Who are we? Who is our neighbor? And what is God calling us to do?
This Sunday in the Sanctuary services I will begin a series of sermons entitled The Heart of the City. This series will be part of a conversation about the good news of all that is going on in our congregation and all around us. The tremendous growth of Fort Worth is making the title of the series more and more descriptive because, as the Trinity River Vision and the West 7th area continues to develop and grow, the city center will be just about where we sit.
This is exciting! This is also challenging! We, as members and leaders of First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth have a commission to be God’s people in the world. We have a commission that is succinctly captured in the mission statement of our denomination: To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. As a congregation, we express this mission in our tagline: Love God. Serve People. Transform Lives. It’s branded on just about everything around here, and it comes to mind and rolls off the tongue very easily. It’s the quick-and-easy summation of our identity as a church — a statement of how we understand our ministry together. But what does this familiar and seemingly simple statement really mean?
This is a good time to take stock and begin to clarify the answers to some important questions and what those answers mean to us as a community of faith and as individual Christians.
The first three sermons are questions posed in Gil Rendle and Alice Mann’s book “Holy Conversations: Strategic Planning as a Spiritual Practice for Congregations.” Then, we’ll take a look at what’s ahead in our church and in our community, what role everyone has to play, and to wrap it up, we’ll remind ourselves of how a church is built.
January 15, 2017 — “Who Are We?”
Romans 12:4-8 and Matthew 5:13-16
January 22, 2017 — “Who is Our Neighbor?”
Romans 12:9-18l and Luke 10:25-29
January 29, 2017 — “What is God Calling Us to Do?”
Romans 12:1-2, 9-21 and Matthew 28:16-20
February 5, 2017 — “What’s Ahead?”
Romans 12:1-2 and Hebrews 12:1-2a
February 12, 2017 — “We All Have a Role to Play”
February 19, 2017 — “How a Church is Built”
1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23
This Sunday we begin with a basic question: Who am I? We are “hard-wired” to begin asking this important question from an early age — probably before we even have the words to ask it. Then, the question resurfaces from time to time throughout our lives — particularly in our significant times of transition. But, this isn’t just a question for individuals. Groups of people — institutions, communities, organizations, cities, nations — and churches also ask this question from time to time. Throughout the life of the church, we ask, Who are we? That’s our question for this coming Sunday. I look forward to seeing you then.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster,
4 We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. 5 In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. 6 We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, you should prophesy in proportion to your faith. 7 If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving. If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. 8 If your gift is encouragement, devote yourself to encouraging. The one giving should do it with no strings attached. The leader should lead with passion. The one showing mercy should be cheerful.
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its saltiness, how will it become salty again? It’s good for nothing except to be thrown away and trampled under people’s feet. 14 You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.