Ministry, A Prayer

Sometimes I get to preach

Or tell good stories

Or talk about God in high minded ways–with really cool words!

But the best time, God are when I sit with someone

and do ministry, by listening to stories

or holding a crying child

or trying to understand a perspective that had never occurred to me.

God thank you for reminding me

that ministry is that easy

and that hard.

And thank you, for the fact

that you have empowered

each of us, to minister

to one another

every day.

May we smile

or help

or sit

in ministry today.

Amen.

Feel free to use/share/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

More Mundane Prayers for Surviving the Day to Day

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

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Fish for People/Fisher’s of Men

GATHERING AROUND THE WORD

Welcome & Announcements
Call to Worship
(based on Psalm 90)

God, be a dwelling place for us, we pray. 

Lord you have been a dwelling place for all generations

Before the mountains were brought forth, or even you had formed the earth, you are present

From everlasting to everlasting you are are God

For a thousand years in your sight, are like yesterday when it is past.

So let us praise God from yesterday to tomorrow. 

*Hymn #343                          “Called as Partners in Christ’s Service”

Called as partners in Christ’s service, Called to ministries of grace

We respond with eep commitment Fresh new lines of faith to trace

May we learn the art of sharing, Side by side and friend with friend,

Equal partners in our caring To fulfill God’s chosen end.

Christ’s example, Christ’s inspiring, Christ’s clear call to work and worth,

Let us follow, never faltering, Reconciling folk on earth.

Men and women, richer, poorer, All God’s people, young and old.

Blending human skills together Gracious gifts from God unfold.

Thus new patterns for Christ’s mission, In a small or global sense,

Help us bear each other’s burdens, Breaking down each wall or fence.
Words of comfort, words of vision, Words of challenge, said with care,

Bring new power and strength for action, are us colleagues, free and fair. 

Prayer of Confession: (unison): God, I confess that sometimes I am like Simon Peter, and all I have to say is “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful person.” We have seen evil, yet you are good all the time. All the time God is good. So you teach me to count my days and my blessings. Let your work manifest in your servants, we pray. Amen. 

Assurance of Pardon: God satisfies us in the morning with God’s steadfast ove, so that we may rejoice and be glad all of our days in the good news:  In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

  HEARING THE WORD

                         Children’s Time : Telling God’s Story

                               (All children are invited to the front)

Prayer for Illumination

1st Scripture Reading Psalm 90:14-17

2nd Scripture Reading                                     Luke 5:1-11

“Feed My Sheep” Pastor Katy Stenta

Reflection Roger Held 

Joys & Concerns  & The Lord’s Prayer (p. 16 in the blue hymnal)

RESPONDING TO THE WORD

Offering

*Doxology (#592 in Blue Hymnal) Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise God all creatures here below. Praise God above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost! Amen. 

SENDING THE WORD

Prayer of Dedication: God, let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us. Give us the gifts we need to let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Prosper for us the work of our hands we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Hymn # 370             “Just as I am, Without One Plea” 

Just as I am, without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me, 

And that Thou baddest me come to Thee 

O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am though tossed about, With many a conflict, Many a doubt

Fightings and fears within, without.

Just as I am Thou wilt receive, Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse relieve

Because Thy promise I believe, 

*Charge & Benediction

The peace of Christ be with you. 

And also with you.   (Invitation to share Peace)

Partnerships

One thing that frustrates me about church is when people grudgingly take on tasks.

I don’t know, for me its more fun to be involved and DO things, don’t you want to be a part of whatever is happening?

This week I got the chance to talk to a wonderful lady. Together we planned an arts project in 2 parts: 1 a Family Friendly Art Show 2. A Kids Theater Program (that is very accessible monetarily and hopefully schedulewise).

It was a good hour.

Don’t get me wrong, there will be prep involved, but mostly it just took a spark, an idea.

There will be setup and hosting and taking down.

There will be more planning for part 2

But the way I look at it; it will be LOADS of fun, as most ministry is.

So I’m confused…..do we really begrudge the time & energy that is spent in ministry….or are we just afraid that we are going to have to do it alone!

And for me it took a partnership. So often people don’t want to lead in the church, because they feel like they have to do it alone.

Good News! We don’t have to. God is with us, we are never alone, and God sent us partners! From the gecko, God realized that we work better in Tandem.

WHy Church is not about Belief in JESUS!!!!

Every time we talk about belief in the Bible, the word is actually faith.

WAHOO! LET THE REVOLUTION BEGIN: religion is about belief, whereas it should be (and spirituality really is about) faith.

