Faithlife Sermons

How Do We Say Thanks - Be The Church!

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1. Scripture

John 21:15–17 NASB95
15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.

2. How Do We Say Thanks

How Do We Say Thanks
A faithful Church starts with being a thankful congregation.
A growing congregation starts with being a thankful congregation.
A congregation that touches the heart of its surrounding community starts with being a thankful congregation.
And so today we give thanks to the one true God who has revealed himself to us as the triune God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We are thankful
that he calls all people into a personal, loving relationship with him.
that we have responded to that call.
that we as a congregation have sought to reveal this good news of God’s love to our community for the past 140 years.
and that God is not finished with us yet.
We are thankful
that God gave us the courage to take a new look at ourselves and our ministry
Over the past year we have consulted with organizations that work in our area to help people. We have met as a congregation to reflect on who we are as a people of God in this area. And we have put together a vision for our ministry into the future. In the midst of this we have prayed and sought God’s direction.
We are thankful that we believe God still has a mission for us in this place.
and so we sing together saying to God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit - thank you for all you have done and for all you are going to do in and through us.
song - Thank You Lord by Dennis Jernigan -

3. Be The Church

Be The Church
We here at Harrietsville-Mossley have done what many congregations refuse to do - seek God will to discover what he wants us to be and do. We have chosen to look at yourselves, look at our surrounding community and seek how others see our surrounding community.
We were not afraid to invite as many groups as we could to sit with us and share how they saw our surrounding community and the needs that people were expressing. We had an unprecedented response. We invited 42 organizations and around 80 percent of them came.
We were fortunate to have as our Edge Consultant the Rev. Dr. Christine Jerritt who helped us to sift through the material that your Visioning Team received from them and from you. Do you remember the fun evening we had sharing our thoughts and hopes.
All of this helped us to see that we are a healing community. Listen to the report from our April 13th congregational gathering where those gathered listened to the David and Goliath story from Scripture and people were asked,
·'What are the ‘Goliaths’ that you have faced?”
·'Who were the ‘Davids’ that helped you?”
·'What were the ‘five smooth stones’ that were part of your healing?”
The answers to those questions revealed a community of faith that does its work in quiet, humble ways — in relationships shaped by vulnerability, trust and faith. Broken people are gently supported and guided with wisdom gained from personal experiences of wounding and healing. As prayers and stories of faith are shared, people come to know that God is present with them and never gives up on them; that God cares (often through the people God sends to them); that God helps and strengthens them and gives them courage to face whatever challenges they have.
Some people recognized that their own experiences of God’s help and healing in times of brokenness or wounding are gifts that they have to offer to others. As someone said, “Your story can help others by telling them how God brought you through and how you have grown.” Having been met by God themselves in times of trouble, they are able authentically to help others connect with God.
We realized that one of the gifts we have to offer our surrounding community is a place to come to find healing.
But we also realized that we are a place of hospitality. Again listen to the report.
One of the elemental aspects of the healing work that is happening among you is the practice of hospitality. A number of people indicated that when they first came to Harrietsville Mossley United Church, they felt welcomed and accepted. They stayed and got involved because someone drew them into a community that felt friendly and safe. Often this happened because someone invited them to participate in some event or activity.
These are only two of the things mentioned in the visioning report, but I see them as two ways that God is calling this congregation to be the church.
I know the Implementation Team wants to make sure that this report is not left on a shelf, but becomes a true guide into our future.
And friends this congregation has a future. It is seeking God’s guidance and it is not afraid to step out and try new ministries. I will not be here as you fully implement this vision, but I will be watching to see you take leaps of faith. Remember, some of the leaps may have hard landings which don’t work, but know this if you don’t try new ways of serving God you will never discover the ministries that will be used by God to touch and change lives.
Robert F. Kennedy said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
Denis Waitley a motivational speaker said, “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” - 
 Thomas A. Edison said, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” -
Trying and praying, failing and praying and trying and praying again paves the way to accomplishing what God has in store for us. - I said that.
Today is our 140th anniversary! Let’s thank God for the past and all those who have helped us to arrive at this point in our congregation’s history. But let us also give thanks that our future lies again and that our God walks with us and has given us a vision forward. Let us thankfully and prayerfully move ahead knowing (repeat with me.
We are not alone,     we live in God’s world.
 We believe in God:     who has created and is creating,     who has come in Jesus,        the Word made flesh,        to reconcile and make new,     who works in us and others        by the Spirit.
We trust in God. 
We are called to be the Church:     to celebrate God’s presence,     to live with respect in Creation,     to love and serve others,     to seek justice and resist evil,     to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,        our judge and our hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death,     God is with us. We are not alone.
    Thanks be to God.
The New Creed - United Church of Canada 1968
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