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Jan
19

Commitment to the dream

Posted by jklossner    0 Comment(s)    Add a Comment  comment-icon.png

Aristotle once said, “Hope is a waking dream.” There is this rich connection between God’s hope and God’s dream for our lives and the world. Yet both take an active willingness to be part of the hope and part of the dream. This willingness comes from a commitment that must be made and re-made- to be so bold, faithful, or eager that we never let go of the dream and the hope that God has promise to us through this word ‘covenant.’

Last Sunday we talked about this world covenant and how it is connected to the dream God has for us. The covenant refers to a commitment or a promise that is made between two people. The covenant that God makes with creation is a binding agreement that God chooses to be bound to us; to always be connected and pursuing a relationship of love with us. It seems as though this is not just a commitment, but a dream that God has for us- that we be drawer closer. As the covenant suggests, we have to do our part, we have to live into the covenant.

One way we can do this in our faith is through living out the membership vows of The United Methodist Church. The vows say this:

“Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and put your whole trust in his grace?”
"As members of this congregation, will you faithfully participate in its ministries by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service, and your witness?"

These five words- prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness, encompass the different ways we live into this covenant and draw closer to God and our faith community. Prayer helps connect us to God and God’s will, and it helps strengthen the bonds of Christian community as people pray with and for each other.  Presence is an invitation to be exposed to the teachings of Christ and the church that impact and shape values, priorities, desires, expectations, and life direction. Gifts challenge us to invest in something larger than ourselves; to take what we have, connect it to the giving of others, and create something that will honor and glorify God.  Service is where we put ourselves on the line to do something — to be the body of Christ. Finally in our witness we praise, glorify and worship our God with not only our actions, but also our words.

What we find begins to happen as we live into this commitment is that not only does our faith strengthen, but the ability to see the dreams God has for us also strengthens. Growing in our faith clarifies the vision- we see more clearly the people God has called us to be, the church that our community needs, the loving support that we can give to each other, and the resilient faith that we can hold onto in the face of struggles.

For me this covenant with God and our church is worth following and worth rededicating my life to. I know there will be days when I fail or struggle to keep this commitment to the fullest, but I believe in a God of grace that wraps me in love and challenges me to remain faithful. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a book called “Big Magic” and in it she says “You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.” 

Jeremiah 31 says: "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt…"But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

What a hopeful and grace-filled covenant that we are God’s people! What does it look for us to commit to this covenant? How do we live with this covenant written on our hearts?

This Sunday we are going to continue to talk about the dreams God has for us and how we take part in them.

See you Sunday!

-Julie

PS- In speaking about the ‘gifts’ piece of our membership vows, I want to invite you to participate in our Annual Campaign, which supports the operating ministries of the church. My prayer and dream is that every household in our church makes a pledge of commitment to Christ and the church for 2018. If we are going to be the church God dreams us to be, then we need full participation. Not every household can do the same amount, but every household can do something. I hope you will make your commitment today. We would like to receive your pledge before the end of January. To make your pledge online today, click here.

Jan
12

What does God dream about?

Posted by jklossner    0 Comment(s)    Add a Comment  comment-icon.png

Dear child of God, what do you dream about in your loveliest of dreams? Do you dream about flying high, or rainbows reaching across the sky? Do you dream about being free to do what your heart desires? Or being treated like a full person?
Do you know what God dreams about? If you closed your eyes and looked within your heart, I’m sure, dear child, that you will find out.
-God’s Dream by Desmund Tutu

Last week in Access we started a new sermon series called “Dream on” where we began to talk about the dreams that God has for our individual lives and for this community. We believe God has big dreams in store for our community and in the coming weeks, we are going to dive into these dreams that were shared.

We believe that God dreams for this community to be:
-One of deep faith (who seeks to have a ‘more than Sunday’ kind of faith)
-One that is radical invitational and hospitable
-One that works to be the church that Richardson needs

If you would do me a favor, could you send me an and tell me what your dreams are for our Access community?

I whole-heartedly believe that these dreams are not just individual, but communal; they are for each of us and they are for all us. And when we live into God’s dreams, we draw close to God, and we are able to see God more fully active and present in our lives.  For this to happen, I know that it will take all of us not only dreaming together, but working toward these dreams; to act in the present in order to work toward the future God has for us.

Henri Nouwen said it like this: “God is a God of the present and reveals to those who are willing to listen carefully to the moment in which they live the steps they are to make toward the future.”

Join us in this dream, tell us about your hopes and dreams, and let’s see together where God is taking us! Have I told you I’m excited?? :-) 

See you Sunday!

-Julie 

Jan
05

New Years Reclamations

Posted by jklossner    0 Comment(s)    Add a Comment  comment-icon.png

There’s a few pieces of wood from my family farm in East Texas that have found new life as my coffee table. We tore down the barn years ago, but decided to keep the wood to reclaim and reuse it for something different. It has occurred to me as I rack my brain for 2018 resolutions that maybe what I need is not to take on something new, but to reclaim what is already there - regardless of how worn out, distressed or too-far-gone it might seem.

Reclaiming the wood from the barn was a process with many steps and stages. The barn was close to 100 years old, and the wood did not look like it was even usable. We first had to power wash each board to get off the dirt, bugs and grim. Watching the dirt run out of the wood was mesmerizing. The process washed away the things that were unwanted and unneeded, but left the stains, lines and jagged edges that told a family story of a place that was built to take on tough storms, dry spells and difficult seasons.

In reclaiming this old wood, we saw the potential for something old; not just to be made new, but to be made purposeful, persistent and strong once again. Reclaiming can help us to see how God is never really done with the parts of our life that seem damaged, worn out, or tossed aside. When we resolve to reclaim these pieces of our lives, we are able to regain the purpose, persistence and power that God has given to us.

As I turned the calendar to January and faced the first week of 2018, my mind was brought back to that powerful scripture from Isaiah 43: “Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?”  (vs. 18) That question of what is ‘seen’ reminded me of Thomas, who is often referred to as ‘doubting Thomas’ in Scripture. After the resurrection, when Jesus appears to the disciples, it is not enough for Thomas to see Jesus; he wants to see his scars from death. It was not enough to see something brand new; Thomas needed to know that it was still the same Jesus who walked through pain and suffering and had the scars to prove it.

Jesus’ story in and of itself is a story of reclaiming; reclaiming hope, identity and a different way for our faith to be made present and purposeful not in spite of, but out of and even in the midst of the struggles and suffering that life can bring.

In 2018, can you make a resolution to reclaim something in your life? Something you think is lost, broken, jagged, splintered, or even beyond repair? In the reclaiming, may we draw closer to the God that will never toss us aside, and cling to an active faith that find its purpose, persistence and strength in the love and hope of Jesus, the sacred and risen Christ.

I am so eager to begin this new year with each of you. We are starting a new sermon series this Sunday called Dream On, where we will talk about the vision that God has for our lives and for the Access Community. Join me as we get below the surface and eagerly work toward the dreams that God has in store for all of us in 2018.

See you Sunday! 

-Julie