My Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Welcome to November at First UMC in Port St. Lucie! Can you believe we are already in November? I was going to say “time marches on” but really, can anyone march that fast? Time races on seemingly at the speed of light! Because time rushes by so quickly as I age particularly, I am learning just how important it is to make the most of my diminishing time by slowing down and focusing on the Most Important before the rush begins. My devotional time including Bible reading and study, Prayer and just Basking in God’s Holy Presence enables me to not get caught up in the “tyranny of the urgent” which always screams for my time and attention (as Charles Swindoll once said) and to focus on the Timeless One (who never screams, rants or raves) and all He has entrusted to me.
As we now find ourselves in the middle of autumn, our annual emphasis on stewardship must be drawing near. I mean, much as a little cooler temperatures and pumpkins for sale everywhere remind us here in Florida of fall, so does stewardship for those of us in the church as we turn our attention toward Charge Conferences, reports, budgets for next year, etc. I have a hunch by just reading that last sentence your eyes glazed over (so did mine as I wrote it) but I don’t think it should be that way because in stewardship, we mere mortals get to join God in the work of His Kingdom to make an everlasting impact! It should be a joyous time for us all!
“A Joyous Sacrifice” is the name of our upcoming sermon series and stewardship emphasis as we look throughout biblical history to gleam truths on how we are to best partner with God in ministry. We will be looking all the way back to Moses and the Israelites, then King David and his leaders, then to the early Church and the ways they all discovered how to intimately and joyously partner with God in ministry to the world. On November 19th during each of our worship services we will join our biblical counterparts in making our own joyous sacrifices together to God!
I know that ministry to the world has always been incredibly challenging, one has only to thumb through the pages of the Bible to catch a glimpse but I have a hunch that we may just at this moment in history find ourselves in one of the most challenging times for ministry ever. We seem to run up against obstacles both old and new wherever we turn. Gone are the days when our culture revolved around the Church but nevertheless, the world around us needs the ministry of God’s people in her midst perhaps more now than ever before. By the way, as I thumb through the pages of the Bible I also cannot miss the point that God has always been joyfully faithful to his obedient, faithful, joyous people and I am convinced will continue to be regardless of the obstacles we may face. He has called us to this, no, invited us to this and He will provide!
I invite you to come to worship exploring the joyous sacrifice God has always made for us and how we are called to respond with joyful sacrifices of our own. Interestingly enough this year, our stewardship emphasis will lead us directly into Advent as we prepare for the arrival of Immanuel, God with us – a Joyful Sacrifice indeed! May God richly bless you all.