Sunday, May 22, 2016

God's Desire for Community

With blue skies and a summerlike Sunday morning the sanctuary was filled with light as Brad welcomed us.

1) Gail shared that $1175 was raised in yesterday's rummage sale and $221 through the bake sale

2) Brad shared that Dorothy Thiery passed away. Her service will be this Friday. Visitation at 10 a.m. and funeral at 11 a.m. We had a minute of silence to remember her and show respect for this longtime member of our church family.

3) Pam came forward to share information with the congregation from the Pastoral Relations Committee regarding the transition that is taking place as Pastor Brad heads off to serve at the Adventurous Christians ministry near Grand Marais.

Selecting a new pastor is not a quick process. It usually takes a minimum of six months. It is a tie of careful consideration and prayer as a church takes steps to move forward. The Conference will work to find an interim pastor, though this will also take a little time, most likely till August. The council will seek fill in people to preach until that time. A search committee will be formed to find a new pastor, working with the Conference.

4) Because the Shannons are leaving, an appeal went out to find a person who will step up to lead VBS.

FINAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Summer hours will begin next Sunday, Memorial Day weekend. Worship will begin at 9:30 a.m. next week and through the summer.

Darlene & Chuck ushered us into worship with a duet about God's peace and then we all sang four songs from the blue songbook. An offering was taken, and then we had a tie of prayer.

God's Desire for Community

Do you ever think about the fact that Jesus genuinely had friends?

Brad shared a story about a man who was trying to share Jesus with someone and the person replied, "You don't want to know me, you just want to get me saved."

Brad made the point that Jesus didn't treat everyone like a "project" he was working on.

Jesus invited the disciples to join Him, to form a community. His followers got called, shaped, formed and sent out. But it happened in an ordinary way with ordinary men who did an extraordinary thing. The had arguments, they had jealousies, but they also learned to love each other.

After He left this world, He said, "Wherever two or three of you are gathered in my name, I am there in the midst of them." It is a unique kind of community.

Brad shared the manner in which charcoal briquettes create heat together, but a briquette isolated from the fire will quickly lose its heat.

The question he asked that stumped him has to do with why community is so hard for us, even though we all enjoy community activities. So, what is it that

What we long for is authentic community, real community, life-giving true community.

Fake community, pseudo-community is one that focuses on being superficial in order to avoid conflict. Conflict avoidance is death.

So, how do we go from Fake Community to Real Community?

There is risk involved. Someone has to be courageous enough to ask hard questions. It's like going into a tunnel where you enter but don't know where it's going to come out on the other side.

Jesus modeled real relationship first by initiating it.  In Matthew 4 He invited the first disciples, starting a community. We have to do the same. We have to take the first step ourselves.

In real community you get challenged. This building was built through people who were in genuine relationship. They addressed issues, experienced both joy and exasperation.

The disciples had conflicts, including one time arguing about who was the greatest (of themselves.) Jesus caught them and turned it into a teachable moment. "Hey, guys. What are you talking about?"

Brad noted that another feature of community includes admonishing one another. But you can't do this when you don't know one another. "They won't care what you know till they know you care."

His last point had to do with being vulnerable. Brad said that what he found most amazing about Jesus was that although he was full God and fully man, He was so very vulnerable.

We live in a culture where image management is so important. But all it does is isolate us from other people.

When the Holy Spirit fell and the community of faith grew, it was not because of connections and money and PR. It grew because people saw this community where rich and poor, slave and free, male and female all participated in life together.

These kinds of communities are still changing the world today.

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