Monday, July 26, 2010

Looking Forward to August 1, 2010 -- 10th Sunday After Pentecost

The Scripture Readings for this Sunday are:
  • Luke 12:13-21
  • Psalm 49 (VU p.774)
  • Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:11, 22-26

The Sermon Title is Priorities

Early Thoughts: What do we put first? What is primary in our planning and decision making?

 These seem to be good questions to ask at the beginning of a new relationship.  They also seem to be questions asked many times in Scripture.

In this Luke passage we hear a story about someone who has clearly got his priorities wrong -- at least by a certain form of wisdom.  On the other hand, he could well have his priorities right according to a very common form of wisdom in today's world.  Which form of wisdom will we follow?

In the book of Ecclesiastes we have something very different.  At a quick read it can be difficult to see what the author is trying to say (especially since he seems to contradict himself).  But Rabbi Harold Kushner, in his book When All You've Ever Wanted Isn't Enough, suggests that this cynical writing is the work of a middle-aged man who has sought meaning in wealth, in the activities of pleasure, and in learning only to be left feeling disappointed and empty.  When we get our priorities wrong that can happen.  In fact I would suggest that it is possibly a very common thing in our world today.

One of Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to put First Things First.  For the church this means that we put something before the budget, or the membership report, or the state of the building.  Our first thing, our highest priority, needs to be discerning who God is calling us to be.  The funny thing about priorities, is that when we get them right life seems to fall into place so much easier.  When we first discern where and who God is calling us to be it is my belief that the other stuff will fall into place.  At the very least it is well worth a try!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hello! (August Newsletter)

Well I have yet to lead my first worship service with you and already I am writing a newsletter piece! I guess we might as well jump in with both feet right?

I don't know about the rest of you but I always find new beginnings to bring a mixture of thoughts and feelings. There is a sense of excitement, a knowledge that new possibilities are in the air, just waiting to be seized. But there is also that sense of uncertainty, a knowledge that what is to come will be different from what came before. What will we learn together? What challenges will we face? How will we walk the path that leads from here? (And where will that path lead anyway??)

For this first newsletter there are really just two things I have to say. First of all, Patty and I would like to thank all of you for the gift basket (or rather gift basketS and bags) that was delivered just after we arrived in town. It was a great welcome and greatly appreciated. The girls are very excited about trying out the pool and the mini-golf and the museum.

Secondly I look forward to the future of our ministry together. As I mentioned above this is a new beginning and has both excitement and uncertainty about it. In the weeks and months to come we will start to explore what possibilities are there to be tested. We will also start to challenge each other. But I find that in my reflections on being the church over the last few months there is one specific question that keeps popping up. It is one I think we need to keep in front of us as we move forward. “Who is God calling us to be?”

Who is God calling us to be as individual followers of The Way? Who is God calling us to be as a community of faith? Who is God calling us to be as a denomination? It is my firm belief that if we find the answer to these questions then the path forward will become much clearer. I look forward to prayerfully exploring these questions and discerning the answers.

May God be with us in our explorations and learning.

A New Start

New Ministry settting, and so a new blog.

Watch this space for my random thoughts on ministry, a look ahead at sermons and worship, newsletter pieces and who knows what else