Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Philippians 2: 1-13 SEPT 28 2008
What is the church?
Some memories are worth revisiting again.
Eight years ago, a few weeks into my time here at Trinity, I gathered a group of adults under the Mahogany tree in front of Charter Hall with some trepidation. It was to be my first Adult Sunday school class and I wanted to make a good impression. Fresh out of seminary, chomping at the bit to dive into God’s word with others to see what the Holy Spirit might stir up, we met on wooden benches in the summer heat, with a bit shade and a bit of breeze helping us along. I began with one simple question: What is the church?
Answers came quickly: “The place where we worship” (a building); “Where I come to be with other Christians” (a place of fellowship); “A place where we learn about God” (a teaching center); “A place where we experience the sacraments” (a place of grace-infused ritual); “A place where I can escape from the world and be at peace” (an oasis from life); and so forth.
OK, maybe it wasn’t such a simple question, but still, it was and is an important one.
What is the church? Take a second and in your own minds form your answer. Your own hypothesis as it were, like the folks did under that Mahogany tree those eight years and an odd month ago. Complete the sentence as simply as possible: The church is…what?
Beth worked in a dry cleaners a few blocks away from a church that I served years ago. She had one daughter, Gracie, maybe seven years old, and every Sunday morning she dutifully brought Gracie to the steps of the church in order for her to attend Sunday school. And by every Sunday morning I mean every Sunday morning. But Beth would never stay for worship – she never even passed the threshold of the main church door that led into the sanctuary. She would walk up the granite steps, one, two, a dozen rising up from the sidewalk to the threshold and then stop as if a light had turned red and then broke, never to find its way back to green. As if a sign said “Danger! Road closed Ahead!” She would send little Gracie on her way and take the steps, one, two, twelve, back down to the side walk and was gone.
What do you think that the church was for Beth?
Not much? A babysitter? A place for children to learn about God and for adults to perhaps tolerate if the they so chose? A placed to be feared? Boring? Strange?
If asked, Beth would tell a story about having worshiped at the church years before and being made to feel as an outsider, unwelcome. Yet despite this, she wanted her daughter to learn about Jesus and she knew of no other place, and so every Sunday morning, she climbed the steps, one, two, twelve in all, and stopped at the great door that led inside.
What the church is is important.
Paul and the Fabric of the Church
Hear again from our second lesson, from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the congregation at Philippi:
If there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, and compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
There is something for Paul that is in its essence the very fabric of the church – that if soiled or worn out or ripped or torn asunder would painfully damage the church’s mission and form of the church an image that does not reflect Christ to the world. Instead of shining with his glorious light, it flickers and dims and perhaps even blends fearfully in the darkness of night.
Hear the words: be of the same mind, have the same love, be in full accord, of one mind (yes Paul mentions that twice).
And what are we to hold the same?
What are we to be of one mind, one accord about?
This is where churches get lost in the woods.
Some might say worship – we should agree how worship should be.
Some might say Sunday school – we should all agree how Sunday school should be.
Some might say how a pastor does his job – we should all be of one mind about that.
Or the budget or our communion practices or what doughnuts to serve during coffee hour or what hymns we should sing or how the bulletin should look.
Now Paul has planted numerous churches. Guided by the Holy Spirit he found leaders, opened up for them the good news, helped to form them, mentored them, taught them and then moved on and planted another church and another and another – all the while dealing with conflict after conflict, questions and controversies, arbitrating disagreements and disputes. Many of these have at their heart misunderstandings about what composes the fabric of the church.
The Mind of Christ
See, what the church is to each of us is one thing, but I think we might be able to agree that what the church is to God is of no small significance to us. What the church is to God is of no small significance to us as individual Christians and collectively as a faith community, a congregation, a church.
What is the church to God?
Paul says that for us to understand this we must look to Jesus. What God wants to say about the church, God speaks to us through and in the person of Jesus.
“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,” Paul says.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.
