Sunday November 13 – Rev. Jana Purkis-Brash: Where Is Your Power? Isaiah 40:27-31, Ephesians 3:14-21

img_2202What a week this has been. I’ve spent a great deal of time listening to and caring for people. I have encouraged people to sit in and feel their despair, anger, sadness, hopelessness, fear, and uncertainty. We must allow ourselves to feel what we are feeling before moving ahead to action.

It has prompted me to think about times in my life when all seemed lost, and how I was able to claim God’s strength and power. As I think about difficult times in my life I think of a church burning down, a parsonage burning down, miscarriages, losing my mom over the course of 10 years to dementia, and in those same years my dad dying of cancer. My daughter eloping with a man she barely knew and moving halfway around the world. There were times in each of these personal situations that I didn’t see a way forward, I was hopeless and angry, fearful and despairing. One way that I was able to move forward was claiming God’s power and strength through scripture.

I grew up in the northeast when memorizing scripture was passé, thankfully as an adult I have learned scripture that sustains me. It was in the midst of a breast cancer scare a few years ago that I held tight to scripture and this week I’ve found myself doing same. (David/Ulanda has read two of those scriptures for us this morning)

For me these scriptures and some others strengthen me and help me to claim the power I need to move forward in faith and hope. Today I’m going to bring more scripture passages to play than usual; I hope you will hear the assurance these passages offer.

This morning I want to share with you a story that I hope will help us to think about where our power lies.

Once upon a time a man found the egg of an eagle. It had been abandoned for some reason by its mother, but as it was still warm the man took it and put it in the nest of one of his backyard chickens along with the other eggs that were there being brooded upon. After a period of time the eaglet was hatched, and along with the other chicks from his nest began to go about the backyard doing what the other chicks did. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He looked for the corn that the man would throw into the yard. He clucked and cackled as best as he could, and as he grew, he would, like the other chickens, thrash his wings and fly a few feet in the air.

Years passed in this way and the eagle grew very old. thOne day he saw a magnificent bird far above him in the cloudless sky. It glided majestically among the powerful wind currents, soaring and swooping, scarcely beating its long golden wings. The old eagle looked at it in awe and asked “what is that?” “That is the eagle, the king of the birds”, said one of his neighbors. “He belongs to the sky and to the high places. We belong to the earth, we are chickens.” The old eagle knew this was true, and so it was he lived and died as a chicken, for that is what he believed he was.

Do you think the eagle/chicken had the power to change? What held him back?

Think with me for a moment about the verses at the end of Ephesians chapter three: 20-21.”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; to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.”

Do you have the power to change? What holds you back?

If you drew your power from God what could you accomplish that you aren’t doing now?

Can we believe in new possibilities for ourselves? Continue reading “Sunday November 13 – Rev. Jana Purkis-Brash: Where Is Your Power? Isaiah 40:27-31, Ephesians 3:14-21”

Laity Sunday October 16 2016

Doing Good For Others

george-portrait-5745244370081dOn Laity Sunday, George Fox describes in his testimony about doing good for others, how we are called to serve one another and walk humbly with God.

His words came out strong and urgent as he spoke about the work our Stephen Ministers do at PUMC. About 5 years ago, PUMC, under Jana’s leadership, began the process of qualifying a Stephen Ministry at our church to work as an extension of our church’s Pastoral Care.

The Stephen Ministers, who we refer to as Caregivers, in our congregation have undergone a formal Selection Process (first step is that they must volunteer) and 50 hours of training. The role of our Stephen Minister Caregivers is to provide a Christian Care Giving presence and to let God provide the cure.

Who have we helped?

  1. People who are lonely
  2. People who are unhappy
  3. People who are grieving
  4. People who have lost a dear family member to death
  5. People with a debilitating disease
  6. People with financial challenges
  7. People who are facing major life changes and are concerned about the options they see
  8. Other Stephen Ministers who are either looking for a vibrant Stephen Ministry or who are looking for care.
  9. We Stephen Ministers pray daily for our Care Receivers and remember above all that:

WE PROVIDE THE PRESENCE AND GOD PROVIDES THE CURE.

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