Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sermon Notes Marc

Drawing from the text Romans 4:13-25 we encounter Abraham this week.

I was particularly struck by the fact that we find him here in the middle of our Lectionary at the time when we are exploring Visioning.

Abraham is a great example of seeing an over-arching Vision: "To be a great nation"

God then inserts little Visions along the way for Abram/Abraham to step out in faith, for which Paul says, "it was credited to him as righteousness".

-Abram had to step out in faith to leave Ur. Everything that was comfortable and known and "the way it had always been done before" was left behind.

-Abram had to step out in faith to go where God would leave, and even more so when Abram arrived in the place that God had showed him would be his country for all generations, only to be sent on further.

-Abram had to step out in faith to take his concubine to his bad and have a child. He tried to take his own will and impose it upon God. He then had to take a bigger step of faith when God confirmed that this was not the way God intended for Abram's nations to be made.

-Abraham had to step out in faith when Sarah was told in her 90s that she and he would have a child. This was unheard of.

-Abraham took another step of faith when he was asked to take Isaac to the mountain top and sacrifice him, knowing Abraham was almost 110 years old, and wouldn't be able have another child unless God provided. Still he trusted and was willing to accept God's covenant.

-Abraham took each of these steps along the way to achieve little Visions. This is the nature of a Vision, it is achievable. Sometimes the Vision changes as the situation changes, and the needs of the community change, as well as the gifts that we bring.

Ojai UMC has had a common Vision since the beginning. We are "To be God's Children, in the Beloved Community"

-Along the way we have had some little Visions.
1) To be a United Methodist Church in the Ojai Valley
2) To be a church that rebuilds, our church, community, and individuals
3) To be expanding the preschool.

They have been accepted by part or whole of the church, and effected by the force of those who have worked hard.

It is time for us to have a new Vision. This will mean that we will leave a lot of things behind, but we will still always be striving to achieve the ultimate Vision. "To be God's Children, in the Beloved Community."

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