If we consider all of the junk floating around in our minds at any given moment (Do I need to pick up another gallon of milk on the way home? Did I remember to lock the door when I left? What is the status of the laundry? Whose birthday am I forgetting this month? Did I buy that gluestick that my child needs to finish their project for school due tomorrow? And so on), when we consider all of that – what might it mean for us to have the same mind that was in Christ?
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross.
An Empty Life Re-Examined
Is your life empty?
Paul tells us that it needs to be.
Empty of the rampant navel gazing that haunts us.
Empty of the “do good because it feels good” mentality
Empty of the need for power and control.
Empty of the need to always be right.
Empty of judgment and reluctant praise for the success of others.
Empty of jealousy and fear.
And empty of pride.
Our lives need to be empty of all of that and more so that humble and obedient to God, God in Christ Jesus might fill us. As servants of the Gospel embodying the good news, we, too, become part of the fabric that holds together the church. We become the Body of Christ. We become the church.
The church is…us when we take on the mind of Christ, his humility, his obedience, his sacrifice for the other. For people like Beth.
Crossing the Threshold
That Christmas Eve I stared out into the sanctuary filled to three times its normal size. The children of our Sunday school walked out to sing. And there was Beth with her mother and others, finally having crossed over the threshold and through the door into a place of once unwelcome. We invited her, of course. In person. Humbly and gently. Lovingly. When one has the mind of Christ, the fabric that holds the church together becomes a rich tapestry indeed!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
The Feast of St. Mathew
But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ
Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God — not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" But when he heard this, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners."
She came into the church after nearly everyone had left - some to their cars and their afternoon plans. Others to coffee hour, a cookie or two and some caffeine and conversation. She came as the door was being looked and the lights extinguished, both halted so that she could kneel at a pew and weep. Softly, deeply, with tears streaming down her face, she wept.
Jesus came to call not the righteous, but the sinners.
Sinners, that Paul reminds us, that have been saved by grace through faith and notice he is quick to point out that this is not our own doing.
The woman did not speak at all. She had slipped in through the still open door, had made a beeline for the pew and then allowed the dam in her heart to burst, the swollen river of grief or pain or confusion or anguish, who knows what, to flow. I tried once to offer some comfort, some assistance, anything, her grief overwhelmed me. Surely I thought, God sent her to us so that we could shoulder some of weight, but no. No. She ignored me and then warned me off with the slightest shake of her head. It occurred to me that I was invading some private holy moment. The insight came hard and fast and left me confused, full of some small doubt about what to do next. I moved away until her sobs were lost to the sound of the air conditioning and she fell from view as I shuffled papers on my desk. I busied myself doing nothing.
Do we come to church knowing that we are sick and in need of healing - knowing that we are broken and in need of wholeness - knowing that we are lost and in need of being found...with a heart yearning to be encountered by Christ - a heart that fathoms that grace is a gift undeserved, yet freely given. A gift of such great cost to the giver, that none of us could pay the price even before the costs of gas and insurance and homes went north and our returns and income went south. A cost so great that a lifetime of good deeds could never accumulate enough equity for a down payment on it? A gift that could only come from God. A cost that could only be born by Jesus and only then by his giving of his life? Do we come to church knowing that? As smart as we are?
Do we come to church, to worship, knowing that our place perhaps is better expressed in a woman kneeling, sobbing, face wet with tears, pouring herself out before God, then a thousand other thoughts and deeds that captivate us on a Sunday morning?
Or do we come with a shopping list of demands that we desire to be met - of expectations that we need to be filled - with an attitude that says "here I am - what are you going to do for me today?" Or of boredom and routine and motions that could be sleepwalked if we so choose?
With what heart are we encountered by Christ Sunday morning here in this place?
