A Word from Our Pastor: 2015 April

“Change the World!”
The first week of May (Sunday, May 3 at 9:30 a.m. and Wednesday, May 6 at 6 p.m.), our Faith Clinics will begin a new study called “Change the World.” Come and join us – anytime you can. . .you do not need to attend every session, and we would be delighted to have you with us!

We are currently completing a study that will help us “Dare to Dream” – to uncover our life’s purpose. “Understanding your life purpose is discovering why you are alive and knowing the contribution that you want to leave behind. Some people confuse life purpose with goals. Life purpose is not to be confused with a job. You can lose your job, but you can’t lose your life mission” (from Mike Slaughter, “Change the World.”)

Some of us may know our particular purpose, and our lives can be more full of meaning and joy when we act in harmony with that purpose. BUT, even if you aren’t clear about the specific reason you are alive, we can help you by suggesting a place to begin.

Jesus described the purpose of his life, and for the life of everyone who followed him in several different ways. It is not the kind of mission that most societies recommend: usually we are told that the most important thing we can do is take care of our families, parents and children, and extended family; that is an important responsibility, but not the only one. People during the time of Jesus were just as committed to taking care of their families as we are today – perhaps even more so, because your family was often the source of your survival. But Jesus challenges us to go beyond the “natural” responsibility of family – to reach out to those who have fallen between the cracks because they do not have a family to take care of them. We are called to create new families, tied together by love more than blood. We are called to include EVERYONE in this new family.

One of the first announcements Jesus made describing his life purpose was a quote from a Hebrew prophet: “. . .to preach good news to the poor; proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind; to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” He also gave specific directions, such as giving the hungry something to eat; the thirsty something to drink; inviting the stranger; clothing the naked. . . This is the mission of the church, the mission of the followers of Jesus.

The Christian church (all of us together) is the largest non-governmental/nonprofit social agency in the United States. If we really got together and got to work on the issues of suffering that are around us, imagine how the world would change! Even our little church can make a huge difference to people’s lives – people who are in need, as well as in our own lives. . . You can begin your journey (or continue it) to discover your life’s purpose by serving others. The more things you try, the clearer will be God’s message to you! Below are some of the opportunities our Missions Committee has planned. Contact me, Carolyn Soto or Irene Tekawa for information about how to get involved, or look in the foyer for the sign-up sheet.
–Rev. Naomi

April 19 The Socks Project
Give away clean new socks to homeless people in our area

April 19 Crop Walk
Raise awareness and funds to end hunger, locally and globally, just by walking

April 21 Berkland Food Program
Cook and serve 100 hot meals for this tri-church hunger relief project

April 26 Rebuilding Together
Paint and repair homes belonging to local seniors and disabled persons. This is the official work day of a national organization.

May 10 Birthing Kits
Assemble 100 disaster kits for UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) worldwide distribution

June 14 St. Mary’s Center, Oakland
Cook and serve 75 hot lunches for persons in recovery at St. Mary’s Center

July 21 Berkland Food Program

October 4 St. Mary’s Center

October 20 Berkland Food Program

October 23-25 Fresno Volunteers
A team from Rev. Akiko’s church (United Japanese Christian Church in Clovis, CA) is coming to work side by side with a team from BMUC in a clean-up or building project yet to be determined.

All of these programs can use your help. Please join the Missions Committee as we share God’s love with people we do not know. There are opportunities for everyone who is reading this.