Pastor Melba Dibble
“You are the light of the world...in the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14, 16
Discipleship is being called to walk with Christ, equipped to live like Christ, and sent by Christ to love and serve others in the world!
As members of the ELCA, we all share a commitment to spreading God’s word—and sharing God’s love—in the world. To live our lives in and for Christ in both church and society—that’s at the heart of discipleship. But it doesn’t just happen on its own.
Seven faith practices
Followers of Jesus are inspired to develop practices and patterns for living that characterize a life that is devoted to daily discipleship. Seven common practices have been identified as key to model and nurture.
1) Pray ------ Prayer --------- Pray Frequently
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
P.L.U.M. specific: We have nine joint services that gives us the opportunity for prayer together.
2) Study ------ Christian Education ------ Study Scripture Diligently
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
P.L.U.M. specific: Most P.L.U.M. congregations have weekly study - if not you are welcome to attend one of the other congregation’s studies.
3) Worship ------ Worship ------ Worship Regularly
I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. (Psalm 34:1-3)
P.L.U.M. specific: We are constantly improving our worship together - example the projection screens at Christ and Trinity.
4) Invite ------ Evangelism ------ Invite Others Often
But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)
P.L.U.M. specific: Some congregations have gone out with door hangers in their neighborhood. Dormont goes to the park and gives out water with an invitation. Many of our churches reach out to invite in.
5) Encourage ------ Teaching/Mentoring ------ Pass on the Faith
Little Children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action (1John 3:18)
P.L.U.M. specific: How about our famous P.L.U.M. retreats???
6) Serve ------ Service ------ Serve for the Sake of Others
For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45)
P.L.U.M. specific: Our churches support Abiding Ministry - Many of you do free meals for example - Dormont gave away turkey dinners to 700 families last Thanksgiving.
7) Give ------Stewardship ------Give Freely
“...give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap for the measure you give will be the measure you get back” (Luke 6:38)
P.L.U.M. specific: Special pats on the back to Bob Stohr for setting up music at our block parties, for helping three churches with their sound system and for building handicapped ramps. For all members who support our congregations when they need a helping hand. For our “Breakers” who visit the shut-ins. For council members, committee members, and most of all - for YOU.
ELCA article on Discipleship
Now that you know what a disciple does and you know what to practice - now let’s look at how the scripture for the month of October shows us how we can use God’s Word in our daily lives as a disciple.
Increase my faith - Don’t we sometimes feel as if our faith well is dry? Jesus reminds us that we have enough faith even if it is the size of a mustard seed - it is enough. It’s not about us - it’s about God. God is at work - God is blessing - God is bringing the fruit. We need to go out into the world with confidence.
Thank God for our blessings - We can be so blind to our blessings. We aren’t sure if Jesus healed the ten lepers because of the amount of faith they had or because of his own compassion for them. How much time passed before the lepers discover their own healing? We aren’t told. One thing is known and that is only ONE leper noticed AND returned to give thanks. And Jesus gives him a second blessing, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.” Earlier the leper had been cured of a physical ailment, but in his second interaction with the leper Jesus made him whole. Daily, we need to thank God for our blessings.
Pray always; pray for justice - If a powerless widow’s persistence can wear down an unjust judge, imagine what God can do with our prayers for justice. We are to be like this widow and pray to God unceasingly. Jesus wants his disciples to pray always. Time never seems to be right for prayer. But Jesus knows when we pray unceasingly, we change. We go from telling God how to do things and focusing on our will to asking God for his will to be done and for justice on this earth.
Humility - slow to judge - The Pharisee’s and the tax collector’s prayer can be a mirror into our prayers and thoughts. We are not to be so quick to judge others in their faith journey. Nor are we to get too comfortable in our righteousness or guilt. God heaps grace upon grace upon grace on us. We must share that grace with others.
Remember: You are the light of the world...in the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven - Keep sharing your stories - it really makes a difference. Amen!
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sheraden, 3102 Sherwood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15204 412-331-0600