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Your Faith Journey

Connect & Grow in a Group – Life is better connected! We want to help you connect with others within the church and take steps on your faith journey. Sign up for an I Can Only Imagine small group through the church website at www.avonumc.com today! Groups will begin meeting to get to know one another and enjoy fellowship the week of August 25th through the 31st. Many of the I Can Only Imagine groups will take Labor Day week off (9/1-9/7), then begin diving into the video-based discussion sessions the week of September 8th. The series concludes the week of September 29th. If you are not part of a group that is walking through the series study, we encourage you to sign up ASAP to Connect & Grow in an I Can Only Imagine small group!
 
Invest in the DisconnectedYou have a family member, friend, co-worker, or neighbor who needs to hear and experience the I Can Only Imagine series with us in September, beginning on the 8th. Pray about who you are going to invite to join us for weekly worship services. Pray that God will prepare them to receive the invitation. Pray for God’s messages to be shared clearly through greeters, songs, scripture readings, sermons, recommended resources, and weekly experiences with us at AUMC. Rely upon the Holy Spirit to give you the right words, timing, and way to invite the person you know who needs to recall their past wounds, reorient their present identity, and reimagine their future. During the sermon series we will focus on Imagining a Loving Father, Imagining Forgiveness, Imagining Redemption, and Imagining Going Home. Perhaps the only thing separating your loved one from healing, hope, and the abundant life found in Christ is an invitation from you to help them get to Jesus. Who does God want you to invite?


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Your Faith Journey  

Develop as a Disciple: Last week we looked at the words of wisdom from James using The Living Bible. This week we’re looking at those same words, but from the English Standard Version of the Bible as we think about what they mean in regard to how we interact with others. James wrote, “…let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God…” (James 1:19-21 ESV).
 
Listening to Others: Are you intentional about listening to those closest to you, including family members, friends, co-workers, and neighbors? Are you “quick to hear” what others are saying, or simply waiting to speak again as soon as they stop talking? Beyond the words that are spoken, notice the body language of those you are talking to as part of the feelings and full message they are sharing with you. Consider mirroring what others say as an active listener, but in your own words. For example, “What I hear you  saying is…” Perhaps you need to pray about your response before speaking, replying to the text message, social media post, email, voicemail, or comment. Prayer is especially important if you feel yourself getting angry. As James explained, “anger…does not produce the righteousness of God.”


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Your Faith Journey  

Develop as a Disciple – Jesus’ brother, James, wrote a letter included in the New Testament of the Bible that is considered wisdom literature for Christians. Among the teachings included in James’ letter are these words, “…don’t ever forget that it is best to listen much, speak little, and not become angry; for anger doesn’t make us good…so get rid of all that is wrong in your life, both inside and outside, and humbly be glad for the wonderful message we have received, for it is able to save our souls as it takes hold of our hearts. And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to.” (James 1:19-21 TLB).
 
Listening to God: Are you listening for the whisper of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit? What is He revealing to you? When and where do you hear, see, or receive God’s message to you most clearly? In nature? In a quiet room in your house? On a walk? In the car? As you read scripture? During worship services? If you haven’t felt like God is revealing a message to you lately, perhaps it is because you are not listening. For most Christians, reading and studying scripture is the way we most clearly receive messages from God. Perhaps you also need to make attending a worship service each week a priority.


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Your Faith Journey
 
Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them to pray. The prayer Christ shared is the beginning portion of what is commonly known as, “The Lord’s Prayer.” Many people are familiar with the version from the King James Bible, which includes the Old English terms “thy” and “hallowed.” For those of us that recite the prayer weekly, or daily, we can forget the significance of what Jesus shared and message within the prayer. It can be helpful to look at other translations of scripture to see verses and familiar passages in new ways. Below is Jesus’ prayer he taught the disciples from the Living Bible. You’re encouraged to pray using it as a prayer guide this week.

“Father, may your name be honored for its holiness; send your Kingdom soon. Give us our food day by day. And forgive our sins — for we have forgiven those who sinned against us. And don’t allow us to be tempted.” – Luke 11:2-4 TLB


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Your Faith Journey  

Developing & Deploying Disciples – What a huge responsibility God gives parents and grandparents to care for, raise, protect, and teach children. The words of wisdom from Proverbs remind us to, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” (Proverbs 22:6 NLT). Jesus said that, “I am the Road.” (John 14:6 MSG). Christ is the “right path” to direct our children towards. The most effective way for us to connect children to Christ is to be living examples by faithfully following him and surrounding them with others who are also committed Christians. We are made to “make disciples” within the church as a gathering of believers working together to direct our children into the abundant life Christ offers, so that “when they are older, they will not leave it.”
 
Heavenly Father, we give you our children. It is humbling to think about the fact that you love them even more than we do. With your Spirit empowering us, guide them in the way that they should go so that when they grow older they continue to faithfully follow Jesus as his disciples. As we sow seeds of truth, and water what has been sewn, bring forth a harvest according to your perfect timing. Expand your kingdom within the hearts of our children, in our homes, neighborhoods, community, state, nation, and across the world. Amen.