I will admit to have poked my head out of my office a time or two to check on the woman, there in the dim light, in the ninth or tenth row of pews, just guessing. I didn't count. On the aisle, still kneeling. And part of me was full of compassion and a much smaller part, and not to my credit, felt just a bit awkward. How long will she stay, I wonder. Do I approach her again? Do I slide on next to her in the pew and pray alongside in support? Oh, the ridiculous thoughts that enter my mind! I do not think that it is a stretch that most would feel awkward . Wonder what her problem might be. Partly out of compassion and partly to support our own dream that we have it mostly together. That we're OK. That this woman is an exception. That surely our life compared to hers must be A-OK. She makes us feel better about things. We keep that thought quiet.
Jesus is there eating with Matthew angering the Pharisees who consider people like Matthew traitors - sinners of the worst kind. Tax collectors were typically Jews who ripped off their own people by over charging them for their taxes and pocketing the difference as salary. One must figure that Matthew knows what they are saying. When people talk about us we know. Sooner or later we know. And they probably want us to know. They want us to know that people are talking about us. So Matthew probably heard. We know that Jesus got word rather quickly.
A teacher like Jesus, a man of God, would not knowingly, voluntarily eat with a house of of people who sin as a matter of course. By their very life's work. By their occupations. This puzzled them greatly. Confused them to the point where they just had to know. So they did what so many people do - instead of asking Jesus, they asked those close to him. And what we learn is that Jesus is a big fan of mercy on the part of those who love God. Not self-righteousness. Mercy. And to be stewards of mercy we must put aside the thought that our own good deeds earn God's favor. That we participate in some obscure way in our own salvation. Far from it!
To be stewards of mercy is to sit like Jesus with those whom God is calling you to be with, to talk with them as if you were talking to Jesus himself, despite what others might think. Might say. Might do.
Quietly, just as she had arrived, she left and was gone. No name. No request for help. No, nothing, yet everything. When we realize in the depth of our being that we are completely, utterly, in meekness dependent upon God through Christ Jesus for everything, for our very lives, we might just find ourselves sneaking back into church and falling on our knees in the dim light and quiet, with no one around, so that our own tears can pour out before our God. Alone, because others might just Us there on our knees opening our hearts in deepest gratitude, in absolute dependence.
Attention Servants and Stewards!
Those called and interested - folks will be meeting during coffee hour this Sunday to pick our next duty week for the Church-based shelter program. See Lyn Joseph right after second service in the hall.
Those called and interested - Janean Baumal's house meeting for Bold Justice will also be meeting - same time and place.
Those who desire to do some planning for this fall and winter for our labyrinth please meet with Pastor Keith - same time and place (feel free to vote for the shelter week 1st)
Next Saturday is our Coffee House Talent Show at 7PM. Sign up on worship slips or on the poster in the narthex for your talent or dessert. If making desserts is your talent - well - there you go!
Next Sunday there will be an important meeting for those involved in the pumpkin patch right after second service during coffee hour with Kathy Velelz.
Ongoing: Trinity's food pantry that serves our local community is experiencing unprecedented use. Over four dozen families have gotten a boost in recent weeks from its shelves and freezer. Though Thrivent is ever generous is assisting us - we need to step us and re-stock them. Please bring in non-perishable items and place them in the shopping cart in the narthex.
In our Intergenerational Sunday school we will be turning our focus to "Invite" of the the Seven Marks of discipleship. And to practice, I want to personally invite you (single, couple, young, old, family or extended family) to come and be a part. 9:30AM in the hall. We supply the coffee.
Looking ahead: Light the Night Walk
sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphomas Society
Saturday, October 25, 2008
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Downtown Fort Lauderdale - Huizenga Plaza
Sunday, September 07, 2008
INTRODUCTION (from sundaysandseasons.com)
This festival, which originated in the fourth century, celebrates the triumph of the cross. Paul reminds us that Christ crucified is the power and wisdom of God. As Moses put a serpent on a pole to be a source of healing for the Israelites, we lift high the cross as the sign of our health and salvation. Each time we make the sign of the cross we remember our baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ.
