Accomplishment: “See What God has done in our midst!”
I want you to join me thanking God for all He has done through us and for us in our midst. My family and I came to Riverview UMC 8 years ago. During these years, we have accomplished many things together! During these years, we have shared our lives together! I also thank each and every one of you for being my faithful partner in ministry for last 8 years. Here are the things we have done together for the Kingdom of God.
*We prayed together (Morning Devotion, Prayer Meeting . . .)
*We worshiped together (Sunday, Midweek, Special Holidays)
*We learned God’s Words together.
*We visited together: sick, potential member . . . etc.
*We ate together.
*We sang together.
*We served our local community together.
*We shared our communion meal together.
*We learned together.
*We welcomed the new members together.
*We grieved together for the death of our church members.
*We supported our church ministry with our finance together.
*We planned together!
*We struggled together to overcome some challenges.
*We repaired our buildings together after the hurricanes.
*We cleaned our church together . . . and more!
For all of these accomplishments, let us thank God!
The Apostle Paul said in today’s text, “You yourselves know how I lived among you in the entire time from the first day . . .”
*He said, “I have served the Lord with all humility and with tears enduring the trials that came to him.”
*He said, “I did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message to them and teaching them publicly and from house to house.”
*He said, “I taught about repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus.”
I cannot honestly say that I did all of these like Paul. But you and I know that I have done some of these for last 8 years. For that, I want to give thanks to our God!
Paul said, “Now, on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.” My family and I are on our way to Margate, FL. We do not know what will exactly happen there. We can guess what we may experience there based on our little knowledge about our new church. I read the church profile several times, studied the community demographics. Our family even visited and met the leaders of the Cokesbury UMC. During the Annual Conference, I even met two members of that church. My family and I heard about our new church from other pastors who are living in that area. But we still do not know what’s going to happen to us. But I want to use Paul’s conviction as my conviction and commitment to the ministry God has called to do. He said in verse 24, “But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace.” I do not need to know what would happen me in our new church and community; I will continue to preach the good news of God’s grace with all my heart, soul, and strength. To Paul, fulfilling God’s mission was a way more important than preserving his own comfort, safety and even his own life. I don’t think I can live like Apostle Paul, but I am going to try.
Take care of yourself and God’s flock
“Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.”
If we don’t take care of ourselves, we cannot help other people. We are also called by God to take care of the congregation. Paul shared this message to the leaders of the Ephesian’s Church. As you know that you are receiving a part –time minister. What does it mean? It means that you have to step up to do the works of ministry even more. It means that you should not expect your new pastor to all the things I used to do.
It is the Holy Spirit who made you overseers of God’s flock. I want you to know that God has called you to be the shepherd of His church—the church he obtained with the blood of Jesus His own Son. Whenever you take care of our church, you are actually expressing your love for God. Please do that through your prayers, giving, service, presence, and witnesses.
“Be alert and remembering what for three years I did not cease night or day to warn everyone with tears.” I want you to stay alert and remember what I have taught you for last 8 years. You can stay alert through prayers. Prayer is the most noble thing for any church can do! Jesus called the church, “the house of prayer.” Continue to pray; Pray alone; Pray together! Pray silently; Pray aloud! Our Lord Jesus set a great example through his prayers. Our Bible says that we should pray without ceasing. We should pray according to God’s will. We should ask God to give us the courage and boldness so that we can open our mouth and share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Ex. 1/3 of United Methodist Church in FL Conference do not have profession of faith. It is a sad reality. We are one of the 1/3.
Ex. We have to pray even more because of “The Commission Way Forward.” There are several things we can do to prepare ourselves. We need to be informed about these. We need to pray and talk about it with the spirit of love, unity, respect, and open heart. We need to be busy in our ministry for the Kingdom of God.
Commend you to God and His Words
“And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified” (v.32). Read, Study, Preach, and Live out the Word of God.
Walk with the Lord one day at a time. St. Francis of Assisi said, “preach the gospel, but only when necessary, use words.”