For a handy chart with some scripture click here

Here is the deal

Beliefs are the limit of human capabilities, they allow us to stretch. Knowledge takes us only so far, beliefs are what we can do beyond knowledge

Faith is letting go to what we know or even believe, and letting the fullness of God to enter our lives. It is beginning to understand that God is beyond our ken, and there is something we live in

Belief is individual, its something you say to define who you are. These is why beliefs are so hard to change, because they are about who you are, and you have reasons for the beliefs you hold. A person (like your spouse or sibling) has a set of beliefs oftentimes they are not e–zzzzactllllyyyy the same as what you believe. Beliefs are a part of who you are. This is why people (and groups, like Presbyterians) have a set of beliefs.

Faith is communal, its about what holds people together. Its often more about the gaps and differences rather than similarities. Faith is what allows you to not know everything, its about practicing the give and take of beliefs. If you don’t have the energy or the wherewithal to believe or trust in something, you can come to a group where others can do what you can’t. When people ask Why do you go to church? Can’t I just believe what I want to at home? I completely agree…one can be spiritual, disciplined and have beliefs on one’s own. And these beliefs are important. BUT, faith is a community that allows for a deeper exploration that isn’t only about what we believe.

Beliefs are tenants that we hang onto. The structures by which we understand the world. As much as they are about who we are, they also are about how we relate to the world and what is important to us. They are the structure on which we hang our hats (philosophers are GREAT at this). Beliefs are something to hang onto.

Faith is a seed–its a small beginning of who we are that we allow to grow. Although it starts out with who we are, its more flexible, not defining our world but instead is something we can come home to (Chart), somewhere to live in the world of different beliefs. Faith holds onto us when we are lost, its what comes and looks for us when we can’t find our way back–Prodigal son, lost coin, lost sheep.

There is nothing wrong with beliefs, I think they are great…they help us to define our world and to express who we are….there are places for beliefs in Christianity–they tend to be during the time of confession, when we say who we are, what we believe first together as a particular church and then silently as individuals. Beliefs are wonderful.

Faith is different that belief though, and in all the places (except in 1st Timothy) what we define as belief is actually faith: epistw (pronounced epistu) .

(Probably because the disciples continue to say they have unfaith, which isn’t a word for us but disbelief is….ah, the logistics of language LOL). Many, many times the disciples and followers of Christ confess that they do not have enough faith…they ask for Christ to help it to grow.

Belief is about telling our own story—telling who we are and why we are that way and what we believe

Faith  is about a way of life, a way of faith, hope and trust in the Lord that is beyond us without God’s help. Faith is something we CAN’T hang onto by ourselves, its too big for us to understand. Its like when Peter walks across water, one minute he has faith–the fullness of God in him, and then it becomes too much and he has to let go and thus starts to sink. These moments are flashes, pieces where we connect via community and God to the fullness of life.

Ex:

Luke 17:3b-6

“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them. The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”

Note, the problem isn’t that the disciples don’t believe in forgiveness, no doubt they do. They just don’t necessarily have the capabilities to do that much forgiveness all the time, so they need more faith (more trust/hope/love from God) in order to be able to live a life of faith.

In Conclusion: Spiritual but not Religious …the church is doing it backwards Christians such as Peter Rollins, Jay Bakker and Jim Palmer deal with the problem of belief and doubt. They say that doubt isn’t counter to belief, its a part of it. I would dig deeper as say that both belief and doubt are a part of the richer, communal and God-intiated (and gift of) faith. (Faith Hope and Love, hence why LOVE is the most important, its about how you live things out, not what you believe)

The Church shouldn’t be a place of tenants and beliefs, it should be a community of questions and faith. The church should be a place for unbelievers to gather (the drunks, the prostitutes and the lepers should be taxi-ed in!)

•Ever notice that Jesus doesn’t go around touted his beliefs. Instead he ask people what they believe (or don’t believe) and then meets them there! (up a tree, by a well, at a stoning, on a cross)…The disciples certainly don’t always retain their trust in God. But, Christ doesn’t ask what people’s beliefs are before them, instead he works to increase their faith. And when people ask Jesus questions, he doesn’t tell them what they should believe, instead he asks them a question in return.

Essentially this scenario takes place over and over, the penultimate being the interchange with Pilate (Katy’s interpretation of events to follow)

Pilate: Who are you?

Jesus: Who do you believe I am?

Pilate: Are you the King of the Jews?

Jesus: So you say…

Pilate: You are the savior?

Jesus: If you think so….

Pilate: Just answer me, are you the King or aren’t you?

Jesus: You say I am, and all these people say I am, I don’t claim to be the King of the Jews, however, I will say this. Even if everyone stopped calling me the King, then the very rocks would say that’s who I am…just saying………

Note: not putting beliefs on others, just a discussion about where the community of faith was….that should be how the church exists!!!!!!

This is the call of the church, we are called not to a set of beliefs (that’s law people) but the gift of faith (YAY for saved by grace not works)……

I don’t know what I believe…but I do have a little faith!

For God so loved the world that whoever has (even a little) faith into him shall never die, but have eternal life

Shannon A Thompson

Author. Speaker. Librarian.

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