As I think about the prayers that our friends and members of the United Methodist Churches in Liberia pray for us, it is our time to continue to lift them and their country before the throne of God. I personally know of two women who often fast for our conference teams traveling to Liberia for a full 21 days and many often fast and pray for IGRC on Wednesdays or Fridays of each week. It is time for Illinois Great Rivers Conference to faithfully pray for this situation.
Today, more than 5,000 Kingdom dreamers have graduated from Africa University. They are making disciples and transforming the world. These graduates are doctors and nurses, engineers and teachers, social workers and government leaders. Through them, Kingdom dreams are becoming reality.
God applauds Abraham for his courage and faithfulness. Abraham names the place “The Lord will provide.” A man after God’s own heart, discovers again and again, that everything's gonna be alright. Today, Jews, Christians and Muslims honor Abraham as their spiritual and biological ancestor. Today, Jews, Christians and Muslims speak of the bosom of Abraham as a place of rest, repose and happiness. Today, Abraham’s courage, faith and trust in the Lord proved four little words, “The Lord will provide.”
Sisters and brothers in Christ: Let us go up at once and occupy the Promised time – we are well able to conquer it. You need not fear the giants – they have lost the protection they had. The Lord is with us. You have nothing to fear from them. Life doesn’t frighten us. In Jesus name and power. Amen.
TOTAL PRAISE to God is better than Cum, Magna and Summa Cum Laude put together. “God is not through with us yet.” Beverly and I thank God for the privilege of serving among you. Let’s keep the faith. (It’s the substance of things hoped for!!!)
“Jesus Wept.” As a child and teenager, it is the one verse of scripture I knew by heart. Over time, things have changed. Verses of scripture longer than two words have been learned. More importantly, I learned “Jesus Wept” had to do with the unexpected death of Lazarus. Most importantly, “Jesus Wept” held wonderful insights for families wrestling with the death of loved ones. Three insights have compelled me to say more. Consider the power of presence, the power of empathy and the power of resurrection.
Paul’s letter to the saints in Ephesians has some advice for us. While his salutation suggests his message is for the saints who are in Ephesus; his practical theology is applicable for gifted saints of the church universal, Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference notwithstanding. Who are the saints?
During the months of March and April, I traveled the extent of the IGRC, holding 10 district meetings regarding the proposed changes in the health insurance plan (Resolution 107) for 2015. By my very unscientific estimate, about 600 clergy and lay members of the conference attended these meetings – well short of half of the anticipated voting members at annual conference. However, rather than to rehearse (again) all of the factors that led the Conference Board of Pensions to make this proposal (all well-documented in the pre-conference workbook), I thought I would share some reflections from meeting with the faithful base of the conference, face-to-face.
Add this nagging question to your prayer life and Christian walk daily, “Do you still want to go where God leads?” Jesus needs to know!! So does the body of Christ.
Thanks for the invitation to preach at the 190th Anniversary of Rochester United Methodist Church. That’s a long time. You don’t look your age. That’s because generation after generation of new disciples choose to cast their lot with this congregation.