With Tears of Joy
Not enough snow does not bring me tears of joy and this winter did not meet my standards for snow; I need more. Recently I did experience tears of joy when Denise and Tiffany shared ‘Seasons of Love’ during the offertory, after I used the lyrics in my sermon. I truly felt loved and happy tears flowed.
Are tears of joy flowing from you? Are you rejoicing because God is with you? Are you praying? Is God’s Word opening before you during the week? Are you allowing any and every excuse to keep you from worshiping God in church?
As we move forward into this very HOLY season of Lent, I am going to challenge you to consider the roadblocks that keep you from experiencing the highest possible level of joy in your faith. I am going to ask you to consider the roadblocks that keep you from taking the light of Jesus Christ out into your everyday world. We all need to boldly consider what each of us can do to fill St. Paul’s sanctuary on Sundays so that at least 130 people are here each week not only on occasion! We can reach ONE HUNDRED and THIRTY but it takes each of us to actively declare that life is better with St. Paul’s on the schedule.
On ASH WEDNESDAY we will pause to consider where we are in our faith walk. I am hoping that a majority of you will find value in taking the extra time with your family and friends to enter church on a Wednesday. A day of worship but also a day of deep thought and prayer. We will offer a noon service of the application of ashes and the cluster of area churches’ service will be held at Colonial Manor United Methodist Church at 7pm. I will be preaching.
My sermon series title for this Lenten Season is ROAD TRIP. I think we all need to get out on the road with our God and our Savior while allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us. When you come to church during Lent you will notice a slight change in our worship service or perhaps it will be significant change to you. In order to get out on the road for the Creator we need to get out of the routines we all have been in.
Beginning with the Lenten Season, I am also going to start a new BIBLE STUDY that will correspond to the ROAD TRIP sermon series. ‘TUNE-UP’ will be exclusively online every Tuesday and it will be offered in the early morning (8am, that’s early for me) and late at night (10pm). I want all of us to market this Bible Study to our friends, letting them know that our church is not just for those who have attended here for years. Our church has experienced a lot of success with our online ministries and as we move into the future our tech efforts need to be made even stronger. I will be utilizing ZOOM conferencing for these Bible studies. Are you ready for a in your faith? I know I always can use some tuning up.
As we enter Lent, what is your commitment to God going to be? I am not talking a diet plan nor telling God you are giving up chocolate because at the end of the day we all try to “give something up” for Lent but rarely is that sacrifice tied to God.
My suggestion is making a commitment of time to God, which also requires a sacrifice in something of yourself. We guard our time preciously so here are a few ideas:
- GIVE UP 30 minutes weekly to join our TUNE-UP online Bible Study. Drink coffee at the kitchen table and enjoy each other’s fellowship while discovering things about yourself and your faith that perhaps you didn’t know.
- Plan a time of prayer. Not your regular prayer time but just you and God having a little weekly meeting at a set time when you won’t allow anyone or anything interrupt.
- Step up for a cause. Discover something in the community that has your name on it. An organization that could use your volunteer time on a Saturday. (Maybe get the family to join in or friends.) Start out the volunteer time with prayer.
- Really commit to worship. Participate in church every Sunday morning. Come to the ASH Wednesday service, the Maundy Thursday service, and one or more of the Good Friday services.
My favorite verse of the Bible is from Philippians, “Rejoice in the Lord always! Again, I say rejoice!” Let the Lord God lead you to quiet streams along smooth paths and allow yourself to experience tears of joy knowing how much God truly loves you.