Feb 22, 2015 - Rev Paul Rasmussen
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This past Sunday was a really special Sunday in the life of Highland Park United Methodist Church - it marked one year from our 100th birthday as a church. We kicked off our year-long centennial celebration by worshipping as one big church in Moody Coliseum at SMU.
Paul began his sermon by referencing Matthew 1:1-17. Matthew begins his gospel with a genealogy - a detailed lineage of Jesus Christ. Paul observed that this list of "begats" is crucial to the book. Before Matthew's readers could understand Jesus, they needed to understand what led to his coming. Similarly, Paul observed that we can't celebrate our birthday properly and glorify God properly if we don't look back to our history. Before we can appreciate who we are and what is to come, we need to understand where we came from.
Our founding fathers and mothers had future generations in mind when they started HPUMC nearly one hundred years ago. Paul emphasized that we want to preserve first-generation passion and zeal for who we are as a church. We must be intentional about giving the next generation what the first generation gave us. If we don't give them the right things intentionally, we will give them the wrong things accidentally.
Paul highlighted five gifts our forbearers gave to us that are crucial for us to pass along to the next generation:
1. A community worth having. Our forbearers recognized that HPUMC needed to be a family; a place of support, love, and grace where life can be shared together. The Christian life is one of dependence - dependence on God and one another. Community is the bedrock of this church.
2. A standard worth achieving. Our forbearers set a very high standard throughout all areas of the church and our ministries. For example, we kept up our outreach efforts even during the Great Depression. We also have set the record for the largest faith-based commitment to Habitat for Humanity. We strive for excellence in all that we do.
3. A message worth applying. Our forbearers understood that we must not merely listen to the word, but we also must apply the word. For many churches, their goal is only to teach people the Bible. Historically, we have strived not only to teach people the Bible, but also to teach people how to apply it their lives and to live it out.
4. A model worth changing. Our forbearers gave us a model of worship worth changing. We honor our mission to help create deeply devoted followers of Jesus Christ but have been flexible with our model. We have had multiple styles of worship throughout our history.Today we have six ways to worship on Sunday mornings.
5. A faith worth reproducing. Our forbearers cultivated a spirit of evangelism to share the Christian faith. They started numerous churches. Paul observed that as long as there are people in the world who are broken and do know not Christ, HPUMC is not big enough. We are going after the whole world.
When we turn 100 one year from now, we must hand-off to the next generation the way our forbearers handed off to us - looking ahead to the next 100 years.
I am so grateful to God for the numerous ways He has blessed the HPUMC community over the past 100 years and feel privileged to be a part of this community as we journey into our centennial year and look ahead to the next 100 years. To God, may all the glory be given.
Blessings and peace in Christ,
Associate Pastor, Cornerstone
P.S. For more information about the Centennial throughout the year, check out:100.hpumc.org