Helena, mother of Constantine, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and found what may be the actual site of Jesus' crucifixion. Her son built two churches there, and the dedication of one of them gave rise to this celebration of our Lord's victory on the cross.
1 Corinthians 1:18–24
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart."Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
I'm wearing a cross around my neck right now - how about you?Take a look at it for a moment - hold it in your palm. Observe it. Let the image sink in. What are you looking at - really? Ponder that for a second. What have you got in the palm of your hand?
Gold, silver, wood? A cross? A crucifix? A symbol? A gift? An image? A reminder? A piece of jewellery?
What do you have in your hand?
OK, great, we'll return to that in just a moment.
Do you remember show-and tell from elementary school?
That was when one got to bring in something interesting and tell the class all about it.
For a couple of minutes you or the thing that you brought in got all the attention - all eyes were focused forward - because you never knew what might happen - especially since one of the most popular things to bring in, were of course, pets. Frightened Hamsters, mischievous gerbils, and the occasional indifferent but scary snake graced our classroom at one time or another as I recall. Squirmy pets make great escape artists - their brains might be small, but they understand freedom. A quick nip of an errant finger or twist of the body and then with a sudden bounce on the floor they were off! I recall one gerbil leading several dozen students and one very anxious teacher on a merry chase until at last she was apprehended behind a stack of reading books.
Now, what if someone asked you today about the cross around your neck - would you be ready for show and tell?
It might be easy to offer up how you came into possession of it
This cross, the one that I usually wear, came to me as a gift from my older sister, cast as a special design by a jeweller who incorporated a small diamond off of a ring that used to belong to my great grandfather. The gift celebrates both my 40th birthday and my 5th anniversary of ordination.
That tells you something about this cross as an object. A special possession. A gift. A connection with the past generations of my family. A treasured and unique heirloom. But the message of this cross - of THE CROSS - that to which this one points - still has not entered our conversation.
Paul says the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. But you and I, claimed by Christ in our baptism, saved by grace through faith in Him, that same cross is the power of God.
The cross is the victory - notice that we do not wear empty tombs around our necks? Rolled away stones? Nope. We wear the cross. An instrument of a painful and humiliating death reserved for those who threaten the state. I know, you are wondering about the two thieves. Well, the word for thief in Biblical Greek is also the word for revolutionary. Ordinary thieves were not crucified. Jesus died in agony, but through the power of God the instrument of his death became the very instrument of our redemption. Our salvation. His victory on the cross becomes our victory, for death is swallowed up and its power over us, broken.
There was a woman who was a shut in member of the parish at which I served as vicar prior to coming to Trinity. She didn't get out much and couldn't do much. Arthritis was settling in. Yet every visit, each month when I came to bring her communion and pray with her and listen to her stories, she would hand me bags of crosses made from yard on a plastic frame. These I would hand out to folks during hospital visits and shut in visits. Hundreds of crosses, each plastic frame cut out, each one stitched with yarn. She knew the power of the cross and so she worked through the pain and produced them by the bagfuls.
To some, it is foolishness, to others, the very power of God.
What story does you cross tell? Whose story?
Is it yours alone? A friend's? A relative, perhaps?
Does it tell the story of Jesus and the very power of God?
If someone asked you about it - what story would you tell? Why?
Does the foolishness of the cross make fools of us all or just buy our silence or our flippancy?
Something to think about on this Holy Cross Sunday.
Updates and Upcoming
My endoscopy on Thursday turned up nothing new and pointed my summer emergency room visit squarely in the direction of my gall bladder. Arrangements are being made for surgery - should be quick and easy, routine.
I hope to see as many of you as possible for our Rally Day celebration this Sunday at 9:30AM in Charter Hall - remember that we have commenced our winter schedule with two services - one at 8AM and one at 10:45AM. We are still looking for volunteers to help out with the pumpkin patch (see Kathy Velelz - unloading is SAT OCT 4th at 5:30PM) and to share their talent at the talent show (Piper and I are going as a famous singing couple - SAT SEP 27th).
