Sherri's Message
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October 1, 2015, 8:51 AM

October 1, 2015

It’s about Forgiveness

Forgiveness – it’s a central precept of our faith as followers of Jesus Christ.

Forgiveness is all over the Bible.  The disciples asked Jesus how many times they should forgive – he essentially says, “as many times as it takes.”  Jesus talked about how when we forgive we are forgiven. In Matthew 18 Jesus gives us a blueprint for how we are to forgive one another and move from disunity to unity. From the cross Jesus says, “Father, forgive them.”  Take a moment to think about that.  Jesus, who has been whipped, beaten, spat upon, humiliated and nailed to the cross to die an agonizing death says “forgive them.”  

And yet, I am amazed at the number of people I encounter who are unwilling to move toward forgiveness and reconciliation.  Time and time again, I hear an unwillingness to come to the table to talk things out, work things out or hear the other side of the story.  For many today, it’s easier to just walk away than do the difficult work of letting go of our wounds and allowing Jesus to bring healing and wholeness to our relationships. We don’t need to worry about the culture destroying our relationships, we’re doing a good enough job of it ourselves. 

In the midst of our broken lives, Jesus continues to ask us to keep the commandments and remain in his love.  He prayed that we might be one.  That doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything.  But it does mean we need to work together to build God’s kingdom, to respect one another and, when we harm one another, seek forgiveness and reconciliation.

The bottom line is, from time to time, we hurt one another and wound one another. We say things we don’t mean, we do things without thinking them through. A lot of the time it’s a misunderstanding.  Most of the time we may not even be aware that we have hurt someone unless they take the time to tell us.

What will we do about it?  How will we help one another, in the midst of our brokenness, move toward forgiveness and reconciliation and healing?   We need to be about the business of forgiving.  It’s kingdom work.  If we are brave enough to do so, we will be the stronger for it.

Today, if there is someone you have wounded, seek their forgiveness.  If someone has wounded you, forgive them.  You won’t regret it.

 

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September 24, 2015, 9:28 AM

September 24, 2015

CONNECTING.

Cathy and I want to be of service to you. Our purpose is to resource you and your churches.  

Our goal is to be accessible to you. The best way to get in touch with us is to call the office at
716-665-2423. Regular office hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. If we aren't in the office, please leave a voice mail and we will return your call as soon as possible.  

The second best way to get in touch with us is through email. The district office email is: cornerstonedistrict@unyumc.org and my email is sherrirood@unyumc.org. Again, we will get back to you as soon as possible.  

You are always welcome to call my cell phone. However, please be aware that I may be in a meeting or traveling. A call to Cathy in the district office may provide the answer to your question, or at least alert her to a need for me to respond to your call - so try the office number first.  

If you call my cell and I don't pick up, please leave a message and I will return your call as soon as possible. 

Please avoid texting with questions and concerns. I would prefer an email so that I can flag and track the correspondence. Texts get lost too easily. Please don't send correspondence through Facebook message - I'm not on Facebook very often and I may not see your message.

Please read the weekly updates from the district and conference. This is our primary mode of communication. We use these mediums to share new opportunities for mission and ministry, meeting dates as well as workshop and continuing education opportunities. We know you get a lot of emails - please make it a weekly priority to read ours in order to stay connected. Again, if you have questions, please give us a call.

It's really important we communicate well. Cathy and I want to hear from you - to answer your questions, be of assistance and hear how things are going. We enjoy our calling to work with you and helping you be the pastors and churches God has created and called you to be.  Please let us know how we may improve our communication.

Grace and peace,
Sherri

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September 17, 2015, 9:00 AM

September 17, 2015

Late last week while driving to Buffalo I was rummaging through my purse looking for ChapStick. I couldn’t find the ChapStick, but I did find the container of anointing oil I used at the pastors meeting on Wednesday. I was in a hurry and my lips hurt, so I thought, “Why not?” as I rubbed some of the anointing oil onto my sore lips. (In case some of you are “grossed out” I used my finger – I didn’t directly apply the container!)

Anointing has many references in Scripture and designates persons and objects as set apart and holy. Anointing oil is a seal upon us and signifies we belong to God. It is also a tangible sign of healing prayer. Before pastors preach, many pray the words of Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.” In essence this is a prayer of anointing on the preaching moment.

As I drove along, I wondered what it would be like if we thought about anointing our lips before speaking. Are the things we say kind and compassionate?  Do they speak with integrity and Christian love?  Do our words indicate we belong to God? Do we set aside not only our words but ourselves as holy?

I’m distressed daily by the way people speak to one another. Their communication is filled with anger, hatred, and bigotry; they spew vitriolic half-truths, lies and gossip and use words as weapons. They talk with no respect or concern for the feelings of others. Sometimes this even happens in the church.

Maybe we should all use anointing oil as ChapStick, to remember that our words have great power to do good or harm, and they also have the power to honor or dishonor God.  We are sealed and set apart by God – maybe we should talk that way.

Prayerfully yours,

Sherri

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September 10, 2015, 1:22 PM

September 10, 2015

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.  -- Hebrews 12:12-13

The image of drooping hands suggests fatigue.  It reminds me of when the Israelites were battling the Amalekites and the Israelites would prevail as long as Moses held his hands up, but when he let his hands drop the Amalekites prevailed.  So Aaron and Hur stood on either side of Moses and held his hands up for him.  Moses was leading, but he needed help, especially when he was tired.

Who do you count on to hold up your drooping hands when you are tired and need someone to lean on?  I believe that’s why God created us to be communal beings and why we need the church.  We’re here to support and lean on one another and care for one another as we follow the path set before us.

I hope you have the opportunity this week to lift someone’s drooping hands and that you also let someone help you when the day is long and the path is not as straight as it should be.

Prayerfully yours,
Sherri

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September 2, 2015, 12:00 AM

September 3, 2015

What is it about school supplies?  Every time I go in a store lately I want to fill the cart with pencils, crayons, notebooks, protractors and everything that shouts, “School is starting!”  Do you remember that Staples commercial a few years ago with the Dad cruising around on the shopping cart to the tune of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?”  It made me laugh every time.   Summer seemed like an eternity when I was a kid – now it seems to race by far too quickly.  Hopefully you have had some time to rest and recharge your batteries. September also seems to bring with it the unofficial start of the church year, with Sunday school, Bible studies and small groups.  Some even start thinking about Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas… 
 
The beginning of the school year brings with it the promise of possibilities and opportunities.  New pencils, crayons and notebooks are the tools that will document creativity and knowledge.  New small groups, sermon series and choir rehearsals also bring opportunities for creativity, insight and deeper discipleship.  It really is the most wonderful time of the year!  As we enter into September, I pray you will hear God’s invitation in the words of Isaiah 43:19: 
 
“I am about to do a new thing;
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.”  (NRSV)
 
God is always doing a new thing.  Our task is to be open to God’s leading. I’m praying you and the churches you lead are excited about the opportunities and possibilities that God has in store for you and your community.
 
Prayerfully yours,
Sherri
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