We Can't Stay Here

"We" Church - Not "Me" Church

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:1-4 (NRSV)

We are born into a life of self-centeredness.

One of the first words kids learn is a word that parents despise hearing: “Mine!” Babies are born into this world extremely self-centered — that is their nature. Their cries communicate that their needs are not being met: I need my diaper changed, I’m hungry, I’m scared, I want that. Hopefully, they grow out of it, but sometimes they do not.

Self-centeredness is bound up in our nature. It is a good thing when it is concerned with the basic necessities of life, food, shelter, etc. A healthy sense of self is needed to make sure these things are provided. However, once we live with other human beings, we find that this mindset will not serve us well. Human society works best when we remember that we are not the only ones with needs and desires.

Sometimes we can be like that in the church. Church become all about us, our needs, our wants, our comfort, our ideas. Jesus, however, says that when we choose to follow him, we give up our rights and privileges. The only one with rights and privileges in the church is Jesus who is Lord of the church.

How should we respond?

The best way to illustrate the attitude followers of Christ should exhibit is found in Philippians 2:1-11. Here, Paul admonishes us not to be only concerned about ourselves but do things that benefit others as well. He then gives us the example of Jesus himself in what could have been an ancient hymn of the church.

In this hymn, we are reminded that Jesus was, in fact, God, but that he did not cling to his rights and privileges as God. He gave up all of that for the sake of lost humanity. Notice how the hymn goes:

but emptied himself, 
taking the form of a slave, 
being born in human likeness. 
And being found in human form, 
he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death
— even death on a cross. (Phil 2:7-8)

Jesus stepped out of his rights and privileges as God and descended a long stairway that ended with the most horrific death a person could imagine. And he did this not for his benefit, but for ours.

Paul reminds us that this is the attitude we should have as followers of Christ in the church. This attitude dismisses selfishness and conceit and promotes humility and unity.

This Sunday we will talk about how these ideas can be lived out in our lives and our fellowship as the congregation of Navarre United Methodist Church. Join us!

Blessings!

-Alan

CLICK HERE FOR THIS WEEK'S FAITH NOTES.


Alan Cassady serves as Senior Pastor at Navarre UMC, and has been at the church since 2011. When he's not preaching and teaching, he enjoys sci-fi movies and FSU Football. Read more about Alan here.

Banquet with Strangers

Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”

Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!”

Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’  Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

“The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’  After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come so that the house will be full.’“

-Luke 14:12-23, NLT


Being from the South, I was taught from a young age how to throw a proper party. My grandmother instilled in me and my mother the importance of a well-decorated table, coordinated foods, and good hostess practices. Could you imagine how you would feel though if you went through all the work to prepare a top notch party, then all of your friends and family didn't show up? What if they all sent one excuse or another for their absences? 

That's exactly what happened in the parable that Jesus tells in Luke 14. The point of the story isn't that we shouldn't get discouraged when the perfect party doesn't go well. The point of the story is that we should be seeking a different group of people to invite. 

The host in the story goes into the streets and finds people to fill his home, so his perfect party isn't wasted. His table is filled with strangers.

Jesus wants us to understand the importance of seeking out people who are not expecting us to be kind to them. Individuals who have nothing to give in return. The reward we are receiving is not on this earth, but in heaven, knowing that we are doing God's will. This is the next step for us if we are going to become a Great Commission church.

Blessings,

Faith


PRAYER FOR THE SERIES

God, reignite my heart to have a passion for you. Give me eyes to see other people as you see them so that I can love them with my whole heart. Teach me how to be a living example of the hope of Jesus Christ. Give me the courage to shine for Jesus Christ in everything that I do so that I can help bring others into relationship with Christ. Give me a heart for my community. Through your strength, make me into a Great Commission Christian so we can become a Great Commission church.


Faith Parry serves as our Associate Pastor, and has been at the church since 2015. When she's not preaching and teaching, she enjoys documentaries and TV. Read more about Faith here.

Change is a Good Thing

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

-1 Peter 2:2-3, NLT

Have you ever noticed how some people seem to seek out change and other people don't? At our house in Kentucky, AJ used to rearrange our living room and bedroom furniture almost everytime we did a seasonal clean.

He was always looking for new ways to make the room more functional. Granted, it was a long and skinny room, which made it difficult. But at least once a year, we seemed to rearrange the furniture again. That became less when we mounted our TV on the wall because then we couldn't move the TV anymore.

Every time we changed it, though, it took me about a week to get used to walking in and not being shocked by the arrangement. I suppose the time period of adjustment is why many people leave everything the same in their house for 10+ years without any modifications.

If we are not careful, we can start avoiding change like it's the plague. But in reality, change is a part of growing, and growing is what scripture calls us to do. Our scripture passage this week talks about how we all mature spiritually as Christians. That growth never stops. No matter how old you are in calendar years, you should always be growing closer to God, and that means change.

When was the last time God caused a major change in your life? How did you respond to it?

Blessings,

Faith


PRAYER FOR THE SERIES

God, reignite my heart to have a passion for you. Give me eyes to see other people as you see them so that I can love them with my whole heart. Teach me how to be a living example of the hope of Jesus Christ. Give me the courage to shine for Jesus Christ in everything that I do so that I can help bring others into relationship with Christ. Give me a heart for my community. Through your strength, make me into a Great Commission Christian so we can become a Great Commission church.


CLICK HERE FOR THIS WEEK'S FAITH NOTES.


Faith Parry serves as our Associate Pastor, and has been at the church since 2015. When she's not preaching and teaching, she enjoys documentaries and TV. Read more about Faith here.

We Must Come Down From the Mountain

Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

-Matthew 12:1-4, NLT

 

This Sunday, we will be starting a new sermon series called We Can’t Stay Here. I’m so excited about this series because it's a topic that's near to my heart. When I decided to go into ordained ministry, I chose that path of ministry because I wanted to inspire congregations to change the world around them. I wanted to help develop leaders and help people grow in their faith. That is what this series is all about.

This week, we will be looking at Matthew 12:1-4. Peter, in his usual, bold style, gets all excited when Jesus meets with Moses and Elijah. He’s on a "spiritual high," you might say, as he watches his teacher have a conversation with the heroes of his people. For me, it would be like watching Jesus, John Wesley, and Martin Luther having a theological discussion over dinner. I would have pulled up a seat and listened forever. Peter felt the same way.

The problem with that? Peter just didn’t understand though what his purpose was. Peter was going to be the foundation of the Church. We are all Christians today because of the work that Peter did. Just think of where we would be if Peter never left the Mountaintop. What would have happened to him if Jesus allowed him to build his shelters, or tabernacles, as he wanted? He could have stayed on that mountain and worshiped God for the rest of his life. But what would have happened to all of the people that he touched during his ministry?

I've written a prayer for our congregation to use during this series. You can find it at the bottom of the page. It's my hope that you can use this prayer during your personal quiet time this month, to help you focus in on your role in the future of our church. Hope to see you Sunday!

Blessings!

-Faith


Prayer for the Series

God, reignite my heart to have a passion for you. Give me eyes to see other people as you see them so that I can love them with my whole heart. Teach me how to be a living example of the hope of Jesus Christ. Give me the courage to shine for Jesus Christ in everything that I do so that I can help bring others into relationship with Christ. Give me a heart for my community. Through your strength, make me into a Great Commission Christian so we can become a Great Commission church.


Click Here for This Week's Faith Notes.


Faith Parry serves as our Associate Pastor, and has been at the church since 2015. When she's not preaching and teaching, she enjoys documentaries and TV. Read more about Faith here.