- ReadWeekly UpdateJanuary 20,2021
Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” John 21:22
Jesus said, “Follow Me.” These are very difficult words. I am always comparing myself to others, wondering why so-and-so received this or that blessing, or had a divine encounter. Truth be told there are times when I feel God is not being fair and I want the type of blessings others enjoy. This is the scenario unfolding in John 21, Peter has just been told that his service to Jesus involves struggle, chains, and death, and his response is to look at John and say, “What about him?” Now it might be that Peter was concerned for his friend and was hoping that John would not have to suffer the way he would. But, it makes no difference whether Peter was concerned for John or wanted John’s blessings, Jesus’ response was the same, “Follow me!” When we focus on the journey of others, we lose sight of our own journey and bad things happen. The only time I have hit a rock in my kayak was when I focused more on Katelynn than on my path. I watched her navigate the river and a rock surprised me. Our spiritual journey is often the same; we start watching how others interact with God and our lives become grounded. We can talk to others about what they have experienced in their walk with God (indeed we should do this). But, when our focus becomes on copying the experiences of others we will not enjoy the relationship God has with us. Begin to ask yourself am I focusing too hard on the spiritual lives of others, am I becoming trapped in comparing myself with them? If so take time to pray about how God can show you how to heal from the sin of comparison.
- ReadPrairie Chapel UMC January 24, 2021 Worship Service 10:30 A.M.PASTO WES GEORGE CELL: (740) 381-3345 CHURCH: (740) 622-3992
- ReadWeekly UpdateJanuary 15, 2021
and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:4
Endurance is a word we need to hear today; however, endurance is never an easy word to appreciate. Endurance means taking yourself to limits, whether physical or in this case spiritual. One would never expect a person to be a champion marathon runner who never logged more than 1 mile a day. A person running only 1 mile a day would lack the physical stamina to keep up for 26 miles. The same is true in our spiritual walk; we must build our endurance. What does this mean? Well, I think of daily habits like prayer and Bible reading. Next Tuesday, January 19th, marks the average day for most people to give up New Year’s resolutions. Today I am your coach; you want to have a great relationship with God, you want to be, in James’ words. “complete” well take the time. Get up tomorrow and look forward to a time of reading and prayer. Do not get dismayed that you do not understand what the passage is about— send me a message, let’s talk. Having difficulty connecting to God when you pray? Open up to a friend and have that person pray with and for you, pray together. It is difficult to endure the many days, I get it, I feel it. But we need to endure, we need to connect to God, this is what it means to be human. Let’s take time, commit, or recommit, to a schedule that is centered on God so we may become complete.
- ReadPrairie Chapel UMC January 17, 2021 Worship Service 10:30 AMPASTOR WES GEORGE CELL: 740-381-3345 CHURCH: 740-622-3992
- ReadPrairie Chapel UMC January 10, 2021 Worship Service 10:30 PMPASTOR WES GEORGE CELL (740) 381-3345 CHURCH (740) 622-3992
- ReadWeekly UpdateJanuary 6, 2021
But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Deliverance belongs to the Lord!” Jonah 2:9
“Deliverance belongs to the Lord” is an odd thing to say in the belly of a fish. But that is one of the reasons I love Jonah—the book likes to mess with your expectations. It is so easy for us to think about the fact that Jonah got out of the fish’s stomach that we forget that in the moment he was the ironic main course in some reverse sushi. As he is uttering these words Jonah has decided to kill himself by drowning only to be swallowed. He is not so much asking for deliverance but recognizing God is in control despite his rebellion.
Jonah has run as far as he could and his efforts and will have proven fruitless. Now he is forced to recognize his debt to God. Did Jonah expect to live? Did he want to be saved? I doubt it, rather, I think Jonah saw who God is and was forced to submit to God’s authority. We love to hear “deliverance is from the Lord” when we are in dark or difficult times which we want to escape, but Jonah shows us deliverance can come even when we do not want to be delivered. Jonah did not want to be delivered the fish’s stomach was his place of refuge away from what God had called him to be. Jonah was in the fish because he did not want to be with God, it was his place to hide, and even there God found him. This is how it often works for us, our hiding places from God are often like fish stomachs, and yet we hide there hoping God will not search us out—to no avail. Jonah also shows us that part of recognizing God’s deliverance is in recognizing the vows we have made to God. Each of us has made a promise to live as a child of God and Jonah reminds us that our vow can be brought up at any time. It is crucial that we take this vow seriously, not because this is how we may be delivered from the fish’s stomach, but because we do not want to be there to begin with. Our vows to God keep us in relationship with God and out of places like the fish stomach, let us be mindful of what we vow to God for the sake of his name.