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For the Sake of the Call

 I love pizza! It just doesn’t love me back. As we look at the life of the apostle Paul, it reminds me of a good pizza. Stay with me. Real pizza, made from scratch, starts with a ball of dough.

The flour is mixed into a dough. The dough is rolled, pressed, and mashed. After doing that for a while, the dough is tossed way up into the air and twirled around repeatedly. That lump of dough endures a whole lot of suffering so that you and I can do a whole lot of savoring.

But when you order a pizza, you don’t order a lump of dough. Oh, you might start with the kind of crust you want, but typically it’s the toppings that make the pizza. The sauce, cheese, meat, and veggies. We all want the stuff on top, but you can’t get to the good stuff unless the dough has been properly prepared.

Paul received his call from the Lord Himself (last week’s sermon). Then that unformed lump of dough went into a preparation process. I once heard it put this way: You don’t have a call to preach. You have a call to prepare to preach! And as we see with Paul, sometimes our preparation involves some rolling, some pressing, and some mashing. Sometimes we get thrown into the air (or off of a ship in Paul’s case!). But through it all, Paul gained a different perspective of suffering. Suffering for Christ!

 We are afflicted in every way but not crushed, perplexed but not driven to despair,  persecuted but not forsaken, 

down but not destroyed, always carrying around in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus

 may also be made visible in our bodies. 

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Paul saw himself as suffering for the sake of getting the message of the Gospel to the Gentiles. Suffering for the sake of his call. 

For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him…

Philippians 3:8b-9

Oh, to be found “in Him.” Paul saw his suffering in the physical not as burdensome, although no one likes suffering, but rather as making the life of Christ visible! Who could endure such hardship on their own? It had to be the power of Jesus, the power of His resurrection, at work in Paul. Who else could cause a prison to shake, the doors to fly open and chains to fall off? That’s why Paul counted all of his gains, his accolades, everything he had accumulated as rubbish! The only thing that mattered was suffering for the sake of the call. And he was willing to press on, in spite of torture, in spite of all the things that he suffered. Why? Stay tuned…

I hope you can join us this Sunday as we continue the sermon series Paul: Man on a Mission. This week’s sermon: For the Sake of the Call!

Breaking Free! Wednesday night study, led by Pastor Linda, that will build your faith, equip, and empower you to live free and stay free – to be whole, restored, transformed and ready to impact your world with a message of hope. The book, Keys to Freedom, is an 8-week interactive journey with God to explore how we can hear from God and live the victorious lives God meant for us to live! We will have copies of the book on hand this Wednesday. We’ll share dinner together as usual at 5:45pm, and class will be from 6:30-7:30pm. 

Leadership Training for board members and NLDT, Saturday April 13, at Union Memorial UMC. Time: 10am – 1:30pm. Lunch provided.

General Conference Updates The General Conference of the UMC will be held from April 23-May 3, in Charlotte, NC. The General Conference is the only body that can legislate our Book of Discipline and Social Principles. This is the conference that will decide on regionalization (should regions be allowed to vote on their own social and cultural issues), on issues pertaining to sexuality in marriage and ordination (LGBTQIA+), and a host of other topics. Each Annual Conference has elected GC delegates who will vote on behalf of their Annual Conference. For all things related to the General Conference, including how you can be in prayer for GC, you can click on this link: General Conference 2020 ( Some sessions will be livestreamed.

Journeys of Paul My husband and I will be going on an educational tour of Greece from April 20-27, following some of the footsteps of Paul. So, the month of April will be dedicated to Paul’s journeys. I will preach the first two Sundays and Rev. Rocky Marlowe will preach the last two. Every Sunday in April we will highlight something about Paul, his journeys, and his teachings. And if technology serves us well, you’ll get a video from me on the road with Paul!

During my absence, please contact Rev. G-Gay Harris or the church office for any pastoral care, such as sickness or death in the family.

Vision for 2024:

A House United: 

Strong Faith, Strong Families, Strong Future!

“See” you in Greece!


Pastor Linda

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