Going and Growing

"When I find the perfect person, I'll consider a committed relationship." "When my significant other and I have enough money saved, enough debt paid off, and a house purchased, then we'll get married." "When we get the rest of our lives in order and we can afford to raise a child, we'll consider having children." There is value in having goals and a sense of what's important in your life. The wisdom to "not get the horse in front of the cart" has merit. But the fact of the matter is, if we wait until all the conditions of our lives are just right before taking the next big step, we'll never move at all. Rarely does the perfect job present itself at just the right time. Rarely are all conditions ideal for taking that big risk. And when we first take up with Jesus, rarely are we fully equipped to live the life to which he calls us. The good news is that God's grace continues on, not only calling us to new life, but creating that new life in us. God's grace not only woos and welcomes us, it goes with us into this new life and grows us in Christ-like ways. We don't have to have our lives together to walk with Jesus. We certainly don't have to be perfect. Grace calls us to new life and then gives us the power to actually pull it off. Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bWjFeSXKxo

Righted and Welcomed

Colleges have them; sororities and fraternities have them; private clubs and swanky restaurants have them. What do these all have? Entrance requirements. To enter and enjoy the benefits of these places and organizations, persons must do certain things and/or meet certain criteria. The onus is on the applicant or prospective customer to prove that they have the qualifications, the resume, the income, the look or the character to be accepted into the group or activity. God has quite a different strategy for filling his house. He simply opens the door and invites people in. No entrance exam, no income requirements, not even a dress code. Where grace is, you are welcome. And where God is, there is grace. "The door's unlocked, come on in!" Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4wbHqxoD2U&t=25s

Wooed and Pursued

(We are the beloved of God, and because God loves us so deeply, God never stops pursuing us, drawing us to God's self, or growing us in love and grace.) Grace is a word that carries all sorts of meanings and connotations in the modern English language… * We say “grace” at a meal to offer a prayer of thanks. * To be “graceful” or “gracious” suggests that one is courteous, kind, and pleasant. * We might say someone moves with “grace” when they are elegant and move with ease. But as a word we use in talking about the Christian faith it carries a very specific meaning and sits at the center of our understanding of who God is and how we experience God’s care for us. The Christian faith teaches that grace is “… the love and mercy given to us by God, because God wants us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it.” (umc.org) John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist tradition gave us a significant and rich understanding of how God’s grace woos us, claims us, and grows us in Christ-likeness. Wesley understood grace as God’s active presence in our lives giving us the power to respond to God and live a victorious life in Christ. Songwriter Matthew West sums up the power and promise of God at work in our lives with these words: Grace Wins. As we make our way through each day, face challenges of all kinds, suffer hardships and hurts; as we doubt, despair, and deal with all manner of disappointment, the Bible, John Wesley and Matthew West all remind us that God is at work for our good... that because God loves us so dearly and so deeply, God's desire for us is unstoppable.... and God’s grace always wins! Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Xcw9sLegjA