St. Luke's United Methodist Church
Thursday, July 20, 2017
The Friendly Church

New to St. Luke's

BECOMING A MEMBER

St. Luke's United Methodist Church invites and welcomes those without church homes to make our church your home.  It is easy to join.  Simply come down the center aisle near the conclusion of the worship service or contact our staff in advance if you have any questions.  Incoming members are asked, "Will you be loyal to the United Methodist Church and uphold it by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, and your service?"  The response is, "I will."  Here is how we bring that commitment to life.

PRAYERS

Prayer is a Christian discipline reflecting our dependence upon God for grace and guidance.  Prayer places us in communion with God and acknowledges our need for God's help.  Prayers for our clergy, our teachers, our staff and one another bring our faith in God and the Risen Christ to life.

PRESENCE

Attending and participating actively in worship services, Sunday School classes and small groups is our response to God's love for us.  Our presence is a testimony to our faith.  So we know that bringing our faith to life means we strive to demonstrate our response to God's love wherever we are - at home, at work, at school and in the community.

GIFTS

Gifts are the joyful acknowledgment for the many blessings God has bestowed on us.  Our tithes and offerings allow us to express our thanks to God, and this expression of gratitude supports our church's many ministries.  Methodism's founder John Wesley said: "Make all you can. Save all you can.  Give all you can."

SERVICE

Our service follows the example of Christ, "who came not to be served, but to serve" (Matthew 20:28)  We are all "created in Christ Jesus for good works" (Ephesians 2:10) and our loving response is to share with one another our talents and abilities - indeed our very selves.
 
As part of the United Methodist Church, we trace the origins of our practices and policies to England in 1739 and John Wesley's beliefs that God's grace is available and free to all through Jesus Christ.
 
In the United Methodist tradition, we understand God's free grace in three ways:
     Prevenient Grace - God's grace reaches out in exactly the same immeasurable abundance to every person who lives.  This is true whether the person is aware of God's movement toward him or her - it is not dependent on any response on the part of the individual, and even out-right rejection can in no way diminish God's love for the person.
     Justifying Grace - The love of God that forgives and reconciles us unto God.  Appropriation of this grace takes a response of faith on the part of the individual.  In Christ Jesus, through Christ Jesus, we are places in a right relationship with God from whom we have alienated ourselves through the sin of self pride.  In Christ, that sin is forgiven, forgotten - forever.
     Sanctifying Grace - God is not content just to "save" us; God is intent upon our growth to conform our lives to that of Jesus Christ.  The action of "Sanctifying" grace transforms us into persons whose motive for every thought, word and deed is love of God and love of our fellow human beings.
 
Wesley believed - and we continue to believe today - that four criteria are used to work out one's faith:
     Scripture, which serves as the record of God's relationship to humankind
     Tradition, which influences how the Bible is read and interpreted
     Experience, which is the individual's distinct experience of God
     Reason, which acts as a guardian against aberrant belief and behavior
We believe in the Methodist tradition that our relationship to God can never be a static thing.  Rather, it is dynamic.  We are either responding to God's grace and moving toward God, or we are refusing to respond to God and "backsliding" away from God.  Grace leads us to live - abundant and eternal in quality and quantity.