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Why You Should Be There Saturday (The D. S. Will)
by John Weston
We're all busy. I get that. But if you didn't come to last fall's simulcast of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, you missed out. And if you miss this Saturday, you'll miss out again. And you will miss an opportunity to visit with D. S. Mark Galang who hopes to sit in with us for an hour or two during the course of the day. If you're expecting to hear a lot about homosexuality, you will be disappointed. What you can expect to hear is about how Methodism in America was a vibrant, powerful movement for the gospel, and how it could be again. The United Methodist Church in America has ground to a halt in terms of growth. Statistically we are officially in decline. But the United Methodist Church is GROWING in the Philippines. And is EXPLODING in Africa. Why? Because God is gracious and the core doctrines and teachings of the United Methodist Church are worth using, celebrating, and spreading. The heart of United Methodism is worth imparting: we don't spend all our time thinking or talking about faith: we also do it. We help. We witness. We see miracles. Anyone can see a miracle. That's what you're going to hear about.
As a pastor I spend my connectional time with other United Methodist pastors in our region, and I have friends and colleagues. We share the same tradition and all of us pastors do jobs that are very similar. But I'm a minority; most of my colleagues see things very differently from me. We are serving for different motivations and for different outcomes. Sometimes I get up and speak about our differences. And sometimes I give in to apathy or fatigue. It's not easy to get up and speak when most people are not going to like what you have to say. It's not to the same degree as Jesus, or Peter, or Paul, or others in the early church who were forced to publicly defend the true faith at risk and eventually at the cost of their lives:
Luke 12:11-12 11 "And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don't worry about what to say in your defense, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you what needs to be said even as you are standing there."
Jesus lived out his own prophecy himself before he died at the hands of the authorities. Peter, Paul, and many other early church leaders did as well. I am grateful that in my generation I have not yet had to take that kind of a stand. But it could come. Sometimes you can say the truth and even if you put it in the most perfect terms possible, the deal-maker is not word-smithing—saying it as perfectly as possible; the deal-maker is when you're faithful to stand up and when the Holy Spirit prepares hearts to receive it instead of playing target practice with it. Or with you.
But Saturday I will get to enjoy United Methodists who believe and live out what we say we do on paper—folks who are a lot like us here in Silverdale. I still love my progressive colleagues here. But Saturday will be a time of great comfort for me. And hope.
Sign up as soon as you can. I'm making my famous pinto beans for our taco bar for lunch. (And don't worry because that's all Jennifer is letting me make.) But we will be together and by the miracle of technology will get to listen in and even worship with over two thousand other United Methodists around the world. Walk-ins welcome. It's $50. We have some scholarships available. Do this with me. We just might be getting a glimpse of the future.
by John Weston
Who of you have not taken Wind of the Spirit Ministries' Motivational Gifts Seminar? It begins Thursday evening, October 25th. Click here for more info and registration. This is a GREAT opportunity that most churches don't have in-house and which people fly, do a hotel, and spend a huge amount to get. You have it right here at home.
Did you ever have a household appliance that broke, and it was way beyond your capability to fix it, so you shell out the bucks, the repair guy comes, and in a short amount of time, he takes off a panel cover, replaces a fuse or a bearing or a circuit board, puts it back together, and you think to yourself, “I have no idea what he just did?” It's moments like that where it's great to have the professionals come in and do their thing. “They're good at it. It's what they do. Get out of the way and let them do their thing!”
But it's not like that in the Kingdom of God.
There's only one Pro whose way we need to get out of, and that's the Holy Spirit. He calls on each of us to step up and do things on his behalf, and when we do, whatever power is needed will be supplied to us. Remember Paul's reminder in Ephesians where he was writing about God's plan to unite Jew and Gentile in one church as a witness to the universe and all powers that occupy it that it all belongs to Jesus:
Ephesians 4:11-13 11 He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ, 13 until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.
