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March 2017, A Note from Pastor Steve

**“And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.”**

_Mark 1:12-13_

I was recently speaking to a friend who observed that she feels that her life is currently deep in Lent and nowhere near Easter. I get that. At least, I think I understand what she means. Our country continues to be mired in political strife. Our community is reeling from the shootings of two Indian immigrants in Olathe. Even the weather seems distressed -- as Keystone and Revolution gathered together with other community churches for Ash Wednesday, Pastor Jenn Klein’s message included the observation that this is Kansas City’s first February without snow since 1892. It feels a bit more like forty days of wandering in the wilderness than it does a time of new life.

Yet, I also know that Lent invites us to be doing more than questioning the wilderness in which we find ourselves. It encourages us to find new ways of changing our relationship with God -- new ways of engaging with the Divine in our lives. While some of us will find something to give up -- encountering a spiritual discipline of self-sacrifice -- each of us should be finding a way to add a new dimension to our spiritual practices. Perhaps that means intentionally crafting out time for prayer or individual Bible study. Maybe it means joining a short-term group Bible study like the one Bobbie Radford will be offering during Lent. Maybe it means finding a new service opportunity in your community. These are just a few of the ways we can explore more deeply our relationship with God.

Because the unfortunate reality is that at the end of Lent, our world will still feel like a wilderness. We will still struggle to find structure and meaning in our local and global environments. But perhaps we will have changed by the end of the season. Perhaps we as individuals and as a church will have drawn strength from renewed relationships with the God who empowers us to view the world with new eyes and who walks beside us as we seek to craft pockets of peace and justice in our communities.

Peace be with you,

Pastor Steve

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March 3, 2017 - 5:31 pm

Mid-February 2017, A Note from Pastor Steve

His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
Luke 1:50

This week we have started our confirmation sessions for many of our youth at Keystone and Revolution in sixth grade and older. Confirmation presents an opportunity for those who are maturing in faith to decide for themselves whether to confirm their acceptance of Christ in their lives. After spending several weeks in study and community, they will be given the opportunity to confirm their faith in Easter morning.

Often we consider confirmation to be about learning history and scripture -- facts and passages. But it is just as much about learning to live a life of Christian discipleship -- and rehearsing what that life might include. In the very early days of organized Christianity, those preparing to dedicate themselves to the church would be in preparation for three years. What they were being taught didn’t take three year to learn; the time was used to rehearse being a Christian -- to transition from the life before into the new life of discipleship. So, too, confirmation involves the transformation into the new self created through God’s power as expressed in Christ.

Please be in prayer for these young men and women as they are exploring what it means to be part of the body of Christ, part of the United Methodist Church and part of the sister churches of Keystone and Revolution.

If your youth is interested in joining the confirmation sessions, or if you would be willing to assist during a Wednesday evening meeting, please contact the church office for more information.

Peace,
Pastor Steve

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February 16, 2017 - 5:37 pm

February 2017, A Note from Pastor Steve

Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

Luke 22:19-20

One of the great things about this church is its desire to share in Holy Communion every Sunday. For John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, communion was one of the most important things we could do in our Christian lives. He took communion frequently and encouraged others to do the same. It was one of the “means of grace” described by Wesley -- ways in which we experience God’s grace, embrace it in our lives and are drawn closer into lives of holiness.

I am thankful to Candace Shaw for preaching during my absence on Sunday and to Janet Hoyland for officiating communion. I hope some of you got to see the picture that Candace posted on the “Ordinary People” page on Facebook (see the end of this message for more information about that page). The photo showed Janet preparing the communion elements as some of the kids at Revolution watched on. I love how that photo serves as a reminder that Christ’s love is offered to ALL of us, regardless of age.

I have been asked how old children should be before they receive communion, and my response is that there is no age hurdle that they need to get over. If they want to experience communion, they, like all who have experienced and wish to respond to God’s grace, are welcome at the table. While a child might not understand the complexity of Christ’s life and sacrifice for us . . . who among us does? Part of living into a new life is understanding that it is one rooted in mystery. The communion liturgy we use frequently refers to the mystery of faith: “Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.” Most of us in the church community believe that, but none of us fully understands it. Kids, however, do know what it means to be left out or to be accepted. They know what it means to be included, and that is one of Christ’s great gifts to us: the opportunity to share that table with those in our life who mean the most to us.

So, thank you to Candace and Janet, and I give thanks to God for the grace, forgiveness and love that we have the opportunity to share with each other and with the world.

Peace,

Pastor Steve

“Ordinary People” is a Facebook page that contains some internal happenings and discussions and is open only to those who are active in the Keystone and Revolution communities. If you are reading this newsletter, that includes you. If you would like access to this page, please contact the church office.

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February 2, 2017 - 5:41 pm

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