This talk was the preparation for next week: the kickoff to the Summer Book of Mormon Reading Program. This year should be AWESOME! I have some great prizes and incentives, and the whole focus has changed from "racing" to see who can complete the reading to helping each other so EVERY SINGLE MEMBER is strengthened and enriched. Even SmallDaughter. And--as I pointed out in my talk--if she is participating--nobody else has any valid excuses! (since she can't read!)
I have to go let out Miss K's dogs--since she is down in the city, awaiting a grand-baby at any second!
If you are interested, here is the outline of my talk:
Where we are:
Our ward has 383 members
Average 30% attendance
E.M who don’t have an active Recommend: 41
Callings that can’t be filled
What we WANT:
Return to Heavenly Father
Inactive Members are OUR Brothers & Sisters
We NEED them
We LOVE them
A ZION People
And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.
The gap between
KNOWING and DOING
What happens when we close that gap?
4 Nephi 1:16
And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.
“If I can’t do it perfectly, why bother trying?”
The Lord’s Plan:
Isaiah 28: 10
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
Do we spank a baby when it falls down?—NO! We cheer every effort, every improvement. That is how the Lord feels about us!
Comparing Ourselves/Judging Others--Flip sides of the same sin.
Quotes from Elder Uchtdorf:
I want to tell you something that I hope you will take in the right way: God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect.
Let me add: God is also fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not.
And yet we spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others—usually comparing our weaknesses to their strengths. This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts because they seem to be less than what someone else does.
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
It’s wonderful that you have strengths.
And it is part of your mortal experience that you do have weaknesses.
God wants to help us to eventually turn all of our weaknesses into strengths, but He knows that this is a long-term goal. He wants us to become perfect, and if we stay on the path of discipleship, one day we will. It’s OK that you’re not quite there yet. Keep working on it, but stop punishing yourself.
This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:
It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”
We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Haven’t we wished with all the energy of our souls for mercy—to be forgiven for the mistakes we have made and the sins we have committed?
Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others any measure of the grace we so desperately desire for ourselves? My beloved brothers and sisters, should we not forgive as we wish to be forgiven?
YSA Ward Sermon:
“Everybody Sucks at first”
When you learn to walk, learn to play the piano, learn to drive—you don’t expect perfection at first. Why do we expect more of ourselves where the gospel is concerned?
Alma 37: 7
And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.
Hesitancy, fear & Procrastination
Alma 37: 40-41 (about the Liahona)
And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day.
Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey;
Ways to Overcome them:
Start where you are—Don’t wait!
Next week we start the BofM Challenge.
EVERY member is included.
There are rewards and incentives. Not Bribes, blessings—Which I get to give!
There is NO WRONG WAY TO DO THIS!
You are welcome to listen to it on your ipad or computer.
If you miss a day, pick up where you are, and keep going—we stumble, we don’t fail.
Commit to help someone else.
Special Prize for sharing a copy of the BoM
Every Member reading the Book of Mormon
Stake President’s Challenge (for each of us to get a new copy, read the entire book and mark in red all of the Savior’s teachings).
SmallDaughter was invited by her class and included in their reading challenge.
What is your excuse?
There is NO wrong way.
We are not racing to be first,
we are working to be Zion
Help someone else—class, HT, VT
A good time to restart.
Our Problem: Panic at how big the job seems!
“By the yard, Life is hard—
By the inch—it’s a cinch”!
The Savior never asks us for the Grand Gesture—He already did it!
He lived a perfect, sinless life.
He wants us to do small things--repeatedly.
He paid for all of our sins
He wants us to keep trying—every day, and to encourage the people around us.
All of us commit and work together, as individuals, as families, as organizations, as friends, to focus on 3 small things this summer:
Read the Book of Mormon
Report our Progress
Miracles will happen
In our ward
In our families
In our lives
The Spirit will teach us the small things we need to do to bring back those that are missing, to heal our hearts, and increase our Ward Unity.