E-Note From the Pastor / July 26, 2014

Dear Cedar Grove UMC family,

In Matthew 13, Jesus describes the kingdom of heaven through parables to help his disciples – and us – gain a glimpse of his radical vision of God’s reign. Jesus overturns the world’s view; instead, he calls us to see the world from a different perspective.

The smallest of all seeds, the mustard seed, represents small beginnings, encouraging us to be open to possibilities and transformed by hope in God’s loving purposes. However, we often notice the biggest things first. We desire the “big splash.” Numbers speak volumes in our competitive world, and it is tempting to be caught up in the latest buzz-word being sown through mass media or the Internet.

Jesus teaches that God judges by a vastly different set of measurements. Mustard seeds remain insignificant by all worldly standards; yet, Jesus elevates them in his parables. Jesus asks us to consider the potential in even the simplest action or the smallest portion. Even the smallest efforts may be the catalyst for phenomenal growth. We may choose to sow seeds of good, which are nurtured and empowered by God’s grace through the Holy Spirit. This is how God’s reign continues to expand, even though that expansion may seem slow by our hurried – and often harried – standards!

God creates miracles through those things we may consider unimportant, unworthy or uneventful. By ignoring the seeds in our midst, we miss out on recognizing the kingdom presence of God all around us. May God help us recognize the signs of his reign and work in us to bring love, light and joy to others.

We have had a wonderful Vacation Bible School, which concludes this morning at 9 a.m., first with a visit to Anathoth Community Garden and then back to the church for our final Bible stories and activities. Thanks to all who have helped with VBS, especially Kevin Rose who has done a fabulous job coordinating VBS for us. Nearly a dozen kids have learned about God’s grace and how to show that grace to others.

Speaking of Kevin, on Sunday, we will have to bid farewell to him as he completes his summer internship with us. We have been so blessed to have him and his wife Jackie with us. We will have our Fourth Sunday Fellowship Hour at 9:30 a.m., where we will enjoy fellowship with each other and also have a chance to say good-bye to Kevin and Jackie. Please plan to join us!

During the 10:30 worship service on Sunday, we will continue with our sermon series on Fishing in the Gospels with a sermon looking at another of Jesus’ parables from Matthew 13 about the kingdom of God. Please plan to be with us – and bring a friend with you! Last Sunday, I asked you to pray by name for someone you know who doesn’t go to church or hasn’t been regularly. This Sunday would be a perfect opportunity to invite that person to come with you to Fourth Sunday Fellowship Hour and to our worship service!

We collect canned fruit and other non-perishable items to support the food pantry at OCIM throughout the year. Please remember to bring your OCIM offerings each week as a way of reaching out to brothers and sisters around us.

You can follow the many happenings and ministries of CGUMC online in a number of ways:

Well, I’m off for another day of VBS – or “Vacation Bible Fun” as Meredith Doi has renamed it! See you soon!




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