WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
July 19, 2016
A weekly communication for:
WDC Churches and Pastors
WDC Executive Board, Commission, Committee and Task Force members
Any content may be used in bulletins and newsletters and
forwarded to congregational leaders and members.
WDC Sprouts is also available at: www.mennowdc.org (Publications)
IN THIS ISSUE:
*Lord, who are you?
Lord, who are you?
by Byron Pellecer, Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)
I found myself reading and meditating on Acts 9:1-20 where Saul’s conversion experience is disclosed. So far, he has been persecuting the young church, however, everything is about to change!
This text presents its reader not only with Saul’s conversion but also with a new mission: To be God’s instrument and to carry the gospel before Gentiles, kings and the people of Israel.
The story unfolds through a vision when the risen Lord speaks to Ananias about the call and future work of Saul. He was near Damascus when a strange light from heaven, exhibiting heavenly power, flashes forth and he falls to the ground.
In the midst of the experience, Saul hears a confronting and demanding voice: “Saul, why do you persecute me? The question is pressing for an answer that will change his life from that day forward.
Now down on the ground, he can only ask “Lord, who are you?” The answer simple and powerful, “I am Jesus.”
For Saul, there might be two possible options: The first one is to question this new authority and presence and continuing doing what he thought right, and the second one is to surrender to this new divine presence.
However, the instructions that followed were even more intriguing; “Get up and enter the city and you will be told what you are to do.” It was after this experience that he discovers that now he is blind! To top it off, now he is in need of someone to lead him by the hand, that someone is Ananias.
Ananias, in a vision is told by the Lord to go and look for a man of Tarsus named Saul who is praying and he too has been given a vision in which a man by the name of Ananias comes to him.
“Go”, is the command to Ananias because this man is a chosen instrument of God to carry the gospel. Soon after his conversion and discipleship process, he begins to testify in the synagogues, proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God.”
In similar fashion, the great commission of Jesus is for his followers to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth too!
My point is this, repentance and conversion experience is followed by regeneration of life and discipleship, then commissioning and sending will follow respectively. Hence conversion, newness of life is the real center of our identity.
Friends, without Ananias risking everything, it is difficult to imagine how Paul would ever have started as an apostle!
Again and again the Lord has raised up people like Ananias and Paul who have dared to approach individuals to begin on the road of evangelism, repentance, conversion, discipleship and mission!
Just like them, individually and collectively, we are challenged to share our Jesus’ story.
As God’s missionaries, let’s go and share God’s good news of salvation and minister to the world (Mission). Call them to repentance and to convert from their old ways (evangelism/conversion). Teach them to keep God’s commands (discipleship).
May the good LORD continue raising people like Ananias and Paul in our midst!
- Please join us July 29-30 at Bethel College for the Western District Conference Annual Assembly, “Held Together in Mission”. Friday 7 pm worship and the Saturday evening music festival (7-9 pm) are free and open to the public. For more information on Assembly events, go to: https://mennowdc.org/annual-assembly/#2016annualAssembly. Workshop topics and schedules, as well as music festival performers’ bios and schedules are now on the website! You can still register for Assembly events, but will need to make your own arrangements for meals.
- Bethel College Mennonite Church has an opening for Cherub Choir Director, beginning August 1 and extending through the school year. This part-time paid position is perfect for a music education college student who enjoys working with children in grades K-4. Please contact Bethel College Mennonite Church, 283- 3776, for more information, or to apply.
- Church Librarians: Free bookplates for donated books/books donated in memory of. See attached picture. Contact Jennie at the WDC Resource Library if interested. firstname.lastname@example.org or 316-283-6300.
- Young Adult Weekend at Camp Mennoscah, July 29-31. It’s like practically tomorrow. You should sign up. Probably now or maybe a couple of hours from now. We suggest online registration at www.campmennoscah.org. We’ve got scholarship funds available, so the cost of $50 is negligible. It’s going to be a blast!
- Annual Camp Sing! Camp Mennoscah folks will be singing their hearts out on August 7 at 6:30pm at Grace Hill Mennonite Church in Whitewater! It would be great to have you there helping us fill the building with joyous song. We’ll be singing hymns and camp songs with the summer staff leading us.
- The Ninnescah News, Camp Mennoscah newsletter, is now being sent by email. Please contact us at email@example.com to be added to the mailing list. The newsletter is available at www.campmennoscah.org in the “About” link. Contact us at 620-297-3290 if a paper copy is needed.
- Mental Health Spiritual Retreat at Camp Mennoscah! Join us September 4-5 for a time to relax, worship, fellowship with new and long-time friends, and enjoy sessions on the theme of Courage in Community. This retreat is for all who are affected by mental illness–family, friends, community members. Register online at www.campmennoscah.org or call us at 620-297-3290! Scholarships available.
Mennonite Church Announcements
Call for seminar proposals: Do you or some in your your congregation have an exciting ministry or interesting resource to share with others attending Orlando 2017? Mennonite Church USA convention planners have begun collecting seminar proposals for Mennonite Church USA convention July 4-8 in Orlando, FL. For more information and to submit seminar proposals, see http://convention.mennoniteusa.org/seminars/ At the bottom of the page is a link to the submission form. Proposals are due by August 12, 2016.
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620