How Will We Choose to Respond to God’s Calling Upon Us in 2017?
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. ~ Isaiah 43:19 (NSRV)
As we enter a new year, I find myself thankful for our First Church family. I feel blessed to be serving in ministry with all of you. The past few months have flown quickly by. As 2017 awaits us, full of potential and possibility, it is a good time for us to ask ourselves: how will we help build up the kingdom of God this year? Who are we as the congregation of First UMC and what is it we hope to accomplish? I believe God has a vision and plan for us, to use us in significant and mighty ways. How will we choose to respond to God’s calling upon us?
I do not make new year resolutions, but I am heading into 2017 with some goals. I have books I want to read (my current read is The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner) and fitness goals I want to achieve. This year I also want to go deeper spiritually. In October I went on a retreat called the 5 Day Academy for Spiritual Formation. What I learned on that retreat continues to speak to my heart today and I hope to build upon all that I learned there by continuing with some spiritual practices and disciplines. I have committed to a monthly covenant group that will meet on the 4th Tuesday of every month in Waynesburg. I ask that you keep me and this group in prayer as we allow God to mold and shape us.
What is it that you are willing to commit to anew? Are you willing to go deeper spiritually with me? There is a saying that God loves us too much to leave us where we are. Our God is a God of change and transformation, a God that is always doing a new thing—sometimes it is a brand-new thing and sometimes it’s an old thing done in a new way. How are you opening yourself to God’s doing a new thing in you?
One thing that I have found helpful to guide me in listening for where God is leading is praying the Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition. I am asking that you pray this prayer with me wherever you are on the first Monday of the month so that as a congregation we are praying this prayer all on the same day through the entire year together. Just imagine what might happen if we all commit to seeking God’s will together this year.
A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
May 2017 be a year of all working towards a common goal and pulling together to build up the kingdom of God. May it be a year of going deeper spiritually as we delve into the very heart of God. May it be a year in which the same old, same old gives birth to something fresh, new and exciting in the life of the church. I am looking forward to where God will lead us in this new year!