Come as you are
Love is our “brand” as Christians. The word we have for God’s love offered without precondition is “grace.” We can offer acceptance and welcome to people of all kinds because God first loved us. God’s love and grace are there for us before we do anything to earn or deserve it. The red sneakers and blue jeans on the sign in our entryway mean we’re not trying to impress anyone. We don’t need to be something that we’re not. We can be our authentic selves.
Action step: Know you can be your real self when you come to this church.
Beauty inspires us and draws us closer to God. Our ancient Jewish ancestors were inspired when they went to the temple in Jerusalem for the annual festivals. Just being in our beautiful sanctuary each Sunday we are “God breathed” (that’s what “inspired” means). In worship we want to share with people the beautiful life of Jesus, as seen in his compassion, teaching, boldness in confronting injustice, healing, and the giving of his life for us.
Action step: Make weekly worship a priority. If you have an idea of how to make worship even more inspiring, the pastor would love to hear from you.
Jesus invited people to explore faith with him. He modeled asking questions, and reinterpreting inherited traditions. Here, we investigate and apply Jesus’ teachings to our lives today. No matter what our age, we are still learning. Along with Shane Claiborne, we wonder: “are there other restless people asking . . . what if Jesus meant the stuff he said?”
Action step: Keep on studying the meaning of the Bible for us today.
Connect with God
We use the vehicles for connecting with God that John Wesley encouraged the early Methodists to use. These “means of grace” include worship, prayer, personal Bible study, meeting in small groups, performing acts of compassion and pursuing justice. When we incorporate the means of grace into our lives, we become more like Christ.
Action step: Regularly connect with God using “the means of grace” (spiritual disciplines).
Our joining togethere here at First UMC Baraboo is done so people can experience God’s grace. God’s grace and love are revealed in Jesus Christ. Jesus is like the super glue that holds the universe together. He heals the fractures of our souls and give us inner peace. When we have Jesus in our lives, we can find healing from the inner and outer divisions we see in the world today. We get re-connected with God, others, and ourselves.
Action step: Be part of at least one small group at church.
The kind of help we offer here is our way of serving in the style of Jesus. Our helping others isn’t charity; it’s sharing life in the kingdom of God. Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” In this upside down world of God’s kingdom, traditional hierarchies are upended, ideas of who matters and who doesn’t are thrown out the window, and people put God (not themselves) at the center of everything.
Action step: Be sharing your gifts/talents/resources so that the kingdom of God comes closer on earth as it is in heaven.