Start From the Inside

Dear Friends,
 
“Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand:
there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” -Mark 7:14-15
 
When my family and I moved a couple years ago, it became a good opportunity to purge some of our collection of belongings that we had accumulated over several year’s time. It felt good to sort and to donate and to save. I’ve noticed this has been happening at First UMC as well this Summer.
 
If you haven’t had a chance yet, I encourage you to stop in to church and check out our newly cleaned out Sunday School, storage, and Youth rooms on our lower level. Many of have worked hard to purge, clean, organize, sort, and dispose of, items that are no longer or infrequently used. There is currently a hallway full of items left over that we announced on Sunday could be gone through and taken if anyone wished. Soon, whatever is left and not taken, will be disposed of or donated. Much appreciation goes out to all who helped with this cleaning “from the inside out.” Again, it feels good to sort, to donate, to save, and to dispose of, when needed.
 
This brings me to this Sunday’s gospel lesson from Mark. In the 14th and 15th verses of chapter 7, we are challenged to consider how the content of our hearts impact our behaviors. It’s important to “start from the inside” of our hearts in order to determine what needs to be purged or cleansed from our own lives. Jesus said to the crowds, “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” He drove his point home by saying, “there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” Jesus is dealing with the human spirit here, by addressing issues of the heart. He is saying, ultimately, that it is not what goes into us that makes us impure or unclean, because whatever goes in will eventually come out. Rather, it is what is already inside of us – in, that is, our hearts – that makes us unclean. And, indeed, from our hearts and out of our mouths comes all kinds of harmful things.
 
Think about it this way. There may have been a time when you were persuaded to eat carrots for good eyesight or drink milk for strong bones. This advice is based on scientific research about nutrients found in food. Certainly, eating particular foods (such as caffeine or sugar) can impact our behavior, positively or negatively. The same is true of what “food” we fill our hearts with. Daily discipleship is about walking with Jesus every day of life, allowing him to fill our hearts and our spirits with “daily bread” that nourishes our soul. Think about how one might “start from the inside” to allow Christ to fill us. Join us this Sunday to hear more about how this kind of commitment can lead to a life overflowing with the spirit of Jesus.
Until Sunday, I remind you of a couple things …
 
  • CONFIRMATION ORIENTATION & REGISTRATION – Wednesday, September 5, 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – For all youth grades 6-8 and their parents.
  • Rally Sunday – September 9Breakfast served from 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. OUTDOOR WORSHIP at 10:00 a.m. GAMES for children and youth following worship, and a MISSION & MINISTRY FAIR throughout the morning. With the Mission & Ministry Fair we are wanting to highlight the many different areas for members to be involved. If you would like to highlight your specific area please let Wendy V. or me know.
  • NEW MEMBER ORIENTATION & RECEPTION – On Wednesday, September 5 at 7:00 p.m. there will be a New Member Orientation for anyone interested in joining. Please plan to attend if interested, and/or invite a friend to find out more. Also, on Sunday, September 16 we will receive new members into our community of faith, during worship.
  • Check out our CHURCH CALENDAR to find out more of what’s happening!
 
Have a safe, fun, and relaxing Labor Day weekend.
 
Pr. Dale