Discipleship and the decline of the Church, What’s Up? Is it the loss of innocence, certitude, time? Or is the Jesus movement less about dogma and worship highs and more about discovering “life" together?
Brenda preaches from 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11. In his letter to the church at Thessaloniki -- which is the earliest Christian writing in the New Testament, even earlier than the gospels -- Paul reassures his disciples that they have what they need to survive anxious times. They have their faith in Christ and the mutual support of their community. We, too, have these things, and like a spiritual emergency kit, they help us to weather the anxious times of our own day.
We are called, as people of faith, to be good stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Some of that is money. But it is also that is that which is harder to measure: love, grace, compassion, gratitude. May we be generous with all these incredible gifts. May we remember that we are agents of grace, on a journey that makes known the generosity of God through our own practice of the same.
This is first in a series on stewardship, looking at the Journey to Generosity. In this sermon, Russ invites us to consider the difference between what Miroslav Volf differentiates the richness of having and the richness of being. One is outward, the other is inner. Sadly, we are too easily distracted by the external things. But James reminds us there are trials and more along the way, but the great test in life is centered on finding the path to the richness of being.
God’s way of working in the world to alleviate suffering, injustice, and pain, is not to intervene miraculously, suspending the laws of nature, sending angels to make things right. No, God works through people. God hears, sees, and knows the suffering of others… and expects us to do the same. And God’s response is to call US to step up as instruments of God’s help.