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Worship Preview for 9.24.23

First United Methodist Church This Weekend: “Before, After, Now, and Not Yet” - The Way of Christ and the Will of God series continues. Scriptures: We will read Isaiah 64:1-12 and 1 Corinthians 2:9-3:6. Rev. Christopher Eshelman preaching. The world is so often broken, I can cry out with the prophet “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence!” Isaiah speaks a lament in the time of exile, and yet hopes. I am reminded that God has “come down” in the incarnation. Christ bears our wounds and breaks the bonds of sin and death. Preaching the Risen Christ, Paul speaks in the assurance that God is with us, but with the caution that we too often substitute our will for God’s. We aren’t willing to wait for what God is doing. These words of Scripture from before and after Jesus’ human life will help us explore how we live now, and the promise of what is “not yet” revealed. No one has yet seen or heard, nor can we even imagine, how wonderful God’s ultimate will for us is. But we have a foretaste. We live in this now with the Spirit. We are called, therefore, to a new way of life that rejects the violence and domination systems of the world and instead lives in light of Christ. Paul says: “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.” Too often we hold so tightly to our in-group labels and our self-image as “good people” that we rationalize our behavior, becoming self-righteous and blind to our own faults, devaluing others insight and thus again fall short of God’s Will for us. But by recognizing, in Paul’s words, that we are “infants in Christ” we open ourselves to that growth, to shared insight. To a form of waiting on God that is not passive or idle, but engaged - enabling us to set aside "jealousy and quarrelling" over our false certainties and instead enter into the mystery of Christ with wonder and awe! Remembering the Sermon on the Mount that we’ve drawn from the last several weeks, we are called to a path – a narrow way of prayer and service. We are called to build on the Rock – a firm foundation. And yet we are called to pay attention to how Jesus lives these metaphors out – not as rigid, unchanging, exclusionary fundamentalism but as a healing, inclusive, transformative love. Love that recognizes all our words about God fall short – and yet with Isaiah and Paul, we are called to speak and share. This week we will pray Let our eyes see as those who have beheld your glory, let our ears hear as those who have marveled at your voice, let our hearts and minds conceive the world as you will it to be, and let us live into your beloved kingdom. No matter where 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 experience the transformative, healing love and grace of Christ - which makes us whole. Visit for more information on what to expect. Upcoming Events: Wednesday, September 27, 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. Ways to Help: Would your group like to help prepare a meal or volunteer in other ways – contact Pastor Christopher or our coordinator Bonnie Milburn at the church (620) 223-1950. Donations to sustain this ministry are also deeply appreciated and can be directed to Feeding Families in His Name, c/o First UMC 301 S. National, Fort Scott, KS 66701. Mark Your Calendars – Sunday, October 8th at 6pm, Presley’s Branson and RFD TV performer Chuck Crain will be in concert at First UMC. This is another freewill donation show, so bring a friend and enjoy some great Gospel music here in Fort Scott!

Rev. Christopher EshelmanPastor, Fort Scott First UMC Know, Grow, Serve, Share Cell Phone (316) 833-4974



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