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 Sermon; 14 September 2014; Ephesians 4:7-8, 11-16
14 September 2014
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This Sunday (9/14/2014) we will continue with the series about commitment. We will talk about what it means to be an integral part of something that is inherently bigger then the sum of all of us. The local church is bigger then the sum of its members and constituents because of the synergy that builds up when we roll up our sleeves and join each other in mission.
Scriptures for this Sunday are: Ephesians 4:7-8, 11-16,
You can read these Scriptures here: NIV2010 and CEB
Hymns for this Sunday:
UMH 699 – Come, and Let us Sweetly Join
UMH 368 – My Hope is Built verses 1 & 4
UMH 555 – Forward Through the Ages
Today we will continue with the sermon series about commitment. Our personal commitment to God is what keeps us connected to each other. God is the common denominator in this relationship. Our commitment to God is what translates into action: our common Christian mission, evangelism and outreach. Our commitment to God is what translates into what we believe to be right, true and beautiful. Our understanding of and our commitment to God translates into our interactions with the world around us, i.e making disciples, volunteering, voting, recycling, what we do and do not do. That is why, as we try to figure out what our church will become in the future and how we will continue making disciples for Jesus for the transformation of the world, I would like to take time today to talk about membership.
The word “membership” most often refers to a group of people. We could say that “the membership of a church was invited to vote on something.” Membership is a group of individuals associated by some common bond and regarded as one entity: “the student body” or “administrative body” or “People of Kent County,” or “Worton United Methodist Church.”
The word “membership” also refers to the relationship that individual members have to a larger group of people. We could say that some of us have a membership in Worton United Methodist Church, some of us are graduates from the Kent County High School, and some of us have a membership in a gym.
Having a membership implies having a mutual connection and a relationship between individual members. That being understood, not every membership is created equal. For me personally my emotional investment into my membership in a gym is much-much less than my emotional investment into my membership in the United Methodist Church.
That being understood, membership implies commitment of some sort. All of you can pinpoint the day when you made a commitment to be a part of this church. It may have been a decision that you made during confirmation, or it may have been a day when you walked into this building and experienced the presence and healing touch of the Holy Spirit.
When we combine all of our stories – the stories of God’s presence in our lives – we weave a beautiful tapestry of our shared Christian experience. This tapestry tells the story of hope, resilience, love, compassion, emotional growth, and community that is bigger than the sum of us. This tapestry tells the story of staying in love with God and living our lives in such a way that our love and commitment to God is self-evident. I do not know how it happened, but somehow our story of God’s love and grace has become the story of “we do not have enough money to meet our expenses.”
Our neighbors are hungry for meaningful relationships; people satisfy this hunger by having virtual friends on facebook™. On the other hand, when we talk about the necessity of raising money to meet our bills, we do not offer them meaningful relationships. Our task is to recover our stories of God’s grace and presence, our task is to find a way to tell our stories so that our neighbors can imagine themselves among us, and they will find it compelling to turn off their TVs and put down their facebook™, and start discovering and sharing the stories of God in their own lives with people whose presence they can feel.
Two weeks ago we talked about vision and what our vision for this church is. Vision and commitment go hand in hand because commitment manifests itself in what we do and what we need to do to make sure that our church will continue to be the salt of the earth and the city on a hill that we are called to be.