December 5th, 2014 by Carl Buffington
Dear Friends at New Covenant,
There are several things in this week’s letter to you. One is a wonderful testimony about someone inviting a new friend to church this Sunday. Then, I have included a summary of your answers to the two questions I asked in my sermon a week ago, and a link to the more complete list. Finally, at this point I believe I will be sharing on verses 1 and 8 this coming Sunday from the Gospel reading and have shared a couple thoughts. I hope to see you at Lessons and Carols, Sunday at 7:00. Those who attended last year were deeply touched by the word and worship.
Advent Blessings to You All,
A few months ago I met a new friend. I knew that she wasn’t going to church, and I have been waiting for the “right time” to ask her to come with me. But the truth is, I was nervous about it. I didn’t want to come across as pushy and potentially lose her as a friend. So I let the months slip by.
This Sunday is “Invite a Friend to Church Sunday” and I knew this was the time, no excuses. I decided to ask her in person Monday morning, and Sunday night I was very nervous about it. I rehearsed what I was going to say over and over again. I prayed about it.
That next day when I saw her, I took a deep breath and started in on the paragraph that I had rehearsed. I never even finished the first sentence. I got as far as, “This Sunday is Invite a Friend to Church Sunday, and you are my friend so…” She interrupted me right away, “Text me the address and time. I’d love to come to your church.”
It was like she had been waiting for me to ask her.
Question 1-- What do you do to allow the Holy Spirit to change your heart?
Question 2-- What can we do at New Covenant to assist you in heart transformation?
Question 1 Response Summary: scripture, prayer, community, serving, small groups, quiet time, journaling…
Question 2 Response Summary: blog, women’s study, ministry ops, spiritual disciplines, accountability, healing ops, retreat…
The reading opens with:
“The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” NRSV
And closes with:
“I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” NRSV
You could say it opens with who Jesus is i.e. fully human – Christ/Messiah, and also fully God - Son of God. And closes with what he does i.e. baptizes with the Holy Spirit.
It is the time of the year when we ponder Jesus being formed in Mary.
And you might say this is HOW Christ is being formed in us, through the ministry of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit.