First Steps – July 31, 2017

David Muskens, in his book Forty Days to a Closer Walk with God, says, “As I am fully present to God, I become the kind of person who is wholly present to others. I can give no greater gift. When I am present I am considerate, giving undivided attention to the pern’s words and feelings at the moment. People deeply need this gift of being appreciated and attended, especially in times of distress. The first task of ministry is to be present to people in their need.”

To be loving and present to another, first means I need to be present to God. When I’m present to God, I find myself in the right frame of mind and disposition of the heart to want to be present to another. What we do vertically (with God) influences what we do horizontally (with others). Therefore, cultivate the vertical so that you can help the horizontal. This week, look for ways to be fully present to God and watch what happens to the people around you.


I invite you to read the Bible with me – This week’s reading:
Monday – John 6
Tuesday – John 7
Wednesday – John 8
Thursday – John 9
Friday – John 10

Please pray for:
* The St. Paul UMC Capital Building Campaign.
* The United Methodist Church.
* Our Nation and Leaders.
* St. Paul Youth who are participating in Global Missions.
* Teachers and Students as they prepare to return to school.

First Steps – July 24, 2017

How do you prepare for prayer? At first glance, why would we prepare for prayer? The important thing is praying—speaking and listening to God. On that level, one doesn’t need to prepare because the most important thing is to pray. However, because prayer involves both speaking and listening—and not just our wish list, then preparing for prayer could be just as important. It can create the right disposition of the heart so that one can hear the voice of God.

In that light, let me offer two possible ways of preparation:

The Use of an Icon or Symbol. Often I will hold a cross or focus on an image (picture, stain-glass window, etc). Just focusing on the image for a few minutes, allows me the mental and emotional space that is needed. It helps me quiet myself. I find that I’m more ready to pray when I do this.

The Repetition of Words. It doesn’t have to be a chant, although the purpose of chanting is to create a prayerful space. It can be something so simple as “Lord have mercy” or “God is good.” Say it slowly, over and over, for a minute. Allow it to move your heart to a place that is ready to speak and hear from our Creator and Redeemer.


I invite you to read the Bible with me – This week’s reading:
Monday – John 1
Tuesday – John 2
Wednesday – John 3
Thursday – John 4
Friday – John 5

Please pray for:
* The St. Paul UMC Capital Building Campaign.
* The United Methodist Church.
* Our Nation and Leaders.
* St. Paul Youth who are participating in Global Missions.
* Teachers and Students as they prepare to return to school.

First Steps – June 26, 2017

I’m sure you have heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect.” This adage holds much truth and wisdom. The idea is if I do something over and over again, then I will achieve whatever goal I set out to reach. This modern proverb wasn’t lost on the early church fathers and mothers. One father linked time in mediation with immediate action so that nothing was lost. He wrote:

“After a time of meditation, immediately begin to put into practice the resolutions you have made. Don’t wait another day to get started. Without this application, meditation may be useless or even detrimental. Meditate on a virtue without practicing it, and you will mislead yourself into believing that you have actually become someone you are not. If I have resolved to win the heart of my enemy by being gentle toward that person, I will try to find a way this very day to be friendly to him. If I am not able to see that person face to face, I will at least pray for him.”

Living as a Christian is practicing our faith. The more we do it, the more mature we become which yields greater affinity with Christ. The practicing requires both meditation (reflection) AND follow-through (action). Begin this week! sk the Holy Spirit to speak to you during your prayers and to help you follow through as you walk with Him.


I invite you to read the Bible with me – This week’s reading:
Monday – Hebrews 7
Tuesday – Hebrews 8
Wednesday – Hebrews 9
Thursday – Hebrews 10
Friday – Hebrews 11

Please pray for:
Capital Campaign
United Methodist Church
Summer Ukraine Mission Trip (June 16-July 3, 2017)
Summer Children and Youth Activities
The Unwillingly Absent