November 1, 2023
Let me see here, what could I write about today?
Option 1) In November, we have a Members Meeting in which we vote on Deacons, Deaconesses, Elders and the annual budget.
Option 2) Israel is in a war in the Gaza strip and much of the world is on edge as this could turn into something much larger.
Option 3) Russia and Ukraine continue their war that also has international ramifications.
Option 4) China continues to threaten Taiwan and shows signs of saber-rattling that may be indicators of an invasion.
Given the fact that Israel, Russia and China have all been considered by some to be big players in end-time events, options 2, 3, and 4 all raise our eyebrows.
Option 5) We are starting a new series this Sunday in the Gospel of Luke.
Option 6) This Saturday we are to turn our clocks back an hour and get an hour sleep refunded to us that we lost in the spring.
Option 7) The University of Michigan’s football program is being investigated by the NCAA because it has been accused of cheating which (in my mind) explains why they beat my beloved Buckeyes the last two years.
So, which one do you want me to address? Of course, it’s Option 7! And believe me, I would enjoy writing on this, but I’m not sure it would actually be all that fruitful and helpful from a gospel perspective, so, I will restrain myself. However, I do want to address options 1 and 5. Yes, this Sunday we are launching our study of Luke’s gospel. I have never preached through this book before and I am very excited to do so and so many of you share that anticipation with me. Praise God! Out of the gate, Luke tells us in his opening sentence as to why he wrote this book. And his statement of purpose stands as an open invitation for you and me to come and look, learn, and investigate, because when we do, we will be amazed, overwhelmed and satisfied.
Luke writes this way because God is not hidden from us. Christ came to us. Christ invited people to come and listen, come and learn, come and eat with him, come and walk with him, come and see how he lived, and come and see what he did. There was nothing in his life that ever contradicted anything that he said. The integrity of Christ and his open invitation sets the pace for what it looks like to follow him and what the church needs to look like.
That is really what our Members' Meetings are designed to do. This is when we all get to come and see, come and learn, come together and make certain that we are on the same page. I think that this meeting is a great opportunity to live out things that we see in Christ and the Bible.
For example, the OT is God going on the record and making promises. The NT is the story of how God has fulfilled and is keeping those promises. That is what our budget process looks like. The annual budget is proposed to us as a congregation. If accepted by the congregation, it is a promise on the part of the congregation to support the budget and it is a promise on the part of the leadership to use the funds given according to the agreed upon plan. Every 3 months, we have a Members' Meeting in which we get to review how that promise is being kept. In this particular
meeting, the 3rd quarter report is given and next year’s budget is proposed. So, this is a chance to look back and see how the promise is being kept and to look forward to another promise being made.
The fact that this process has been going on for decades, has contributed significantly to the trust and confidence that the congregation has. But we cannot take that for granted. The leadership does not view the vote of the membership as a formality or mere rubber stamp. Oh no! The leadership recognizes that the congregation is the church! Our polity is described as elder-led, congregational-ruled and deacon and deaconess served. The Elders and Deacons and Deaconesses serve on behalf of the congregation and are voted into these offices by the congregation. They are accountable to the congregation and want to be. Our Members' meetings are invitations to come and see, come and learn, and come and engage. Let’s be the church.
This Sunday, our 3rd quarter Members reports and our 2024 proposed budget booklet will be ready to be picked up for your review. The next Member’s Meeting is November 19, 2023 (6 days before the Buckeyes exact some justice)
Grace and peace,
Sunday’s text: Luke 1:1-4