First Steps – November 14, 2022

If Mercy is God’s infinite and inexhaustible energy to be compassionate, then Grace is the manifestation of that compassion for human beings.

I’ve been thinking about God’s grace and why one might resist it. For many, the stumbling block isn’t due to utter depravity or evil, though that can be a reason why, but because that level of love is beyond comprehension. In my finite mind, I like to think I can get my mental arms around the concept, but in full honesty, I can’t. The fact that one, in the face of innocence and then crucifixion, could forgive the very people that are crucified is overwhelming. Frankly, I’m undone by it all.

To forgive is a free act by one person to release another person of his/her actions. I like how C.S. Lewis describes it:
 
“I find that when I think I am asking God to forgive me I am often in reality asking Him to do something quite different.  I am asking Him not to forgive me but to excuse me.  But there is all the difference in the world between forgiving and excusing.  Forgiveness says, ‘yes, you have done this thing…I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before.’  But excusing says, ‘I see that you couldn’t help it or didn’t mean it, you weren’t really to blame’… Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the [person] who has done it.”

The receiver of that free act is nothing more than a simple receiver. This wonderful gift in its fullness, rawness, and untainted, is humbling. I am a receiver of one’s infinite compassion.  That gift is called grace!  



 This Week’s Readings:
*Monday – 1 John 5
*Tuesday – 2 John
*Wednesday – 3 John
*Thursday – Revelation 1
*Friday – Revelation 2

Prayer Requests:
*Teachers, students, and parents coping with anxiety.
*Heal those who are sick and protect those who are not.
*Comfort those who are grieving and in distress.
*Wisdom for our leaders as they navigate through uncertain times.
*Guidance for those seeking to find their way.
*Continued Growth Inside and Outside the Walls of St. Paul UMC.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.” – Philippians 4:6


November 6, 2022 – “Heavenly Hope” – Rev. Dr. Shane Green and Rev. John Fugh, Jr.

Worship (SPUMCColumbus)
Worship (SPUMCColumbus)
November 6, 2022 - "Heavenly Hope" - Rev. Dr. Shane Green and Rev. John Fugh, Jr.
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Contemporary Worship Service/Hebrews 6:19-20, Philippians 3:20- 4:1

October 30, 2022 – “A Burning Heart” – Rev. Dr. Shane Green and Rev. John Fugh, Jr.

Worship (SPUMCColumbus)
Worship (SPUMCColumbus)
October 30, 2022 - "A Burning Heart" - Rev. Dr. Shane Green and Rev. John Fugh, Jr.
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Traditional Worship Service/Luke 24: 13-35

October 23, 2022 – “Remember Me” – Rev. Dr. Shane Green and Rev. John Fugh, Jr.

Worship (SPUMCColumbus)
Worship (SPUMCColumbus)
October 23, 2022 - "Remember Me" - Rev. Dr. Shane Green and Rev. John Fugh, Jr.
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Contemporary Worship Service/Luke 23:26-49

October 16, 2022 – “Moved to Act” – Rev. Dr. Shane Green and Rev. John Fugh, Jr.

Worship (SPUMCColumbus)
Worship (SPUMCColumbus)
October 16, 2022 - "Moved to Act" - Rev. Dr. Shane Green and Rev. John Fugh, Jr.
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Contemporary Worship Service/Luke 19:37-48

First Steps – November 7, 2022

Though grief can be overwhelming, there are moments of blessings for those who walk the difficult road. One of the reasons we struggle with grief is the physical loss and the perception of a lack of control when it comes to our loved ones. By control, I mean the desire for security and certainty. We long to know that our loved one is okay and at peace. There is great consolation when all are at rest.

I think that is why I cherish All Saints Day. For me, it is a day of comfort and relief. On this day, the focus is on those who have died in faith and now rest. Absent from the body, present with the Lord. My favorite hymn normally sang on that Sunday is For All the Saints. The lyrics are as majestic as the music. It is perfect when accompanied by an organ. As I write this, I can hear the melody and the voices, past, and present, singing in harmony.

For all the saints who from their labors rest,
who Thee by faith before the world confessed;
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.
Alleluia, Alleluia!
Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress, and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!
O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!
And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!
From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
in praise of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Alleluia, Alleluia!


If you are walking this road of grief, I hope you will rest in the promise of God’s care for those who have gone before us. Envision the picture the hymn paints. Allow God’s Spirit to carry you with them to a communion of fellowship in the presence of the Almighty.



 
This Week’s Readings:
*Monday – John 21
*Tuesday – 1 John 1
*Wednesday – 1 John 2
*Thursday – 1 John 3
*Friday – 1 John 4


Prayer Requests:
*Teachers, students, and parents coping with anxiety.
*Heal those who are sick and protect those who are not.
*Comfort those who are grieving and in distress.
*Wisdom for our leaders as they navigate through uncertain times.
*Guidance for those seeking to find their way.
*Continued Growth Inside and Outside the Walls of St. Paul UMC.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.” – Philippians 4:6