April 19, 2016

Why reach out? What is this imperative to multiply the flock of Jesus Christ and grow his church? Because people need the Lord and the world needs the Lord’s people. Because the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the assurance of his companionship, the life that really is life that he offers changes lives. The life Jesus offers changes despair to joy, loneliness to community, even death to life. Because the peace Jesus offers makes possible peace in the world, because the power of forgiveness he offers makes reconciliation possible, and therefore a way forward for a world in conflict. Because the resurrection power that is his, becomes ours.

Why reach out? Why not! This message of the grace of Jesus Christ is not the property of a Christian club. It is a mandate to share that grace as widely and as fully as possible, in every way we can, to all the people we can, as ever as long as we can. Our work as a church is to know who we can bless, how they need to be blessed, and how we can include more people in extending that blessing further. To “get it” in the church, is to understand that we are engaged in an ever widening circle of love that transforms all that it touches, to joy in that ministry of love, and call others to it. That’s is why we are here.

That circle reaches out, it gathers in, and returns toward the shore like a great ocean wave. It is the rhythm of the spiritual life; we seek God’s face and grace in worship and study, and then we reach out to others, empowered by the Spirit who sends us to bless others in Christ’s name.

As Central United Methodist Church, we are challenged to know who is within our reach. Who God has placed us here to bless. We have a mandate to extend love to the community around us. How can we do that effectively if we don’t know much about who is around us?

This April 23 and 24, we have an opportunity to know who we are here to serve. The importance of knowing the answer to that cannot be overestimated for it will determine the direction of what we do going forward as a church. We need our congregation to be at the heart of that discernment, to hear who is in our reach for Christ and to understand how we can bless them with good news. I hope you can be a part of the Reach Out Conference this weekend. It will make all the difference to you, to our church, and to the people who are waiting for our love in Jesus to bless them.

I hope you will be a part of this movement of grace, this opportunity to bless, and this call to serve that will change our church and our community. Come on Saturday and Sunday. It will bless you and me as well.

Pastor Linda Farmer-Lewis