Monday, October 27, 2008

Staying In Love With God

"As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love" (John 15.9).

Jesus said that "they will know you are Christians by your love." At the end of the day it is love that defines who we are. As we search the Scriptures it is impossible to ignore commandments, laws, traditions, expectations, and customs; how could we possibly meet them all? The original Disciples had the same question. Jesus answered, "love your God with all your heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. All the other commandments are wrapped up into this." John Wesley also struggled with these expectations and he demamnded evidence of salvation. When he looked within himself and around his community he became discouraged at what he saw. His solution and comfort came by remembering the words of Christ and lifted them up by developing and implementing three simple rules for his general societies. He believed one could evidence their salvation first by doing no harm, then by doing good and thirdly by staying in love with God. It was the third rule which could be lived out by participating in the ordinances of God such as public worship, hearing the Word read or expounded, partaking of the Lord's Supper, family prayer, and searching the Scriptures. It is within this third rule that the possibility of doing no harm and doing good becomes a reality. Let us all be challenged to go forth and fall in love all over again and to remain strong by staying in Love with God.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Harvest Celebration

“The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it” (Gen 2.15).

Sounds like God thinks highly and gives a prominent Biblical place to farming. As it turns out we think highly of agriculture too. On Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 11:45, we will be celebrating the harvest and having a tribute to farming. Because of time limitations we will not be meeting before the service, but I will gladly take suggestions here in the blog, by email, or at church. In addition, we will use some of the ideas from the previous meetings that we had for the Sept celebration.

As of this date, Megan and Priscilla will be giving a message using pumpkin carving as an illustration that will be interactive and fun for all ages. We will sing contemporary music in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. It would be great to have a few decorations that celebrate farming and the harvest.

As everyone knows, the local food bank is in desperate need. We will be taking a food offering during this service. We will try to fill a wheelbarrow or wagon with food. Please spread the word.

Thanks for your prayers and your input.

God Bless.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

High Expectations

When Jesus called Levi, the tax collector, the Bible says, “he got up, left everything, and followed him” (Luke 5:28). It would seem from the Biblical record that if people are not willing to drop everything in the beginning, then when it is all said and done, the likelihood of dropping anything is slim. Maybe that is one of the most difficult obstacles of discipleship; the willingness to leave it all behind and follow a new Way.
It is true that sometimes we don’t want to hear that anything is required of us, but other times it is exactly what we need to hear. Anytime we are asked to “join” an organization or team, we want to know what is required of our time and us. It has become common for recruiters to give say what they think people want to hear, “oh not much, just show up when you can.” But not so fast my friend.
Just maybe people are more like Levi than we give them credit. Just maybe church participation is down because people want more than to just “show up,” or maybe people want not just expectations, but high expectations; maybe when they ask, “what will be required of me?” The answer should be, “everything.” If we want to faithfully invite people to follow Christ, then we need to show them that much will be required. The expectation won’t be to show up on Sunday mornings, but to actually allow the Gospel to transform their lives even when that means leaving it all behind and following Him.