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5.14.23 Worship Preview

This Weekend: Sunday at 10:30am “Equipped for Every Good Work” Scriptures: Jeremiah 29:1-7, 2 Timothy 3:10-17 and Ephesians 4:1-16 – with Rev. Christopher Eshelman preaching.

Last week we pondered Jesus saying: “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these.” I made the point that the stories of Jesus life from the Gospels are not merely things that happened a long time ago that we are to believe a certain way – they are examples of how we are to live together as the body of Christ – and that we are called to do even greater things! It certainly seems daunting. This week we will continue to think about our Spiritual gifts. God does not set an impossible task and leave us to figure it out – in Christ and through the Holy Spirit, 2nd Timothy assures us that God is equipping us to do all that we are called to do. – to be the body of Christ - to do these greater things – including love as Christ loved. Ephesians expands that to note we are also part of equipping others and echoes our recent guest speakers. While we have different gifts and roles, and we should find that place where using our gifts leaves us energized, we are “joined and knitted together” with a purpose of growing into “spiritual maturity.”

And we are to do that here and now. While we certainly believe there is more than this life and that heaven is perfect union with God, and while we take great comfort in the idea of being reunited with loved ones in a great cloud of witnesses, following Jesus is not primarily about escaping this life – and that is not a new idea. God is with us now – and was with our ancestors in faith too. We’ll open with a passage from the Prophet Jeremiah. In the time of exile, when the dearest hope of the people was restoration to the land of Israel, God used Jeremiah to tell the people: “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce… multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf…” This is our task, not to idly dream of other places, but to build up our community through the good of the general community and time we find ourselves in. This is the way, truth, and life Jesus shows us and calls us to follow.

Wherever you are on your own journey of faith, you are invited to join in worship and celebration at 10:30am at 301 S. National, coming just as you are, with your questions, doubts, and hopes - and to find purpose, explore your own gifts and graces and experience the fullness of Christ’s transformative, healing love and grace - which makes us whole.

Upcoming Events:

Wednesday, May 17th, 5:30 pm Feeding Families in His Name– this weekly free meal is available to everyone without obligation. A “to-go” meal is distributed under the portico at 301 S. National. Note: Please do not block nearby driveways while waiting. Thank you.

Walk the Labyrinth! –Exploring the labyrinth is a great way to enjoy beautiful spring days. A walking labyrinth is a single path to the center, there are no wrong turns or dead ends. The labyrinth at 3rdand Crawford is open to all and you can use it to pray, discern, or just enjoy a stroll. Mark your Calendar for 11:45am Sunday, May 28th, when members and friends of both 1stPresbyterian and First United Methodist will gather for a short, formal dedication of this space led by Rev. Christopher Eshelman.

Mark your calendar also for a special worship service on June 11th. That day, First United Methodist members and friends will join together in one worship service with our neighbors at 1stPresbyterian, 10:30am in their sanctuary at 3rdand Crawford, We will hear from Pastor Darryl Burton about his faith story. Pastor Burrton previously served 24 years for a crime he did not commit and came to faith in Christ during that nightmare, experiencing freedom in Christ long before the physical locks of the prison were opened. Pastor Burton is now an associate Pastor at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City. We are thrilled to have him share his witness here in Fort Scott on this special shared Sunday!



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