Kathy and I are very pleased to find ourselves in Ocilla and Irwinville for (at least) another 12 months. You are wonderful congregations to serve with and you certainly bless us every day!
When I responded to the call to ministry in the United Methodist Church I knew about the itineracy, that is the appointment system, which keeps clergy supplied with churches and churches with Pastors. I can’t say I understood it. I have seen the process work quite well and I have seen churches nearly destroyed with a wrong appointment and/or a poor response to an appointment.
A disciple is defined in several ways. The word comes to us from Latin and old French, which translates to “learner” in English. Bill Mounce, a renowned Greek scholar suggests these meanings for “mathitís,” from the Greek New Testament; “disciple, student, follower; a committed learner and follower, in the NT usually of Jesus Christ.” When Christians use the term it almost always means the later. And not just the Twelve we know about, but anyone who claims Jesus as Savior and Lord!
Disciples seek to know the Teacher, as well as the subject matter. In Christianity these two overlap, as the Teacher is the subject matter. The teacher uses a book given to us millennia ago which we call the Holy Bible, the Word of God, or the Scriptures. Not a book for everyone, but for the follower, those who want to know Christ.
Today is the Sunday when we celebrate Pentecost. The disciples, hiding in fear for their lives, gathered on the 50th day after the second day of Passover week, known by the Jews as the Festival of Weeks. They didn’t know what to expect for the future. They wanted to trust God, but fear held them in its grip. Witnesses to the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus the Messiah, they couldn’t imagine what God was about to do.
Joel prophesied of the day when God would pour Himself into His people, all people, and restore the relationship He wanted with us. He writes;
The date is May 24, 1738 and a dejected John Wesley half-heartedly attends an evening meeting with some Moravian Christians on Aldersgate Street in London. Wesley’s career at this point seemed to him a disappointment. Having returned from Georgia with little success among the indigenous people, even less with the English, he struggled with his faith. The Oxford graduate, described as a fervent preacher, was no stranger to hard work and discipline, but, he longed for more from his faith. He wanted something he saw in the Moravians who sailed with him both to and from the Colonies.
The church is at the same time a creation of God and of humans. Beginning with God’s Presence in the wilderness with the children of Israel, God wanted a relationship with His creation. Of course, the story tells us God offered Himself to individuals previous to this, but sin limited those opportunities in every way.
After the anointing of David as King, the Ark of God found a home in Jerusalem. Only during Solomon’s reign was the Temple constructed for a permanent home for the Presence. At this point in history the Israelites worshiped Yahweh, an unpronounceable term of reverence, who is the God who miraculously delivered them from slavery in Egypt.