SpiritStirrer

sojourner, hearer, & follower of Jesus

Tag: Sunday

Why #givegrace?

© All rights reserved by mollie | corbett | photography

© All rights reserved by mollie | corbett | photography

This past Sunday we gathered as a community to eat together and to hear about how our financial resources continue to allow us to live into God’s call for our life together as a congregation. Some of us met each other for this first time — over half of attendees at the meal have been with us twelve months or less — others were able to finally catch up with friends and neighbors.

We have much to celebrate. Our children and youth ministry continue to grow and each weekend we have many guests that are looking for a place to call home. Those that are new to our community speak to our welcoming atmosphere as a primary reason why they choose to return. Our new people describe our congregation as loving, kind, and filled with energy. Wherever I go in Shreveport folks tell me that they have heard great things about our church.

We are blessed in so many ways!!

As I walked away from our time together on Sunday afternoon I began to wonder about the impact that our congregation has had, is having, and will have in the future. I began to wonder about the stories that illustrate our impact, that tell of the many ways that we are encountering God in this place and of the ways that this place is helping each of us see God in places unexpected.

I want us to #givegrace in 2017 because we have received it!
I want us to #givegrace in 2017 because we cannot help but respond in generosity!
I want us to #givegrace in 2017 because we know that our congregation is needed in this city and beyond!
I want us to #givegrace in 2017 because there are so many children, youth, and adults experiencing God’s unconditional love!
I want us to #givegrace in 2017 because we are finding healing from our addictions, freedom from the things that keep us bound, and redemption into new life, abundance, and joy!
I want us to #givegrace in 2017 because we are a unique community called by God to provide a place for ALL people!
I want us to #givegrace in 2017 because everywhere I go I meet people who have disconnected from the church and are looking for a place where they can be who God has called them to be!
I want us to #givegrace in 2017 because our identity is rooted in service of neighbor, especially those who would be easily forgotten, who have been ignored!
I want us to #givegrace in 2017 because we have been called to be a diverse community that reflects God’s love for ALL people, no matter our story!
I want us to #givegrace in 2017 because we are a community willing to live in the tension of unanswered questions and the messiness of life stories!
I want us to #givegrace in 2017 because we believe God is found in unexpected places!
I want us to #givegrace in 2017 because our only requirement to come to the table is to be hungry for Jesus!
I want us to #givegrace in 2017 because we know that being a follower of Jesus is more than just showing up at church or talking about Jesus, it’s about loving ALL and growing in that love!
I want us to #givegrace in 2017 because only together we can live into our call to welcome, love, and serve!

I am so thankful and honored to be one of your many leaders. Leading in this season towards a fruitful and life-giving future is challenging but extremely rewarding. Leading in this season inspires me because our unique community is sorely needed.

So why will you #givegrace in 2017? Tell me in the comments here on the blog or in the Facebook comments. I cannot wait to read of all the ways that inspire you to make our 2017 ministry possible!

The Promise of Pentecost

When we gather for Pentecost Sunday we gather to celebrate the coming of the Spirit. Some call it the birthday of the church. On that day the scared, weary, and timid believers became bold, strong, and vocal about the story of Jesus. On that day they received the promise that Jesus had made to “be with us always.”

Two thousand years later we still celebrate this important event in the life of the Christian church. We dress the church in red and remember the coming of the Spirit with tongues of fire, in wind, in the baptized people. We gather around the Lord’s Table and are reminded that time after time at that table we ask for God’s Spirit to be out poured on us so that we can be the body of Christ for the world.

There has been much talk in United Methodist circles about the death of the church. Charts have been drawn, reports have been written, recommendations have been made. The situation at first glance does not look good. Many in the church today are scared, weary and timid. Can we find life again? How can we be fruitful again? Where is life in the midst of this decline?

In our world we have seen the aftermaths of natural disasters and the continued prize of wars being fought. We turn on the television, look at the news on the Internet and see the condition of people around us and wonder what we can do? We ask ourselves if our faith has anything to say? Does our message resonate? Once again we are made silent by mounting struggles in our world today.

Maybe we in the church today are not so different from those disciples in that upper room. We too have walked with Jesus and have been witnesses to the power of God’s kingdom in people’s lives. We too have been sent to be proclaimers of the message of God’s love. We too have gathered around a table and heard the message of Jesus to do what he did, to love the way he loved. Yet, in spite of all that we have witnessed, we are left wondering what to do next in a changing and complex world.

Enter Pentecost with its promise of new life. Maybe we should call on God’s people to gather in prayer and supplication on that day. To ask for the promise, to plead for God’s promised Spirit to come down upon us and give us passion again, make us strong, to give us boldness. Let’s call the church to take seriously the call that we give the Spirit Sunday after Sunday when we gather around the great table and give thanks. The call that the bread that we break and the wine that we pour becomes for us spiritual food, the sanctifying presence of God for the life of the world.

May this Pentecost Sunday be a turning point in the life of our church. Let us be given ears to hear in the languages spoken in the world today, let us see tongues of fire on our brothers and sisters as sign and symbol that in spite of our differences we are one. Most of all may we not fear any longer, nor panic, nor hide, instead let us move with boldness into the unknown, into the surprise that is God.

Come Holy Spirit, Come Holy Spirit!

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This post originally appeared June 8, 2011 on the Spanish Portal of umc.org under the title “La Promesa de Pentecostés

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