What is a Christian to do in the midst of difficult times of violence and hatred rooted in religion? How can we truly love our enemies when they wish us such harm? Last week, I had the privilege of hearing one of my colleagues preach on these difficult questions. She spoke of Jesus' warnings of the persecution we will face if we follow him and the encouragement to abide in Christ as he abides in us. She talked of the need to pray and hold fast to the love of Jesus. Then she said something that truly struck me: none of this is new, of course; this is what Jesus' disciples have been doing through the many generations since his Resurrection.
She is right on so many different levels, I believe. In addition to the larger persecutions the church has faced from time to time, we each know the struggles and challenges of trying to live faithfully day by day. How we wish there was something new to get us through the broken relationships, financial shortfalls, stressful days of managing work and family, simply the everyday stuff of life! In fact, the bookstores are full of so many "new" ways of helping ourselves out of our problems. But, in the end, how we are called to respond to life's struggles and challenges is the same as it was for our parents and grandparents for many generations back. As my colleague put it, "when the going gets tough, the disciple gets abiding in the love of Christ."
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Thrive: Growing in Godly Living and Giving
This fall, we are reading Paul's closing words of wisdom in his First Letter to Timothy on how to live in a godly way that will transform our lives.
Sunday's Sermon Snippet:
Where Our Hope Lies (1 Timothy 6:17)
The goals we set in life matter so we need to keep our focus on the goals of faith that truly matter. To reach our goals, we have to work toward them day by day and keep them in clear sight, because there are many things that can distract us from them. As Paul concludes his letter to Timothy, he turns back to the issue of money that can so easily interfere with us reaching our goals of faith of godly living. In this single verse, Paul encourages the rich to put their hope not in the finances that are uncertain but rather in God who provides everything for our enjoyment. While we may not think of ourselves as the rich, we in this country for the most part are rich compared to many others in the world. Even if we do not have riches, living in this culture leads us to have a mentality of riches in which we believe our problems can be solved by having more money. With this mentality, money becomes our hope. When we face problems, we look to money to solve it and then to God only as a last resort. As a result, money becomes an idol, something that we are not willing to put below God. When it comes to being generous and giving, we are afraid to give up front or to commit to a certain amount because we might need it later. We rely on money, so we may give from what's left over, but to give in times of worry seems foolish. We need the money because it is our hope. This makes financial sense perhaps, but Paul tells us not to succumb to the lure of riches that promise us health, safety, security, and happiness, because wealth is a fickle thing. God, on the other hand, is steadfast and wants the best for us. God wants to provide what we need and more. The problem is that when our hope is money we cut ourselves off from the blessings God intends and we hoard the blessings God intends for others by refusing to give as generously as we are called to. When we hope in God, however, we see the blessings God has for us and we share them with others. May we learn to put our full hope in God!
Looking Ahead in Worship
We spend a lot of time worrying about how much we have saved up (or not) in our retirement accounts. Will it be enough to see us through our golden years? How should we invest it? How much should we be saving? But for all our worry, we miss the account that matters even more. Join us this Sunday as we discover "What We Save For!"
Your Help Needed
We have recently had a few minor incidents of vandalism on the outside of our church building, and we need your help to prevent more. If you are the last to leave the building, please make sure all external doors are locked and latched. If you see anything that appears to be damaged, please let Pastor Jim or any of our Trustees (Lauren, Jennifer, Keith, Perry, Kerry, Davida, David, Bob, and Randy) know.
Living in Community
Thank you, Dianna, for your years of service as administrative assistant! Your dedication and hard work enabled us all to do the work God called us to better.
Anyone interested in applying for the administrative assistant position should turn in a resume to Pastor Jim by this Sunday, October 9th.
Thank you to everyone who has completed and turned in their charge conference reports!
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, October 5
9:30 - 2:00 - Office Hours
6:00 pm - Wednesday at the Port
Menu includes meatloaf and mashed potatoes!
Thursday, October 6
6:15 pm - Lay Leadership Committee
7 pm - Finance Committee
Sunday, October 9
9:30 am - Worship - "Thrive: What We Save For"
11:00 am - Sunday School
Silent auction for Youth Missions begins!
Chili Cookoff and Silent Auction for Youth Missions, October 15
Music Ministry Sunday, October 16
Charge Conference, October 23, 6 pm
Drive-thru Nativity - December 9 & 10
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!