Archived Items
Use the links below to access archived copies of Sermons, Bulletins, and The Flame       (our monthly newsletter)
Prior Blogs by Pastor Leigh Ann

Work Redefined

“Work Redefined”
Pastor’s Ponderings – August 1, 2018
“For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield; but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the poor of your people may eat and what they leave the wild animals may eat. You shall do the same with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard. Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest.” –Exodus 23:10-12
If you were to look ‘work’ up in a dictionary, you’d find a definition along the lines of ‘doing something for someone for pay.’ The word ‘work’ is often associated with drudgery and ‘the salt mines,’ and ‘the overlord boss,’ and ‘struggle.’ Work is transactional. Do something to get something. At least this is how it has been for our culture for the last 100 years or so. Work is not often associated as a life-giving, joyous experience.
 
What is your idea or concept of work? We have many folks who are retired in our congregation and you often say things like, ‘I’m busier now than when I worked.’ I often count the years I have until I retire and imagine the time I will have to teach Sunday school and hike and camp and travel. Sometimes we imagine work as something we have to get through in order to get on to the things we want to do. We treat our life as if it isn’t our own but controlled by someone else.
As I flip through the scriptures and think about how the Bible defines ‘work,’ I find Psalm 136 that talks about God’s work in creation and in history. “O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good, and God’s steadfast love endures forever.” The work of God is defined by love and creation. Over and over the Psalmist repeats, “God’s steadfast love endures forever.” The Bible presents God’s work as giving love to humanity and all of creation. The Bible reflects God’s work in creation and Jesus’ work of redemption, and God hasn’t retired yet. God’s still at work also.
The Holy Spirit is God’s continuing ‘worker-bee’ in our world today. The Holy Spirit is getting it done by planting passion and curiosity in our hearts. The Holy Spirit stirs in us a drive to do justice, love kindness and act with humility. As we look around and hear stories of immigrants and hurting families broken up and violated at the border, that stir in your heart to ‘do something’, is the Holy Spirit at work. As we yell at the television and pray for the boys who got trapped in the cave in Thailand, that’s the Holy Spirit at work. This work that the Holy Spirit calls us to isn’t drudgery but life giving and grace-filled. This work we are challenged to isn’t transactional, but generous. In giving ourselves to the service of God, we do God’s work in creation and build relationships that bring healing and hope.
The world defines work in shades of power and control, but God defines work as life-giving and life-sustaining and joyful. It is time to remember that God calls us to different work than the world does and in the midst of that work, God also challenges us to take Sabbath and rest. Just as God rested from Creation on the seventh day, we are also called to make time to be renewed in body and spirit. I hope you are taking time to rest this summer and play a little.
Whether you are in church or taking a vacation, the work of God continues here. But it can’t happen without your generous gifts and financial support. Thank you for all you do! Our Church has a vision of what God calls us to do as we feed people, care for one another and grow faith. Our Church has a MAP for the future, but it can’t be enacted without YOU! Please prayerfully continue the God-work you are called to in the Fall. We are blessed by the Life of Jesus and called to give life to others! May it be so today and always.
Pastor Leigh Ann

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We Begin together Anew

Pastor’s Ponderings – July 2018
“We Begin together Anew”
I begin my fourth year with you in ministry on July 1st. Time flies when you are in the service of God. As I return from Annual Conference this year, I’m mindful of the turmoil in the world, and our nation. I’m also mindful of the turmoil in our larger denomination, The United Methodist Church.
It is hard to say where we will be this time next year. There will be a General Conference with representatives from all over the world to discuss the Council of Bishops’ recommendation to remain one church, but allow different regions to make contextual decisions based on their experience and understanding of Jesus’ teachings. That is to say that our region might come to one understanding about human sexuality and the Southern region of our church might come to another, but we all share a commitment to the work of Jesus Christ in the world.
Our Mission as a people is to ‘make disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world.’ We are followers of the teachings of the person Jesus, who lived so long ago in the Middle East. He taught us to stay in Love with God and to Love our Neighbor. Jesus longed for us to be a people who acted with generous care of one another, accepting and passing along the grace and forgiveness of God, the Father. This mission or work that we are called to has not changed over two thousand years. We remain called to love.
Our Ministry Action Plan lives out Jesus’ teaching by setting goals to do justice, grow our faith and provide welcome and hospitality to one another and those who come through our doors. The three core themes of our goals are JUSTICE, FAITH and HOSPITALITY. Honestly, I am most passionate about FAITH, which is worship and the arts, discipleship and education and growing our space for doing all of these. Other members of the GAP team really focus in on HOSPITALITY, believing welcoming is an important key to following Jesus. Still other people are passionate that we must do the work of JUSTICE, feeding the hungry and providing for homeless. The truth is that these three foci rely on one another and build our common work together.
This Ministry Action Plan sets the course for my next year with you. How far can we get? How many people can we reach? How much love and grace can we extend together in the name of Jesus? Let the Spirit carry us as we soar together into God’s Kingdom. Amen.
Pastor Leigh Ann

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