Saturday, December 13, 2014

Newsletter Words - a season for spiritual growth?

On Monday evening I gave the following quote by Lovett H. Weems, Jr. to the Church Board: (nancy just chose a different font that isn’t too big)

Survival is Not a Worthy Goal 
Even in times of seeming scarcity, we serve a God of abundance who desires the abundant life for all. But our choices do shape our lives. Just as we encourage individuals to seek freedom from their possessions, so we must manage church finances so that money is not a preoccupation that takes energy from our need to reach more people, younger people, and more diverse people for Christ. The survival of any congregation is not a worthy goal. However, every congregation is called always to do their ministry in such a way as to sustain its mission over time. If your church has a faith to proclaim and a task from God in your community, then it would be irresponsible not to put a high priority on finding ways for such a ministry to continue. 
I believe that our congregation continues to have a calling and a strong faith to proclaim. I also believe that renewal and resurrection are key components of the Christian Faith Journey. In that light – in this SEASON of HOPE – I invite you to spend time daily with some faith practice that is new or renewed for you. There are Advent Devotional booklets in the narthex published by the COB. 

For centuries God’s people have practiced repetitive prayers using the psalms. The particular prayers I mention weren’t always part of the Brethren tradition, but daily prayer and Bible reading has always been part of our tradition. If you don’t know what to pray, try this: I find the Latenight US most appealing as a way to end the day. There are traditional names to these and many other practices but the names are not important, the time is. Forgive yourself when you miss, but rededicate each day to the practice. 

We will be spending time in early January exploring Spiritual Growth for our congregation. Bible Reading and prayer prepare us for the service to which we are called. I recognize that we have many different spiritual types and for some sitting in prayer is impossible. In that case, memorize a phrase or short psalm (117, 134) or verse that you can repeat as you bicycle, run or walk the treadmill. When we suspend our need to understand the logical way these words work, we allow the mystery of God’s presence in scripture to work in us – mysteriously!

May you find the Christmas present you’ve always desired hidden in the mystery of this season. “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to that One be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Eph. 3:20-21

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