness out of our lives and here’s the good news, trust in Christ and hold the Lord’s hand, it’s possible to dance, even if it’s dark.”
Listen to Dancing in the Dark and other Bares sermons at www.youtube.com.
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