God is calling us somewhere new. This is the story of how God has been working in and through our leadership to discern the future of our congregation. Next Sunday the mission partners will vote on three items 1) to extend a call to Amanda Whiting as a part time pastor of connections and spiritual formation 2) to adopt a new vision, mission, and core values. 3) to move to change the name of our church to "Last City Covenant Church." Here all about the heart and the call in this weeks sermon.
In order to combat sex trafficking we must first and perhaps foremost deal with the persistent cultural brokenness that allows women and sex to be objects that might be bought and sold. The #MeToo movement is an important opportunity to tell the truth about how we have missed the mark. The Church should, must, be leading the way.
Laura Muliken from Source MN walks us through the most basic and important ways that we can build a community that interrupts the suffering of sex trafficking.
Human trafficking happens because of a political, systemic, social willingness to not uphold human dignity. In John 8, after a week of tense political/religious conflict, Jesus finds himself in a face to face showdown with religious leaders who are trying to kill him. He doesn't blink. He stands up to them and their corruption which is systematically robbing humans of their dignity. We must do the same.
At a time when it was all about the huge national debate, power, government, religious identity, etc. (sound familiar?) Just at that moment in history, God showed favor to one poor Jewish girl. Forget everything else this Christmas and remember only this: God loves you.
Jesus announces his ministry with Isaiah 61 and so should we. Worried about being "in" on God's plan for the world? There is only one simple, sure way to be in the middle of God's plan: serve the poor, the blind, the prisoner, the outcast. When we do, we will find that "The Spirit of the Soveriegn Lord is on (us.)"
Instagram is the new Facebook, Tinder is the new EHarmony, late is the new on-time, and John the Baptist is the new Elijah. But notice the way John pivots our expectation. Instead of a showdown of power like Elijah, John comes in humility and simplicity. All this behavior emulates, precedes, and points, exactly as we should point, to the one who is coming after him. Jesus.
The mission of God on earth is to get specific, particular, and deep. God has called us to exactly that, but he hasn't left us unprepared. Advent prepares of for the breaking in of God's plan. Where we are going, we are going to need Holy Spirit, the giftedness of our whole congregation, and the expectation that our goal is to be, like Jesus, incarnate in this world.
Creation is one of the best ways to share the good news about God and his Kingdom. Caring for creation is an important part of our witness to the world concerning what we believe about how God. Christians who deny climate change have damaged the credibility of the Gospel. If we really hope to share Jesus we have to care about the world He has given us.
Caring for this world is an important way we connect to God. Its an essential way that God finds us and forms us. This week Amanda invites our community to an ongoing practice of finding God in caring for His creation.
The Bible holds a unique view of and promise for the future. Christian hope about God's plan for the world is the ultimate driving force behind our actions as it concerns the environment. Not only do we have access to this hope now, but living into it should be considered our vocation.
Climate change has had and will continue to have a disproportionate effect on the poor. The Biblical call to care for the poor is overwhelming and undeniable. Those of us who follow Jesus should ready ourselves to care for the Earth as a necessary part of our response to caring for the world's vulnerable.