Ten Years of Ministry in Middleburg!

2019-09-08 – Year C – Proper 18 (altered for Homecoming) – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas

Deuteronomy 32:45-47; Psalm 1; Hebrews 4:6-13; Luke 14:25-35

Why are we here today?

  • Celebrating the 10th anniversary of our first worship service in this building.
  • Celebrating 10 years of ministry since that first worship service.
  • The real reason we are here today is that this congregation took a stand for the Word of God 10 years ago, and that stand had some significant cost associated with it.
    • Luke 14:27-29 – What was our cost?
    • This congregation is more than 10 years old. It was founded in the early 1980s.
    • We had a mortgage-free building in a prime spot on Blanding Blvd.
    • We had a healthy thriving congregation in that building.
    • But, our denomination was more and more abandoning the authority of the Bible.
    • This congregation knew that was a problem. Fr. Hall Hunt had taught you well!
    • You counted the cost and you decided that it was worth it! I commend you for it!
    • The cost involved leaving the security of our old property and building and starting over at 3813 Old Jennings Rd. in Middleburg. It involved raising money for the land and this building which would be built on that land. This cost a lot, in fact, we are still paying for it! But the cost was worth it to be able to freely and faithfully proclaim the word of God.
  • Two important symbolic actions were taken as the foundation was poured.
    • A copy of the Bible was placed in the foundation as the concrete was poured.
    • Two verses were written in the slab that would support this structure:
      • Deuteronomy 32:47
      • Hebrews 4:12
    • The Word of God is literally the foundation of this church!

The Cost of Being a Disciple

  • I hope our journey together as a church has inspired you to take up your own cross and follow Jesus. Luke 14:27.
    • While we did pay a cost to follow Jesus as a congregation, this passage is really speaking more to the individual disciple of Jesus.
  • There is a cost to being a disciple of Jesus. We cannot accept all religions as the same. We cannot accept a relative understanding of truth. We need to make different moral choices. These choices will make us stand out, and the world will hate us for it.
  • This cost isn’t intended to be dreary and burdensome. “Count it all joy.” James 1:2-4.

Staying Salty

  • I feel a little like Joshua. Moses led the people to the edge of the promised land and Joshua succeeded him, crossing the Jordan and occupying the land.
    • Fr. Hall led this congregation out of the Episcopal Church and onto this property in Middleburg. Now God has led me here to build on that foundation and continue leading the mission. Moses and Joshua had similar messages. Deuteronomy 32:47 and Joshua 24:15 “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
    • We are the same congregation we have always been. We love the word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we are willing to stand for it in big ways.
  • The challenge today is to make sure we don’t lose our saltiness. Luke 14:34–35
  • We need to be winsome communicators of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
    • Winsome means “Attractive or appealing in a fresh, innocent way.” Compelling.
    • We are not a fortress designed to keep people out, wagging our fingers at sinners to make them feel guilty and ashamed.
    • We are a place of refuge to provide shelter from the storms of the world.
      • As people take shelter, we introduce them to God, build them up, help them heal, and send them out to draw others into the shelter of the Lord.
    • Our new vision is: Loving our neighbors and helping them to find God, love God, and share God.
  • We need an “all-in” commitment from every member of this church.
    • The Church is not just another activity or club that we belong to.
      • Luke 14:26 – “Whoever does not hate…” Jesus is not literally telling us to hate our families and our own lives, but he is saying that everything in our lives needs to take a back seat to following Jesus as his disciples.
    • Jesus came “not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45).
    • We are not here to be served but to serve. There are churches that die every year, and one of the main reasons that they die is they look inward instead of outward. Their reason for existing becomes about enjoying a comfortable Christian life with their friends and they lose their focus on the mission
    • We do need to be edified and built up when we come to church, but we are edified and built up so we can be sent. When we say “Let us go forth in the Name of Christ” we are going forth as his ambassadors to this troubled world.
  • If you are a former member of this church and you have found your way into a new church. God bless you! We are glad that you have found a place to grow and serve. And we are so glad that you are here to celebrate this moment with us. Please pray for us!
  • If you are a former member of this church and you are not currently worshipping anywhere, we want to invite you to come home and join us in this mission that God has called us to! There is still a place for you here.
  • If you are a current member, let’s renew our commitment to what God has called us to, each of you asking him how he wants you to be serving in the days to come.
  • There is much work to do. The fields are white with the harvest. Therefore, let us go and make disciples.

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