Greetings in Christ!
Last Sunday’s sermon explored how the Holy Spirit comes to make us storytellers, to make each of us witnesses that tell others about God’s work in our lives and in the world. If you missed it or want to hear that again, it’s available on our website.
Isaiah received a similar commission in a vision. So overcome with the gravity of this call, he cried out, “Mourn for me; I'm ruined! I'm a man with unclean lips, and I live among a people with unclean lips. Yet I've seen the king, the LORD Almighty!” In the midst of his dream, an angel, one of God’s messengers, came to him and touched his lips with a burning coal. Yikes!
This burning coal reflects images of purification. Much like the process of separating precious metals from rock requires massive amounts of heat, so the process of preparing us to tell God’s story requires preparation and purification. Of course, we also remember that on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came in tongues of fire upon the entire church. Soon after, they spoke languages of the world as they shared the story of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.
When the Holy Spirit dwells within us, when that tongue of fire takes up residence in our bodies, a constant burning coal remains at work preparing and purifying us for the work of sharing the Gospel. Though we must take this call seriously, we need not fear our uncleanliness, for God chose each of us for this task. God gave us each stories to tell, and more so, prepared us through the Holy Spirit to share those stories faithfully.
This week, share a God story, one of those stories where God is an actor, where you must name God as an active part of your daily life. Share that story with someone you care about, who might need to hear it, who God might bless through that story.
Greetings in Christ!
I recently read an article with the eye-catching title, “We Will No Longer Be a Welcoming Church.” You might think the author, Rob Moss, is just kidding. He’s not. You see, Welcoming Churches do a lot of stuff in the church building in the hopes that, when new people attend, they’ll feel welcome. There’s nothing wrong with that, but here’s the kicker: welcoming churches stop there.
Rather, Moss instead sets for a path of becoming an Inviting Church. These communities work not only on creating a hospitable space or an accessible worship opportunity or friendly parishioners, but on inviting people to participate in that kind of life together. Inviting Churches intentionally leave the building in order to carry the Gospel to people who might not otherwise enter the sanctuary. To become an Inviting Church means an intentional shift toward active evangelism, active sharing of the Gospel, and active sharing of the gifts God’s given to us.
Recently, we had three new worshippers attend CLC. All of them were invited, the first by a member, and the other two through that first person. While they were here, I think they found a welcoming place and hospitable people, but they got here in the first place because of an invitation. That’s exciting! Invitations like this help us connect with people that our congregation may bless, and people that may bless our congregation by their presence.
So, this Sunday, we’ll once again hand out witness cards as an opportunity to become an even more inviting church. In the spirit of Pentecost, we’ll pray for God to transform us, to change our languages so that we might speak the Gospel to new people, and to widen the community of the church everywhere, as well as in this very place.
If you would like to read more about the article I referenced it can be found here: https://daelcarev.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/we-will-no-longer-be-a-welcoming-church/
Greetings in Christ!
What’s the purpose of the church? Our identity? Our mission? Jesus gives us a hint in the final chapter of Matthew’s Gospel account: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” For simplicity’s sake, we can use just two words for this whole sentence. Make disciples. That’s our mission as God’s people, as the Body of Christ in the world.
The process of discipleship is complex. Disciples mean to become more like their teacher, and so we seek to become more like Christ. As a church that seeks to make disciples, part of what we must seek is the gifts that we have that reflect the goodness of God to the world. Many of us know what we’re good at, but we may not know how that relates to God’s goodness or God’s mission in the world.
What I’d love to hear from each of you in the coming weeks is a gift or a passion that you have, whether an innate talent, a learned ability, or even just a hobby that you’ve developed. Then, with the rest of the church, we can discern together how those gifts might help us grow as Christ’s disciples, as well as how we may use those gifts to help others grow as disciples of Jesus.
As you go throughout your week, consider your gifts and passions. Give thanks for those things, and consider how you might use them (or how you’re already using them) to glorify God.
Devotional & News
Here's where you'll find weekly updates and devotional material from within our community.