February 2: Everyone Welcome. (Everyone?)

Believe What?  Everyone Welcome.  (Everyone?)    This is the first in a series of February sermons focusing on what we believe.  Christianity struggled from the starting line with regard to what is necessary – circumcision, dietary laws, synagogue traditions.  “Salvation” – is it something I do, or something I receive by faith?  (See Acts 16:30-31.)
As the church grew, so did its diversity of faith.  People responded in different ways to the question of the identity and ministry of Jesus.  With this diversity came also the fear that the very core ofFebruary 2 Gracie Smith the faith might be lost, or so clouded and confused as to be indiscernible.  Friedrich Schleiermacher defined “heresy” as “that which preserved the appearance of Christianity, but contradicted its essence.”  (See II Timothy 3:5.)
What is the “essence” of our Christian religion?  Speaking of “starting lines”, think back to the Book of Genesis.  Is there anything God created without saying it was “good”?  We begin with radical inclusion as “necessary” if we are going to be followers of Jesus and faithful in ministry in our community.  What do we believe?  We believe that whoever you are, wherever you are from, whatever your background – you are welcome here.  And we all know that it’s one thing to say we believe that; it’s quite another thing to make it so.

Today’s Sermon:  Everyone Welcome. (Everyone?)

Genesis 1:20-25

Matthew 13:24-30

Anyway   –   Martina McBride

I Shall Not Want  –  Audrey Assad

Our Theological Task  (United Methodist Church)

Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.