Come Be our Guest!

“When God’s people are in need. Be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” – Romans 12:13 NLT
“Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” – Romans 15:7 NRSV

In the movie Beauty and the Beast, the residence of the Beast’s house sing “Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test…we only live to serve.”  That is a great description of the practice of hospitality. But home is not the only place we practice hospitality. Practicing Hospitality is a key ingredient for a healthy, growing church. Paul in Romans 12:13 in the Message Bible tells the church to “Be inventive in hospitality.”

What does it mean for the church to practice hospitality? Robert Schnase in his book, Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, says: “radical hospitality is authentically going beyond expectation, to offer gracious invitation, reaching out to others, and becoming truly welcoming as a congregation because we have experienced God reaching out to us in Jesus Christ.” Read more Come Be our Guest!

Speak Lord for Your Servant is Listening

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. …Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” – Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7

The Psalmist, in Psalm 95, encourages us to worship our great and awesome God. I hope you have been carving out time this summer to spend in corporate worship and in private worship through Bible reading and prayer. I also hope you have been taking time to listen for God’s call in your life and have been starting your day with Samuel’s prayer:  “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.”

On Sunday, July 22, we will have a special opportunity to worship God in the great outdoors as we Worship in the Park, at the Heinzen Peaceful Valley Pavilion. The reason we will be worshipping at Heinzen Pavilion on July 22 is to hopefully attract some people who may not be comfortable coming to a church building for the first time, but might come to a place they are familiar with, like Peaceful Valley Park. Taraforming, the contemporary praise band from Clintonville UMC will be coming to lead us in worship that morning. I want to challenge you to begin praying now, about who you could invite to come to worship with us on that day (a neighbor, relative or coworker). Our message for that day will be “God calls us to be Encouragers!” Read more Speak Lord for Your Servant is Listening

Grow in Grace and knowledge of Jesus!

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires….The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:3-4, 8 NLT

When I am heading out the door on a journey, I always like to be equipped. I’ll make sure I have my GPS or MapQuest directions, and phone; if traveling far, I take some water and snacks, make sure I have some money in my pocket, and any gear I might need for the days of the trip:  my computer, jacket, extra clothes. We are all on a spiritual journey, moving in the direction of Christ-likeness and maturity in our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter tells us God has equipped us with everything we need to live a godly life. Read more Grow in Grace and knowledge of Jesus!

Abide in Jesus

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:4-5 NLT

As I look out my window, it seems like spring may never come, there is still snow on the ground from the record breaking snow storm this past weekend. But God is faithful, and spring will come, trees will sprout leaves, and vines will begin to grow once again and produce fruit. Hopefully by the time you receive this newsletter the snow will have melted.

Jesus uses the analogy of the fruit producing vine to describe our relationship to Him, and to help us understand what we need to do in order to have fruitful lives as followers of Jesus. Jesus says we are to “remain in” or the older versions of the Bible say we are to “abide” in Him. Read more Abide in Jesus

Jesus is Risen- No Foolin’!

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” – 1 Corinthians 1:25

In case you haven’t noticed, Easter this year falls on April First, April Fool’s day. Perhaps we can think of the resurrection as God’s ultimate joke on the powers of darkness and evil. After all the spiritual forces of darkness and the powers of this world thought they had won the day when Jesus was crucified. They had killed the one who promised to bring life. Instead God turned the tables. The Sanhedrin and Rome had tried to make the tomb secure, putting a seal on the tomb, and posting a guard. But that did not stop God’s plan. Instead we read of an earthquake and angels and an empty tomb, and the Great News Of Easter: Jesus is alive! He has Risen! Read more Jesus is Risen- No Foolin’!

God’s Faithfulness

“Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. 
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!  But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.” – Isaiah 53:4-6 NLT

Lent is a time to reflect and rejoice on God’s astounding action on our behalf through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Gospel of John says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT) God is faithful to keep His promises! Read more God’s Faithfulness