Centerport United Methodist Church
The Pastors' messages comes from the summer issue of our monthly church newsletter - The Focus.

Unshakeable, Unremitting Love

RECLAIMING SABBATH

I actually managed to take a day off this past week. It was a beautiful morning and, although we had lots to do, Gina and I took a break to go for a walk around the neighborhood with Cali (our little beagle). The glory of God’s creation filled our senses and our spirits, reminding us of what we rush past every day. That thirty-minute soul-break made the rest of what we had to do that day far more manageable.

We all need such time-outs from the press of daily life. It’s called Sabbath-time, and it’s mentioned right at the beginning of the Bible. God worked six days and took a break on the seventh. God created the day for working and the night for resting.

At every turn, our 24/7 society shows its’ contempt for the whole idea of Sabbath. We pride ourselves on how little sleep we need. Stores stay open all night and we work longer and longer days. Even our kids keep running from one activity to another. We’re all hyped up on life, and sometimes, caffeine and other substances are what

keep us fueled long enough to “get through.”

If Sabbath is just another thing to add to our ever-growing list of stuff to do, then we can forget it. We don’t need more guilt about something else we should be doing. Sabbath is something

very different, a “rendezvous with God,” says Ray Waddle, “an act of soul repair and joy.”

And it’s doable. It takes intention and followthrough, but soon what was a push to begin becomes something we yearn for. Starting small helps. Take a five-minute break to focus on God. Rest. Pray. Sleep. Just stop! Before long, you’ll find ways to take more time to re-fill your soul. We may even find that the world can get along without us

for a while. As Lynne Baab writes, “The Sabbath is a day to let go of perfectionism and let God run the universe.”


Here are some ideas to start keeping Sabbath:

· Reflect on an inspirational reading.

· Take a guilt-free nap

· Light a Sabbath candle

· Have a conversation with God

· Be silent and listen for few minutes—or more

· Call someone you love

· Do something good for your body

· Turn off your cell phone

· Prepare a meal

· Take a slow walk to nowhere in particular

· Go to the beach, put down your book and soak it all in


Knowing our congregation, you’ll have your own ideas for Sabbath. I’d be very interested to hear what

works for you.

As we move towards Fall, now is a good time to set a goal of getting some regular Sabbath-time. Your body will thank you. Your soul will thank you. Your family will thank you. And you’ll do everything you need to do from a much more centered place.

Our culture may demand a 24/7 lifestyle. But God, for our own good, invites us to live 24/6. Why not

start right now?



    

 Pastor Roy        

 

“Standing on the promises that cannot fail…

When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail…

By the living Word of God…I shall prevail…

Standing on the promises of God.” UMH # 374


As the summer season rapidly comes to a close and we begin to welcome the fall, I started thinking about the activities and plans that I had for this summer, the places I wanted to go, the rounds of golf and the trips to the beach, the backyard barbeques and gatherings. It seems as if I fell short of my goals…and as I started to reflect on my missed opportunities, I had to ask myself “what happened?” “Why didn’t I fulfill my dreams?” “What robbed me of my opportunities?” It seems, when it was all said and done, that I was guilty of putting things off until tomorrow instead of doing it today…does this sound familiar to you? As I pondered my wasted opportunities, this popular hymn, “Standing On the Promises” suddenly popped into my head…the Holy Spirit decided that I needed a nudge, and to gain some insight into our world, and God’s plans.

My sisters and brothers, the reality of our lives is that as Christians we will never be “trouble free”. We have not been promised an easy life despite that fact that: “we are new – as we are now in Christ”. New doesn’t equate to “no issues or problems”. So what exactly are we promised, as we enter this “life in Christ”?

As Christians, many of us seek to gain a stronger understanding of our relationship with God, and this

instills a hunger within us, a hunger for comprehension of what the Promises of God actually mean to our personal lives. I did some research and found that in the Bible, there are 7,487 promises made from God to His very own creation, the human race. We know that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has promised us His

strength to handle whatever comes our way. Thus with Christ by our side, we are better equipped to face the

“challenges” of our lives.

Have you ever asked yourself the question: “Why Am I Here?” Have you ever experienced that moment in your life when you were seeking to gain insight into what “your purpose in life is?” We enroll in all kinds of seminars, webinars, read self-help, self -improvement / success books and participate in programs, podcasts and lectures as we seek to gain understanding as to who we are, and what our purpose is.

I suggest that we need to change our perspective. Rather than pondering the question “Who we are?” it’s

time for us to focus on always understanding exactly, “Whose we are”, and all that it means to be a child of God. Each of us is a Child of God, the very God who created people to love and serve God, to please God, and to enjoy God. Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”


· We are God’s Handiwork

· Created in Christ Jesus

· To Do Good Works

· Works which God prepared for us to Do – in Advance


God has a plan for us, for each of us. And we need to embrace the fact that each of us has a unique role in the building up of God’s Kingdom. Each of us has been given special gifts, spiritual gifts, that we are to utilize with other Christians, who also have spiritual gifts, and together we work to build up the Church, we work to

build up the community of faith, honoring God by doing the work, by doing our part. And as we do this, God is

pleased…knowing whose you are…”I am God’s Workmanship”, “I am God’s Workmanship”…Means that you are a product of God’s Vision…as God has already decided what you could be…and should be.

God has promised us…


· His Love

· His Forgiveness

· The Holy Spirit to Help Guide Us

  · Salvation

· Peace

· Joy

· Freedom

· Blessings

· Everlasting Life

· The Return of Jesus Christ


All too often, we lose our focus, dwelling on ourselves and our shortcomings. Instead of being thankful for the gifts, opportunities, comfort, grace and love which God has provided and will continue to provide for us, we

focus on What we are, as people of the world. It is time that we turn our focus to constantly remembering

and embracing, Whose we are; God’s children and handiwork, and to fulfill the promise inside each of us, by

doing our part in building up the kingdom, and that is not a seasonal exercise or opportunity, it is a life -long expectation, so don’t wait for tomorrow, don’t let procrastination get in your way…start today!

Belief + Action = Transformation!


“Standing on the promises that cannot fail…

When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail…

By the living Word of God…I shall prevail…

Standing on the promises of God.”

Be Proud of Whose You Are…

Wishing you Blessed Days


 

Brother Wayne Redman
Certified Lay Minister