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, you made possible life-changing mission work led by the General Board of Global Ministries, in areas of clean water and sanitation. Almost 900 million people don’t have access to clean, safe water; and 2.5 billion people do not have safe sanitation. Through partnership across the church and with UMCOR and the Advance for Christ, United Methodists strive to meet this most basic need. 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 the UMC to help people Access Safe Water at:www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Programs/Global-Health/Water-and-Sanitation

July 20, 2014 -- Sixth Sunday after Pentecost/in Kingdomtide
Holy God who chose to live among us: You remind us that in your creation good and evil exist side by side. We know that the evil can come in subtle ways, valuing the regard of others more than seeking to please you, putting self-promotion before compassion for others, or turning a blind eye to injustice. May the gifts we give this morning be our affirmation to choose the good over the evil, and what serves your loving purpose over what denies it. Help us to bear fruit, and may our lives be deemed worthy at the time of harvest. We pray in the holy name of Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer. Amen. (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43)

"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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