First Steps – June 29, 2020

One of the reasons why I appreciate church history is because it gives examples of different people who lived and breathed their faith.  It is one thing to know or believe, it is something else to faithfully live in times of ease or persecution.  Apollonius the Apologist was one such person who faithfully lived as a follower of Christ regardless of his situation.

He was a philosopher and a member of the Roman Senate.  He was denounced as a “secret” Christian by fellow senators.  Naturally, he was brought before the senate for his belief because it was illegal to be a Christian.  The account of his trial was marked with civility.  Both Apollonius and his accusers treated each other with respect and courtesy.  Though he lived in the 2nd Century, the way he treated his accusers is a lesson for the modern person.

Even in disagreement, one can treat another with respect.  For Apollonius, to treat another otherwise, would be to discredit the God he worshipped.  I wonder what would happen if followers of Christ treated every single person the same way they would treat Jesus Christ.  How effective would the witness be!  Give it a try this week.  Imagine every person around you is Jesus and let that image dictate your actions.


This Week’s Readings:

  • Monday – 1 John 5
  • Tuesday – 2 John 1:1-13
  • Wednesday – 3 John 1:1-15
  • Thursday – Jude 1:1-25
  • Friday – Revelation 1

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 – June 22, 2020

Gregory of Nazianzus was often known as Gregory the Theologian. He studied in Caesarea, Alexandria, and finally in Athens.  For the ancient world, he had an excellent education and was highly respected because of it.  A Bishop of The Church in the 4th Century, he is most known for his teachings concerning the nature of the Godhead and his stress of the oneness of the Trinity.  Saying that, he was heavily concerned with personal holiness and how one lived faithfully day-to-day.

He said, “These three things God requires of all the baptized:  right faith in the heart, truth on the tongue, and temperance of the body.

Here are what followers of Christ need to constantly remember: Faith, thoughts, words, and actions are connected.  What one believes determines how one thinks, speaks, and acts. For us, we are people of the Kingdom of God.  We live by faith, we adopt a standard of life, ethics, and structure that is conducive to Christ’s teachings.

Draw strength from knowing that you are connected to God. Know that you are connected to a long line of believers whom have lived the same journey of faith under the God of grace and mercy.


This Week’s Readings:

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

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 – June 15, 2020

N.T (Tom) Wright, former Anglican Bishop, is currently the Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Oxford.  I have a deep appreciation for his research and writings. He wrote this reflection about Acts 18 and Paul’s ministry in Corinth and Ephesus:

“Luke offers us no set pattern for the way in which people come, step by step, into full membership in the Christian family and full participation in all the possibilities that are opened to them. Sometimes it happens this way and sometimes that way.  Just as humans grow to maturity at different paces, and some make great strides in one area while others have to catch up later, so it seems to be in the church. What matters is that we are open, ready to learn even from unlikely sources, and prepared for whatever God has to reveal to us through Scripture, the apostolic teaching, common life of believers, and the Holy Spirit.

I marvel at this reflection because I think he has his finger on the pulse of faith development.  It is not and never has been a one-stop-shop.  It is the one God in Christ whom is the driver behind faith development; but God works in tandem with the person. This means the speed of faith development is largely due to the person.  God is always waiting and wanting but isn’t a violator of one’s will.

Therefore, a premium is placed on one’s openness.  We need to always be open, ready, and willing.  If we are, God will always do what is needed to form the nature of Christ in us. Thanks be to God!


This Week’s Readings:

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

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.