Pastor's Ponderings

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Pastor's Ponderings May 1, 2017

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What does it mean to be a follower of Christ?

What does it mean “to become disciples of Jesus Christ”? A disciple is a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosopher. To be a disciple of Jesus Christ is to be someone who sets out on the path to become more and more like Jesus, especially when it comes to how we relate to God and one another.

The church plays a big role in discipleship. We learn about Jesus Christ and what it means to follow him in community with other disciples. We see how others love and so we practice loving in the same way. We receive encouragement from the faithful who are a little further down the path of discipleship than we are and so we strive to live a more faithful and obedient life. We are inspired by the example of those who have lived each day with trust and the blessed assurance that comes from God and so we follow that example.

As I have considered this matter, I have come to see that there are five main pathways that have often proved helpful and fruitful. Follow any one of these paths and you will find yourself growing closer and closer to God. Better still is making use of all of them together. The five paths I have in mind are:
Worship and prayer Serving God and others
Generosity Learning and study
Sharing faith with others

The idea is that we grow and mature and develop over time. Our spiritual life is not to be static or stagnant. We should not expect our spiritual life to always be the same. Instead we are always involved in becoming more and more like Christ so that who were yesterday is not the same as we are today and who we will become will be different, in some ways, than who we are today. That’s what John Wesley called, “Going on the perfection.”

Over the next few weeks, I be writing more about how we as a church can help people grow in their walk with Christ through each of these pathways. In this way, we might be working on accomplishing our mission “to seek and invite all to become disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of our community and our world.”

See you in church,

Pastor Steve

 

Pastor's Ponderings Monday, April 17, 2017

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Martha Conant was aboard United Airlines flight 232 on July 19, 1989.
The flight crashed in Sioux City, Iowa. Of the 296 people on board that flight, 111 perished in the crash, and many were seriously injured. Martha Conant was lucky.
She survived.

This is what she said about her experience, many years later:

For me the crash was like a proverbial ocean liner turning around. There were some changes that happened right away, as soon as I got my feet on the ground. And others have unfolded over the sixteen, seventeen years since then.

Immediately, I decided that I wanted to live with as few regrets as possible. And for me that meant repairing relationships that had been compromised and trying very hard not to leave anything undone. So not leaving home in the morning, for example, being upset with someone. Or not passing up a chance to tell Dale, my husband, or one of the boys how much I love them. Or not turning down a chance to tell a friend how much I appreciate her.

What’s been longer in unfolding is a reprioritization of my life.

Well, the big day of Easter 2017 is over. We've put away the lilies and the tulips and daffodils, but the significance of the Easter event lingers on. For those first followers of Jesus, Easter was an EVENT that brought with it some changes that happened right away, as soon as those first followers got their feet on the ground. And other changes unfolded in the years that followed. The message of Easter changed the course of human history and brought with it a reprioritization of life. And it could be said that the impact of that first Easter is still having an effect some 2,000 years later.

 

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