Geneva United Methodist Church
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Love the Lord, love and serve others, go and share God's word by invitation and example.

Pastoral Message

One of the Apostle Paul’s major teachings centered on followers of Jesus
adopting the mind of Christ as their own. (Phil. 2:5;1Cor. 2:16) This
adopting or having the mind of Christ is more than simply agreeing
with Jesus. It is the process of choosing the thought, focus, and mission
of Jesus as one’s own. It is conforming and reforming one’s identity to
the identity of Jesus Christ.
 
It is a difficult thing to purposely set aside our personal preferences,
mindsets, and habits. It is also difficult to take on the ways of Jesus as our
own. The process is first about letting go of the desire to acquire things,
fame, and power. Spiritual formation is far more about subtraction rather
than addition. All of our cultural influences teach us to add things to our
lives. Only prayer and meditation teach us to simplify and give up things.
 
As we are developing the habit of giving away things we learn about
giving up cherished thoughts about who we are, the will, and our ego. As
this is going on, we are also embracing the way of Christ. The way of
Jesus is best seen in reading the Sermon on the Mount, and long
reflection on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. This process is
made possible only by the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
We suffer constant setbacks, and enjoy the constant work of Grace during sanctification.
 
This process also takes place in congregations. We are not a collection of
individuals saved by Jesus. We are the body of Christ! We are saved into,
born into, baptized into the Church! Holy Community is the way Jesus has
chosen for us! This too, goes against much of what our culture teaches us.
Yet, the witness of the ages is that Jesus saves all people to, in, and through community.
 
And so we come to the Healthy Church Initiative of Geneva United
Methodist Church. We have been given five strengths, five concerns, and
five prescriptions for our congregation to grow in every way. The first item to
consider is that of Vision. We have been asked to consider a process of
Visioning and Prayer. WE have been asked to focus on asking God to give
us a vision of who and what we are as a congregation. For over a year, we
have been asking what God wants to do with us as individuals and as a congregation. This is the beginning of the process of visioning.
 
As your pastor, I urge you to look at, and pray over the report given us by
HCI. Please find the report in this edition of the Newsletter. We will have
three Townhall meetings to discuss the report. Those dates are Sunday,
Jan. 21st , at 12:30 pm; Wednesday, Jan. 24th , at 7:00 pm; and Saturday,
Jan. 27th , at 10:30 am. The meetings will be held in the Sanctuary, and they
will all be identical....you need only attend one of the three.
 
Shortly after the Townhall meetings we are going to have a Charge
Conference to vote on receiving the prescriptions, and following through
on the prescriptions. You must be a member, and present to vote. Simple
majority will determine the outcome. I want you all to know that I strongly
endorse these prescriptions, and want to pursue these regardless of what
we may have to give up.
 
Following Jesus Christ means joining with his purpose for our world. This
path allows us to be renewed and transformed in terms of being faithful to
the mission of Christ in this world.

 

Peace,

 

  Pastor Bruce