This list includes some of the offices of the church; positions that are key in the body of Christ functioning at its best. But it's easy to ignore verse 12 and focus on verse 11. “Yeah, those church leaders, especially the ordained ones? They know so much. And they have special training! Stay out of their way! Leave it to the pros!” Not so much. My job and all of the leaders' job in this church is to make sure all of us are being trained and equipped to do the practical and spiritual stuff of ministry. Some churches act like a football team that refuses to send anyone out on the field except the quarterback. All of us have a role, and all of us belong on the playing field. Bob & Tracy Martello and the WOSM team are prepared to give exceptionally practical and biblical training to help you figure out what your primary gifting and function is for the body of Christ. WOSM helps pastors like me get my team equipped and into shape so they will function at their best. Do you want to be sharp and effective? WOSM conferences happen right here @ SUMC a couple times every year. I will personally be taking this training as part of my continuing education. Join us!
Master Your Money
I read recently that the U. S. stock market is always turbulent in September. Regardless of what is going on in the world, investors always encounter dips and bumps which make big investors crazy. So really you can plan on it being crazy. Isn't that weird? The Bible has two major warnings about money:
Don't let money be your master.
Don't let money be your master.
Proverbs is God's Little Life Instruction Book about practical matters of day-to-day living—how people think and operate and how we can either honor God and work hard and save for the future or live for ourselves and squander the future.
Proverbs 22:7 Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.
Does God want his people to be slaves? No. The basic idea is we need to take care of our finances by staying out of debt. Basic life care. Being in debt is a great way for money to be your master.
But there's another side to it. Jesus adds a very important addendum to this principle:
Luke 16:13 "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
This includes people in debt whose lives are made miserable by the circumstances surrounding their situation. But the gospels are really focusing on the people on the OTHER side of the equation: financially stable individuals who focus on their stuff. Wealth can become a god.
If we don't take care of our finances we can easily fall into debt, and money will try to master us. That's bad.
And if we get out of debt and save for the future and invest and maybe invest a little more, and keep on investing, and wow, we can make a huge stinking pile of money! Then money will try to master us. And that's also bad.
It's September, and if your month has been like mine, then you know that it's not just the Wall Street players that are experiencing turbulence. If you're in debt, form a plan to knock it out. Visit daveramsey.com, listen to his show, and find some ideas of where to start. And while you're getting out of debt, serve Jesus. And if money is great and more and more of your time is spent thinking about it or the stuff you own that reflects it, keep tithing and ask God for some more personal ways you can give your money AND time to serve Jesus. God wants you to be free from money, and he wants you to be free from money. Do these things, and money won't be your master.
Come on the Journey
Mark 10:21b "You lack only one thing," he told him. "Go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
The gospels tell us that this promising young man did neither of those two things and missed out on something big. But not everyone missed out. Jesus didn't just ask people to believe in him and then go on their way; he challenged them to linger and even help with his ministry as they literally journeyed throughout their homeland and even outside its borders. For Jesus' core disciples, those men and women got to drink in not just Jesus' opinion about the scriptures or the traditions that Jews held in such high importance: they came away with a worldview and that was strong enough and foundational enough to go on to change that very same world.
The United Methodist Church is in crisis and at the end of February, 2019, we will come to a decision point as a denomination. We at SUMC are not burying our heads in the sand. We are staying the course and going on a journey together. Whatever happens, our local church will continue. This past Sunday we took our first step into understanding what the United Methodist Church says it believes on paper. This fall we will examine core beliefs of Christianity and how they affect our lives including our involvement in current day American culture. What do you believe? What difference does it make? What is church really about? You will remember why you love Jesus or come to know him for the first time personally.
Here's what you can do:
Attend worship each week and take in the teaching.
Be a part of a small group that is going through “A Firm Foundation.” There are two sections open Sunday mornings at 9:15!
Visit the website at least monthly for upcoming sermon scriptures so you can read ahead and start collecting your own thoughts.
Pray for SUMC and for the United Methodist Church.
Support each other. It's easier to bond with other believers when you know what really matters.
This is where the faithful are reminded, where the skeptical are thoughtfully answered, and where guests are offered a place in the church which spans nearly two millennia. It's not about listening to a few sermons or going to one class for a few weeks. It's the process. It's serving Jesus. It's loving people. It's living his word. It's the community of everyday saints doing normal things with supernatural help. Come on the journey.
Tomorrow evening, Wind of the Spirit ministries will be offering more than just a “life hack” or two; they will give basic, easy-to-use training on healing prayer that is geared for all Christians. The Apostle Paul tells the churches of the region around Ephesus what job #1 is for pastors:
Ephesians 4:11-13 11 He [Jesus] is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ, 13 until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.
