Faith Family, we are continuing our dive into a challenging, yet spiritually rewarding series on The Body and this month has been no exception in urging us to think deeply about who we are and whose we are. Pastor Brad’s sermon last week had me thinking about a webinar I had the privilege of listening in on from our denomination between a representative from our denomination and an author on the subject of human sexuality.
Author and pastor, Bruce Miller, in his book, Leading a Church in a Time of Sexual Questioning acknowledges a similar sentiment expressed in the message we received this past Sunday—we, as Christians MUST be known for our ability to welcome all just as Jesus MUST be invited to the house of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:5). Jesus was, is, and will be a friend to all—no caveats, no exclusions—He is Jesus friend to all, who died for all. Therefore, as Christ Ones who are His imitators, we must be like Him and extend this unmerited favor (grace) as He would.
My biggest ah-ha moment from last Sunday’s sermon—grace precedes obedience.
If we want others to love, worship, and obey Jesus and his commandments…
If we want others to have the same hope of heaven we do…
If we want others to live a life transformed by the Gospel of our Prince of Peace…
Then we MUST extend our arms in a posture of grace-filled embrace like Jesus.
No healthy friendship, marriage, or other relationship is built on a list of dos and don’ts and THEN a deep connection. Rather, it is the deep connection, the love, the grace, which comes before our abiding by certain relational structures we set over time which build a healthy relationship. When I first met my best friend in high school we did not exchange a list of rules in which we were to abide by in order to be friends with one another. It was our love of theatre, ability to share our innermost thoughts and feelings, and humor which brought us together.
When I think back to my own journey to Jesus, my coming to know him did not happen overnight. Rather God used a series of events, people, and eventually a really convicting sermon for me to say yes to Him—why do we think our friends in other communities would react any differently? When I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior it was not His commandments that initially drew me to Him, but His unrelenting love, grace, and mercy for a wretch like me. His awe-inspiring love—this is how and why we come to know Him who is our God and King.
I look forward to Pastor Brad’s message on Sunday about truth and would ask you all to pray along with me over Pastor Brad. I pray God would use him to speak His word in grace-filled truth.
Here’s What’s Happening at Faith
Garage Sale for Missions
Faith’s All-Church Garage Sale is Friday, July 19 from 9am-2pm & Saturday, July 20 from 9am-noon. Please stop by to shop or donate money as we continue to raise funds for the M.O.M.S. program. Questions? Contact Kathryn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Church Retreat
Registration is now open for the Faith Covenant All-Church Retreat at Covenant Pines Bible Camp, August 23-25. All are invited to join us! This is a wonderful weekend to gather as a church family, grow closer to Jesus as we learn how to love our Muslim neighbors, and just plain have fun! Speaker will be Kim Gustafson. Once again we will hold a lake baptism service for those interested. Accommodations and activities are available for all ages/seasons of life. Register on Realm.
The missionary reception for Shannon and Katie scheduled for this Sunday, July 21 after second service has been cancelled due to a death in the family. Please continue to keep Shannon and Katie in your prayers as they continue to pursue God’s calling in their ministry abroad.
Realm-Get Connected, Stay Connected
Do you know that by using Realm, our Faith family can connect and fellowship outside of our church walls, without staff assistance? Congregants and Lay Leaders may post news and prayer requests, can communicate publicly or privately with individuals or with team/group members, and can access shared personal information through the church directory. It is a safe, invite only space for our Faith family! Reminder: To sign into Realm go to onrealm.org. If you have not signed up for Realm, please call or email the church office at 952.890.3110 or email@example.com.
There is one spot left for our CPR class on July 25 from 6-9pm. We encourage all of our volunteers to be trained in current CPR procedures and because these procedures have changed over the years we are offering these classes. This class is led by Sandy Litman of LifeSavers CPR, and is free to our congregation! Sign up on Realm or by calling the office. Note: professional recertification card is available for $20. Next class will be offered in September.
Faith Twenties and Thirties Go Bowling
Join Faith Twenties and Thirties on July 26, 6:45-9pm, for an evening of fun at Bowlero in Lakeville! Cost is $20 for bowling, shoe rental, and food. Please RSVP to Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org
M.O.M.S. Food Pantry Box
The M.O.M.S. Program food pantry box is back upstairs next to the Information Desk. Donations of non-perishable food items, laundry detergent, paper products, and hygiene items are greatly appreciated. Thank you for supporting the M.O.M.S. Program Food Pantry.
Bible Memorization Challenge
Pastor Brad issued a challenge to our Faith Family in 2017 and would like us to take this challenge once again: to memorize 52 Bible verses in 52 weeks for 2019. These verses will be posted each week in this Faith Update blog and will be in the worship folder each Sunday. To see a full list of verses so you can practice adding a new one each week while keeping up with those you have already learned, click HERE. The verse for the week is this: We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 1 Corinthians 2:12