Offertory Prayer

Invitation to the Offering
The offering you made 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 that reach people who are in desperate need to feel the touch of love and reconciliation. Through the World Service Fund, your church supports a great tradition of United Methodist support for Higher Education. Providing scholarships and loans, a network of college chaplains, and an ongoing relationship with 113 colleges, universities and seminaries that are part of our connection – together we open doors to education for many deserving students. This ministry happens thanks to the generous support of United Methodists like you. I invite you once again to give generously as we worship God through the sharing of our gifts, tithes and offerings.

Learn more about the work of our General Board of Higher Education & Ministry at www.gbhem.org

September 21, 2014 – Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost/in Kingdomtide
Generous God, you provide for all our needs, if we but put our trust in you. When the Israelites were hungry in the wilderness and began to complain, you gave them bread in the form of manna to eat in the morning, and quail to satisfy their hunger in the evening. You gave just enough, to be consumed with gratitude and trust. Generous God, help us to give with generosity this morning, with gratitude for all we have received from your goodness, and with trust in your faithfulness. We pray in the name of Christ our Savior. Amen. (Exodus 16:2-15)
"Prayers by Ken Sloan. Copyright General Board of Discipleship. www.GBOD.org Used by permission."

Monday, June 11, 2012

Beginning with a Seed, a Reflection on Mark 4:26-34

Baby boomers fueled the growth in American church membership and attendance, but they are dying off.  Lovett Weems has termed this the Death Tsunami. He suggests that we focus on what is important:
To talk of survival does not mean that survival is an end in itself. The survival sought is not for an institution and certainly not for institutional forms or entities. Church leadership is a response to God’s love and action in the world revealed most clearly in Jesus Christ. Christian leadership is a channel of God’s grace as it seeks the fulfillment of God’s vision, and such leadership emerges out of the history, beliefs, and traditions of faith communities.
What is the future going to look like? Will leadership emerge? I think about those early Christians, the first hearers of Mark's gospel. What discouragements were they facing? What did the future of the church look like to them?

Their gatherings were as small as mustard seeds. Yet, they did become as great shrubs providing protection.

So, I would like to draw from this parable a parallel--size now does not limit potential.

But, I'm also drawn to the lesson embedded in this passage--that Jesus spoke in parables because his hearers were not ready to learn his meaning. To his disciples, and in private, he explained everything.

Yet, even without understanding, the other hearers became part of the growth of the church. I'm looking back at verses 26-27. The sower of the seed doesn't have to know how the sprouting part works in order for it to work.

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