As we begin 2017, we will focus in worship on the fact that we belong not to ourselves, but we belong to Jesus. There are many places in the New Testament where the phrase “servant of Jesus Christ” appears. It refers to us who follow Jesus as his disciples. But in most cases where this phrase appears, the word “servant” is translated from a Greek word which really means “slave.” It refers to one who is completely owned by a master. So when this word is translated “servant,” we’re really toning down its true meaning. By the same token, when we refer to Jesus as “Lord,” it really means “Master” – one who owns or holds total sovereignty over the life of another. So, when we commit ourselves to follow Jesus as “Lord,” we are declaring ourselves “slaves” of Jesus Christ. This will be our emphasis in worship during the first two Sundays in January. It so happens that January 1 or “New Year’s Day” will fall on Sunday. On that day, although we will worship at the usual times (8:50 and 11:15), we will not have our usual services. We will participate in a Wesley Covenant Service. The heart of the service is the Wesley Covenant Prayer: “Let me be your servant (slave), under your command. I will no longer be my own. I will give up myself to your will in all things….” We will join our hearts together around the Table of Grace to surrender ourselves to Jesus and to ask for him to impart his grace. In the church’s liturgical calendar, the second Sunday of January is Baptism of the Lord Sunday. On this day, we will commemorate Jesus’ baptism in which the voice of God declared “This is my Son….” This baptism event launched Jesus’ ministry. On this Sunday, we will be invited to “remember” our own baptism and reflect on how God claims us in our baptism and calls us into ministry. I hope you will make a “resolution” to be in worship on these first two Sunday and be reminded that you are not your own – you belong to Jesus! Walking in Grace,

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