October 2019  
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GC2019/GC2020, Flooding, Snow, Rain, Slow crop development- isn’t this enough?  I wonder what the Psalmists would have sung had they been around for this past year.  In the midst of many challenging things and trying to keep focused on our identity and United Methodists, I wonder if we haven’t missed out on the basic questions posited by Gil Rendle:  Who are we?  What has God called us to do? And, Who is our neighbor?  Is there a way for us to transition back to the mandate of the Great Commission: “Go therefore and preach, teach, baptize, and make disciples?” How do we replace the misdirection that we seemingly have set as: “Come hear us preach, teach… come watch us baptize, and well… that disciple thing…”  

The work of Christ and the call of Christ upon our lives has not changed.  We are called to share the message of hope, love and salvation that Christ brings.  After a difficult General Conference, we were hit with the storms and flooding. Hopefully, this called us back to our need to focus on the work of ministry. We are reminded that there is much to be done. We face the challenge that the culture surrounding us has and is changing. Still, we are reminded that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Hebrews 13:8. The power of Christ is present in us to transform our world.

The challenge is before us. Frost and Hirsch express in the book “The Shaping of Things to Come” that the great paradox of our age is- while the need for the gospel has seldom been greater, the relevance of the church to the culture as large has seldom been less.” We understand that the calling has not changed. Christ has not withdrawn from us, nor the world in which we live. We are the body of Christ in the world. We are here to make a difference. What should change and what should remain as we continue to be who God has called us to be as the church presents challenging questions. 

 Perhaps it would help to seek the experience of Pentecost and to ask that the Spirit of Christ reshape and renew all that we are. We should be reminded continuously of all that we can be in Christ. What we are called to be and to do? How can we call ourselves to a grander view of the church in mission?  We are a global church. We share in a global ministry. Let us remember, however, that this calling begins when we start with our neighbor. (Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the world)

Let us continue to work together… We are better together… Thinking and working strategically, and missionally grounded in Christ. “Great churches. Great leaders. Great disciples. Transformed world.”  

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