A Story Worth Telling
"You have a story worth telling!" These are the words that were shared at a workshop I attended this past weekend. The presenter was talking about how we encourage others on the path of discipleship, and so she talked about the importance of sharing our stories of what difference following Jesus has made in our lives. As examples, she shared some video clips of people who told their own stories - stories of drug addiction and broken relationships, stories of being abused and taking that pain out on others, stories of finding God and being mended, stories of raising children to know Jesus and serving others who are broken. The videos left a little tear in your eye if not running down your cheek. No one had any doubt these stories are worth telling, but many of us - perhaps most of us - in the church do not feel that we have such a powerful story to share. There has been bad news in our lives, but it has not been as bad as for these folks. We have experienced the power of God in our lives, but it doesn't seem that dramatic in comparison. So the presenter says to us, "You have a story worth telling!" What difference has following Jesus made in your life? What difference has your journey with Jesus made for those around you? That is a story worth telling!
What is your story? I would love to hear it if you want to share by email, note, phone, or face-to-face!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Sunday's Sermon Snippet
Forgiven: Leave the Table ( Matthew 5:21-24)
When we talk about forgiveness, we often focus on God's forgiveness toward us and the forgiveness we are expected to show one another. We mostly overlook a third aspect: our need for forgiveness from others. Perhaps it is because of a fear of vulnerability or lack of control. When we are the ones forgiving others, we are in control of the situation. Even when God is forgiving us, we feel in control because we have God's promise of forgiveness if we repent. We have no such promise, however, from other people, so asking forgiveness of them is risky. What if they refuse? So we tend to ignore that we need forgiveness from others. We even go so far as to pretend that our sin against others is only a sin against God. "It's between me and Jesus," we say. But Jesus tells us another story in his Sermon on the Mount. If we are at the altar bringing our gifts - that is, seeking to be close to God - and we remember someone has something against us, Jesus tells us to leave the gift and first go and be reconciled. Jesus is telling us that we cannot draw close to God if we are not able to be close with another. We cannot be reconciled to God if we are unwilling to be reconciled to one another. Jesus takes this so seriously that he says that we should leave our gift at the altar, go to reconcile, and then come back. This is an absurd idea because those he was speaking to lived a long way from the altar in Jerusalem. The journey back home to seek forgiveness and then back to the altar could take days. Yet they were supposed to make such a long, time-consuming trip to be reconciled before coming before God at the altar. Perhaps this could be justifiable for a big sin, but surely Jesus would not mean for them to do this for any everyday kind of sin. Just before this, however, Jesus was talking about how someone who was angry at a brother or sister or calls them a fool is liable to judgment just like a murderer. Perhaps it is a bit of hyperbole to get us to understand how important being reconciled to one another is to God, but Jesus is saying that it is worth traveling hundreds of miles back and forth just to ask for forgiveness and to be reconciled to one another, because we cannot be close to God without it. Being close to God means being brave enough to ask for forgiveness of others for our sins.
Keeping Children Safe
Join us on Thursday, March 22, at 7 pm as members of the Harrisonburg Police lead us in a conversation of what we need to know about "Drugs in Our Community" in order to keep our children safe. Whether you are a parent, a grandparent, a friend, or a teacher, this will help you be better prepared to help the kids in your life face the challenges that are out there for them everyday. Invite a friend or neighbor, and join us for the this important event!
Living in Community
Thanks to our 225th Anniversary Planning Team for their work this week getting ready for our celebration!
Please pray for their work, and look for details coming soon!
The work on our stairs repair project is in its final phase. Concrete has been poured for the new ramped entrance to the fellowship hall. The stairs themselves should be installed soon.
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, March 14
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
6:00 pm - Wednesday at the Port
Thursday, March 15
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Sunday, March 18
9:30 am - Worship: "Forgiven: 1, 2, ..., 490"
11:00 am - Sunday School
Monday, March 19
9:30 am - Bible Study at Dianna's house
Tuesday, March 20
7:00 pm - Bible Study at Dianna's house
Keeping Kids Safe: Drugs in Our Community - March 22, 7 pm
Maundy Thursday - Worship with Grottoes UMC, March 29
Good Friday Worship - March 30, 7 pm
Easter Sunrise Service, Bradburn Park - April 1, 6:45 am
VBS tentatively scheduled for June 25-29
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!