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Romans 11:36—“From Him and through Him and with Him
are all things, to the glory of God forever!”

Psalm 73: 25—“Whom have I in heaven but You?
Earth has nothing I desire besides You!”

“Man’s [Humankind’s] chief and highest end {goal or purpose}
is to glorify God and enjoy God forever” (Book of Confessions--
Westminster Confession [Shorter Catechism]7.001, [Longer Catechism]7.111)

Pentecost is this month. Pentecost, the coming of the Spirit, is all about mission. What is mission? Many think of that as far away work by folks to evangelize the unbeliever. Others think of charity or justice work for the poor or needy whether far away or next door. All of that is right but not complete. Mission is what the Westminster Confession called our chief goal and purpose in life to glorify God (Paul says in words or deeds in Ephesians) and to enjoy God forever (serve is the old English meaning of enjoy). The Book of Order in it’s very first paragraph makes clear that we as believers and Church members have no mission of our own, but instead have as our purpose to ”participate in God’s mission for the transformation of creation and humanity” by telling everyone of God’s grace in Christ Jesus, calling folks to the sacraments, and being about discipleship in all we do. (F-1.01) How well do we engage in God’s mission here at First Presbyterian?

Seems a daunting question at first. But don’t fear—the Book of Order in the worship section gives us a clue. Worship is mission says W-5.0301. All that we do to follow Jesus is mission. In particular are 4 mission acts, worship acts that should be central to all of us who follow God as Presbyterian Christians: (1) proclaiming the Gospel in words and deeds; (2) showing acts of compassion; (3) working for justice and peace in society; and (4) care/stewardship of creation. The community weekly worship service, prayers, and the sacraments give life and  encouragement and set us focused on God. But true worship, true mission is our call in these 4 areas. How are we doing in both our individual and our community lives together in this congregation?

Proclaiming the Gospel—we hear and study the Word in Bible studies, devotions, and worship services. We use our sign to tell of scripture and other Christian quotes. We preach and receive the sermons each week. We use the internet to broadcast our worship services and to share scripture, prayers, and encouragement. We visit folks in the hospital. Membership Team ask many to participate in worship by being greeters. Deacons show hospitality each and every Sunday and bring tapes to shut-ins so they might worship and hear the Word. We sponsor campers and adults going to Christian conferences. We teach Sunday school and youth group and Confirmation. Elders and Deacons go with Pastor to take communion to shut-ins. We offer worship at the Nursing Home. We go to funerals even if the person isn’t a member of the church. We actually tell folks about Jesus and His love and grace. We live differently because we live for Christ and not ourselves. Take a moment and add your own acts and those you see in the church that proclaim the Gospel. Write them down:_____________________

Showing Acts of Compassion—The Deacons sponsor the Food Pantry each month. We provide for clothes and goods to Thee Garage Sale or Thrifty’s or Many Hands Market. We help pay rent, utility, or gas bills by private acts and through the Deacons. We send cards to those who are sick. We have a prayer chain to take concerns to God and offer those prayers in worship. The Session pays for dues to the Ministerial which helps both Project Needy in UDMO and pays for a hospital chaplain. We support Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, One Great Hour of Sharing,
Church World Service, PMA missionaries, Presbytery of Prospect Hill projects and per capita to help those at large and far away. We visit others and take food to others. We listen! Take a moment and add your own acts and those you see in the church that show acts of compassion. Write them down:_______________________________________

Working for justice and peace—Some of us vote and hold public office. We write to our elected officials and actually talk to them about programs and Christian priorities. We stand up and walk in solidarity with the poor and oppressed. We support those things that are for the good of the people and oppose political tyranny. We work with Cherish House to provide safety for teens in trouble. We make referrals to Mental Health, Medical care, Social Support and other agencies. We support Public Education. We work with Elderbridge and other agencies to keep Dinner Date and other services for the elderly here. We oppose racism and sexism. We have a child protection policy. We welcome everyone to our services and programs. We stand up and say something when others bully or put someone down for any reason, both as individuals and as a group. Take a moment and add your own acts and those you see in the church that work for justice and peace. Write them down:_____________________________

Stewardship of creation—We set a budget and make plans for our use of money and resources. We put new energy efficient furnaces in the church and work to keep energy use and costs down at the manse and church and in our own homes. Our Nominating Team asks a wide range of people to take up leadership in the church. We use a pledge system that doesn’t shame folks or focus on money but on God. We utilize the recycling options the city provides. We use our time and include Sabbath and rest in it. We prioritize God and family. We make the focus fun and fellowship instead of money when we try to raise funds. We plant gardens. We are aware of taking care of the environment. Take a moment and add your own acts and those you see in the church that show stewardship of creation. Write them down_________________________________________

I hope and pray that you took time to pray about and answer the observations about these 4 areas of mission in your own life. If particular things that the church needs to do came up, talk to Pastor or the session. If things came up in your own life that need work, talk to Pastor or a fellow Christian about ways to make that real. All of us, from children to elderly folks, are still called to mission. Do all things for the glory of God!

- Pastor Tim

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