10Q10Q -- faith, life, rethinking church, following Jesus...stuff

Come join in the discussion of faith at the Koinonia Page where scripture and life intersect in conversation and exploration. Visit on Facebook, Twitter, and Dave's Web Page too! I'd welcome your company at Palmyra First United Methodist Church, where I hang out, too, come and see!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

4 Easter Tips

     Celebrate Easter making friends with these great tools--four acts of Love. (Read Here  last month's encouragement "Don't Be Friendly!") Thom & Joani Shultz share these in their book "Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore." (Harsh title, great book.)
     Easter is a time to celebrate & share new life. How? Well the first approach is friendship that matters. What's that? It's those four acts of Love, lived as friendship that is:

  1. Generous with radical hospitality (go out of your way to make a stranger feel at home);
  2. Honest with fearless conversation (dare to talk about things that make you feel uncomfortable trusting God can handle it.);
  3. Open up with genuine humility (allow God to surprise you with new things, ideas and people); and
  4. Hope-filled with Divine Anticipation (trust that God is doing something exciting even when you aren't or can't).
     God took the sting out of death, put the power in relationships and radically entrusted those gifts to you and me--ordinary people. It doesn't demand special status or skills, just a special God with our willingness to learn and serve.
     At Palmyra First we say Everybody's Welcome, Nobody's Perfect, & Anything's Possible. I believe that. I try to live it. The invitation for us all is to live it.
     Bring a friend to Easter worship. Make a friend at Easter worship. Connect throughout the life of the community as a friend of God in Christ.

10,000 Joys Living as a Friend of God, Pastor Dave

Monday, March 16, 2015

Don't Be Friendly!

Three friends draw on finger-tipsDon't be friendly!  Instead make new friends.
Each year three things grow in my backyard: 1) gourds in the compost pile, 2) A tomato plant from a lost seed, and 3) raspberry plants.  None of these yield an abundance of fruit.  All do better with intentional action.
For me, and maybe you, it's now time for getting ready for Easter, reflecting on Jesus' life... and my own.  I know that Jesus goes to the cross, and that Easter is coming.  In that light you & I  nurture God's seeds, in us.
Making disciples of Jesus is the most important gardening you and I do as followers of Jesus.   We tend that garden by making new friends.  It's easy to say, "I'm friendly," but a fruitful follower of Jesus isn't just "friendly" but is always making new friends.
Jesus said, "a grain of wheat that falls on the ground will never be more than one grain unless it dies. But if it dies, it will produce lots of wheat." (John 12:24CEV) He was giving us a picture of Easter power!  Jesus lived that power making new friends and encouraging others making new friends.  Listen:  "Go into all the world & make disciples...;"  and also see his example with the woman at the well;  and  hear as he tells of the Good Samaritan lifting up an instance of making a new friend in the role of neighbor; and watch as he makes his own new friends gathering the 12 disciples.... Jesus wasn't just friendly, he was making new friends!
All of life contributes to making new friends.  Making new friends isn't about public speaking, or sales, or being extroverted.  It's about intentionally being God's person who purposefully nurtures the seeds we see in other people.
At Palmyra First UMC, in our last ministry audit, Bill Easum, said that if we invited 6 new visitors every week, and they made 6 new friends during their visit (met new people & found something in common), then likely half of them would follow Jesus in this place and we would grow in faithfulness and attendance.  Fewer new friends than 6 would mean little growth.
It's like my garden.  A few things grow without intention, but not much.  Bob & Jane Bauer, disiciples who passed away this past year,  knew this.  They have many friends here in our church who can tell you the story of how they were intentionally befriended by Bob & Jane.

Easter is coming!  A great time to plant seeds that blossom into new friends!
Tell me some of your "new friendship" stories!