Friday, November 9, 2018 11:58 AM

Let’s get to work!

Friday, November 9, 2018 11:58 AM
Friday, November 9, 2018 11:58 AM

During the Fall Festival on October 24, Christina and I hosted a trunk in the “Trunk-or -Treat.” We were handing out candy and invitations to worship. I would introduce myself by saying, “Hi! My name is Will and I am one of the Pastors here. I hope you are having a great time.” I had a number of kids stop and ask me, “What is a Pastor?” In those moments and the brief conversations that followed I was reminded how much work we have left to do across this city, region, nation, and world sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

We were the first trunk in the line and for some reason Michael latched on to Christina and wanted to do whatever she was doing. Michael is intellectually disabled and has been a part of our Mustard Tree Ministries for years. No matter how many times we told Michael to only hand out 2-3 pieces of candy because we had so many people in line he always responded with “OKAY!” and then proceed to place a handful of candy in each child’s bag. I wonder what the world would look like if that is how we gave grace and love.

I learned a lot that night. I learned that we have lots of work to do and I also learned how we are to give the love and grace of God to this world. It’s not a few pieces at a time but by the handful. Let’s get to work!

In Christ,
Will

Friday, November 9, 2018 11:57 AM

Life Influence

Friday, November 9, 2018 11:57 AM
Friday, November 9, 2018 11:57 AM

I was looking through my grandmother’s Bible the other day and was amazed at all the information that I found in it. This particular Bible was given to my grandmother by my grandfather on June 18, 1950 which was my grandmother‘s 49th birthday. Looking through the pages I found birthdates, wedding dates and dates of deaths. She had marked certain Bible passages in her Bible that meant something to her. She even had sayings like this one:

“A careless word may kindle strife.
A cruel word may wreck a life.
A bitter word may hate instill.
A brutal word may smite and kill.
A gracious word may smooth the way.
A joyous word may light the day.
A timely word may lessen stress.
And loving words may heal and bless.”

I also found a hand written note which showed her deep desire to know, trust and lean on God more fully and completely. It read:  “I met God in the morning when my day was at its best and his presence came like sunrise. All day long His presence lingered. All day long he stayed with me...”

Her husband died when she was 59. With little money saved, she went back to work and supported herself for a number of years. The following years were filled with health issues. I found another handwritten note…
“1987 - This year is rough - pain sometimes seems almost unbearable.”
Then there was another note with the scripture passage from
1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
My grandmother had a deep impact on my faith journey.

In thinking about All Saints’ Day on November 4, may we all remember people, like my grandmother, who had a lasting influence on our faith journey.

Who has had such an influence on your life?
– Mark

Friday, October 26, 2018 12:52 PM

Trust

Friday, October 26, 2018 12:52 PM
Friday, October 26, 2018 12:52 PM

Proverbs 3:5-6 tell us: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”

I have heard that passage quoted at least 1000 times in my life, but I understand it a little bit more today. As many of you know my son Zak has had two cancer surgeries in two weeks of each other. Many people have asked us “how is he doing” and, because of his autism, “does he understand what is really going on?” My answer is, “I don’t know.”

All I know is that I have explained everything to him, and when I tell him the next thing he has had to do, he does it without hesitating. I figured out why. He trusts me.

You see I used to carry him on my shoulders everywhere because it put him above the crowd and in a safe place. When the only way up in some stores was an escalator, he was afraid of them until he was 18 years old, so he would get on my back and ride. I never let him down. So he trusts me now. He may not understand but he trusts.

Isn’t that what we preach about our heavenly Father? Isn’t that what Jesus alluded to about our earthly father doing good for us, so how much more our Heavenly Father does for us. I have learned a lot from my Zak in my life, and now he is teaching me about a whole new level of trust. Even when I don’t understand.

Geaux Tigers, Barry

Friday, October 19, 2018 9:47 AM

We the People... of Grace and Truth

Friday, October 19, 2018 9:47 AM
Friday, October 19, 2018 9:47 AM

Throughout John Wesley’s sermons and journals he stressed our need for God’s grace and truth. His writings also reminded us to share God’s truth with all of creation, conveying the gift of grace offered to us.

In our daily living, sharing truth that is seasoned with God’s grace helps to prevent legalism. Without Spirit-filled grace, our attempts to uphold truth can easily become prideful and void of the kind of love God gives to those who trust, believe and obey Him. Without truth, the value of grace may be overlooked, minimized or taken for granted.

Wesley’s concerns extended to the politics of his day. On October 6, 1774, he wrote:   “I met those of our society who had votes {sic} in the ensuing election, and advised them:
1) To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy,
2) To speak no evil of the person they voted against: and
3) To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”

Embedded in this powerful journal entry from 244 years ago is a relevant message for today. Together, let us meditate upon these words as we, the people, reflect God’s grace and truth while fulfilling our civil responsibilities.

Thursday, October 11, 2018 3:59 PM

Who God Says You Are

Thursday, October 11, 2018 3:59 PM
Thursday, October 11, 2018 3:59 PM

I recently read an inspiring and challenging book by Dr. Klyne R. Snodgrass, one of last year’s Festival of Faith speakers, entitled, “Who God Says You Are: A Christian Understanding of Identity.” Struggling with the question of identity has been a part of human existence for all time. Who am I? Who does God want me to be? What does it mean if those two things are not the same?

Dr. Snodgrass says, “Knowing who we are is not something we acquire by ourselves. We know ourselves only by knowing our God. Knowing ourselves is less important than knowing who made us, calls us, goes with us, and knows us.” It is important to have an understanding of identity, of who you are and the only way that you can truly achieve that insight is in and through your relationship with your Creator, Savior, and Sustainer.

“Look in the mirror and be conscious of being an individual before God, responsible to God, and energized for life by a God who cares for you, loves you, and calls you to participate in life with God.” No matter where you are on your journey through life and faith, know that you are loved, called, and cared for by the creator of the universe. May that love shape you and shine through you.
In Christ,
Will

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