July 1, 2019
Another wonderful hot, sunny day in northwest Ohio. It seems like only yesterday that we were complaining about cold and wet, and now I’m beginning to think about hot and dry wondering if it will ever rain again. It reminds me that as a people we can easily forget what was and we focus on what is and project what may be to come. After all, it is July 1 and it’s supposed to be hot and dry here, we know that. So, I try to take a moment to thank God for what is, not for what I think should be or could be, but just as it is.
This week I have been reflecting on the past knowing that I’m leaving today to finish the rest of my sabbatical. I realize how blessed I am. Thank you to you as a congregation for gifting us the ability to get away, rest, refocus, and re-energize so we can reenter ministry with renewed energy and focus. Over the next couple of weeks we will be traveling to Alaska, spending time with our sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. During this time, I hope to take time to rest and refocus. When I’m in Alaska I spend much of the time out in creation seeing the beauty of God’s creation and being reminded of the part that I play in that. In Genesis 1 and 2 we have the account of creation. On the last day of creation God made humanity and encouraged us to care for all he created. He wants us to appreciate all he has created. I like to think that he wants us to leave a gently caring footprint as we traverse in his creation. Thanks for your words of encouragements and prayers as we travel.
This past Sunday we talked about the freedom we have as children of God. It’s important that we recognize that everyone is adopted into the family of God when they accept by faith Christ’s act on the cross. No one gets into the family of God without the adoption process. We do not become a part of that family based on where we were born, where we live, what we do, what we know, or anything that comes from our own efforts. It is simply by faith in Christ alone. I love the reminder that God’s pleasure in us is not based on our efforts or our work but based on the work of Christ in us. Keep reading in the book of Galatians and the parts of freedom that we have talked about. We will conclude this series in a few weeks when I return, focusing on freedom to grow from Galatians 4:8-31.
As we are in the heart of summer and I see the many posts on Facebook of families traveling and vacationing and hearing the stories, I’m reminded how important it is as the adults in the family to help the children understand the importance of taking God with us in our words and actions. In a conversation yesterday with a friend I was again reminded how easy it is for us to drop the ball when it’s hot, we feel the pressure, or things aren’t going our way. It’s during times like that that we have a key teachable moment with the little people about what is important and what will last. If we don’t have time for the things of God because we are focusing on our own pleasure and recreational activities, we are teaching the little people that God is only necessary part of the time. If what we believe and what we understand of God doesn’t alter the way we live our life, what do we really believe and understand about God? So, enjoy the summer and take God with you wherever you go.
I also want to say a big thank you to the wonderful staff I have the pleasure to work with every day. They fill in the things that I miss on a regular basis. I appreciate them so very much. I see within them the passion and desire in them to point people to God in all situations. It’s an honor to be part of the family with them. I also say a big thank you to the many volunteers who contribute to the life of North Clinton in so many ways. From those in the nursery, teaching classes, decorating, singing, making music, cooking, ushering, greeting, and many others behind the scenes. It takes a community to make a difference. It doesn’t happen one person at a time. When each person does their part, our community changes. As we look forward to the beginning of the Saturday service we will continue to need volunteers to give of their time, talents, and energies. The reason for this service is to offer another option to those who are not able to worship on Sunday mornings or are uncomfortable worshiping in a traditional Sunday morning. Please help us spread the word to your neighbors, coworkers, family members, friends, and anyone you meet. You will see billboards in the next month inviting our community to join us. You will also find lobby displays for you to sign up to volunteer, we would love to have you join us on this new endeavor. I’m reminded of the words that say, “if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14. God’s promises to us as we pray for our community he will go before us, with us, and behind us. God is good. All the time.