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Joel 2:28 / Col 3.1 / Matt 6.33 “Is Generosity, More or Less? Extravant?” JUMC 201201118

Joel 2:28. I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old mean shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. (NRSV)

Colossians 3:1. Therefore if you were raised with Christ, look for the things that are above where Christ is sitting at God’s right hand. (CEB)

Matthew 6:33. Desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (CEB)

REVIEW of our STEWARDSHIP SERMONS:

  1. God does not want our money. God wants our hearts.  Q: Where is your heart?
  2. Our pledge card is a spiritual measurement tool. Q: Has Prayer Conditioned your tools?
  3. TODAY: What is your dream and vision of what God can do through us?

Consider now what you would like to see happen in your life in that same time. In what ways do your passions for the church align with your personal desires? Today I will share my passions for the church in this coming year.

THE LIST

Have you ever seen the movie The Bucket List, with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson? Two terminally ill men develop a list of all the things they have always wanted to do. They face their task with a great sense of urgency. Today we will explore our bucket list for the church.

This week, I ask you to consider what you would most like to see happen in the church in the next year. When we deal with our own pledge cards we are making a mark toward what we would like to see happen next year.

  • LESS? Would you like for us to do less next year? Fewer services? Fewer touches of those lost, hungry or hurting? Fewer studies? Fewer children at Vacation Bible School?
  • SAME? Why not do exactly the same thing? Don’t expect growth, simply maintain and hold on with out intention or hope for more? God is content with holding fast our talents?
  • MORE? Why not look with the dreams and vision the prophet Joel speaks? Why not look ahead to where we are going and see who has won the race we are running? Why not measure with God’s possibilities? Would we like to do more? Reach another child or youth? Clothe another coat? Reach another searching heart? Invite another person to worship or dinner?

What kinds of church do you want our congregation to be:

Turn to your neighbors and tell them ONE thing you would like for us to be next year?

Know for being First? Rich? Big? Grumbling? Complaining?

CONGREGATIONAL FEEDBACK

Biblical Text:

Joel offers direction for us, as we consider our vision of the church. Vision comes about as God inspires people to prophesy, dream and have visions. What has God inspired you to envision for the coming year?

Colossians instructs us to set our hearts on things above. It is very difficult to focus our attention on God when we are distracted and overwhelmed by the cultural influences in our lives, but that is the call on our lives.

Matthew’s Gospel sets our personal and community priorities. Together in community, we help one another to seek God first in all things, to strive for righteousness, or right standing, with God.

These verses give us the starting place for understanding what God has called us to do and be as a church in the coming year.

One day I would love to serve as pastor of a church that was a county seat church, that loved to work as a United Methodist Church, where they people embraced that call to make disciples for Jesus Christ, through Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Spiritual Growth, Risk Taking Mission and who had Generous people who allow their hearts to be Extravagant for God. WOW! The Bishop and DS do know how to answer my prayers!

A Pastor’s Dream Church:

I would like for us to have a 120 children participate in our VBS. I would like for us to send 60 youth in hands on mission work. I would like to increase the number of adult who share skills, talents and faith with our children. I dream of a church where member know our children need the wisdom and experience of all the adults and finding volunteers to work with children and youth never a problem.

I dream of time when the children and youth don’t have to fund raise the support for the ministries we want them to have that will shape the rest of their lives. The can fund raise through our church-wide mission. If the cost of our youth program is $15K and our children’s program is $10K we know the money will be their without question.

I would like to have fellowship, classes and studies for young adults, singles, parents, older-adults that reach EVERY member. Those who do know the support and joy of these small groups, be compelled to share this with those we are missing, (not by guilt, instead through joy)

I hope for our worship to be filled with music, voices, musicians that assure the passion of our worship is present every Sunday. I dream of a time that we don’t worry about two worship services, because we are starting our fourth worship service to reach four times as many people.

I dream of a time that we average feed 200 people on Wednesday night dinners over two dinner seatings and give more people that opportunity to provide meals and give a break to those who have served so faithfully, before we wear them out.

I hope for a time that we are know throughout our region as the church with the heart of Christ to share.

If you want to settle for what we can do to get-by with saving, I don’t think you will be happy at any church… that has kingdom first in their hearts..

Concluding:

Over the last few weeks we have considered what we love and value in our church, who has made a difference in our spiritual lives, and our best hopes and dreams for the next year. Next week we will each make a critical decision about how we will express and grow in our generosity.

Yes, we need our leaders to respond to this call. We need every member, friend and regular visitor to participate in this radical, passionate, intentional, risk-taking, and extravagant dreaming of our hearts.

When you receive the pledge card this week, please be in prayer and seek God’s direction for your expression of generosity toward the life and vision of God’s ministry through this church.

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