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; Ephesians 2:1-10

On January 18 at 8:45 am, we will gather for our regular Sunday worship in Worton United Methodist Church.

Scriptures for Sunday worship at Worton are: Ephesians 2:1-10. You can read these Scriptures here: {CLICK ME}

Hymns for Worton UMC are:

UMH 451 – Be Thou My Vision

UMH 57 – O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing (verse 15, printed on page 58)

UMH 111 – How Can We Name a Love

On January 18 at 10 am, Ms. Boe Harris-Nakakakena, (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) and Ms. Ragghi Rain Calentine (Eastern Cherokee descent) Representatives from Pen-Del Commission on Native American Ministries will do a special presentation during the worship at Christ United Methodist Church. The two cultural educators promote, social justice, health, cultural awareness, and inclusiveness through traditional music, storytelling, and dance.

Ms. Boe Harris-Nakakakena is a Northern Traditional and Jingle Dress dancer who plays Native American flute. She has performed throughout the country, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and at numerous NATO military bases throughout Europe.  “As a granddaughter of strong Indian women, my heart and spirit know no other journey than to follow the traditions that flowed through the souls, spirits, and lives of those women who walked before me” (Harris-Nakakakena).

Ms. Ragghi Rain Calentine is a gifted storyteller who teach and inspire “people who are on the edge of life, including those in prison, children in crisis, and others.” Her work is aimed at helping individuals break the cycle of unhealthy decision-making that puts them and their families at risk.

Both ladies are actively engaged in community development with the Nanticoke Indian Association of Southern Delaware and travel throughout the country providing workshops, training, and retreats.

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD AND INVITE 1,000 of your closest friends and relatives to this event.  YOU WILL BE BLESSED by the ministry of Boe and Ragghi.

On a personal note I want to add that Boe and Ragghi were my mentors and taught several educational events on my spiritual journey and I will always be grateful for their ministry and mentoring.

Apprioximate Notes for the Message at WUMC

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A masterpiece is a work of art that communicates the artist’s personal experience and understanding across generations, cultures and times. What separates a masterpiece from an “ordinary” work of art, what makes it stand out is its ability to expand our minds and help us to experience the presence of the Holy around us and in our own lives. Nobody starts out to create a “Masterpiece.” Something is created, and its ability to make us transcend ourselves, to give us a glimpse of a larger truth, to see beyond ourselves, makes it a masterpiece.

I have been blessed to see quite a few works of art that are considered to be masterpieces. As a young man I was always surprised how ordinary and unremarkable these works of art seem to be at first glance. While reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy I was never conscious that I was reading a masterpiece. While looking at the Pieta by Michelangelo the thought never crossed my mind that I was looking at a masterpiece; I simply saw a moment in the life of a young woman holding her son who was tragically killed, and I was moved by that experience. What makes Mona Lisa (remember her smile?) by Leonardo da Vinci a masterpiece is her seemingly reflective peace and calm, as if she is saying to us that there are forces of nature and then there is God (“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10). As I grow older, I begin to wonder whether there is such a thing as an “ordinary” work of art – I am beginning to see most, if not all, things as God’s “Masterpieces.”

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That brings me to us – you and I. When I look in the mirror, I do not see a masterpiece. The reason I do not see a masterpiece is because I know every one of my deepest thoughts and inclinations and I know that I am a fallen human being. In Romans 3:10, Paul wrote, “There is no one righteous, not even one….” I can relate to that because I know how much “baggage” I acquired during my life time.

{Illustration from the personal practice of ministry}

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So how do I reconcile the idea that I – and every one of you – are God’s masterpiece (Eph 2:10) while recognizing how much baggage all of us carry?

When we see ourselves in the mirror we are looking at ourselves through our human eyes. When God looks at us, God sees possibilities and potential. God’s hope for each one of us is that we will strive to be the best we can be, the best version of what God created, and is still creating/molding (UMH 883), us to be, and that we make the choice to be in a relationship with God.

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Each of us is created to be God’s masterpiece. God created us in God’s own image with the ability to love, feel, appreciate beauty and experience emotions. Like any work of art that is in the process of being created, we are pliable in God’s hands. Our job is to allow God to mold us into the best version of what God has created, and is creating, us to be (UMH 883).

God has a vision for each of our lives. While we are not puppets or marionettes in his hands, we are called to serve our Creator by serving the world in which we live. Through our life’s experiences, God is shaping and preparing us for God’s service.

God has a vision for our church. We are not a building that is used a few hours every week; we are a community that can dream, hope, and work towards common goals and help each other to be the best of what God created us to be. I think that one of the challenges we face is that our hopes and dreams are not as vivid as our memories.

Each of us IS a unique and wondrous creation, a “Masterpiece” of God who loves us. Each of our churches is a unique and wondrous creation, a “Masterpiece” of God who has been with us. We do not need to compare our individual accomplishments with those of our friends and neighbors. Instead, we need to listen for God’s guidance on our lives.

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“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).   —   When we are with God, all things are possible.

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