“Your own ears will hear him.
Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
whether to the right or to the left.”
Good morning friends! What a blessing to be connecting with you again. I have missed our time together over the past couple of weeks, but I must say, the break was restful. It seems that the Lenten season has a mysterious way of filling me up and depleting me all at the same time. So I have had a wonderful period of rest and reflection in the past few days, and I am repeatedly drawn to consider my faith journey – Where did I start, where am I now, and where is God leading me?
I think they are relevant questions to ask ourselves as followers of Christ because many times I am too busy or pre-occupied to notice the movement of the Spirit in my life at the present moment.
As I look back over the last 10 years of my walk with Christ, I am astounded by the work He has done. In His grace He has taken me to places I did not want to go, to places I did not want to leave, and to places where His presence was so very real to me that I was transformed for eternity.
I very much want to continue this experience of reflection because it is so rich and so affirming, something I desperately need right now. And I invite you to join me each day over the next few weeks to fully explore this journey we are on, both as individuals and as a community. Please consider blessing the rest of us with your comments and insights, for we journey together friends.
The day after Easter, our church staff left town for a multi-day retreat. It was sorely needed as we were all worn out from all the ministry activities of the Lenten season. During meal times, the rest of the staff began singing a familiar children’s blessing. I did not know the song and was left on the outside of the experience.
Now don’t go thinking poorly of my staff family. See, they were all raised in the church – going to church camp, vbs, and Sunday School. What is ingrained and natural for them is foreign to me, because I came to the church as an adult. And sometimes they forget that. I don’t know the songs, games, rhymes, and other tools used to teach our children the Good News. And I am so thankful for that.
Because of my journey, I can more easily relate to those in our church with similar backgrounds. I can understand the doubts and skepticism more readily than some of my counterparts because I have been there myself. And I am thankful for that, because there is nothing harder than an adult having to admit that they “don’t know.” But when I tell folks that I was in the same boat, just a few years ago, they are suddenly at ease and more open to the experience.
Many of us are self-conscious of the fact that we don’t know the songs, the language, or the rituals of the church. Most of us are afraid to admit that we have never read the Bible or don’t know the stories. We make the wrong assumption that everyone else does know, and will judge us inferior for not knowing.
Friends, let me put your minds at ease. The great majority of us don’t know the stories. We don’t pray every day, and we certainly can’t find the Book of Nahum if asked.
But let us not allow those things to keep us from the greatest blessing we can have – a relationship with Jesus Christ. Let us not shy away from opportunities to learn and be surrounded by grace because we fear what others will think of us. This is the strategy of our enemy – to make us so self-conscious that we deprive ourselves the chance to know Christ and His family. And therein, we lose our chance to experience His love, His joy, His grace, and His peace. Don’t allow that to happen friends, it would be a tragedy for you and your family.
Maybe you don’t know where to start. That is understandable. Neither did I. So as I look back on my journey, these are the things I found to be most helpful starting out:
1. Buy a Bible and read the Book of John. If you are unsure how to go about that, please contact me and I will help you. There is nothing I like better than helping people to pick out their very first Bibles. It is a wonderful blessing to me. The Book of John is found in the New Testament (the second half of the Bible) and is, in my opinion, the best place to start because you can really get a good feel for what Jesus is all about – loving other people. A Hint: In the very first line, “the Word” is referring to Jesus – the living revelation of God.
2. Maybe you are not a reader. That is ok. Try listening. www.biblegateway.com, has a narrated version that you can listen to for free. I recommend the NIV version read by Max McClean – this man’s voice is like an instrument. Listening to him read the Bible for me is like listening to the symphony. It is a joy in itself.
3. Ask questions. Listen to a really good sermon each week (we have a pretty good one 🙂 ) and really think about what it is saying to you. If you have questions, or need some help understanding something – then contact either me or our Pastor, Wade Griffith. Either of us would be overjoyed to discuss your questions.
sermon videos: www.libertycrossingsumc.org
Pastor Wade’s email: email@example.com
The main thing is that we continue on our journeys with small steps. No one ever became a biblical giant, or rock-solid Christian overnight. This walk of faith is developed over a lifetime, we just have to keep moving forward.
Thank You that You have a plan for me, and that plan is good. Thank You for never leaving or forsaking me. Thank You for walking with me, each step of the way. And thank You for surrounding me with encouraging friends that walk the path with me.
In the name of my Savior I pray,