This Sunday was the first “regular” Sunday that our new pastor got to preach. We heard her first with the “Call” of course, and then her first Sunday was Easter (last week we had a “guest” speaker). This Sunday, one could say she “began”. And a great thing to begin with: a series on our New Mission Statement, JUST announced this Sunday, which SHE was instrumental in getting the elders & leaders of our church together in meetings to work out! (Already!)
But the first ones to have it announced to them were the children, Carol introducing the Children’s Story as a Secret Mission: “your mission, should you choose to accept it…” :) And of course, she did say at the end, that it shouldn’t really be a secret. SO. Our Mission (should we choose to accept it): “We exist to invite ordinary people to encounter Christ and thoughtfully follow Him.” With the children leading, by learning it first! (Carol has taught us SUCH an amazing lesson about children being a valuable, contributing aspect of our congregation!)
The sermon title was “How Can I follow Christ when Everyone Else is Going in the Opposite direction?” And boy, did she ever
pack a lot into it! We won’t be able to do it justice, but let’s see what we come up with…
Starting with “we exist”–Sharon did refer to the passage in 1 Corinthians where Pauls says that if the Resurrection was not a historical fact, then Christianity is useless. (Because you see, it proves that Jesus was not just a wonderful, powerful prophet, but God’s own Son, who was the only One who could die for our sins.) She also mentioned how people were willing to die for their faith, because they’d actually seen Jesus alive after dying: some people may die for what they believe to be true, but the disciples had SEEN Jesus die–why would they be so excited about Him if they hadn’t actually seen Him alive again afterwards? Plus, don’t you think the opponents of Christianity would have loved to squash this Resurrection Rumour with every evidence they had? But Christianity managed to spread like wildfire, because they couldn’t!
The Mom enjoyed thinking about the “ordinary people” part. In Biblical times, rabbis chose disciples very carefully–even if they’d studied (which meant memorizing ALL of the scriptures!) and were pretty good at it, they may not get chosen. But look at who Jesus chose: fishermen, tax collectors–uneducated guys! As Sharon was saying, though no one is really “normal”, everyone is “ordinary”.
This is getting too long already, and we’re not very far into the sermon, so we’ll have to summarize. Actually, she had a nice summary statement in her notes: “Thoughtfully following Christ means considering the call and abandoning all.” In considering the cost to saying ‘yes’, we also see that there is a cost to saying ‘no’–a lack of the Abundant Life that Jesus promised. Sharon always puts some questions to think about at the end of her sermon, and The Mom found it interesting to think about the fact that “everyone needs a Barnabas and a Timothy”–to be discipled and to disciple.
So in answer to the questions “What discipleship groups are you in?” and “What discipling are you doing?”, The Mom realized she does a lot of discipling (The Marriage Course, the kids’ Club, this blog that I help her with–people are often coming out of the woodwork saying they read it when we never knew they did!) As for being discipled, well… the prayer meeting might fall into that category, though there is not a lot of scripture study that goes on there. But I guess Sunday mornings is a good one, since she always makes notes about the sermons!
Walk to Rivendell: On the 17th day of travel from Bag End, we went 19 miles, for a total of 298.