Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Fruit of the Spirit Sermon Series

Our new summer sermon series is based on Galatians 5:22 “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” We will be using the following texts for the series.

July 24 - “Love” – 1 Corinthians 13
July 31 - “Joy” - John 15:1-17, Philippians 2:1-5
August 14 - “Peace” – John 14:25-31, Ephesians 2:17-21
August 21 - “Patience” – Romans 8:18-25, Ephesians 4:1-6, 1 Timothy 1:16-17
August 28 - “Kindness” - Colossians 3:12-17, Titus 3:4-7, Romans 11:17-24
September 4 - “Generosity” – 2 Corinthians 9:1-15,
September 11 - “Faithfulness” - Luke 16:10-13, 1 Corinthians 10:12-13, Revelations 2:10
September 18 - “Gentleness” – Philippians 4:4-7, James 3:13-18, 1 Peter 3:13-17
September 25 - “Self-Control” – 1 Corinthians 9:24-26, 2 Peter 1:3-11

Friday, July 15, 2011

What Does God Want?

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’” - Matthew 25:31-40

Human beings have a great capacity for being self centered. We know what we like and what we want. We live in a culture that encourages us to focus a great deal of time and energy making sure that our wants are taken care of. Self care is important and it does please God when we care for ourselves and our families well. But as we read scripture we discover that God has a special preference for people who are not being cared for, people who are hungry, struggling and suffering in a variety of ways.

God’s heart is grieved when people suffer, especially people who are living life unaware that God loves them and is there for them. When we care for people in need, it is as if we are caring for God directly because God identifies so strongly with suffering people. God wants us to make connections with people through loving acts of kindness on behalf of God. In this way we are helping God to become known and become real for people.

The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of God’s love, freely given with no strings attached. How can we help people know this message? The best way is to live it out in our actions. When we share God’s love with others, totally free, no strings attached, we are revealing the Gospel to the world. Members of the Sturgeon United Methodist Church along with members from the Sturgeon Baptist and Sturgeon Christian Churches will be joining together to feed lunches to any hungry child in the Sturgeon area for the next month.

Beginning, Monday, July 18 and running through Friday, August 19, in the basement fellowship hall of the Sturgeon United Methodist Church lunches will be served Monday through Friday from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. The food for the meal is being provided by the Central Missouri Food bank. It will include sandwiches, milk, fruit, and dessert. The lunch is provided for any child up to age eighteen. It is totally free, no strings attached. Adults are also welcome to eat if there is food left once all of the children have been fed.

We know that this witness of loving kindness will bring joy to God’s heart as we care for people in need. We pray for more opportunities to live out the Gospel in this way, day by day, little by little, freely given, no strings attached. It is the way God. It is what God wants.