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Midweek Musings 3/28/19

In Sunday’s sermon, we will continue walking with Luke towards Holy Week, though I almost decided to go with the Lectionary selection from the second letter of Paul to the church at Corinth. And while I am using the NIV in this email, I also especially like The Message translation.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Paul does many things in his ministry but one which he points to again and again is his role as an apostle to the Gentiles (non-

Jews). He shares that to do this he is involved in what we might call today as a "ministry of reconciliation."

Paul reminds his readers that he himself had been made right with God (reconciled) through Christ and appointed a representative, or in other translations an "ambassador of Christ,” to work for the reconciliation of all since we are all in the same boat.

Now we know this wasn’t always the case for Paul. At one time Paul even saw Christ as a villainous lawbreaker and certainly not the Messiah. In fact, after his conversion, he sees all people differently. He does this because he is now “in Christ” and as such a new creation. And because we are Christ’s new creation, we are his ambassadors called to share the Good News and reconcile others to Christ.

But what does this mean for us as Christ’s followers?

How do we live as a people who recognize the “old is gone” and the “new is here”?

It’s not easy. It means taking time to listen to God and one another, being willing to take risks and step out in faith, and recognizing that transformational mission for God means finding ways to grow where you have been planted.

The good news is Christ has promised to be with us always through the power of the Holy Spirit. Additionally, we are not the only people to ever travel this journey, and as such we have the opportunity to learn from others’ pilgrimages.

One way I invite you to be about this learning process is on Sunday Mornings at 9:30. We will be looking at Neighborhood Church: Transforming Your Congregation into a Powerhouse for

Mission, by Presbyterian leaders Krin Van Tatenhove and Rob Mueller. The Reverend Cindy Kohlmann and Ruling Elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri, the Co-Moderators of the 223rd General Assembly (2018), selected this as a new book study for the denomination to consider.

Cintrón-Olivieri says, “One of the things I like about the book is its practical way of guiding individuals and congregations into doing work on what it means to be neighbor. It provides many tools, references to more reading, guiding questions and reflection questions and case studies, examples of what other churches are doing. Most importantly, I think the scriptural base of what it means to be church in the context of where God has placed us, is very real in the examples that the authors give.”

I’ve already started reading and have enjoyed it immensely, though I have also been challenged!

Copies of the book will be available Sunday and I will take a few moments to talk about the study which will begin April 7th.

Grace and Peace,


Please remember the prayer concerns from our bulletin.

• Please pray for those who have lost loved ones.

• Please pray for Sue Shuford, a family friend of Richard Carlton. She is facing major back surgery due to

osteoporosis and RA damage to her T12. A date has not yet been scheduled for surgery.

• From Friends Feeding Friends: Please pray for Charlotte Arnold who has a spot on her lung. Please pray for Ronald Green and Jim’s brother who have had light strokes.

• Please keep Suzy Smith in your prayers as she copes with cancer. (submitted by Jane Shelton)

• Please keep Matt Degutes and his family in your prayers. He was a neighbor of Richard and Ray’s and his daughter and family live here. His cancer has returned and the final decision is no further action.

• Please keep Phil Shelton and his family in your prayers as Phil recovers from a stroke.

• Please pray for Richard’s brother, Michael Carlton, who recently had a kidney transplant.

• Pray for Jessica Forester who is stationed near Dallas, TX.

• Please pray for Steven and the Denson Family.

• Please continue to pray for all those in our church family with special needs: Bob Lamborn, Zee Martin, Toni Autullo, Harold Wilson, Melissa, and Walter.

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