Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Finding Our Way Again by Brian Mclaren

Chapter One Searching for Everyday Sacredness

Page 3 "I think it's because Buddhism presents itself as a way of life, and Christianity presents itself as a system of belief.  So I would want to get Christian ministers thinking about how to rediscover their own faith as a way of life because that's what people are searching for today.  That's what they need the most"

Page 3
Without a coherent and compelling way of life, formed in community and expressed in mission, some of us began losing interest in the system of belief.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mission Moment for Friday, Sept. 18th

Genesis 18:14 has a great line, “Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?  This was in response to Sarah laughing at the thought that she could have a baby.  She was old, Abraham was old, and it was time to give up the dream.   This is a reminder once again, that if God is for us, who can be against us?  We have a tons of options for mission and ministry at MLC.   Sometimes we get worried or concerned about how it is all going to happen.  We can be encouraged by these words.    God has done great things at MLC and God will continue to do even greater things.  The joy of faith, is just watching and seeing God in action! Did you know that we have the largest confirmation class in our history?  Seven students in the current class with 3 to be confirmed in 2016.  God is good!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mission Moment for August 21st, 2015
In the book of Acts Christianity is a fledging new religion.   We can learn much from this book on how to do mission in 2015.   The new church did two very important things.  They gathered in community to focus on their faith.  They prayed and did communion with one another.  They grew in their love for each other.   This movement than extended out into the community.   Where they saw need, they loved.  It is this “love” that made people curious.  What is this Jesus and this “love” all about?
Today we can talk about transformation.  We certainly need to work on our personal transformation and MLC’s transformation.  But there is a third transformation, that of our community.   What does Maricopa need?   We have folks involved with food pantry, library and some help out at school.   It would be nice to have the Women’s Shelter open up, so we could help out there as well.   We have our sponsorship of our scouts, Pack which is grades 3-5th, and Troop which is 6th-12th.   We also help people with general needs in the community.
My challenge is finding more people to get involved.  I am the only MLC person connected right now with Scouts.  They meet on Tuesday nights.   If there are people out there with scouting in their background, or a simple love for children, you have an opportunity to get involved.   Please let me know.  
Secondly, where else can we serve in the community?   Can we be ambassadors for the city?   Can we attend school board meetings?   I am sure there are many community needs and I just ask you to open your eyes to those needs.  Once needs are identified, we can search for people who have a passion for that need.  Secondly, the challenge is to step up and get involved in some way.  
“We love because he first loved us”

Any thoughts on this matter please respond!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mission Moment:  Cultural Context

People have said that our culture is more like the book of Acts than any moment in recent history.   I am not sure about that because in the book of Acts, Christianity was an unknown religion.   The church had to go out into the world to spread the Gospel.  They had no other choice.  In our culture, people have an idea of what Christianity means, good or bad.   There are lots of assumptions such as the church only wants money to support itself or that the church is only for good people.  

Lutherans have a great theology bound by two words, Christ and Grace.  Christ’s does the work, and Grace we receive as a gift.   At issue is that people do not understand or fail to see how much God loves them.  It is hard to understand Grace in a world measured by what you do, right or wrong.  Maricopa Lutheran has done a great job of attracting Lutherans that have moved into the area.   We must celebrate and continue to embrace our Lutheran church people.  At the same time, can we imagine being a place that is so exciting and intriguing that non-Lutherans will come and check us out?

People are less concerned these days about denominations and more concerned about being fed by God’s word and being transformed.   What can we do to connect all people in our community?   What would you like to see happen that would help make Maricopa Lutheran stand out even more?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Discipleship Formation
Jesus tells us to make disciples of all nations.   A disciple follows and does what Jesus does.   A disciple also helps to create other disciples.   We can readily list the “problems” of the church usually reflected in the “not enoughs.”  We don’t have enough people, money or whatever.   The answer is a faith issue.  Are we willing to be disciples?  Are we willing to help create new disciples?  Can we think about always growing, learning helping to make a difference in this world?
We have our five principles for MLC.  We have a mission statement.  How do we grow people?   I recognize that the Holy Spirit has a place in all of this.   People are at different levels of their faith and their commitment to their Lord and their church.   I want to develop a plan for Maricopa Lutheran.   Some have used classes on healthy faith practices.  That certainly could be done.   I think mentoring is part of the process.  Jesus spent 3 years with his disciples.   If we were to have a plan for Maricopa Lutheran Church what would that plan look like?   What should be included?    

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Equipped for Evangelism and Generosity

I remember a conversation when deciding on our denomination’s new name.  People wanted the word Evangelical in the name so that people would be reminded that we are called to reach out beyond our walls.   Lutheran churches were not started in America to reach new people and make them Christians.  They were started so that all the Lutherans from Europe would have a good Lutheran church to attend.  For the longest time our main method of Evangelism was simply to have lots of children and raise them Lutheran.  That strategy no longer works.   Evangelism is quite simple.   Start with our friends and as the relationship goes, invite them to church.  If they have a church home celebrate with them.   What happens over time is that we stop inviting people.   So to be an inviting church means that the church people invite others to join.   If being a Lutheran Christian is the best thing in the world, don’t we want others to enjoy and embrace the grace of Jesus Christ?
Generosity doesn’t just happen by itself.  Generosity grows out of an understanding that we are all blessed by God.  It grows out of a commitment to not only God but the mission of God in the world.   Most of us hold onto our stuff, our time, and often give out of our surplus.   Yet to be a generous person will require us to take a leap and trust that God will honor our generosity.  Yes, it is better to give than to receive.  You can begin with small steps and decide to up your giving to God’s work in the world.  This might be time or money but whatever the case, do it joyfully.  You will not be disappointed.

Questions:  Have you ever invited someone to church, if not, why not?  What was that experience like?
Why do you give and what happens to you and others when you do?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Fellowship with God & Each Other 
Mission Moment for June 26, 2015

We have an idea of what fellowship usually means.  We label rooms as Fellowship Hall and this is where cookies and coffee is served.   Fellowship is not just casual conversation.  Fellowship is being accepted as part of the body of believers.  It is the opportunity to connect with each other.  Some of fellowship may be general chitchat.   Some may be conversations around health or spiritual matters.  Whatever the case, fellowship when practiced best, means that people are connected and cared for.
It would be hard to imagine us having cookies and coffee with God.  One would think the questions and answers would be significantly deeper.   We can have fellowship by asking God to join us in our daily journey.  We can certainly use prayer to connect.  We can also ask God to celebrate with us as well.  Fellowship also includes everyone.  This means we look for ways to bring people into caring conversations and invite God to walk with us.
How can prayer be a conversation with God?

What person or persons could we deepen our relationships with?