On Sunday OCT 5th Piper and I will open up the parsonage for coffee hour following the second service for an open house and house blessing. It is our small way of saying "thank you" for the recent renovations. The Blessing of Pets has been moved to SAT OCT 18th at 4PM and our services in commemoration of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month will by Sunday October 19th this year.
Ever in Christ
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Below includes a few photos. Some furniture will be arriving this week and we will take some of the living room and bedroom once things settle.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Excerpted from our Second Reading
Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
What time is it?
One of the blessings of getting away for a time, whether it is a sabbatical or vacation or just a weekend, is being able to take off one's watch and just put it away. Not care what time it is at all. No more a slave to the clock, a salve to time. Just take it easy. Live in the moment. If you are like me this is easier to say then to do. We tell ourselves "no problem," but just as we begin to take off that watch something just doesn't seem right. There's a tan line that needs to be covered up and our wrist doesn't weight the same, our whole body is unbalanced. We continue to look at our wrist and if the watch is gone people will think we are weirder or weirder than we already are. And who wants that? Best to just leave it on and ignore it. We can just ignore it, right? No problem. When we find ourselves automatically drawn to staring at our wrist that just happens to be sporting a watch we promise ourselves that we will just make our eyes all squinty so that we can't read what it says. That's what we'll do. Problem solved. It's just that easy. Not knowing what time it is.
Of course we have to be willing to leave our cell phones back home on the charger, too. Mine tells me the time in huge numbers if I open it up. And we will have to leave the radio off. And unplug the clocks at home. And pull out the batteries from the rest. Oh, and not turn on our computers. We're probably safe with the clocks on our ranges and microwave ovens since most of us never reset those during the rainy seasons anyway. "Hey dad, how come the stove keeps blinking zero o'clock." Then there's our cable TV and DVD players and a few VCR's still around that might just be smart enough to know what time it is all by themselves as long as we keep them plugged in. And then there's our cars with their clocks and radios.
Let's face it - unless we are willing to find some cave to crawl into or some wilderness to get lost in, we will always be confronted by something that wants to remind us what time it is.
Knowing the time is after all often important. I set two alarms every Sunday morning because I am paranoid about oversleeping and being late for worship. Perhaps you do the same. So often in life, time rules.
So what time is it?
In our second lesson this morning, the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the congregations in Rome, has the answer...And he assumes that every Christian does or at least those that he is writing to: "Besides this," he writes, "you know what time it is."
But, ever the helpful guy that he is, for those who actually might not know, he tells them:
it is "Now the moment for you to wake from sleep."
There it is. Now is the moment to wake from sleep. Everyone awake? Good.
If it was only that simple.
Paul is not concerned with alarm clocks and morning coffee, and hot showers and morning runs and walking the dog and reading the paper, bagels and pop tarts in the toaster oven and the thousands of things that we may do to rouse ourselves in the A.M. No. He wants to make sure that we know what time it is. That we know that it is time to wake from sleep.
So let's dig a little deeper to understand what time Paul is talking about.
By and large time comes in two flavors in the Bible: Chronos, which is the time that our alarm clocks keep and our watches are set to and that all too often rules our lives and Kairos which is "opportune time." Kronos is the time when the door opens for a bit and we can step through it in a new direction. Opportune time. When the pieces have all come together, except we might only see it in hindsight, after the fact, but the Holy Spirit nudges us, encourages us, tells us that now is the time. Now is the time.
