Offertory Prayer

Each month's Offertory Prayers includes an "Invitation to the Offering" (see below) along with a digital image for those who might want to use it. We hope you will find this a helpful way to remind the people in your pews that their offering travels to many places to make a powerful difference in the lives of people they may never meet. You can find great stories of the difference our giving makes at http://umcgiving.org.

Invitation to the Offering

Your offering last week empowered ministry within our congregation and in response to the needs of our community. It also helped support the work of ministries beyond the local church, such as the support we give to maintaining a connection with 100 United Methodist-related Colleges and 13 United Methodist Seminaries. Some of these colleges are large, well know institutions such as Duke, Boston University, Southern Methodist University (SMU), Syracuse University, American University in Washington DC and Emory University in Atlanta. Others, while not as large, are highly respected and have long lists of distinguished alumnae. Whether large or small, they all bear the Methodist DNA to this day, living out United Methodist compassion. We saw this last year when it was Emory University that became the center for Ebola treatment in the U.S. working to save those infected and finding new ways to stop the spread of this devastating disease. These kind of cooperative efforts across our connection, thanks to the way the people of The United Methodist Church live and give connectionally. I invite you to give generously as we worship God through sharing our gifts, tithes and offerings.

Learn more about the colleges, universities and theological schools of the UMC: http://www.umc.org/directory/schools-seminaries

July 5, 2015 – Sixth Sunday after Pentecost / in Kingdomtide
O Lord our God, our talents and gifts are so insufficient to our challenges. We rejoice that your grace is sufficient for us and for the body of Christ, the church. You reveal that power is made perfect in weakness. Help us to receive this truth. When we face hardships, persecution and difficulties for your sake, may we trust that you are at work to help us and the world. Use these offerings to strengthen our witness as disciples of Jesus Christ, for we pray in his name. Amen. (2 Cor 12:2-10)

July Offertory Prayers were written by the Rev.Rosanna Anderson, Associate Director of Stewardship at Discipleship Ministries, The United Methodist Church.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A guide to guiding, Reflection on Acts 8:26-31

Through the first seven chapters of Acts, Peter and the other apostles have been preaching in Jerusalem. Successes and setbacks. Steven was condemned to death. Saul (more about him later) watched the stoning.

The persecution became so severe that the apostles scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. (Go back and read again Acts 1:8.)

Philip is preaching in Samaria where crowds are listening eagerly to him and seeing the signs that he did (8:4-8). Peter and John returned to Jerusalem. And Philip is directed by a messenger from God to go to Gaza.

He is performing signs, drawing crowds, being praised, and baptizing. Philip is in a productive mission field. And God tells him to travel the wilderness road.

On the trip, Philip came across a court official of the Ethiopian queen who was returning from a trip to Jerusalem. He had gone there to worship, and when Philip saw him, he was reading from the prophet Isaiah.

We can speculate whether he had already read the part of Isaiah where eunuchs and foreigners are included in Israel's promise (56:1-8). [Tangent: We can further speculate on whether we ourselves have spent much time with that passage and whether we talk and act as if we believed it.]

The Spirit sent Philip over to speak to this foreigner. Philip responded to this command by running over to his chariot.

He asked him if he understood what he was reading. The Ethiopian replied, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to join him.

Some points to consider:

People who don't look like or who haven't been brought up like us may be sensing the call of God. God may be talking to us, and we ought to be listening.

If someone wants to understand scripture, and we're standing right there, we need to be prepared to step up to the need.

OTOH, scripture may not be transparent even to someone who has studied a lot. We need to look at the Ethiopian as a good example of someone who knew he needed instruction and was willing to admit it.

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