Gifts

Sunday’s Scripture ~ Ephesians 3:18-21.

This week the TUMC Family welcomes Rev. Kate Ling in worship leadership for our one Sunday worship service at 11am. She will share a message on gifts and a gallery will be on display before and after worship. You will inspired and encouraged by this worship service.

As I study this Sunday’s text, God continues to bring me back to the word power:

  • I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit (v. 16). 
  • I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (v. 18 and 19).
  • Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine (v. 20).

The Greek word used here is dunamis. Dunamis refers to inherent power that equips a person to perform miracles and the power that perfects the excellence of the soul. The definition of this Greek word reveals that this sort of power is immensely valuable; a person that has it is afforded the influence that generally accompanies riches, wealth, and military prowess.

This power is God-gifted. We receive it upon making a faith claim in Jesus Christ, after which we are filled with the Holy Spirit. This is the power that enabled to disciples to join Jesus in performing miracles. This is the power that gave birth to the Church at Pentecost. This is the power that convicts us of our sin and convinces us of the abundance of God’s grace. This is the power that we each live out – uniquely and personally – through our passions and gifts as we serve God in this world.

I believe this power – this God-gifted power – awakens us to our true selves – to the selves that God created us to be and the selves that we have the privilege of pursuing throughout our lifetime.

We do not want to neglect this gift because with it and through it, God will use us to build God’s Kingdom and increase God’s peace.

Thank you, Pastor Kate, for your worship leadership this week! I treasure you as a true gift and friend in my life.

Prayer: “This star drew nigh to the northwest, o’er Bethlehem it took its rest; and there it did both stop and stay, right over the place where Jesus lay. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel.”* Amen.

*”The First Noel,” The United Methodist Hymnal 245.

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Why the Holy Spirit Power Is Needed For Church Renewal

Sunday’s Scripture ~ Ephesians 3:20-21.

This Sunday the Tuskawilla UMC Community will be joined in worship by Rev. Aldo Martin. Aldo is one of the Florida Conference leaders of Methodists United In Prayer, a ministry team that serves to affirm and strengthen the relationships of care and service held between The Methodist Church in Cuba and The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Methodists United In Prayer focus their ministry efforts on the following priorities in both The Methodist Church in Cuba and The Florida Annual Conference Churches:

  • To pray for one another and develop a common study of Scriptures.
  • To engage in the interchange of peoples of Cuba and Florida Conferences work teams, preachers, laity, caravans, study teams, professors, teachers and choirs.
  • To respond to the priorities of the Methodist Church in Cuba.
  • To build relationships between the Florida Conference and the Methodist Church in Cuba for mutual support and encouragement.
  • To enable the training of pastors and lay people for the equipping of Cuban disciples.
  • To mutually share the history, current events, culture and spirituality of both Conferences.*

Bishop Ken Carter visited Cuba in 2013 to participate in the 130th Celebration of Methodism in Cuba and he was overwhelmed by what he saw. In an email he sent to Florida Conference Churches upon his arrival home he shared, ““The Cuban Methodists have discovered how to form new communities of Christian disciples…and how to call forth the gifts of a younger generation.” This evidence – this occurrence – speaks incredibly to the Holy Spirit’s power in the Cuban Methodist Church. For many decades the Cuban Methodist Church struggled under Communist regime and as a Protestant denomination in a predominantly Roman Catholic society. Methodist pastors and missionaries fled because they were threatened with physical harm or imprisonment. It seemed that hope was dwindling for the Methodist Church in Cuba. It seemed that God’s Spirit was being pushed out, when in fact, God’s Spirit was and is growing stronger day by day.

Our Scripture text this week teaches that with God’s power we are able to accomplish abundantly more than we can ask for imagine. I truly believe that what God has done and is doing in and through the Methodist Church in Cuba – in and through the Florida Conference United Methodist Churches – in and through each one of us – would not be possible apart from God. God gives what we need and gives what we do not know we need. God guides and provides. Our God is surprising. Our God works in all times and places. And our God will not be driven out of anywhere. As we are reminded in John’s Gospel, God’s light “shines in the darkness, and the darkness [does] not overcome it” (Jn 1:5).

I look forward to hearing from Rev. Martin this Sunday and then joining with him and others for conversation following the service in Room 16 to explore how Tuskawilla UMC can grow in our relationship with our sister church in Cuba – La Lima – as well as explore future service opportunities with them. I look forward to worshipping with you.

Prayer: “When the poor ones who have nothing share with strangers, when the thirsty water give unto us all, when the crippled in their weakness strengthen others, then we know that God still goes that road with us, then we know that God still goes that road with us.” Amen.**

*http://flumc-missions.org/muip-covenant.html

**”When the Poor Ones,” The United Methodist Hymnal 434.