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  • Rev. Michelle Vernone

Places To Grow In Our Discipleship

So, let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of

blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good

to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. (Gal. 6:9-10)

Here we are friends, another year together as church. I’m so grateful and excited to be a part of God’s good work in and through Edinburg FUMC. UMC Pastors are appointed year to year. We often have the unspoken expectation that we’ll stay in one place for a few years, nothing is guaranteed or promised. We commit to going where God (through the Bishop and cabinet) sends us. Each year is a precious gift and we should be purposeful not to waste a moment of it.

What good work is before us? What opportunities for relationship, community, fun, growth, joy, and deeper discipleship are before us? Already, we know that in the next few months the remainder of the walking trail will be installed. We are updating and refurbishing the playground and making plans to invite the neighborhood families to be at home on the property. We are experimenting with 5th Friday Food Truck Potlucks as a way of reconnecting with each other and connecting to our neighbors. We are planning to reallocate space and

rooms to reflect the work and ministry we are doing now, instead of letting rooms sit empty for “maybe one day”.

But all of these only matter if they are the overflow of our personal and communal

discipleship. If they are about living out our identity as the “salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” The work of the church is for the heart of God. Our mission statement says that we are loving God by loving and serving others. All that we do is a demonstration of our love for God. How we serve, how we give, what we say, what we don’t say… these are all pieces of our discipleship and worship. Our spiritual practices and habits are a means of pressing into deeper, more authentic discipleship. What is your individual prayer practice or habit? Bullet prayers? Crisis intervention? Moments here and there? Dedicated time every day where you ask and listen? What does your individual study of scripture look like? Do you take time to read every day? Do you let God’s word transform you? Do you dig deeper for context? Do you ask questions? How often are you in corporate worship on Sundays? Do you fast? Do you participate in small group study? When planning out your day or your week, what gets scheduled first? Is it time for your spiritual practices and discipleship or other things? When planning out your finances, what gets budgeted first, your tithe/offering or…?

We all are in different places in our discipleship journey. We all have places to grow in our discipleship. None of us can grow in our discipleship alone. We are meant to do it together, in community. So, I’m inviting you into a challenge – The Wesley Challenge: 21 Days to a More Authentic Faith by Chris Folmsbee. These questions are attributed to John and Charles Wesley that would be asked in their “Holy Club” (read accountability/small groups ministry). I’ll create a special Facebook group for those willing to take the challenge with me. We can discuss the daily questions and challenges. I know some of you don’t do Facebook. If you’d like to do the challenge with us, I’ll figure out an additional way for us to connect. We’ll start on August 1st.

Let us not grow weary of doing good or of choosing to love God more deeply and intentionally. For at just the right time, we will see God’s blessing.

In Jubilee,

Pastor Michelle

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