First Steps – August 10, 2020

Often, I get asked, “What do I need to pray?”  Normally, this question is asked when a person desires a more intimate prayer life. Unfortunately, many people approach praying from a right/wrong dichotomy. One thinks there is a right way and a wrong way to pray. Therefore, one overly focuses on what the words need to be.

If I’m describing you, I offer you St. Jeanne de Chatal, Co-Foundress of the Order of the Visitation (early 17th Century).  She spent the majority of her life as a spiritual guide for so many. She said, “Sometimes put yourself very simply before God, certain of his presence everywhere, and without any effort, whisper very softly to his sacred heart whatever your own heart prompts you to say.”  

Do this continually and you will not have to worry about if it is right or wrong. Do this continually and you will have a very meaningful intimate prayer life.


This Week’s Readings:
  • Monday – Luke 6
  • Tuesday – Luke 7
  • Wednesday – Luke 8
  • Thursday – Luke 9
  • Friday – Luke 10
Please Pray for:
  • Our ministers and their families.
  • Those who are unwillingly absent.
  • The United Methodist Church family.
  • Our nation and our leaders.
  • Teachers and students as they transition.
  • The Lost.
  • The lives of those touched by the Coronavirus.

First Steps – May 11, 2020

rising sun

Acts 15 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  If you are not familiar with this chapter, I hope you will stop now and read it.  In this chapter, representatives from different faith communities gathered for the First Church Council and reaffirmed sola fide, only faith as the requirement for salvation.  This had, and has today, lasting consequences for believers.  Because of this theological bedrock, those who believe in Jesus are given salvation, freedom in Christ.

However, this always brings up an interesting question, “If I only need faith for salvation, then what about my actions?”  Isn’t there an ethical code of Christianity?  The short answer is “yes” your actions matter, but they are not a requirement for salvation.  We have freedom in Christ, but how we use our freedom is dependent upon the people whom are around us.  We use our freedom for their benefit in hopes that our use of freedom leads to the spread of the gospel.  We are responsible to others, just not responsible for them.  We want to be instruments to help another person believe.  It is our desire, not just a prerequisite for salvation.  

I highlight this chapter because I hope you will reclaim your freedom in Christ.  Because of God’s grace, you have been given the gift of salvation.  You grasp that gift via faith.  This is all that is needed.  At the same time, reclaim your freedom in Christ and use it for the benefit of others because you are part of a larger mission of The Gospel.  

 

 


This week’s readings:

  • Monday – Acts 1
  • Tuesday – Acts 2
  • Wednesday – Acts 3
  • Thursday – Acts 4
  • Friday  – Acts 5

Please Pray for:

  • Our ministers and their families.
  • Those who are unwillingly absent.
  • The United Methodist Church family.
  • Our nation and our leaders.
  • The World.
  • The Lost.
  • The lives of those touched by the Coronavirus.    

First Steps – May 4, 2020

rising sun

One of the things I normally do about an hour before I go to bed is scroll through a few news sources just to see if there is something important I need to know before I hit the hay.  The evening of Easter Sunday, I saw this title for an article:

There’s no church, but it’s still Easter and Christians are celebrating.

It made me think about the First Century Church in Corinth.  Paul, the author and founder of the church, reminded his congregation that their hope was tied to something different:  A person.  Not just any person, but one who died and was resurrected.  Because of his death and resurrection, those who follow him are linked to him and the One who resurrected him.  Paul wrote:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God… Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.  Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,  but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,  but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
 

It seems crazy, even foolish, for people to celebrate even when the church is closed.  But then again, the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. Remember, you are an Easter person, in an Easter community, linked to an Easter Lord.  Celebrate, Celebrate, Celebrate.
 


 



This week’s readings:

  • Monday – 1 Peter 1
  • Tuesday – 1 Peter 2
  • Wednesday – 1 Peter 3
  • Thursday – 1 Peter 4
  • Friday  – 1 Peter 5



Please Pray for:

  • Our ministers and their families.
  • Those who are unwillingly absent.
  • The United Methodist Church family.
  • Our nation and our leaders.
  • The World.
  • The Lost.
  • The lives of those touched by the Coronavirus.