A nagging question...for reflection


I preached the 190th Anniversary Sermon for Rochester United Methodist Church last Sunday, May 18, 2014. It is entitled A Chosen Generation.  Below are two excerpted paragraphs from the body of the sermon.  Accept my invitation to read them.  You can also read the entire sermon.

Open your Bible and read 1 Peter 2:2:1-10, especially verse 9.  Unpack its meaning.  Then, ask yourself if you believe the conclusion of a veteran actor in Hollywood, namely Richard T. Jones, who said “God told me you are not living for you, you are living for me.”  Add this nagging question to your prayer life and Christian walk daily, “Do you still want to go where God leads?”  Jesus needs to know!!  So does the body of Christ.

Excerpts From “A Chosen Generation”

“I read Bud McCafferty’s 2014 version of your church history.  It   supplied me with answers regarding your “choseness.”  Three narratives jumped out at me.  First, excerpts the last two paragraphs of the 2014 history read:

“Rochester United Methodist Church has never worshiped its buildings. They are built to facilitate the ministries and activities associated with serving God and proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord…Where do we go from here?  With the rapid expansion of technology, and the shifting winds of God’s Holy Spirit, it is impossible to predict absolute changes. We will go where God leads.

“Never worshiping your buildings, discerning where God leads and going where God leads are the marks of a chosen congregation.  For 190 years, RUMC has been called to represent God’s interests in the world in your locale.  Like the Christians in exile, you will be known by your love for God and neighbor.  However, denying yourself and taking up your cross and following Christ Jesus’ cross aren’t the kind of glitzy activities that draw hordes of people to church.  People want and need radical hospitality, extravagant generosity and passionate worship. They want a break from the hassles of life when they come to church.”

And yet, the One who loves us, Christ Jesus himself, begs his followers to exhaust themselves for the “least and the lost.”  For instance, how does the church respond to young girls kidnapped in Nigeria, the disappearance of MH370, violence in schools or tornados wreaking havoc across the south and west?  Does it concern you?  How is the church helping people address the feverish push for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

In the olden days, we know it as “keeping up with the Joneses.”  How is your congregation engaging in risk–taking mission like the apostle Paul?  Paul serves his entire ministry in cross-cultural appointments.  Do you show all God’s people the lifestyle of the One who came that we might have life and that more abundantly?

Following Christ means experiencing the thrill of Palm Sunday, the terror of Good Friday and the triumph of Easter.  Do you still want to go where God leads?