First Steps – September 17, 2018

Martin Bucer was a German priest and friend to Martin Luther. Under God’s direction, Bucer was a proponent of The Reformation.  Because following Christ doesn’t always equate to an easy life, Bucer’s obedience resulted in exile and a life of poverty.  What I’ve always enjoyed about Bucer is his writings on love and care of others as a natural expression of one’s faith.

Bucer would often say that if you want to follow Christ and change your perspective and behavior, then take all your concern for yourself and redirect it towards others.  Genuine love, which fulfills every Biblical command, doesn’t seek its own profit at the expense of welfare of another.  He said, “the best, the most perfect and blessed condition is that in which we can most usefully and profitably serve others.  Keep in mind that spiritual service is superior to material service and that the community is more important than individuals…the responsibility of service to others rests upon both the spiritual and secular leaders.  There can be no greater plague than people seeking their own advantage” (Instruction in Christian Love).

For many people, they live on the work of others.  But followers of Christ do the opposite.  The Christian gives up what might be rightly due so that one can help another.

 

 

This week’s reading:

 

  • Monday – Romans 7
  • Tuesday – Romans 8
  • Wednesday – Romans 9
  • Thursday – Romans 10
  • ​Friday – Romans 11

Please Pray for:

  • Our nation and our leaders.
  • Our families, homes, workplace, church, and community.
  • Our new year in Christian studies and activities.
  • Those suffering due to catastrophic natural disasters.
  • Ongoing Building Renovations, Modifications, and Phase 3: Construction of New Youth Building and rear parking.
  • The United Methodist Church.

First Steps – September 10, 2018

Gratitude enlarges one’s capacity for delight.  When one expresses gratitude, one experiences more joy, more happiness, more peace, and is better attuned to what God wants to bestow independent of circumstances.  When one expresses gratitude, one finds delight in the goodness of God.

Therefore, our task this week is to find ways to express our gratitude.  For some, it might be written reflections in a journal.  For another, gratitude might be expressed vocally to a friend or family member. Yet for another, it might be the daily naming of one single thing that brings joy.  Perhaps for another, it is a list of things most thankful for that hangs on a refrigerator.  The key is to find a way to express your gratitude to God and others.  Don’t wait or put it off.  Begin today.

James 1:7 says, “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

 

This week’s reading:

  • Monday – Romans 2
  • Tuesday – Romans 3
  • Wednesday – Romans 4
  • Thursday – Romans 5
  • ​Friday – Romans 6

 

Please Pray for:

  • The United Methodist Church
  • Our families, homes, workplace, church, and community.
  • ​Our nation and our leaders.
  • Those suffering due to catastrophic natural disasters.
  • ​Ongoing Building Renovations, Modifications, and Phase 3: Construction of New Youth Building and rear parking.

First Steps – September 3, 2018

I have a child who loves acting. Broadway is her happy place. When she performs, she radiates a sense of joy and fulfillment. Unfortunately, there is a side of acting that has nothing to do with the stages, sets, comedies, or tragedies.  It is the false reality where most people live.

For instance, when there is a reluctance to admit weaknesses, we inadvertently live a lie.  Often we pretend everything is okay, only to hide behind the mask of competence, self-sufficiency, and perfection. The unintended consequence is isolation from those who are closest to us. Fearful that someone would notice that we don’t have-it-all-together, we exhaust our energy maintaining this false reality.

The remedy is to do the one thing we think will be the most painful: Admit/Confess our weaknesses.  If we do, we think it will bring the whole house down.  What we think will be painful actually becomes the means to freedom.

As you begin this week, take a moment to center yourself before God.  Pray this prayer:

O God, you are always more ready to hear than I’m ready to share. Help me to come out of the shadows of the false reality that I have created. Lord, help me to be authentic and live knowing that any level of perfection stems from you in me and not what I generate. Lord, as I live each minute in this week to come, strengthen me to be comfortable in my own skin knowing that I’m loved first by you. Cover me with your love and acceptance.  Amen.

 

This week’s reading:

  • Monday – 1 Thessalonians 5
  • Tuesday – 2 Thessalonians 1
  • Wednesday –2 Thessalonians 2
  • Thursday – 2 Thessalonians 3
  • ​Friday – Romans 1

Please Pray for:

  • The United Methodist Church
  • Our families, homes, workplace, church, and community.
  • ​Our nation and our leaders.
  • Those grieving the loss of loved ones.
  • ​Ongoing Building Renovations, Modifications, and Phase 3: Construction of New Youth Building and rear parking.
  • Upcoming activities and studies planned for this fall/winter.