Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for Sunday Message; Heritage Sunday at Christ United Methodist Church

Scriptures for this Sunday: Gen 28:16-19; Gal 5:22-23; Col 3:11-15

You can read these Scriptures here: NIV2010CEB  /  The Message

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Today we gather together to celebrate our journey and our rich history. Our community has set aside today to look back on our journey so far, to take stock of where we are now and to dream about the future. Today is about our hopes and dreams.

Welcome to our visitors, welcome to the friends we have not seen for a while. Welcome to all the members who faithfully gather to worship God in this community and within the walls of this building.

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Every journey has milestones to celebrate, sights to see, memories to reminisce about, and unfortunately, losses to grieve.

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As we look at the images and reflect on stories from the past we learn the history of our church, and we come to appreciate the dedication, perseverance and faith of those who came before us. Some of our ancestors planted seeds of faith, some watered the soil and nurtured seedlings, but it was God who made this church grow because of their faithfulness and dedication.

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In the letter to Corinthians Paul wrote

4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?

5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. It is our turn now to plant seeds, to water them and provide an environment where God can make our church continue to thrive. (1 Cor 3:4-9 ESV)

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It is that simple and it is that complicated. Notice I did not say that it is that easy.

Last week we learned about a struggle in the Galatian church, where a group of people that we call today Judaizers made the decision that in order to follow Jesus one had to first become an observant Jew. In hindsight we know that they were wrong because God had other plans. When they did not know what to do, when they did not know how to respond to the changing world, they gravitated back to what they knew and what was comfortable for them.

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Just like the church in Galatia, we are facing our share of difficulties and differences of opinion. These difficulties present us with opportunities to listen to God and to seek out new and different ways of living out our faith and devotion to God in concrete and tangible ways. I have no doubt that by working together we will figure it out and that we will find our path forward. In the words of James, brother of Jesus and the head of Jerusalem church after Jesus’ resurrection, it is our opportunity to show our faith by our deeds, by the way we interact with our neighbors and with each other.

{Illustration: Love = sum of joy, peace, forbearance/tolerance and understanding, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control}

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Prophet Micah said it best when he said,

Micah 6:8 (The Message): But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.

It’s quite simple:

Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,

be compassionate and loyal in your love,

And don’t take yourself too seriously—

                        take God seriously.

When we do that our neighbors have a chance to see our witness and to hear our stories, to see the fruits of our relationship with God and hopefully recognize the joy of knowing God. That is how churches give their testimony and give hope to those around them. That is how churches serve God by serving the world around them and making disciples for Jesus Christ.

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In the letter that our Bishop Peggy Johnson sent to our church congratulating our community on reaching this milestone in our history, on living long enough to celebrate another birthday she wrote:

“Keep up the good work of ministry and mission in your church by constantly moving as the Spirit directs you to new kind of ministries, reaching new people, more diverse people and younger people. Continue to move into a deeper walk with Christ as you worship together and seek the scriptures. Move on as partners with the other churches in the Peninsula-Delaware Conference as you help to fulfill our goals and missions as well.”

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Every generation of Christians builds on the accomplishments of the previous generation. With every new generation, our community looks like the sapling of a tree that has sprouted from seeds planted and nurtured by the previous generation. My hope and prayer is that OUR SAPLING, will grow into a mighty tree, that will serve the community of Kent County for years to come.

On a day like today, there does not need to be much of a sermon. Our story becomes the sermon; the way we live, the way we understand the presence of the Holy Spirit in our community becomes the sermon.

My hope and prayer is that our message is like beautiful music in the ears of our God and like a pleasant aroma in God’s temple.

Soli Deo Gloria — To God be the glory!

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