First Steps – September 25, 2017

Lately, I’ve been thinking about words—what someone says.  In our society, there is a chance for physical danger and violence; but for most of us, the danger comes in spoken form.  We say and hear things that destroy and tear down. I’m often reminded of three of my favorite quotes about words:

  • A word is dead when it is said, some say.  I say it just begins to live that day.—Emily Dickinson
  • A blow with a word strikes deeper than a blow with a sword.—Robert Burton
  • A sharp tongue is the only edge tool that grows sharper with constant use.—Washington Irving

    The Book of James (Chapter 3) weighs in as well by placing an enormous value on the tongue and words that are spoken.  On one side, the tongue can be like a fire that burns the whole building down. Unfortunately, we are all guilty of arson when it comes to our tongue. On the other hand, moral perfection is linked to someone who can control his/her tongue.  There lies our goal—control of the tongue. Would you be willing to focus on your words this week? Ask God to reveal the places where we’ve started fires with our tongues. Mastery of the tongue starts with awareness.  Focus this week on your words:  where you tear down and where you build up.

    “Dear Lord,
    Show me the places where I tear down and hurt with my words.  Teach me a new vocabulary.  Change my heart so that my words are different.  Where I have hurt others, help me to speak words that heal and build up.  Amen.” 

 

This Week’s Reading:
Monday – Revelation 18
Tuesday – Revelation 19
Wednesday – Revelation 20
Thursday – Revelation 21
Friday – Revelation 22
 

Prayer Requests:
Those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria
Mexico City and those affected by recent earthquake
Our Confirmation Class and their first retreat this weekend at EBTS

First Steps – August 14, 2017

E. Stanley Jones, an American missionary to India once said, “There are two groups of people in this world. There is a very big group of people in this world who are miserable. They live for themselves. There’s another group who have given their lives away to others. Their lives are filled with a wild joy.”

This week, find a way to live for another.  Notice the people around you.  Invite them into your life.  Speak words of love and grace to them.  In doing so, we can find joy in serving The One who makes us whole.


I invite you to read the Bible with me – This week’s reading:
Monday – John 16
Tuesday – John 17
Wednesday – John 18
Thursday – John 19
Friday – John 20

Please pray for:
* The St. Paul UMC Capital Building Campaign.
* The United Methodist Church.
* Our Nation and Leaders.
* Teachers and Students as they return to school.

First Steps – August 7, 2017

How do you deal with heavy burdens?  Henri Nouwen, a Christian mystic, shared this experience of a time when he was carrying multiple burdens.  In his book, A Spirituality of Homecoming, he wrote about a time where he was depressed about everything and while lecturing in Arizona, visited the Grand Canyon.  There, he said, “I saw this multimillion-year-old canyon and its place in an even older creation and thought that if that whole time period were represented by one hour, then I probably was born in a tiny fraction of the last second.  Looking at the Grand Canyon, this enormous abyss of beauty, I thought, ‘My dear, why are you overcome by these problems?’  My depression fell away.  In the face of all this, what are you worried about, as if you were carrying the burden of the world?  Something has gone on before you and something will go on after you, so why don’t you enjoy the brief time you’ve been given?”

For Nouwen, seeing the Grand Canyon was like seeing a wound in the earth.  For him, just seeing the enormity of the Grand Canyon and walking around it was like entering the vastness of God’s divine love.  He realized he could acknowledge his burdens and not be paralyzed by them.

I don’t know if you are carrying heavy burdens or if you have ever visited the Grand Canyon.  The real remedy for our burdens is the love God.  When I find myself in the same place as Nouwen, I think on two verses:

Cast your cares on him, he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
Come all who are weary and heavy burden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).


I invite you to read the Bible with me – This week’s reading:
Monday – John 11
Tuesday – John 12
Wednesday – John 13
Thursday – John 14
Friday – John 15

Please pray for:
* The St. Paul UMC Capital Building Campaign.
* The United Methodist Church.
* Our Nation and Leaders.
* Teachers and Students as they return to school.