Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. (Colossians 3:15-17, The Message)
As Thanksgiving approaches my list of what I am thankful for continues to grow. I am thankful for all of you who have been holding me in prayer during my extended illness and diagnosis of Lyme disease. I am thankful to live in a country where doctors and medicine are accessible. I am especially thankful for our First Church family and those of you who graciously accepted our invitation for “Date with Eight.” “Date with Eight” has been such a joy and delight and we are thankful for the opportunity to get to know you better.
What are you thankful for? What are you grateful for? In the midst of uncertainty in life, it is easy to lose sight of what God is doing in our lives. Perhaps you are living in a season of your life where it is particularly difficult to see where God is present. You don’t need to beat yourself up about that. It’s alright. God will meet you right in the midst of your doubt, fear and unbelief. God can and God will gently lead you back in God’s loving presence. It might not happen all at once or the way you expect it but we can trust that it will happen.
Fall is a busy time in the life of the church and in our daily lives. In reflecting upon my diagnosis of Lyme disease maybe, just maybe, we are not called to busyness but rather to faithfulness. Busyness distracts us, while faithfulness leads us deeper into the heart of God. Sometimes being faithful means saying “no” to good things, so we can say “YES!” to even better things, the very things God would have us say “YES!” to.
What must you let go of in order to grab on to what God is calling you to do? Sometimes taking on one more thing is not the answer. Sometimes it’s not saying “yes” to everything that comes across our plates but rather saying “yes” to the right things—the things that bring us abundant life and joy. As a pastor, I want you to say “Yes!” to every opportunity to serve, but sometimes that is not the best choice for either you or the church. We need to use our gift of discernment to truly hear what God is calling us to do. Of course, this type of discernment is only possible through a life of prayer.
May our season as the church be a season of prayer as we discern how God is calling us to be the church in our community. Pray for one another. Pray for the leaders of the church. Pray for your pastor. Pray for our district. Pray for our District Superintendent. Pray for our Annual Conference. Pray for our Bishop and for the Cabinet. Pray for our denomination. Pray for our nation. Pray for our world. Pray for the church universal. Pray for a renewing of the Holy Spirit.
Please know Mark and I give God great thanks for all of you and we wish you and your family a most blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!
Grace and peace,