Saturday, October 29, 2011

Branching out

Pastor Paul Ulring, our senior pastor at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church, gave the sermon last Sunday at the Mill Run campus sanctuary service on the theme branching out. He first reminded us that the "enemy of the best is the good," (you know you're about to hear you're doing good things but not enough when you hear that). He said "branching out" means that living things reproduce--they have offspring, and if they are churches, they make disciples. Then he suggested we always be prepared to tell "our story"--how we came to know Jesus. Later in the narthex I saw Ruth Foster and told her I remembered how she was part of my story when we met in a women's Bible study called "Harried Housewives" at First Community Church in 1974 and she worked at WCVO. Paul went on to say that UALC has made a commitment to a church plant on the east side of Columbus of $150,000 to help a new congregation get started. This congregation will be part of our newly formed synod, North American Lutheran Church.

I jotted down these four points about branching out:

1) You care about what you pray about.

2) Be watchful and thankful--don't miss opportunities.

3) Be wise in the way you act.

4) Be sure your conversation is seasoned with salt, full of grace.

I sort of smiled remembering that I've heard us admonished before about not being so aggressive with our witness that we turn people off. Really. I could count on one hand the number of times I've heard a witness about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that I thought was over the top. But I myself have missed thousands, maybe millions of opportunities to offer hope, love, justice, peace and a place in heaven to an unbeliever.

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