Archive for May, 2010

ESSENTIALS

May 18, 2010

During June, I plan to teach on the Essentials of the Christian Faith. John Wesley once said that Methodists agree to the essentials and avoid splitting hairs about the mundane or non-essentials. On May 30, I will begin with Who is God? Why do we call God by three names? (Father, Son and HOly Spirit). Then on June 6, the essential is How does Scripture Guide Our Faith? On June 13, the message is on The Way of Salvation and then on June 20, the message looks at The Essential Task of Witness and Work. Then we will conclude on June 27 with the topic of The Gift of Being the Church. For me, these are the essential topics for living a life of faith centered in Jesus Christ.

What we believe and practice determines who we really are. Someone once asked me how I became the person I am. I responded that I became a fisherman because my dad and my grandfathers fished and they passed it on. I became a musician because I grew up on the organ bench next to my mom, the church organist. I became a Methodist because that was the denomination where I worshipped, studied and was called to serve. I became a follower of Jesus because the Word of God convicted me and I wanted to walk with this God who loved me unconditionally. I became a pastor because I believed that God was calling me to preach His good news and lead the church in ministry to all people. WHAT WE BELIEVE DETERMINES THE LIFE WE LIVE! If we believe in God’s wrath and judgment, we live in a holy and respective fear that influences our choices. When we believe in the power of love, we want to share our love with the broken, the least and the wayward. When we believe that God loves us and calls us by name, then we live as people of hope and faith, convinced we were born for a divine purpose. Yes, what we believe is ESSENTIAL!

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Relevance

May 2, 2010

People in today’s culture choose a church based on relevance. What is a relevant topic? Forgiveness, faith in troubled times, Christian basics, family issues, God’s will? Relevance is determined by what we are delaing with and what we are needing in our life. Relevance for teens and twenty year olds is influenced by packaging – does it look interesting and does it have buzz? Relevance for older people has to do with hope and stability- will this message carry me through my illness, my impending retirement, or the loss of my spouse?

This week I plan to spend 48 hours praying over and planning for future sermon series. When God called me to preach the Word, I knew God wanted me to preach messages that spoke to Monday morning and not just Sunday at 11:00 a.m. So, let me know what would be relevant to your life. What do you want to hear me teach about? What would be relevant and speak to your questions, needs and struggles?

I count it a joy and privilege to guide the spiritual growth of this congregation. Pray for me as I wrestle with which scriptures and topics the Lord would call me to teach at this church. Preaching is a burden, a joy, a responsibility and an overwhelming experience. May God and this congregation find me faithful in proclaiming the mysteries and wonder of God’s grace and goodness for all people. You are loved,

Richard