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From the Pastor

Happy New Year!

May it be a blessed year of growth in love, humility, knowledge, peace, hope and joy.  May it be a year of health in mind, body, and spirit.  May it be a year of learning more about who God has created and called us each to be, and to become.  May it be a year when we seek God’s will first and take the time to receive the love which is poured into us that it would overflow to others.  May it be a time of healing and reconciliation.

My sense of God’s call to the community known as the Beach Lake United Methodist Church is that we are called to grow in relationship with God, ourselves, and others.  We need to be spiritually healthy and mature Christians, a process that never ends.  The best way to do achieve this is to be involved in with a group of people within the faith community who will “walk with you”.  These wonderful folks, be we children/youth/adults, will be lovingly present and help us to grow.  The New International Version of the Bible puts it this way in the book of Proverbs 27 verse 17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Brothers and sisters, we need the interaction with others.  We need to be accountable to God, ourselves, and others.  One definition of accountability is found in the acronym SIMPLE: setting expectations, inviting commitment, measuring progress, providing feedback, linking to consequences, and evaluating effectiveness.  

John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, instructed the bands (the smallest group which met to grow in faith), to ask each other every week, “How is it with your soul?”  In this question we can read, how are you, really?  In what ways are you struggling with your faith and life?  How can we help you?  This sincere and confidential conversation among the members of this very small group helps each of us to grow.  

The fact is that we are wired, by God, to need God and others.  We cannot be “lone ranger” Christians.  Yes, nature is beautiful and I feel very close to God there, but I need and believe all of us need other people to mentor us, to mentor, and to hold us close.  No, we cannot fix each other.  And yes, some of those resolutions some of us make on January 1st will have fallen by the wayside by February 1st.  

But, perhaps we can resolve to be more loving (see 1 Corinthians 13), to be full of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5.22-23), to be connected to “the Vine” Jesus (John 15), to grow in spiritual maturity (2 Peter 1.5-8), and to follow in “the Way” of Jesus (John 14.6).

If you don’t have your paper Bible handy there are many bible apps out there for your smart phone or tablet or other device.  The two free ones I am most familiar with are biblegateway.com and youversion.com. 

May God’s blessings be on you and yours (by blood or by choice),

Pastor Barbara