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

> Mt. Pleasant UMC; Served July 2007 – February 2011

Please visit our website: http://mountpleasantumc.wordpress.com/

// Historical Narrative of Mt. Pleasant Written November 2007

// Historical Narrative of Mt. Pleasant with pictures compiled by Pastor Asher   written April 2010

// History of Turkey Suppers at Mt. Pleasant UMC by Wanda and Earl Keller written in August 2010

 

 

We are touched by the outpouring of love and support from congregations of Mt. Pleasant and Tome Memorial United Methodist churches

On this picture I combined shots of both sides of the Mt. Pleasant billboard.

One side says, “Asher & Debbie. We will miss you! May God Bless and keep you safe”

The other side says, “We were blessed. Thank you Lord for Asher & Debbie”

Thank you for affirming our ministry and loving us…

 

><> +  ><> +  ><> + ><> +  ><> +  ><> +  ><> +  ><> +  ><> +  ><> +  ><> +

 

Notes for my Last Sermon (Farewell Message) preached at Mt. Pleasant UMC 2/27/2011

 

Scripture readings used:
        • Genesis 2: 8-9, 15;
        • Hebrews 12:1-2, 22-24, 28
        • 2 Corinthians 13:11-14
        • Matthew 7:1-2,7-8,15-20, 24-25
You can read these Scriptures here:  NIV  // ESV  // The Message

 

clip_image002[4]_thumb 

This is the last Sunday that Debbie and I will join this community for worship. For the last three years and eight months, Mount Pleasant United Methodist church has been an important part of our lives. As with all journeys, this part of our lives must now come to an end. While goodbyes have a certain element of sadness, let us also remember that every end is the beginning of something new; something new in your lives and something new in Debbie’s and my lives.

 

That being understood, last week I discovered that of ALL the messages that I had the privilege to bring to this community, this one was the most difficult to write. I cannot help but feel that a huge part of my heart and soul will be left behind on Vinegar Hill, while the rest of me is moving on to face the new and different joys and challenges of itinerant ministry.

 

Another factor that made today’s message so difficult to write is the question of what to say? How do I say what needs to be said as we — you and I — the community of Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church face this juncture and transition in our lives? How do I summarize all the thoughts, emotions, hope and sadness as Debbie and I leave this community that we have served and the people that we have come to love so dearly?

clip_image004[4]_thumb

From the moment that Debbie and I saw this sanctuary for the first time in late June 2007, I felt something that I could not explain. Since that time I have come to realize that what I felt was “a great cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1). I am talking about the same “cloud of witnesses” that Paul wrote about in Hebrews 12:1. I am talking about the same “cloud of witnesses” from whom we inherited this community, our traditions, our mission and this church building. I understood that if we took the time to feel and to listen, we could feel their presence and their voices; we could sense their presence in prayer, in worship, in sacraments, in mission, and in our interactions with each other.

clip_image006[4]_thumb

God put those who came before us to “to work … and take care of” (Gen 2:15) this garden that today we call Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church on Vinegar Hill, and God put all of us here today to continue this mission and to carry on that tradition. This is what is important. Going forward our task is to explore new horizons in ministry, to continually reinvent ourselves as a community and to seek new ways to serve God by being God’s partners in ministry and mission!

 

This is truly a Holy Ground; this is truly a consecrated space; this is truly a house of the living God, and I thank God for that. “Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place…” (UMH 328). From those who came before us we received a church that “cannot be shaken” (Heb 12:28) which was built on the solid rock of Christ (Matt 7:24). Part of our mission is to pass that community, that conviction, that tradition, that spirit, and that church to future generations.

clip_image008[4]_thumb

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). This community knows how to seek and how to knock on doors. This community knows how to reinvent itself as the world in which we live changes. This community knows how to reinvent itself as our circumstances change; look at what has happened here in the last four years. This community knows how to discern what God is doing in the world and how to partner with God in mission to the world around us.

 

{Ill: think about Heifer project, think about school boxes, think about the Ray of Hope.}

 

Because of all that, we know that someday in the future we will join those who came before us and we will still be the Church of Jesus Christ, praising and worshiping God in our new bodies in Heaven, working and taking care of God’s Heavenly garden.

 

Each community is different. Each community has its strengths and each community has its own gifts for ministry. Each community bears different fruit of the Spirit.

 

Let us talk about the strengths of this community:

 clip_image018[4]_thumb

  • Relationship with God. “Living God” is not just a phrase to this community. We’ve seen Jesus show up time after time in our midst; we know how it feels to be in God’s presence and we know how to draw strength from God’s presence.

  • Spirit of cooperation. THIS {} IS {} HUGE. As a church we are willing to be gracious and loving because we have experienced God’s grace and love in our own lives. This helps us to appreciate each other’s gifts and talents, and that makes it easy for this community to work together to accomplish our goals. This congregation is willing to put {“} “me” aside and to think of {“} “we” and “us.”

  • Willingness to be adaptable, flexible and patient in seeking God’s will and listening to his direction. THIS {} IS {} ALSO {} HUGE. When we are with God, all things are possible.

  • Vision. You heard me right. This community has a vision. It may not be written on a piece of paper, but I’ve heard this vision verbalized time and time again in meetings and in conversations. As I get ready to leave, I want to encourage you to get together a few times and verbalize it so that you can write it down. Memorize it, unite behind it, get energized by that vision and you will move mountains. Hint: vision should not be longer than 20-25 words. Another hint: it is verbalized in this message.

  • Unity, liberty and charity. Founder of Methodism, John Wesley is often quoted as saying “In essential, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

    This community is united in the essentials of our faith; I saw you being respectful of each other’s opinions and we know a thing or two about charity. That unity, liberty and charity helps us to keep first things first and bear plentiful fruit (Matt 7:18) of the Spirit as we serve God and the world in which we live. I hope that this will never change.

clip_image020[4]_thumb

The Community of Mt. Pleasant United Methodist church is a community of followers of Jesus who are willing to take risks, roll up their sleeves and step out on faith so that we can be God’s hands and tools in the world in which we live.

The community of Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church is a church that God rules not only in Heaven but also here on earth. The community of Mt. Pleasant United Methodist church is a church that is on earth as it is in heaven. The community of Mt. Pleasant United Methodist church is a church that is making disciples for Jesus who are willing to take risks, roll up their sleeves and step out on faith while we are here on earth.

clip_image021[4]_thumb

In conclusion, Debbie and I want to thank you for accepting us and loving us and for all we learned from you. We saw God in your eyes and God’s grace in your lives. Thank you for your love and for your prayers when we had our surgeries. Thank you for teaching me how to pronounce the “TH” sound. Cooked turkeys will never look the same to me and no one will ever make a sub like our youth group. We will always cherish our memories of you and our time together.

 

We accepted your love, and you accepted ours, and now we trust that our time together and our parting are in God’s will. We trust that God calls us to a different mission and we trust that God calls you as well. It is time for all of us to step out on faith and trust that someday it will all become clear. We trust that it is time for you to stop turning to me for pastoral leadership, and to welcome your new pastor into your midst. Pray for Pastor Will, pray for his wife Deborah, and continue to serve God here on earth, as you will eventually serve God in Heaven. Be God’s voice, be God’s hands, may God be your conscience as God lives in your hearts.

 

Thank you for being part of our lives and allowing us to be a part of yours.

clip_image023[4]_thumb {Q & A}

%d bloggers like this: