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See All The People Worship Series
In 2016, Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church began launching materials around the theme “See All the People.” This message of reaching people and expanding the church into the community then began to bear fruit as churches began launching campaigns to strengthen their own disciple-making systems. As we began preparation for this series, we noticed that one element seemed apparent throughout all the scriptural narratives: people who were always present around Jesus because of his preaching, teaching, and healing. Jesus truly saw all the people; and as a result, the people were always with him. As the church makes connections in the community to bring people to know Christ, we would do well to make note of the way Jesus responded to the crowds.
In the first week of the series, the pressing crowd is mentioned alongside Jesus’ encouragement for his first disciples to go fishing. The image of the fish breaking the nets becomes an image analogous with the people “pressing in” on Jesus. The second week recalls “a great crowd of Jesus’ disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon” (Lk. 6:17). They were expecting Jesus to heal them. This image is a powerful one as we imagine the crowd relentlessly reaching for Jesus, that they might touch him and receive his healing power. Week three involves a departure for our planning team, as we put ourselves in the shoes of the crowd listening to Jesus’ sermon. The message of loving enemies was (and is) so countercultural that it still causes us to question our very instincts as powers threaten to overtake and divide us. Week four, Transfiguration Sunday, presents a dramatic scene as Jesus is transfigured as he stands with Moses and Elijah. Jesus, Peter, John, and James then descended the mountain, and Jesus healed a boy with a demon—to the astonishment of “a great crowd” (Lk. 9:37).
Upon reflection of the entire season after Epiphany this year, we find a comprehensive way to make connections with our communities: discover our spiritual gifts, understand our need for one another and the love of God, and know that wherever Jesus goes, a crowd is sure to follow. The question is: “Are our churches ready to go and meet the crowds as we ‘see all the people’?”
 
February 10, 2019 – The Pressing Crowd
February 17, 2019 – The Expectant Crowd
February 24, 2019 – The Questioning Crowd
March 3, 2019 – The Astounded Crowd

Feb 17, 2019
See All The People: The Expectant Crowd
In this second of the series 'See All The People', Pastor David walks the congregation through Luke's version of the Beatitudes. In Luke's version, Jesus teaches the crowd from a level plane, not a mountainside. His emphasis is being present with the people in a hands-on way.
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  • Feb 17, 2019See All The People: The Expectant Crowd
    Feb 17, 2019
    See All The People: The Expectant Crowd
    In this second of the series 'See All The People', Pastor David walks the congregation through Luke's version of the Beatitudes. In Luke's version, Jesus teaches the crowd from a level plane, not a mountainside. His emphasis is being present with the people in a hands-on way.
  • Feb 10, 2019See All The People: The Pressing Crowd
    Feb 10, 2019
    See All The People: The Pressing Crowd
    In 2016, Discipleship Ministries began launching materials around the theme “See All the People.” This message of reaching people and expanding the church into the community then began to bear fruit as churches began launching campaigns to strengthen their own disciple-making systems. As we began preparation for this series, we noticed that one element seemed apparent throughout all the scriptural narratives: people who were always present around Jesus because of his preaching, teaching, and healing. Jesus truly saw all the people; and as a result, the people were always with him. As the church makes connections in the community to bring people to know Christ, we would do well to make note of the way Jesus responded to the crowds.
    In the first week of the series, the pressing crowd is mentioned alongside Jesus’ encouragement for his first disciples to go fishing. The image of the fish breaking the nets becomes an image analogous with the people “pressing in” on Jesus. The second week recalls “a great crowd of Jesus’ disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon” (Lk. 6:17). They were expecting Jesus to heal them. This image is a powerful one as we imagine the crowd relentlessly reaching for Jesus, that they might touch him and receive his healing power. Week three involves a departure for our planning team, as we put ourselves in the shoes of the crowd listening to Jesus’ sermon. The message of loving enemies was (and is) so countercultural that it still causes us to question our very instincts as powers threaten to overtake and divide us. Week four, Transfiguration Sunday, presents a dramatic scene as Jesus is transfigured as he stands with Moses and Elijah. Jesus, Peter, John, and James then descended the mountain, and Jesus healed a boy with a demon—to the astonishment of “a great crowd” (Lk. 9:37).
  • Feb 3, 2019Greater Gifts: Love
    Feb 3, 2019
    Greater Gifts: Love
    There are countless songs, movies, novels, and poems that exalt love’s virtue. Perhaps, biblically, none are as famous as 1 Corinthians 13. It is often referred to as the love chapter and is regularly read at weddings. It is this latter practice that can bring confusion, as Paul’s poem seemingly has little to do with romance or marriage nuptials. Paul inserts this poem in the middle of his argument over the confusion that some spiritual gifts are more important than others. For Paul, love is the solution to the infighting in the church about who was more religiously superior. Instead of looking to prop up one’s self over another, look to the benefits of other is Paul’s advice. Don’t be envious or arrogant. Rather, be patient and kind. Put away childish ways. Seek the more excellent way. John Wesley, commenting on this passage in his sermon “On Zeal,” wrote, “But of all holy tempers [dispositions], and above all others, see that you be most zealous for love . . . O let this be deep engraven upon you heart: ‘All is nothing without love!’ . . . be most zealous of all for love, the queen of all graces, the highest perfection in heaven or earth, the very image of the invisible God, as in men below, so in angels above” (Sermon 92 “On Zeal,” The Works of John Wesley. Baker Books, 2007 Reprint. pp. 66-67).
  • Jan 27, 2019Greater Gifts: Being Needy
    Jan 27, 2019
    Greater Gifts: Being Needy
    Conventionally, the idea of being needy has negative connotations. However, we’d like to look at the idea of being needy from a different perspective: we need one another. Just as God arranged the members of our bodies, so God arranged the members of our communities. So this week, we put a positive spin on being needy.
  • Jan 20, 2019Greater Gifts: Gifted For Others
    Jan 20, 2019
    Greater Gifts: Gifted For Others
    As we move from baptisms and remembering our baptism, we recognize that the gift of baptism is only the beginning. We should begin to discover, or if it has been a while, perhaps rediscover our God-given gifts — equipping us for a lifelong journey as disciples. We were redeemed for a reason, and we are given gifts to fulfill a greater purpose.
  • Jan 13, 2019Greater Gifts: Remembering our Baptism
    Jan 13, 2019
    Greater Gifts: Remembering our Baptism
    We have chosen to divide the season after Epiphany this year into two complementary series designed to equip congregations to “see all the people.” The first series focuses upon lifting up the gifts in the community and strategically acting together as one body with many interconnected parts. This body, then, works as a cohesive unit to reach out beyond the walls of the church and bring people to know and receive the love of God.
    The season after Epiphany almost always begins with a transitional Sunday—Baptism of the Lord—in which we encounter the narrative of Jesus’ baptism and John’s very dramatic description of baptism in Jesus’ name. The voice of God rings from heaven at Jesus’ baptism: “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (Lk. 3:22, NRSV). When we are baptized or gathered at the baptism of others, how do we hear God’s voice affirming each new member of God’s family? The second week contains Paul’s description of spiritual gifts—how the Spirit works in and through them and how we are gifted for being a part of the body of Christ with one another. A little bit of explanation is needed around the theme for week three, “Being Needy”: This phrase has a certain negative connotation that often relates to people who require a little more attention than others (we all likely know people like this). We would like to redeem the meaning by asserting that we all, regardless of our own gifts, need one another in order to be part of the whole body of Christ. The purpose of all these gifts is revealed in week four, in which the whole point of acting together is revealed—“having love,” which is the most important of the “marks of the new birth” (faith, hope, and love), as shared by both the apostle Paul and John Wesley.
  • Jan 6, 2019Prepare the Way: Find
    Jan 6, 2019
    Prepare the Way: Find
    Pastor David concludes his series Prepare the Way. This morning, using the example of the three Magi from the east, Pastor David guides the congregation into an understand of the grace of God.
  • Dec 30, 2018Prepare The Way: Search
    Dec 30, 2018
    Prepare The Way: Search
    The word for this week is “Search.” Mary and Joseph search for their lost child, Jesus. Jesus is on a search for answers; he is developing into adulthood, and—above all— discovering his mission as Son of God.
  • Dec 16, 2018Prepare the Way: Do
    Dec 16, 2018
    Prepare the Way: Do
    The third week of Advent is always an occasion of joy. With these Scripture lessons, however, comes an expectation that the people of God will “do” something to be a part of the inheritance promised to Abraham. Zephaniah instructs the people to “not let your hands grow weak” (Zep. 3:16), and John offers further teaching: “Bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Lk. 3:7-16).
  • Dec 9, 2018Prepare the Way – Refine
    Dec 9, 2018
    Prepare the Way – Refine
    Week two begins with the question from Malachi, “who can stand when he appears?” (Mal. 3:2), which serves as a hinge point from the “stand” imagery of the previous week. This Sunday’s emphasis address issues of justice, purification, and refining that will accompany Jesus’ coming.