Growing Perfect in Faith – Pastor Chris

What does a fully formed disciple of Jesus look like? How can we create a space in which the youth of our community can grow toward being a mature disciple of Christ? These are the questions that drive youth ministry. Sure, we also ask questions like, “How do we entice more youth to come to our church?” and “Is it a good idea to put a Happy Meal in a blender and then have a contest to see who can drink a Happy Meal smoothie the quickest?” (spoiler alert: it’s not), but the questions that really drive us are those that explore how effective we are in helping youth to grow in their faith.

We have been studying the life of Jesus on Wednesday nights, and this week we started with the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel. We looked at the structure, and discussed how the values of Jesus often run counter to the values of humanity. Where we tend to value wealth, Jesus says “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3). While we value power, Jesus says “Blessed are the meek” (5:5). Jesus goes on to teach about the love of enemies, and putting the needs of others before our own. Together we questioned the text: what does Jesus actually expect from us? Is Jesus using hyperbole to make a point? We might be tempted to think so if it weren’t for what Jesus says in 5:48: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

The word “perfect” there is the Greek word teleios, and it does not mean a mathematical perfection, but rather would be better translated as “mature.” If you think of a fig tree, then that tree is perfect when it produces the fruit that it was created to bear. It doesn’t matter if the branches are all gnarled, if it lost limbs in a storm, or if some of its leaves are brown. What matters is that it produces fruit, and it is in the bearing of this fruit that the tree finds perfection. The same is true for us. When we bear the fruit of ministry in this world that God has creates us to produce, then we are fully formed disciples of Jesus.

What has God created you to do? What fruit are you called to bear into this world? We explore these questions regularly with our youth. And now, we do that face to face. We are back meeting together, and you are invited to be a part of figuring out what it means to follow Jesus in this world. We gather on Sunday mornings at 10:05 am in the Hub (our youth building, across the street from the main church building) to talk about Jesus. We gather on Sunday afternoons to grow in our faith. Our 6th grade confirmation class meets at 4:30 pm, and youth in the 7th – 12th grades meet at 6. We study the Bible on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm, and we try to dig down deep into the Scripture and find the Living Word of God. We are also meeting virtually. Through all of this, we are exploring our call to be fully formed disciples of Jesus, and we are learning how to love the world around us. Come join us!

Pastor Chris


Hope of the Pokomchi

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body.
– Colossians 3:12-15a (New Revised Standard Version)
From the beginning, Jesus proposed a way of being that seemed at odds with the world around him and is still at odds with the world around us. Centering on Jesus forces us to recognize the conflict between the way of life Jesus embodies and the ways of life expected by the world. Paul highlights that conflict when he teaches us to clothe ourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience in a world where behavior that is the opposite of those ideals is regularly rewarded. What looks like weakness to the world is actually the strength of Christ’s message and example because Christ’s ultimate show of weakness, being nailed to the cross, is our greatest source of strength and hope. With our hearts centered on Jesus, can we extend compassion and kindness to people with whom we disagree? With our hearts centered on Jesus, can we put the needs of others ahead of our own? With our hearts centered on Jesus, can we extend love and forgiveness to one another and create harmony with our fellow human beings?
As I think about the qualities Paul and Jesus call us to embody, my mind turns toward the Pokomchi people of Guatemala. Our church has a strong connection to the Pokomchi people, and we have been sending mission teams and financial support to Guatemala for over 20 years. My experience of the Pokomchi is that they are a beautiful people who embody the spirit of Christ in their lives. Now we, with our hearts centered on Christ, have an opportunity to clothe ourselves with kindness and compassion as we reach out in support of these people.
On November 3rd, Hurricane Eta made landfall in Nicaragua and headed north. This storm dumped torrential amounts of rain on a large part of Central America including in the Highlands of Guatemala where our ministry partners, Hope of the Pokomchi, do their work. All of this rain has caused a major humanitarian crisis as villages are flooded and hit with landslides. Right now, we know that the city of San Cristobal, and many of the outlying villages that we work in have been affected, and there are estimates that put the death toll around 200 people. It is catastrophic.
The good news is that all of the staff of Hope of the Pokomchi are safe, although some have experienced flooding in their own homes. The Skekinah Center, where teams sometimes stay when in country and where much of the ministry is based, has not been affected.
The staff of Hope of the Pokomchi is working to provide food and support for the people of their community. Many roads to the more remote villages are washed out, but they are reaching out as they are able.
We can support this ministry in two ways. First, we pray. This is the list of prayer foci that Hope of the Pokomchi has requested:
  • That the roads would become passable as soon as possible
  • That the pregnant women in the villages would get safely to the hospital in San Cristobal
  • That Hope of the Pokomchi could get much needed supplies to Queja (our partner village) and the other villages in that area
  • Guidance and strength for the village pastors and leaders who are coordinating relief efforts with Hope of the Pokomchi
  • Health, safety, stamina for our Hope of the Pokomchi staff as they carry on with this monumental task
Second, we can donate money directly to Hope of the Pokomchi so that they can buy food and supplies to distribute. You can do this through our secure giving portal and selecting Hope of the Pokomchi as the fund, or you can mail a check to FUMC McKinney at 315 N. Church St. McKinney, TX 75069 and write “Hope of the Pokomchi” in the memo of your check.
The staff and people of Hope of the Pokomchi and the Pokomchi people themselves are near and dear to our hearts. Please join us in prayer for this amazing organization that works with the beautiful Pokomchi people, and please support them financially as you are able.
Pastor Chris Rickwartz