October 30, 2016
“A disciple is not above his teacher...Yes, there is a cost to becoming a true and faithful disciple.” (Matthew 10:24)
Jesus said if we are to be his disciples we must “count the cost”—there is both good and bad about following Jesus! Mostly, it is all good in the long run.... I am often asked: “How do I manage my life in terms of the everyday effort to be a?disciple of Jesus Christ?” The answer may be different for different people and their personal circumstances, but to help give some guidelines of possibilities, I offer these “5 Marks of Discipleship” from the Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.*
SUNDAY WORSHIP – The Eucharist is one of the most important means by which the work of our redemption, reconciling with God and each other in Christ, is accomplished. Weekly gathering as a community centered in Christ is at the heart of our discipleship.
DAILY PRAYER –– Prayer is a conversation with God enabling us to grow in our relationship with the Lord. It includes praising and thanking God for all our gifts; asking God for all we need to live faith-filled lives; praying for forgiveness of our sins; remembering others in prayer. Prayer includes vocal prayer, meditation or contemplation. Prayer can be rooted in scripture or a particular devotion. Praying can happen anywhere, in traffic, in church, while folding clothes, while sitting in a quiet spot and centering oneself on the presence of God in one’s life.
STUDYING THE SCRIPTURES –– To unleash the power of the Scriptures in our lives, we need to study them. Reading a study Bible and participating in scripture discussions and study groups is one way to come to a deeper understanding of the meaning of the Bible in our lives.?
SHARING OUR FAITH –– One mark of a disciple is to be able to share our own faith with another person. This can happen in many ways. Sharing the meaning of the Scriptures in small groups is one way. Having a Spiritual Director is another way. Developing spiritual friendships where one can easily talk about faith is another way. By sharing our faith we deepen our belief and ability to live consciously as a disciple. (If you would like to learn more about getting a Spiritual Director, be sure to contact me directly.)?
STEWARDSHIP OF TIME, TALENT AND TREASURE-- Disciples serve others. Service is at the core of the Gospel message. Service includes sharing one’s time to be of assistance in both Church ministry and “ministry in the world”. Stewardship also includes sharing one’s talents to build up the Church and to build a better world. Donating money or goods for the sake of contributing to the Church and the reign of God on earth is also a vital part of stewardship.
These 5 marks of discipleship are to be integrated in our lives over our entire life- time.... Prayers of peace and spiritual satisfaction to you as you engage, one day at a time.
Peace to you in Christ, Pastor Mary and Jim Blessing?
October 23, 2016
Over the past several weeks I've been out on the road quite a bit between the Santa Cruz Mountains and Carson Valley, Nevada. One of the things which I've come to depend upon during these journeys is the availability of a service station for gas, restroom and coffee. Gas, restroom and coffee are the essentials that help me stay focused on the road, and therefore ensure a safer journey.
How is our relationship to St. Philip's like a service station? For me, St. Philip's provides the essentials that determine the quality of my spiritual journey: worship, Bible study, outreach opportunities and community. I also recognize that there's a cost to maintaining the services offered at St. Philip's and at least once a year I need to be intentional about how I will best contribute my support.
I invite you to join me in considering just how we'll support St. Philip's in 2017 as we focus on our annual Stewardship Campaign in the upcoming weeks.
Grace and peace, Sally Sutter and the Stewardship Team