Remember Resilience

THE PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION       We approach seek the Holy Spirit to illumine our minds as we hear God’s Holy Word. Join me in a spirit of prayer.

God beyond borders, open our hearts to all the wonders you are performing in our lives.  As we encounter you in this time of worship, open our minds to the truth of the Gospel. You gift us with your holiness in our culture and in our lives. You send us friends to share the journey of faith and to nurture our love for you and enrich our community with faith. We seek the revelation of your love for us in your Word. Amen.

SCRIPTURE READING                 Genesis 4:3-16                                                Cain and Abel

In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the Lord said, “What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground! And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it will no longer yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! Today you have driven me away from the soil, and I shall be hidden from your face; I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me may kill me.” Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! Whoever kills Cain will suffer a sevenfold vengeance.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, so that no one who came upon him would kill him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

We pray that the Lord will bless us with these Holy Words.

TIME WITH GOD’S CHILDREN# RED 494   “Step by Step”

SCRIPTURE READING                 2 Timothy 2:8-15                    A Worker Approved by God

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.

Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.

This is the Word of the Lord!                           Thanks be to God!

 

THE MESSAGE                                “Remember Resilience”

Again, the Apostle sends a letter to Timothy for encouragement. Paul, writing from prison, the Apostle reminds Timothy and the Christians in Ephesus that their priority remains faith in Jesus Christ. The core message for the church comes from the life and ministry of Jesus. Our God of Creation entered the earthly realm as Jesus of Nazareth from the Lineage of King David. God’s love revealed in the divine presence of our Lord who dwelt in our community and expressed through the death and resurrection of Jesus who provided salvation and hope for eternal life.

As we enter into a time of transition as a congregation, I imagine that members of this congregation will feel abandonment in a time of suffering. Like the Christians in Ephesus, we wonder what happens next and how do we continue without the leader they’ve known. Timothy and the elders wonder about how their role will change and how will they keep the flock together. The Letters to Timothy remind Christians in many different situations that our resilience comes from our relationship with Christ. Paul’s instructions to Timothy begin with these words:

Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.

Remember your faith and the truth of God’s grace. In the days, weeks, months, and years ahead remember the faith you’ve been taught, the Truth of Scripture, the reliable witnesses of other members. It’s time to take stock in what you believe, why you believe, and who do you believe in. Take note, even write down the witness of faith that you’ve received. Find a Scripture verse to hang your hat on, one that gives you spiritual strength in all circumstances.

You will find resilience in trusting the Lord to hold your best interest at heart. The Lord wants you to grow in faith. The Lord desires that this congregation survive. The Lord will teach you to persevere. Christ came that you may live a life worthy and acceptable to God. The Lord died on the cross, so that you may live an abundant life. So I encourage you to live your faith, accept God’s guidance, and endure as a Child of God so that you will be part of the Kingdom of God. You will reign in a world of challenge because, Christ is faithful still. Paul’s wisdom to Timothy:

“Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.

I encourage you to work together during this transition. Seek the mind of Christ without wrangling over words. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide your deliberations. Pray for your elders and deacons, and pray that the Lord will prepare you to receive a new congregational leader. Pray that God will present you with opportunities to serve. When you serve, offer your best that the Lord will approve your work as mission and ministry. Work with diligence to be Christ’s hands and feet serving others. Use your words to proclaim God’s activities in your life and in the life of the congregation. Explain to others the Lords’ Word of Truth.

I believe that the Lord will give you spiritual strength to be resilient in during this transition, through the interim, and into your next called and installed pastorate. God’s resilience will sustain this congregation and provide direction, even when you may feel lost. Remember the resilience of the Israelites in the wilderness. Over forty years, the Lord guided them, formed a faith community, and shaped them into God’s people.

Remember that your identity in Christ as a child of God will sustain you with resilience through turmoil. I like the image of Christ as an anchor through the storms of life, even the with hurricane form winds. Over my faith journey, Christ remained resilient anchoring me, when life seemed unsettled. In the first eighteen months after college, I had three temporary jobs and seven addresses. My first priority, always, began with finding a church home. The Lord created a deep desire to find a place and space to stay connected to my faith.  While my professional life felt unstable, God remained my resilient anchor to hold me together.

As you move into a time of uncertainty, I urge you to cling to Christ your anchor. Help other members remained tethered to Christ through First Presbyterian Church. I know there will be times that you feel ready to leave the ship, but trust the Lord to keep an even keel and bring you safely to the other side. You will be stronger together and I believe the Lord will bless your faithful efforts to remain in this body of Christ.

Remember to be resilient in faith as Christ remains your constant anchor even the midst of life’s storms. More so now than ever, hold together, present your best service to Christ. TGBTG. Amen.

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