Monday, September 22, 2014

Trust and Obey

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:5 NIV

Do you remember the story of the wedding at Cana where they were running out of wine? Mary told the servants to do what Jesus told them, and Jesus solved the problem by turning six large stone jugs of water into wine.

Like the servants at the wedding, we too should listen to Jesus and obey.

One time I was at a special church service. During the service, there was a call for a special mission project that the whole NJ Conference was supporting. The speaker touched my heart, and I sat in my pew praying as the offering plates were passed.

Something--or someone--spoke to me, telling me to give as much as I could, and so when the offering plate got to me I emptied my wallet into it.

I believe that was Jesus speaking to me, and I did what He told me, giving everything I had. It wasn't really that much of a hardship for me. Later that day I found an ATM and refilled my wallet.

But the point is, Jesus told me what to do, and I did it.

Does Jesus speak to you? How do you know it's Jesus? Do you do whatever he tells you?

Monday, September 8, 2014

How welcoming are you?

I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Matthew 25:35 

A relative of mine is not a regular attender of worship, even though she makes a generous donation to her Lutheran church every year. I asked her why she didn't go to church more often, and here's what she said.

"I've tried going to the church service a few times, but nobody at all spoke to me. I felt out of place, as if nobody cared whether I was there or not. So I didn't go back."

How sad.

One thing I've noticed about our church is that we're very welcoming. If someone new comes, most times they receive a smile and a welcome along with their bulletin from the greeter at the door. We have visitor packets that we pass out with information about the church and a pen, and we ask them to fill out a blue card with their information.

When worship is over, I've often seen members of our congregation go to strangers and introduce themselves, welcoming the visitors to St. Paul's. We invite them to come downstairs for fellowship, and let them know if there are any special events coming up.

How welcoming are you?

Here's a challenge. Next time you go to church and see someone you don't know sitting nearby, make a point of going over and introducing yourself. Find out their names and why they're at St. Paul's, and invite them down for coffee and refreshments. And if they accept, be sure to follow up and make sure they're introduced to other people and have someone to sit with.

Remember, Jesus said, "When you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me." Matthew 25:40 CEB

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Prayer to Accept the Present Moment

O My God,

When I look into the future, I am frightened,
But why plunge into the future?
Only the present moment is precious to me,
As the future may never enter my soul at all.

It is no longer in my power to change, correct or add to the past;
For neither sages nor prophets could do that.
And so what the past has embraced I must entrust to God.

O present moment, you belong to me, whole and entire.
I desire to use you as best I can.
And although I am weak and small,
You grant me the grace of Your omnipotence.

And so, trusting in Your mercy,
I walk through life like a little child,
Offering You each day this heart
Burning with love for Your greater Glory.

— From the Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul, Notebook 1 (1)