What is some of the stuff you need to leave behind as you begin the new year? What can you drop off your weary, bending back to make your trek into the New Year a bit easier and far more meaningful?
“What if you do something different this New Year? Instead of setting goals for yourself with your own questions, what if you sit with Jesus’ questions, look at yourself long and hard in the mirror, and allow his questions to shape and guide you into this next year? What if you trade your resolutions for Jesus’ questions?”
Fred Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian pastor, but I believe that actually he was a Methodist deep down inside. Why do I say that? I don’t know anyone who more fully lived out the concept of “prevenient grace.”
God has gently reminded me more than once that the onus for what he has promised is not on me. It is on him.
“Today, patience is one of the greatest gifts we can give others.”
“We are all being formed by something.”
“Jesus is not limited by the length of time you have been in your condition nor by the severity of the situation you face. Once he puts his hand on you, you will be set free.”
Simply put, “For Ignatius, the ebb and flow of consolation and desolation is the normal path of the Christian life.” There will be times of consolation – when there is a sense of noticeable, personally experienced growth or blossoming, when God’s presence seems close and the means of grace seem easy and quick at hand. There will also be times of desolation – similar to the “dark night of the soul” – when, whether from wrongdoing, or attacks of the enemy, or times of struggle or challenge, God’s presence seems distant or even simply absent, when our growth seems stalled or the habits that sustain us feel unusually heavy.
Preachers tend to have favorite passages and topics for preaching and teaching. If you don’t preach from the Revised Common Lectionary each week, it can be easy to fall into predictable patterns that limit your congregation’s exposure to the full range of God’s Word. We all have blind spots, and it’s worth asking where we might be missing the opportunity to address a pressing need.
“I do not always understand the mystery of prayer, but I know its power.”