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I Am A Church Member

Lent begins on February 14th, Ash Wednesday, and runs through Easter Sunday, April 1st. No intentional plan with the secular calendar can be responsible for this year’s Christian Calendar. Ash Wednesday, the day we mark our humanity and need for spiritual practices in holy living, coincides with Valentine’s Day. This typical secular day of romantic love notes and chocolates should well be overshadowed by the love the Father has offered creation in sending the gift of Jesus Christ. The resurrection of Jesus is no fool’s day surprise on April 1st.

We started this year with the stewardship theme of “I’m In.” This commitment to partner in the work of the church is central to the vitality of spreading the message of the gospel and offering folks a community of redemptive love. The Lenten small group study and sermon series will help us better apply our promise and strengthen the “I’m In” vision.

I Am a Church Member discusses the attitudes and responsibilities of church members. Author Tom Rainer addresses in detail what congregations should really be focusing on — praying for church leaders, being a functioning member, treasuring church membership, and more.

Six chapters will help to guide the discussions and reflections: 

  1. I Will Be a Unifying Church     Member
  2. I Will Not Let the Church Be About My Preferences and Desires
  3. I Will Pray for My Church Leaders
  4. I Will Lead My Family to Be Healthy Church Members
  5. I Will Be a Functioning Member
  6. I Will Treasure Church Membership as a Gift

 Participate in the worship services starting February 18th. Join a small group or contact Pastor Kathleen to launch a group that fits your schedule and needs.

“Following Jesus involves far more than believing; it involves BELONGING. Only as we belong to Christ’s Body can we become what He intends us to be. In fact, it is impossible to grow to spiritual maturity by yourself. You must be connected to the other parts of the Body. This wonderful little book explains the power of belonging...”—Rick Warren, Pastor, Saddleback Church 

 Copies of the book are available at the Connect Desk in the Atrium or from your favorite online book retailer.

Posted by David Brown with

Offer Them Christ

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John Wesley deployed pastors and lay ministers to the New World with a simple agenda – “Offer them Christ.” This mandate has not changed in over 200 years of United Methodist heritage. We are to claim our role to offer all people the redemptive relationship of Jesus Christ. I must admit, it is easier to invite people to sit with you in a nice music concert, or call in a name on a prayer chain, or send a monetary contribution to your favorite charity like the United Methodist Committee on Relief, but the fundamental work of every follower of Jesus Christ is the same as Wesley’s instruction – Offer them Christ!

How do we offer Christ to others? There is not a fancy system, or a specialized program. It is the hard work of turning our lives over to the work of the Holy Spirit and seeking who God needs us to know and love for Christ’s sake. We can say that all our friends are going to church, or our family are pretty good folks but this is not enough. Christ did not come to save the few and the proud. Small select groups were not the intention of the cross of Christ. God is clearly in business of offering salvation to all in the world. The cross of Christ is too high a price to pay for five or ten of our closest friends.

 How can we claim to know the forgiveness of Jesus and not want everyone to have that same joy and blessing? That’s what numbers were all about for the early United Methodists. They wanted to keep track of who they were sharing the love of Christ and the results of that work. It is not enough to keep watch over the “frozen chosen” as the church has been called and statistical journals appear. We need to break this winter of pain and isolation for those that God has placed around us and offer them Christ.

 The early class meetings raised questions like: How many folks did you pray for today? How many prayers were answered? When did you fail to represent Christ today in your conversation at home or work? How many did you lead to accept baptism? Where did you spend your resources? How much time have you spent studying and sharing the Scriptures?

The work of offering Christ is not left to committees, pastors or program staff. It is the business of all followers of Christ. God did not offer the Son so that we can be satisfied with an average or a select few. He died and rose again that all might come to the saving knowledge of grace. I pray that Armstrong Chapel and all who follow Christ will take the charge of the foundation of our faith – offer them Christ!

Posted by David Brown with

O Jesus, I Have Promised

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