This Sunday, we welcome Bishop Grant Hagiya to lead us in worship and the celebration of Holy Communion. While we do not have the Bishop’s direct thoughts in terms of a preview for this week, we may still experience the Spirit’s guidance in exploration of the selected Scriptures for this Sunday.
42The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. 43A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. 44All the believers were united and shared everything. 45They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. 46Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. 47They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.
1After these things, the Lord commissioned seventy-two others and sent them on ahead in pairs to every city and place he was about to go. 2He said to them, “The harvest is bigger than you can imagine, but there are few workers. Therefore, plead with the Lord of the harvest to send out workers for his harvest. 3Go! Be warned, though, that I’m sending you out as lambs among wolves. 4Carry no wallet, no bag, and no sandals. Don’t even greet anyone along the way. 5Whenever you enter a house, first say, ‘May peace be on this house.’ 6If anyone there shares God’s peace, then your peace will rest on that person. If not, your blessing will return to you. 7Remain in this house, eating and drinking whatever they set before you, for workers deserve their pay. Don’t move from house to house. 8Whenever you enter a city and its people welcome you, eat what they set before you. 9Heal the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘God’s kingdom has come upon you.'”
Consider these questions:
- What connections do you see in these two texts?
- Where do you see the movement of God’s Spirit in the text?
- What do you find challenging?
- How do you experience God’s call (or nudge or still small voice) in these readings?
Post-Sermon Follow up on 12/6
Bishop Hagiya spoke passionately about his personal journey of faith and his resulting commitment to The United Methodist Church. His experience highlighted the “Acts 2” church, a church that can be lived out in today’s culture as High Tech and High Touch. Bishop Hagiya noted our own church’s commitment to technology and effective digital communications and invited us to step up this success even more. We were also invited to move our community to be high touch as well, inviting and welcoming all to grow in this community of faith but also sent into our neighborhoods to be agents of transformation as well.
Consider these questions:
Note: These questions stem from Bishop Hagiya’s four priorities for congregations in our Annual Conference.
- Transforming Vital Congregations: In what ways do you see vitality in this congregation? How are we growing? How are we successful? In what ways do you see room for us to grow? How does Acts 2 guide us?
- Transforming Christian Leaders: Who do you see as leaders in this congregation, not including Pastoral leadership? Where do you see yourself fitting into existing or potential leadership roles? Who is someone who exhibits leadership potential that can you invite into a this kind of role?
- Transforming Lives: How are lives changed as a direct result of the activities and ministries of this congregation? What kind of ministries are effective in this way, and which of our ministries do you see as less effective? How can we “prune the vine” to put efforts into more effective ministry?
- Transforming the World: In what ways do you see our congregation members respond to our inward and personal transformation through Jesus Christ by participating in efforts to transform our neighborhoods and the world?