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Your Faith Journey

Serve & Give – Jesus referred to himself as the “Son of Man,” and said, “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 NIV). As Jesus’ 21st-century disciples, we believe in him as Savior, submit to his lordship, and follow his example as the Holy Spirit transforms us more and more into His likeness. Serving and Giving to Meet Needs are one of the key commitments of Christians. Look for opportunities to Serve & Give to Meet Needs as a way of putting love into action this week within your home, among your neighbors, at work, with friends, and wherever you go.
 
Develop as a Disciple – Below are three questions to help guide you on your faith journey. You’re encouraged to pray for God’s wisdom and discernment as you answer them.
  1. What do I need to stop doing so that I have more time and energy to focus on personally developing as a disciple of Christ?
  2. What do I need to start doing to become a more mature Jesus follower?
  3. Who am I intentionally investing in to help them grow and mature as a disciple? A child/grandchild? A niece or nephew? A friend, co-worker, or neighbor? Who?


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Your Faith Journey

Serve & Give – Below are various ways to put love into action by serving & giving to meet needs in July as we continue Caring for Our Community:
1. Serve homeless families in Hendricks County through our partnership with Family Promise as we host three families in the AUMC parsonage June 30th through July 7th. We need help providing dinners, folks to spend evenings with the families, and overnight volunteers to stay at the parsonage in case of an emergency. Visit the AUMC website to sign up to serve!
2. Invest in the children of our church and community as part of Vacation Bible School from July 8th through 12th by going to the church website to sign up at: www.avonumc.com. There are many ways to be involved and serve! June 30th is the final day for online registration. Visit the donation board in the gathering place outside the sanctuary to find a sticky note with needed items that you can donate.

Invest – There is a person in your circle of influence, a family member, friend, co-worker, or neighbor, who is disconnected from Christ. They need you to invest in them. They need you to be the flesh and blood presence of Jesus in their life. Will you spend the time, use the energy, and make an ongoing effort to be a bridge between the person in need within your circle of influence and their Savior?


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Your Faith Journey  

Pastor Larry’s Final Sunday
 
Worship God – In his letter known as 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul was trying to help Christians to avoid chaotic or disorderly gatherings, as well as instructing them to be sensitive to unbelievers. Paul encourage the Corinthians that when “unbelievers…come into your meeting, they will be convicted of sin…their secret thoughts will be exposed, and they will fall to their knees and worship God, declaring, ‘God is truly here among you.’” (1 Cor. 14:24-25 NLT). Let us focus upon worshiping God during our time together, as we enjoy the supernatural communion and fellowship of being with brothers and sisters in Christ as we’re aware and sensitive to unbelievers. Lord, through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit transform lives.
 
Develop as a Disciple – What is the Holy Habit (spiritual discipline) that you need to begin or re-start this summer? Fasting (Matthew 6:16-18)? Praying (Matthew 7:7-11)? Studying what Jesus said and did, and living according to what you learn (Matthew 7:24-27)? Jesus instructed the apostle John to, “write in a book everything you see” (Revelation 1:11). Perhaps you should start writing in a journal the ways you experience God working in your life. Mark 4:38 reveals that Jesus was sleeping on a boat while he and the disciples sailed through a storm. Do you need some rest? Maybe you need to schedule a day of rest and recreation each week this summer.


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Your Faith Journey – Father’s Day
 
Serve & Give – Below are various ways to put love into action by serving and giving to meet needs this summer as we continue Caring for Our Community:
  1. Serve homeless families in Hendricks County through our partnership with Family Promise as we host three families in the AUMC parsonage June 30th through July 7th. Visit the AUMC website to sign up.
  2. Invest in the children of our church and community as part of Vacation Bible School from July 8th through 12th by going to the church website to sign up at www.avonumc.com.
 

 Pray for Our Missionaries – We have nearly 50 people from AUMC serving as the hands, feet, and presence of Christ during short-term mission trips this month. You can help support their efforts by praying the following prayer daily for the teams: Lord, empowered by your Spirit, we are the body of Christ here and now. Use the hands, feet, and voices of your servants from Avon UMC sent into the harvest fields on behalf of our Savior to do good for your glory. Bless the representatives of our church on mission trips to be blessings. Touch the lives of everyone who crosses paths with them during their journey. Give the missionaries, and those they serve, eyes to see Christ in the faces of one another. Protect and guide the teams as you fulfill your will through their work and lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.



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Your Faith Journey
Day of Pentecost
 
Invest in the Disconnected – Acts 8 reveals that Philip, one of the twelve disciples, was escaping persecution and hid among the Samaritan people. While there he relied upon the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to do miraculous things for the Samaritans as a way to prepare them to receive the message about the source of his power, Jesus Christ. It’s time for Jesus’ 21st-century disciples in Avon to rely upon the Spirit of the living God to do what only He can do in us, through us, and for others. As hearts and minds become prepared for receiving Christ, then we can effectively share the Good News to transform lives.
 
Develop as a Disciple – A “disciple” of Jesus is a faithful follower of Christ who has placed their faith in Him as Savior and is continuing to surrender more of their life to His lordship. A disciple of Jesus becomes more and more like Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit, personal choices, and holy habits. If you are a Christian, how would you describe this season of your journey as a disciple of Christ? Are you becoming more like Jesus or drifting further from Him? If you’re drifting, what small habit do you need to start to begin growing closer to Christ?