Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Faith Sans Action = Dead Faith

One of the upcoming webisodes takes us to Richfield United Methodist Church. A woman in this community needed help securing a safe environment for her family. The woman did not ask for assistance, however someone saw her difficulties and asked if the church could give her a helping hand. The church jumped into action, taking the necessary steps to provide her family with a warm, safe home. 

I was stuck by their immediate response of faith and action. They did not simply say that they would offer prayers that God would help her. No. They realized that God was using them as His instruments, here on Earth, to show His love, compassion, and provision. 

It reminded me of the James 2 verses 14-17

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

St. Augustine said "Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you." In other words, it is important know that nothing is impossible with God. Yet, understand that God may be calling you to action to help fulfill his plan.

As we go through Lent this year, perhaps instead of choosing to sacrifice by removing something from our diets or lives, we could sacrifice by adding a labor of love and faith into our daily schedules. Has God been calling you to start a project? Have you felt nudged to volunteer in your community? Is their a neighbor in need that would be blessed by an anonymous monetary gift? 

Athletes are known to follow the motto: "No pain, no gain" The same is true with faith. A sacrificial offering of your time and effort may cramp your lifestyle for a short while. However, soon you will notice revitalization and growth in your faith. 

I dare you to test that theory!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Deacon Description

If Rev. Adam's interview sparked your interest in the role of deacon, please read the following excerpt from from The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church- 2004.
Deacons are:

Called and Set Apart for a Ministry of Service 
From the earliest days of the church, deacons were called and set apart for the ministry of love, justice, and service; of connecting the church with the most needy, neglected, and marginalized among the children of God. This ministry grows out of the Wesleyan passion for social holiness and ministry among the poor.

The ministry of the deacon is a faithful response of the mission of the church meeting the emerging needs of the future. Deacons are accountable to the annual conference and the bishop for the fulfillment of their call to servant leadership. (¶328)

Ordained to Word and Service 
Deacons are persons called by God, authorized by the church, and ordained by a bishop to a lifetime ministry of Word and Service to both the community and the congregation in a ministry that connects the two. Deacons exemplify Christian discipleship, create opportunities for others to enter into discipleship, and connect the needs and hurts of the people with the church. In the world, the deacon seeks to express a ministry of compassion and justice and assists lay persons as they claim their own ministry. In the congregation, the ministry of the deacon is to teach and to form disciples, and to lead worship together with other ordained and lay persons. (¶329)

Deacons give leadership in the church’s life:
• in the teaching and proclamation of the Word
• in worship and in assisting the elders in the administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper 
• in forming and nurturing disciples
• in conducting marriages and burying the dead
• in the congregation’s mission to the world and
• in leading the congregation in interpreting the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world 

If you feel called to become a deacon, please contact the conference office at 717-766-7441.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Role of Deacon

Pastor Adam Estep explains the role of Deacon in ordained ministry. Look for more information on the differences between ordained elder and ordained deacon soon.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Judge Not

My Dad shared a touching story with me last night that reminded me of James 1:19:

"Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry."

It is about a father waiting on a doctor to perform life-saving surgery on his son. Read the full story HERE.