Sunday, August 30, 2009

THIS WEEK 8/30/2009

THIS WEEK AT ST. PATRICK'S--The weekly emailer of Fr. Kevin Baker

Rev. Kevin Baker invites you to be our guest 11:55 a.m. Worship/Holy Eucharist Amherst Community Church 77 Washington Highway (across from Daemen College off Main St.) Amherst, NY map here 15-20 minutes from everywhere! For more info visit our website at

SERMON SERIES: I am pioneering new territory with a new series I have decided to re-title "12 Influence Strategies of Jesus." Throughout history, the message of Jesus Christ has influenced people of all nations, demographics, and eras of history. This series is built on the idea that it is the person of Jesus himself that causes people to consider the message of truth and life he delivered.

The application in our lives is that WHO WE ARE in life is key to whether people will listen to us, and to one degree or another, "buy into" what we are offering them. Last week, we covered the first three strategies: Openness, Humility, and Capability. This week and next week we will cover the remaining nine strategies.

THE VISION: Recently, I have been engaging in a discussion with a small group of fellow ministers who have known me for over ten years to help me evaluate my life and service to God. One of the issues I have asked their help with is clarifying my values and priorities as pastor of St. Patrick's Church. Here are some first results:

1. Through the years I am defining ministerial effectiveness less by numerical measures of success such as how many people attend or the assets we own, and more by faithfulness to God and the people He entrusts into my pastoral care. Whether God gives me 25 or 2500 lives to pastor, my goal is to see them know Jesus and be equipped to glorify him in their lives.

2. I value worship focused on God rather than man. This means, I see God as the Seeker who seeks people who will worship him in Spirit and Truth, as opposed to man as the seeker. This means our church is built more on what God requires and what He says mankind needs, than on what people think they need.

3. I value being an elder in a community of people who are seeking to gather together as God's people for a weekly rest from our labors for Christ in the world, in order to be strengthened by one another's gifts and communion, to then go back into the world and live out our faith in meaningful ways that make Christ known wherever his people live and work.

4. My priority is not on programs, the institution of the church and its programs, or professionalism and clericalism. This goes back to one the first sermons I ever preached called "The Field Is the World: Not the Christian Ghetto" from Matthew 13 37He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

5. My priority is oriented toward keeping the mission of Jesus central. I see the following Bible verses as key to this understanding:

Luke 4 18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."[e]

Romans 2 4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

2 Corinthians 5 And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

6. The following sayings and phrases I often use embody my own personal spiritual priorities as a Christian and pastor:

St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

Mother Teresa: "If you can't feed one hundred people, feed just one."

Love, acceptance, and forgiveness.

Next week: My teaching on covenant will return to this space.

See you Sunday,

Rev. Fr. Kevin BakerPastor, St. Patrick's Church (CEC)
We should not grow weary of doing little things for the love of God,who considers not the greatness of the work,but the love with which it is performed.Brother Lawrence--4th ConversationThe Practice of the Presence

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