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God's vision, not just for 2030, but for eternity

February 19, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Ephesians 2:1-10

1 At one time you were like a dead person because of the things you did wrong and your offenses against God. 2 You used to live like people of this world. You followed the rule of a destructive spiritual power. This is the spirit of disobedience to God’s will that is now at work in persons whose lives are characterized by disobedience. 3 At one time you were like those persons. All of you used to do whatever felt good and whatever you thought you wanted so that you were children headed for punishment just like everyone else.
4-5 However, God is rich in mercy. He brought us to life with Christ while we were dead as a result of those things that we did wrong. He did this because of the great love that he has for us. You are saved by God’s grace! 6 And God raised us up and seated us in the heavens with Christ Jesus. 7 God did this to show future generations the greatness of his grace by the goodness that God has shown us in Christ Jesus.
8 You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith [or through his faithfulness]. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. 9 It’s not something you did that you can be proud of. 10 Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Our Vision 2030 goals * are rooted in the reality that God’s free grace, offered to all, is a gift we do not earn, and never could. But genuinely accepting that gift of grace changes us. The apostle Paul, as passionate a preacher of God’s saving grace as ever lived, wrote that when we accept that grace, we live as “God’s accomplishment [Greek poema, meaning “artistry” or “handiwork”], created in Christ Jesus to do good things.” The Vision 2030 goals are a serious attempt to focus Resurrection on major actions to do the “good things” for which God has created us. The apostle Paul believed it was key for Christians (in Ephesus, and everywhere) to see that the significant changes in their lives (cf. Acts 19:18-20) were not something they had done by tapping into their own inherent goodness. They were God’s accomplishment, living out the kind of life God desired them to live.

  • John Wesley wove the idea that we are “created in Christ Jesus to do good things” into the Methodist Church’s Second General Rule: “By doing good; by being in every kind merciful after their power; as they have opportunity, doing good of every possible sort, and, as far as possible, to all men.” Does the phrase “doing good of every possible sort” (linked to the Vision 2030 goals) spark your imagination? What are one or two “sorts” of goodness you didn’t used to do, but now do as a Christ follower? Will you let God keep reshaping the way you live even life’s “secular” parts—driving, shopping, business dealings, playing or watching sports, and the like? God has a purpose for your life. Spend some quiet time today comparing your current life patterns with what Ephesians 2:10 says about God’s plans, and praying about changes God’s Spirit convicts you to make.
Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of your saving, transforming grace. Guide me, and us as a congregation, to live into the reality of the good things you’ve created (and re-created) us to do. Amen.

GPS Insights

Carol Cartmill

Carol Cartmill

Carol Cartmill is Lead Director of Mission Ministries for Resurrection, A United Methodist Church. She provides leadership to mission programs that maximize the congregation’s involvement in life-changing ministry beyond the walls of the church, locally and across the globe. Carol applies her passion for equipping people for ministry, practical experience from working in a multi-location church setting, and an educational background in organizational management and leadership. She is married to Jim, mom to daughters Lauren and Kristin, and “Grammy” to Hayley and Eloise. In her free time, Carol enjoys traveling, spending time outdoors golfing or gardening, or indoors looking for inspiration on the Food Network.

I find today’s passage comforting, hopeful, and challenging. It comforts because it is so personal. The passage speaks to the realities of my need for God’s mercy and redemption, God’s recognition of my need, and God’s goodness in providing grace and life through Christ Jesus. I have hope because God didn’t leave me where I was, “like a dead person,” but instead brought me to life and gave me every opportunity to live more fully as the creation God intended. And, finally, it also challenges me to live my life differently, to reflect God’s goodness through my actions. That’s a lot to take in, and if you are struggling to take this message personally, ask God to guide you in understanding what this means for you.

God longs for us to experience God’s transforming love and grace in our lives. This transformation opens us up to new ways of living because we begin to see the world through eyes of hope and possibility. Surely the grace that changed us has the power to change the world. How does that change come about? Through us! God uses me and you to be agents of goodness, and through our actions, to close the gap between the world as it is and the world as God intended.

My role on the staff of the church affords me the privilege of seeing firsthand the good work this congregation is doing to close gaps, especially the Opportunity Gap. You invest your time, talent and treasure to helping children and families who are living in poverty, here in Kansas City and around the world. You provide basic needs like food and medical care while you invest in building the capacity of people to meet their own needs through education and economic empowerment. You already do so many good things!

As we’ve been studying this week, Resurrection’s Vision 2030 represents God’s call on our lives, individually and corporately, to focus our attention on four particular gaps and to take intentional steps to close them. The link at the end of today’s reading will take you to a webpage where you can review and reflect upon each of the four gaps and some of the plans for closing each one. I know God is calling me to consider how I might daily renew my own commitment to doing the good work God created me to do. Not to earn my way to heaven, but as an expression of God’s grace and goodness in my own life. Will you join me?

Click here to view or re-view Resurrection’s Vision 2030 goals.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Click here to view or re-view Resurrection’s Vision 2030 goals.