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God Loves the world Through Our Actions - January 30, 2022

Matthew 25:34-40To view, this service you can follow the link to our Facebook page: Worship Service for Sunday, January 30

Last week I started a conversation based on Pastor Debbie’s comment about the rare church, one that is both open and affirming, and true to its commitment to be a disciple-making church is a bit like looking for a purple unicorn. I made the admission that I think that is a worthy pursuit. To begin to become a church that people outside of the church want to try on for a while and at the same time a church that ups the ante of becoming a disciple-making fellowship, a congregation that values and teaches both public and private worship, and a group of believers and friends who want to begin to transform the world around us into a better world after this past two crazy

years of a pandemic.

Those three concepts came from the definition of the Local Church in the United Methodist Book of Discipline. Today I want to add to that another paragraph from that same section of the Discipline.

¶ 202. The Function of the Local Church—The church of Jesus Christ exists in and for the world. It is primarily at the level of the charge consisting of one or more local churches that the church encounters the world. The local church is a strategic base from which Christians move out to the structures of society. The function of the local church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit is to help people to accept, and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and to live their daily lives in light of their relationship with God. Therefore. The local church is to minister to persons in the community where the church is located. To provide appropriate training and nurture to all. To cooperate in ministry with other local churches. To defend God’s creation and live as an ecologically responsible community. To participate in the worldwide mission of the church, as minimal expectations of an authentic church.

Points to take note of:

• The church exists for the world not for itself or its members;
• It is the strategic base from which Christians move out into the structures of society;
• Its function is to help people accept Christ and to live in their lives in light of their relationship with God;
• THEREFORE
• The local church is to minister to persons in their local community where the church is located.
• To provide appropriate training and nurture to all.
• To cooperate in ministry with other local churches.
• To defend God’s creation and live as an ecologically responsible community, and
• To participate in the worldwide mission of the church
THESE ARE THE MINIMAL EXPECTATIONS OF AN AUTHENTIC CHURCH.

To be quite honest, as we come back in small steps from the pandemic and rebuild our own relationships I think the minimal expectations will be enough to aim for in the first 1-2 years. But then …

What does this say to us, here, today?

First, we have a lot to do.

• We need to find ways to connect and in some cases reconnect with people within our congregation to find multiple ways of teaching the message of Christ and helping one another strengthen the personal relationship with God.
• For some it will mean creating newer and more small groups — opportunities to connect with each other and to provide the grouping and relationships needed for study and growth.
• For some it will mean encouraging them to walk back in the doors of the church — the primary place in many communities where those small groups are formed.
• For all of us it means stepping up from where we have been and where we are now. To stretch our wings.
• Pema Chodron book in the adult Sunday school group. Some have never thought of what we can learn from faiths that are tangential to us but not centrally enmeshed with us.
• Interesting dialog occurring there.

Second, we don’t need to go far to find our work, the people in need of what we have to offer.

• All we need to do is walk outside the doors on Third Street and watch the folks who go by on our sidewalks each day — from before daybreak to after sunset.
• many people come within 15 feet of the doors of our church. But they don’t often turn in to approach.
• And these folks have many needs for food, clothing, a place to simply sit and share a meal, or get off their feet long enough to get back on them and walk again.

Third, most of us as the “professional church leaders” and I put that in air quotes because we certainly don’t know everything, realize this will be much harder work than we were doing in March of 2020.

• What worked 2 years ago may not work now. But we don’t know yet.
• Who participated 2 years ago many not participate now. But we don’t know yet.
• What the real needs are or will be are different, or at least more intense than they were 2 years ago. What we can do? We don’t know yet.

So if these things, these tasks, these questions are here in writing, why is it important that we, the followers of Jesus, focus on them.

When you do it to the least of these you do it to me.
When you feed the hungry, clothe the naked, bind up the wounds of the afflicted you do it to me.

• We don’t do it in order to take care of Jesus or to meet the needs of Jesus.
• We do it because if we want to see Jesus, or know Jesus we will find Jesus in others.
• We cannot come to church for an hour a week and check the “Jesus” box off on our list of things to do.
• We come to church to see each other, and sometime in the future to fellowship with one another, and to see Jesus in each other.
• We leave the church to see and find Jesus in others and to be Jesus with others. That is the church.

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Sunday morning parking at the church is available in the high school parking lot on Third Street across from the church and in the city lots west of the church. These lots are available only on Sunday mornings. A small lot for handicapped parking is available just off of Adams Street on the north side of the church, with an accessible entrance directly into the sanctuary. A lift operates between the Fellowship Hall (3rd Street level) and the Sanctuary. William Sound System Receivers and Headsets are available to assist with hearing problems.

322 East Third Street
Moscow, ID 83843

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The First United Methodist Church of Moscow, Idaho takes as our mission to be the body of Jesus Christ, ministering to a community which draws strength from its diversity. Our mission centers on the worship of God, expressed through varied forms of prayer, preaching, music, and ritual.  See more...

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