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7.7.24 Worship Preview

First United Methodist Church         


This Sunday: 10:30am – “Can you, by worrying…?!” Rev. Christopher Eshelman preaching. Scriptures: Psalm 46::1-11 and Luke 12:22-34


Last week,, I cited Author Martin B. Copenhaver, who counted Jesus as asking roughly 307 questions in the Gospels. These questions are usually not just requests for information, but provocative invitations. They are about encouraging his listeners to go deeper in their understanding of God and self – to enter into discipleship.


This week we will focus on such a question and Jesus most common method of instruction – not simple statements but parables to ponder. Luke chapter 12 has many well-known and challenging parables and illustrations. Jesus calls us to realize where our focus is, what we do with our gifts, including our time and our energy. “Can you, by worrying, add a moment to your life?”  We are then instructed to notice – the lilies of the field and the birds of the air. 


What are you anxious about? The question is both comforting and complicating all at once. Worry is one of those feelings that tend to grow if we try to ignore or suppress it. Ignoring it is akin to pouring water on a grease fire – and our society seems designed to keep us afraid, anxious, to lead us into hoarding and consumption. Just before the verses we’ll read, Jesus points out how uncertain life is – and how building bigger storehouses won’t secure our future. Just after our passage, another parable says to be ready for action, watchful, prepared. That is, not idle. And yet this preparedness is not to be anxious, nervous energy, but fruitful, faithful discipleship. We cannot extend or secure our own life, but we can “seek first” and participate in God’s kingdom. Rather than trying to douse worry, we are called to participation in God’s energy. 


And we do not do that alone. While we are given freedom and freewill, we are also given community. We, along with the lilies and the birds, and all of creation are interdependent. God made a universe in which each element and each creature interacts with the others to sustain the good of the whole. The sun warms the earth, the moon triggers the tides and earth maintains the water cycle. Take a deep breath. Our lives depend on that next breath of oxygen – oxygen we do not create. We are dependent on the trees and natural world expelling it into the atmosphere. Interdependence, along with freewill, are gifts from God. Last week we talked about using our freedom not for ourselves, but for each other. This week we acknowledge our need for and responsibility to community, with each other, and all of creation.


We manage our anxiety not by suppressing or ignoring it, but by being intentionally grateful for what we have received and working to bring justice and wholeness to our communities. We focus first on God’s kingdom, recognize our kin-dom with others, and walk with Christ, learning from his humility, love, and service.. Join us this week at 10:30am as we continue our path of discipleship, individually and together, exploring the questions Jesus asks. Blessings on your journey!


Upcoming Events: 

Wednesday, July 10th 5:30–6:30pm: Feeding Families in His Name resumes after a week of rest – this free meal is available to everyone without obligation. A “to-go” meal is distributed under the portico at 301 S. National. A reminder: Please do not block nearby driveways while waiting. Thank you. If you would like to support this ministry, you can make donations online at


Sunday, July 14th Potluck in the Park Bring an entree, side, or dessert and join us at 12:30pm in Gunn Park Shelter number 7 - we will gather there after worship at the church to share food, fellowship and games. Invite a friend!


Friday, July 26th, 1-4pm  Aging Forward / Adventures in Learning

The national Shepherd’s Centers of America that we are affiliated with has rebranded as Aging Forward! Same local programming will continue the fourth Friday of each month through September. Join us on Friday, July 26thfrom 1-4pm in First United Methodists Fellowship Hall (3rd Street Entrance, downstairs) for local speakers on a variety of interesting topics. 

Intended for retired adults to encourage fellowship and lifelong learning, Fort Scott’s Aging Forward! Adventures in Learning programs are free and open to anyone who would like to attend. Refreshments provided. Mark your calendar for August 23, and September 27th as well! – and invite a friend! 




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