When people say that everything happens for a reason I think that sometimes they are confusing a particular understanding of God's will (This happened because God made it happen for some reason know only to God) with Kairos. With Kairos we find ourselves in a situation where the opportunity to act presents itself. Nearly twenty years ago I invested over a year of my life in the U.S. Navy's nuclear power program. I graduated last in my class at the Nuclear Power School that was then here in Orlando. Then six more months at Nuclear prototype training in Windsor, Connecticut where I failed the final oral board twice and got booted out of the program. So watch how Kairos works. Given my walking papers by the nuclear navy, the conventional navy takes me and trains me and sends me to a ship which spends most of its time out at sea which convinces me that that life just wasn't for me. To finish up my time they send us to shore duty on Guam. On Guam there is one Lutheran church without a pastor being led by the laity who were more than welcome to have us help out. I enjoy what I am doing and decide to go to seminary. Everything came together into a moment of Kairos, of opportunity. I chose to go to seminary which is what I believed God desired, but I could have chosen to do something else without ever inquiring of God and spending time in discernment or just not caring what God wanted at all.
Kairos isn't about us as puppets acting out God's grand plans or where everything happens for a reason known only to God so we don't have to worry about it - just go with the flow and God will make all things happen for us and to us. No.
Kairos is about the opportune times that happen in our life in which we can seek God's will in our decision making process or not.
What time is it?
For Paul it is the time for all of us to wake from sleep.
The death and resurrection of Jesus has presented us this moment of Kairos, where we may now conform our lives to his. That's the freedom that grace gives us. Before, the power of sin made it impossible. But now, we have the opportunity to conform our lives to Christ. To seek and know his will and to put it into action in our lives. Now is the time. We are to put on Jesus like we would our own clothes .
And what does Paul offer as what it means to truly put on Christ?
To love one another.
If we are going to act upon this moment of Kairos bought through the death and resurrection of Jesus we must conform ourselves to Christ by loving one another. And let's be honest: to say it and do it ain't the same thing, now is it? Congregations can be these marvelous, wonderful, grace-filled, communities of love and forgiveness and joy embodying the gospel in word and deed and they can be full of judgmental gossipy power-hungry cliques who wouldn't know a word of grace if it bit them. (Not that grace bites people mind you, but you get the idea).
Conforming ourselves to Christ as individuals and as a community of faith by acting in love is our life's work. It is not some chore that we finish and put our feet up and pop open [fill in your favorite beverage here] and relax. It is not for us to be satisfied with who we are - it is for us to wake up every day and put on Christ again and again and again.
The moment of Kairos is here. Now is the time. Now. Today. Always.
This Saturday we need some folks to turn out for our monthly yard day (9AM to noon). The wet weather has produced a fine crop of grass just begging to be mowed. I will make a big batch of chili and throw in some bread for all who lend a hand.
This Sunday we have one service at 10AM. Take some time to look over the worship slip as we have begun to move into the fall and we are looking to see who feels called to serve in the various worship helper opportunities (assisting minister, singer, usher, reader, nursery, altar guild and so forth). Don't assume we know what you want to do - tell us.
Our fall Talent Night is rapidly approaching (SAT SEPT 27th at 7PM) and we need some folks who desire to share their "gifts" or who just want to be entertained. There is also a space to sign up to bring dessert.
And stop by the Pumpkin Patch table and let Kathy Velez and her crew know how you can help - each year the patch provides us with a huge opportunity to meet folks from our surrounding community, tell them about Trinity and raise funds to grow our Christian Education ministries.
Hang out for coffee hour after worship this Sunday and let's catch up!
Next Sunday we move to our fall worship schedule (8AM and 10:45AM) and host our Rally Day (9:30AM). This will be our third year of Intergenerational Sunday school (IGSS) and we are very excited that our emphasis this year will be on Discipleship. Come learn and share what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. IGSS is for all ages. It is for kids and adults, singles and grandparents, couples and families, old and young.
SEVEN FAITH PRACTICES THAT ARE MARKS OF DISCIPLESHIP
Followers of Jesus are inspired to develop practices and patterns for living that characterize a life that is devoted to daily discipleship. Seven common practices have been identified as key to model and nurture.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).
I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together (Psalm 34:1-3).
INVITE OTHERS OFTEN
But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15).
ENCOURAGE (PASS ON THE FAITH)
Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action (1 John 3:18).
SERVE FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS
For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
“...give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back” (Luke 6: 38).
Ever with you in Christ