Sunday, June 10, 2012
Note: The Rev. Baughman preached this sermon June 3, at opening worship of Annual Conference 2012 of the North Texas Conference. (Read the entire sermon here)
Greetings beautiful people of the North Texas Annual Conference....
...I have hope for the United Methodist Church because this is a time, yes, for young visionaries and yes for young prophets, but this is also a time for old dreamers. We need the dreams of those who are wise to hold us firm to the story of God and God’s people. Without dreams, we will not find the promised land and may succumb to the temptations of the wilderness.
I have hope for the United Methodist Church because no matter how bad things get, we have the eternal promise from God in this scripture: “I will not let my holy one see decay!” Even if a congregation dies, if a pastor is ‘deemed ineffective’ even if our denomination as a whole collapses the body will not see decay. We follow a resurrection God for whom death is never the end!
I have hope for the United Methodist Church because all of the warning signs that give others despair give me hope upon hope. That’s the way God works! This is the God of the great reversal where the last are first, Alpha is Omega, the high are brought low, the low are brought high and a child shall lead them. The ground may remain fallow for a time but only to prepare for the great harvest of God.
We are a thirsty church in a thirsty world, but look to the wisdom on Peter in our text for Annual Conference. “When the crowd heard Peter they were cut to the heart and said to Peter ‘what shall we do?’ ‘Repent and be baptized.’ Peter’s prescription is water.
It is time to stop storing up resources for a rainy day. I’m talking relationship capital, I’m talking financial capital. It’s time to stop storing up resources for a rainy day because it’s already raining and God wants us to join in the downpour.
The downpour of justice
The downpour of God’s spirit
The downpour to end evil, oppression and injustice in whatever form they present themselves
The downpour of new ministries and new faith communities
The downpour to free the oppressed, welcome the immigrant and work towards economic justice
The downpour of salvation being offered to those who do not know Christ
Are you ready for the downpour?