September Message from the Pastor
Change the World Discipleship Adventure!
If you could do anything for God, what would it be? This is the question we will explore this fall through the “Change the World” sermon series. The sermons series is based on Mike Slaughter’s book by the same title which focuses on what it means for each of us to follow Jesus in our daily lives. Slaughter writes, “Everybody wants to change the world, and it all starts with a changed heart. As we grow closer to the heart of Christ, we learn to love others the way he did. Passion for justice and desire to serve flows naturally from a faith centered on the message and mission of Jesus: to bring good news to the poor, release to the captive, and sight to the blind.” My prayer is for the fall sermons to challenge and inspire us to grow in a world-changing kind of faith.
In addition to reflecting on the Bible stories and teachings for the week, I would like to invite each of you to participate in a fun adventure as well. My inspiration came from the work Jane McGonigal on helping people heal through play. The idea for this adventure is simple. From September 1st till October 27, we will go together on a discipleship adventure as secret agents of God’s dream. We will have the following elements for the adventure:
- Secret Identity: You will receive a secret identity on September 1. The identities will be based on biblical characters or an activist-type figure. If you are not able to be in worship on that Sunday, you may receive it any Sunday during the series or by emailing or calling the church office.
- Powerups: This is meant to give you the energy and imagination you need for the adventure. You can collect powerups by trying a new spiritual practice for a week, talking to someone about faith, worshipping, joining a small group, or taking four hours to be away from technology and busyness.
- Allies: It is always more fun to play with others. Play the game with your family or friends. Find one or two people who would be willing to journey with you through this checking in with you weekly and praying with and for you. This could be done over the phone, by text, or in person.
- Obstacles: Identify whatever keeps you from fulfilling your mission. Find strategies for overcoming them. Ask God and allies for help.
- Week 1 -God’s Vision: Find an image or a symbol for God’s dream for the world.
- Week 2 -Follow Jesus: Create a road map for following the footsteps of Jesus.
- Week 3 -Welcome the Stranger: Find out which groups in our community welcome stranger. Examine how you are called to welcome all of God’s children.
- Week 4 -Feed the Hungry: What are some issues around hunger that speak to your heart? What groups in our community or world seek to feed the hungry? Learn about one of them and how we might support their work.
- Week 5 -Pause: Take some time to check in with yourself and your friends to see how you are doing on this adventure.
- Week 6 -Heal the Sick: What are some groups in our community who are work on healing or supporting the sick? How might you help?
- Week 7 -Rescue Those in Distress: What are some groups in our community that work on rescuing those in distress? How are you called to help?
- Week 8 -Discipleship Lifestyle: What is one thing that you can do to give up to live more simply? What is your image of yourself as a disciple/a priest?
- Week 9 -Sharing Faith: Share with another person how God has been touching your life and calling you to serve. See if there are others who are willing to join you in serving where God is calling.
There will be some prizes at the end of the adventure, but this is not about competition. I hope that this will help us to share our experiences of faith together in the spirit of fun and of God’s grace. Discipleship is never about earning God’s love. That is a given. It is instead about waking up to God’s love. We invite you to post on the church’s Facebook page your thoughts about your completed quests or you may bring them to church to be posted on a wall in the Chapel. Sharing our experiences of this adventure will encourage each other to fulfill God’s dream.
Pastor Roula Alkhouri
“Like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ… But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of the one who called you out of darkness into God’s marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:5,9