“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” – Romans 8:28
As we have been meeting with Core Teams –WORSHIP, LEARN, WITNESS, SERVE, SUPPORT – momentum is building for our many Mt Horeb ministries. Each Team connects individuals to ministry, using their gifts along with time and energy. Thank you to our staff, our leaders on Council and Ministry Teams, and especially to our members who support God’s call to ministry.
This Sunday (August 21) we celebrate Rally day when we officially begin a new year of learning for all ages. From nursery, to children’s classes, to Confirmation, to adult classes, to Men-Women-Men-Youth ministries, we have much to celebrate and coordinate! We hope all will find a place to nurture and share the faith. This is also a poignant time to look around and invite & include people you see – to a small group, a Sunday school class, a worship service, or even conversation. It is exciting to see ministry taking shape, and more importantly, it pleases God when we grow in faith and care for one another.
Several years ago we introduced Dr. Rich Melheim’s FAITH5 to encourage families, friends, teams, small groups, and individuals to have faith building conversations by doing five simple acts: 1-Share (highs/lows), 2-Read (a Bible verse or story), 3-Talk (about how the Bible reading might relate to your highs and lows), 4-Pray (for one another’s highs and lows), 5-Bless (one another). If you are not already using this model, take time to include it with others.
When I observe people busy in ministry and in the busy-ness of life, I think about patience. Life seems smooth when events unfold in a predictable or planned fashion. But, often as life is less smooth, impatience can creep in – especially in a world today where access and quick return are dominant.
Spending some time last month in Arizona and Wyoming, Cindy and I saw the Grand Canyon, vast farms, and open spaces. Time seemed to slow down, and much of what we saw – especially the Grand Canyon – was formed as the result of time. It was humbling to stand in a place that took millions of year to form. Sometimes we can feel that we should get what we want or expect on our time schedule. The truth is, we are living a life on God’s time. And the more we are able to connect (faith) to our Creator, the richer our experience will be.
Being out West and seeing the “patience” of nature reminded me of a story of a young boy I heard years ago. Jimmy wanted to be a cowboy in the worst way. He watched every re-run of Gunsmoke and Bonanza, and owned every Clint Eastwood movie ever made. He went to bed with a cowboy hat on. He wore a six-shooter in the shower. This kid was serious. One day he said to his dad, “Dad, I want to be a cowboy when I grow up. Can you help me be a cowboy?” “Sure, Son,” his father told him.
Years went by and Jimmy grew into a fine young man. Of course, he lost his interest in being a cowboy as soon as he discovered girls. One day he asked his dad, “Dad, I want to go to college and get a good education. Will you help me?”
His father replied, “College? You can’t go to college! When you were little you told me you wanted to be a cowboy. So I bought you 1,000 acres in Texas with 100 head of cattle. Forget college. You’ve got a ranch to run.”
Sometimes, like Jimmy, we tell God what we want. We lay out our expectations, and we actually get frustrated, when they don’t smoothly come to fruition. We lose our patience (and sometimes even our faith). And then, much later, we discover that God had a better plan all along. God even provides us with the gift of patience, a fruit of the Spirit, to help see God’s way.
When a door in our lives closes, we can lose heart, or look for the window that God is sure to open. Patience begins with trust in God’s goodness. Don’t allow the detours of life to knock you out. Stay open to what God may be doing in your midst. Trust him to lead you. That’s the pathway to patience. May this insight help us on our journey together as God’s people.