crossDevotional
Pastor Pam

Dear Friends,

As we prepare to begin a new year, we spend a lot of time talking about resolutions.  You know the ones…lose weight, exercise more, spend less and save more…and the list goes on and on.  Resolutions are promises we make to ourselves.  Sometimes we include our family and friends and these promises, but not always.  But there is another kind of promise that we in the church make.  They are called covenants.  A covenant is a promise we make to God and one another in our community of faith.  We make these promises publicly and they are serious.  Can you name of a covenant agreement that you have entered into?  Two of the best known covenants are baptism and marriage.  But did you know that your membership vows in the United Methodist Church and your local congregation are also a covenant?  Following the laying on of hands, confirmation, or reaffirmation of faith, the minister says, “Let those persons who are members of other communions in Christ’s holy church, and who now desire to enter into the fellowship of this congregation, present themselves to be received into the membership of the United Methodist Church”.  And then the following questions is asked: “Will you be loyal to the United Methodist Church, and uphold it by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, and your service?”  And the answer, “I will”, is offered.  This exchange is followed by, “Let those who are members of other congregations of The United Methodist Church, and who now desire to enter into the fellowship of this congregation present themselves to welcomed.”  The congregation receiving the new member(s) also takes a vow pledging to welcome and care for the new member and to renew their vow to uphold the local congregation “by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, and our service.”  And then this new covenant relationship is sealed with a blessing.  

Some take this covenant seriously.  They are faithful in their support of their congregation by prayers, presence, gifts, and service.  Others, not so much.  As we begin a new year together, I encourage you to take some time and ask yourself these questions?  Do I pray for my church, people in the congregation, my pastor, church leaders and teachers daily?  Do I attend worship on a regular basis or do I attend once or twice a month, quarterly, Christmas and Easter?  Do I view tithing as a spiritual discipline?  Do I honor the scriptural teaching of always giving first fruits to God?  Am I generous with my time?  Am I involved with at least one ministry in the church?  Be honest.   And then consider making a new years resolution to improve in one of these areas.  One that I would like to see everyone make is: I promise to increase my worship attendance by 25%.  Hearing the Word, singing the hymns, and praying the prayers changes us.  It also helps change our faith community.  Because as we grow in our relationship with God and one another, we are more likely to show grace to others.  And we will be more loving and less critical. 

So, instead of promising the same old same old for 2017, renew your covenant with God and The United Methodist Church.

                                                                           Blessings,

                                                                           PPAM

                                                                                   

 
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