Church leaders are supposed to train. Christians are supposed to get equipped and then go out into the world and be Christians in it doing Christian stuff around non-Christians. Wind of the Spirit Ministries is headed up by Bob & Tracy Martello who have been a part of Silverdale United for a lot of years. If you haven't taken advantage of a WOSM training event, you're missing out on the best we have to offer. The Martellos and the rest of WOSM have been equipping in a way that does not feel like a theoretical aerospace physics lecture. You get to try out what you're taught as part of the teaching. It's safe, hands on, and full of the Holy Spirit's power. He is the one who makes it all work in the first place.
Sunday mornings is just a starting place. Get equipped to go out and be Jesus for people who are living in darkness and bondage—people who are ready to be set free. Sound totally out of your league? It is. But not with God working in you.
2 Corinthians 4:7 But this precious treasure-- this light and power that now shine within us-- is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.
If you want to try and get in on this week's Healing Seminar Thursday evening, August 16th through Saturday morning, August 18th, please call 360-692-9813 between 9:00 a.m. and noon and ask for WOSM.
By John Weston
I sound like a frog.
I just got back from three nights at Camp Indianola working with a group of overnight campers and a group of day campers and I love that no matter how much things change in our society, and no matter how many times I've worked with kids in a camp setting, kids are still kids. We sang songs older than me VERY loudly. We played “Eagle's Nest,” which is like “Capture the Flag,” except that each team is trying to steal “egg” basketballs from each other's side of the play field instead of a towel or a sheet: we decided to play adults vs. kids. The kids cleaned our clocks. We went swimming in Puget Sound TWICE in one day. I have so many mosquito bites, people are asking me what went wrong with the tattoos on my legs. I don't have tattoos on my legs. We ran. We yelled. I had kids try to attach themselves to my feet. The first two days of camp I had over 20,000 steps. Why all this effort? Camp plants seeds.
When kids are around Christians who treat them right, it sends powerful messages that go deep inside them. John Mark's family regularly hosted prayer meetings in the Jerusalem Church in the early days (Acts 12). Luke tells us that when God springs Peter from jail that he goes to their house where there happens to be a prayer meeting in progress. I have a suspicion that John Mark's family's home was a regular meeting place for believers even before Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead. In Mark's gospel there is a curious note in the scene where Jesus is arrested in the middle of the night at the Garden of Gethsemene:
Mark 14:51-52 51 There was a young man following along behind, clothed only in a linen nightshirt. When the mob tried to grab him, 52 they tore off his clothes, but he escaped and ran away naked.
I believe this is Mark's signature: HE was the youth who was out that night, either hanging close to Jesus and the disciples or following them because he was worried. Mark wasn't a major player in those early days, but years later he is one of the first of the next generation to be tapped to accompany Paul and Barnabas on the first official mission trip from the church in Antioch.
One measure of a church's vitality and passion for the Lord is how well they craft spaces in ministry for the next generation. You want to help carry that torch? Contact the office (360-692-9813 or email@example.com) about becoming a part of the nursery team, the kids church team, or working with youth. We screen our leaders for safety, but it's an easy process, and well worth it.
And you probably will not get dunked in Puget Sound and lose your voice.
One of the most endearing and generous apostles of the early church was Barnabas. His real name was Joseph but he had such a good attitude and was so good with people that he became known by his nickname, “Son of Encouragement,” which sounds awkward in English, but in Aramaic it was “Barnabas.” We first hear about him because he had financial resources that God moved him to donate to the church:
Acts 4:36-37 36 For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means "Son of Encouragement"). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. 37 He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles for those in need.
Not everyone had real estate they could donate to the church. But it was one way that people like Barnabas could help out.
In August, Silverdale United is hosting a Camp Indianola Day Camp on site here in Silverdale, August 20-24. Elementary school age kids will be doing a full day of camp led by Camp Indianola Staff and volunteers from SUMC from 8:00 in the morning until 4:45 in the afternoon each day. There will be music, games (including water olympics), lunch, snacks, and Bible learning—just like sending them to camp, but at a fraction of the cost. To help those families that cannot afford the already discounted rate of $110 per child, would you donate $60 so a kid can get registered for $50? For more information on Day Camp 2018, visit: http://campindianola.org/daycamp/.
This will bless our kids and we promise not to give you a weird nickname.
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