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’s Message; November 13, 2016; Stewardship Sunday @ Kingswood United Methodist Church

Scripture for this Sunday: Ephesians 3:1-10

You can read these Scriptures here: {NIV2010 and ESV}

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We are coming out of most divisive presidential campaign in most of our memories. All of us are affected by what happened on Election Day. Whether your candidate won or lost, whether you are screaming “yippee” or contemplating a move to Canada, on the whole our county at present behaves divided, polarized, uncivil, distrustful, bi-partisan, angry, and frustrated.

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We’ve been in this place before. In 1 Corinthians 11 verse 18 Paul wrote, “18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you…”

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The truth is that I cannot say anything or do anything that will magically make it all better and to heal all the hurts. I will not stand before you claiming that God’s peace is in the land when so many of our neighbors, sisters and brothers are in pain (Ezekiel 13:10-11).

NIV2010 Ezekiel 13: 10 Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, 11 therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall.

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With all that, I can honestly say that as a church that serves the Resurrected Jesus Christ, it is important to remember that Jesus did not call us to be Republicans or Democrats. Likewise, we are not called to make Republicans any more than we are called to make Democrats. We ARE called to be united in the love of God (1 Cor 13:13, Mark 12:31) and to make disciples and followers for Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20) for the transformation of the world. We follow and learn from the Resurrected Savior who sent His Holy Spirit to help us to bridge the divisiveness, polarization, incivility, distrustfulness, and bi-partisanship that our country has been thrown into during this election cycle.

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Whether you like President-Elect Trump or not, this controversial and bitterly divisive presidential campaign is over and it is time to start looking forward. It is time to put our differences aside and come together for mutual spiritual support and prayer for the future of our nation and our communities. As a church we will continue to offer prayers for the offices of the President and Vice-President of the United States of America, other world leaders and our local elected officials.

Mrs. Clinton will not come to our community and teach lessons in ethics to our young, and President-Elect Trump will not join our community and teach our young how to respect each other. These tasks will fall on our shoulders. The President-Elect will move into the White House with all due pomp and circumstance; Mrs. Clinton will take her jet to their house in the posh suburbs of New York. Both candidates were wealthy before the election; both candidates will still be wealthy long after the election dust settles. Both presidential candidates are so far removed from our economic circumstances that they have no idea of what most people have to do in order to make ends meet. We, on the other hand, have to live and coexist in our local communities. We knew each other long before the election cycle started and we will have to find a way to live together now that this election cycle is over.

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My hope and prayer is that we find a way to respectfully and thoughtfully put our differences aside and come back together as a community of sisters and brothers who put their trust not in politicians but in the Love and Grace of Jesus.

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To paraphrase Pauls’ sentiment in Galatians 3:28, my hope and prayer for the community of our church, Kingswood United Methodist Church, is that we will continue to be the church where “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, [NEITHER BLUE NOR RED,] nor is there male and female, …” for we are ALL God’s children serving God by serving the world in which we live.

Today is nothing like yesterday. Our lives are very different from what they were even 25 years ago. Tomorrow will not be like today, and certainly will be nothing like yesterday. Time is marching on, things change.

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Since today is Stewardship Sunday, I will say a few things about Christian Stewardship in our community and the world that we are entrusted with. We tend to truncate what stewardship is by equating it with money.

In Ephesians 3:10 we heard, “[God’s] intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known … .” Stewardship is a part of the process, one of the ways to grow in our faith and in our personal relationship with God.

Stewardship is about our courage to adapt to changing times, while keeping the core of who we are rooted in God. One of the facets of stewardship in the context of the church is fundraising to keep the community going so there is a place where people can learn about Jesus and grow in their faith in 60 or even 100 years in this corner of Brookside.

Stewardship is about open hearts, open minds and open doors on one hand and respect and collaboration on the other. Fundraising does not build anyone’s personal relationship with our Risen Savior; stewardship does. We are stewards of our lives, the place that we call home [planet earth, this neighborhood, our country], the Gospel, each other’s well-being.

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