First Steps – November 11, 2019

Lately I’ve been thinking a great deal about Self-Awareness.  I’ve come to the conclusion that many things can be out of sorts in a life or someone can have multiple struggles but if he/she is self-aware then it is manageable.  It is when one is not aware of who he is, or what motivates her, or why he or she acts the way they do that causes problems. 

Thomas Merton, a Christian spiritual guru of the last century said this about self-awareness:

“The first step towards finding God, who is truth, is to discover the truth about myself: and if I have been in error, this first step to truth is the discovery of my error.  We stumble and fall constantly even when we are the most enlightened.  But when we are in spiritual darkness, we do not even know that we have fallen.  We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God.”

I hope that you will ponder this quote over this week to come.  Discover and own the truth about ourselves.  You can be a person of faith and yet stumble.  You can be a person of faith and have life-long struggles.  The key is to know them.  Bring those to God.  I’m convinced that you will find a loving God who graciously receives you—all of you—and walks with you all the days to come.


This week’s reading:

  • Monday –  1 Corinthians 7
  • Tuesday – 1 Corinthians 8
  • Wednesday – 1 Corinthians 9
  • Thursday – 1 Corinthians 10
  • Friday – 1 Corinthians 11
Please Pray for:
  • Administrative Staff settling in the newly renovated office spaces.
  • The St. Paul Church family. 
  • Those who are unwillingly absent.
  • Those who are grieving and depressed.
  • The United Methodist Church.
  • Our nation and our leaders.
  • The World.
 

First Steps – November 4, 2019

Have you ever wondered what is in the heart of God?  What God thinks about you?  I think Philippians 1:6 is the answer: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”  In this single verse is the full discloser of what God thinks about you.

The surrounding context is a prayer for the Philippians on behalf of Paul.  He is mindful of the shared ministry they have in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Paul was fully aware of their faith, its origin and maturation. What is noteworthy is that in every step along the way, God was with the Philippians.  His purpose was to bring their faith to completion because that is what is in His heart.  In this prayer, the active one is God.  The Philippians are the passive recipients of God’s grace.

There is no difference between the Philippians and you.  God’s desire for you is the same as His desire for them.  In the heart of God is a gracious longing to bring all into salvation—wholeness.  I wonder how often we miss this.  How often are we consumed with where we have fallen short, made mistakes, blown it, or sinned?  We focus on what isn’t, God focuses on what is and that is His grace and mercy.  His desire is to make you whole.  It is a gift given, not something earned. 

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, if you ever wonder what God thinks about you…look at Philippians 1:6.  That will tell you what He thinks.

 

This week’s reading:

  • Monday –  1 Corinthians 2
  • Tuesday – 1 Corinthians 3
  • Wednesday – 1 Corinthians 4
  • Tuesday – 1 Corinthians 5
  • Wednesday – 1 Corinthians 6
Please Pray for:
  • Administrative Staff settling in the newly renovated office spaces.
  • The St. Paul Church family. 
  • Those who are unwillingly absent.
  • Those who are grieving and depressed.
  • The United Methodist Church.
  • Our nation and our leaders.
  • The World.

First Steps – October 28, 2019

In 1 Corinthians 10:31, Paul wrote, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” In this passage, Paul reminds us that everything we do, we do for God’s glory. Even if we don’t think it is “spiritual” or “worthy” of God’s glory, it doesn’t matter because our entire life is lived for his glory.

Actually, one could make a case that everything that is created is for God’s glory. It is larger than us. Granted we want to participate in God’s glory, but we are only a small thread of the tapestry that illustrates his glory. I was reminded of this reality the other day. While walking across the quad (where I serve, there is a large quad between a parking lot and one of our buildings), I looked up to see a beautiful blue sky with white clouds. The sun was shining. The temperature was ideal. It was a perfect scene. My first thought was, “all this is God’s glory.” My second thought was, “how wonderful are His ways.”

How tragic it is when we lose sight of the wonder of God. When our myopic sight restricts us to see only what is before us; or when we are consumed with our individualistic life, we miss something larger. We miss the God of the universe and the vastness that exist in creation. Sometimes, we need a larger vision—I know I do.


This week’s reading:

  • Monday – Galatians 3
  • Tuesday – Galatians 4
  • Wednesday – Galatians 5
  • Thursday – Galatians 6
  • Friday – 1 Corinthians 1

Please Pray for:

  • Staff transitioning from temporary office in the newly renovated Administrative Office Area.
  • The St. Paul Church family – members and staff.
  • Those who are unwillingly absent.
  • Those who are grieving and depressed.
  • The United Methodist Church.
  • Our nation and our leaders.
  • The World.