Pastor Ed's Sermon Series
05/07 – 06/26/2017
“Telling Our Story”
05/07 “Using Our Gifts” (Romans 12:1-8) How are you investing what God has given to you?
05/28 “Listening For God’s Voice” (John 10:1-21) How we can know God’s voice from all others!
06/04 “God Only Knows!” (James 4:13-5:6) Yes, No, and Wait!
06/11 “NO FEAR!” (2 Timothy 1:1-14) How to not give in to fear and move beyond our comfort zone.
06/18 “Don’t Worry!” (Matthew 6:25-34) How to put worry in its place.
06/25 “Celebrating Our Partnership In The Gospel” (Philippians 1:3-11) Prayer is the very foundation of our partnership with God and with one another.
Pastor Ed's May/June Message
Giving Thanks In All Things!
The Apostle Paul as he closes out his first letter to the Christians in Thessalonica encourages them with the following words: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”(1 This. 5:16-18). I’d like to use his words as a springboard to express my heart’s desire for you as I write my final article for our newsletter as your pastor.
I know that life is not filled with happy moments 24/7. However, ‘being joyful’ is not about being happy, it’s about the experience of joy that comes from within us as we live our lives in ways that fulfill God’s purpose for us and glorify God. There is no greater joy in life than to know that you are living for God and being God’s instrument to bring His love and grace in Jesus Christ to others, which draws them, closer to God.
Our time together may have been only five years, but pressed into this short time frame have been countless memories of how God used us in each other’s lives. I have experienced great joy in being with you in ministry and being your pastor! For this I am very grateful!
This realization encourages me to talk more frequently with God about you and others, to ‘pray continually’. This is what prayer is all about, engaging in conversation with God! I want you to know that I have been and will continue to be talking to God about you and for you in the days, weeks, and years ahead. Maybe not as frequently as in the past, but you won’t be far from my heart and my thoughts. I would encourage you to do likewise. Continue to be a people of prayer! Pray for Peggy and me. See to it that whatever and wherever you are in your spiritual journey, to make and take more time to talk with God. Prayer doesn’t have to be, as we have learned, something we do only at selected times and in specific places.
It can take place at anytime and anywhere. We can pray on the phone, in a parking lot, with family and friends or with complete strangers. We can express our words in silence or audibly so that others may hear us. What words we use are not as important as much as our hearts connecting with God’s heart concerning the person, people, circumstances, and/or situations that we are talking to God about.
Remember, relationships are what life is all about! Remember the beams of the cross. The vertical beam reminds us of our relationship with God through faith in Christ and the horizontal beam reminds us of our relationships with others and our world. Prayer enables us to stay connected with God in a vertical way so that we are able to be God’s instrument in all of our relationships in a horizontal way.
As we do this, God enables us to see how we are being transformed by God’s love and grace and how we are being used by God to help others to experience the same. When I see God moving in us and through us in such powerful ways to fulfill his purposes for others and for us, I am filled with gratitude toward God.
Like the apostle Paul, I’m encouraged to ‘give thanks in all circumstances’, even in those situations in which things are not turning out the way I had expected or desired. I’m able to give thanks in all circumstances not because of what I see, but because I know that God is at work and the Holy Spirit is bringing about God’s desired plans on His timetable and not necessarily mine. Keep in mind always that our God has been and will continue to work in you, in me and use us to fulfill his plans for our best and for His glory ‘for this is God’s will in Christ Jesus’.
If we practice these three, ‘being joyful, praying continually, and giving thanks in all circumstances’, we won’t miss being in and doing God’s will. And if we’re in God’s will, life will be an exciting journey as God leads us into new and challenging places in which we are invited to join with others in fulfilling God’s mission for us.
It is my hope that you will draw closer to God through faith in Jesus Christ and that God through the Holy Spirit will continue to equip and empower you to fulfill His plans for you so that you may bring Him glory individually and collectively as the FUMC family.
I am filled with joy each time I remember you in prayers for our lives have been so enriched by this journey together. Thank you so much for allowing me to be your pastor for this time.
Rejoicing, praying and giving thanks to God for you,