A message from Pastor Jon...
I want you to imagine we are going on an adventure. We are setting out with no texting, no calling, and
no Facebook. While that might sound like you’re cut off from the world, remember, we’re going together,
so you’re not alone. On top of that, you get to choose the destination. So, we’re all going, we’re all going
together, but we might all end up at different places and that’s fine.
So, close your eyes. Imagine your destination. Perhaps it’s a trip to the Caribbean. The bluest water
you’ve ever seen. Sunshine everywhere. Nothing but beauty and relaxation for miles. Or perhaps you’d
like to take a hike in the mountains somewhere. Hear the mountain stream running steadily. Seeing the
stars at night. Campfires and smores.
This adventure is metaphorical of our discipleship journeys. We all have one, no matter how much you
may or may not want to go on it. And, we’re all going to end up in different places. We will see different
things and have different experiences than the people around us. But we will have each other. We will
have the love and support of our church family around us.
Over the next ten months, we are going to be embarking on a journey. A journey that requires
participation both at the individual and corporate levels. We will be talking about prayer, scripture
reading, hospitality, the power of testimonies, how to engage in mission and outreach, and so much
more. All of these things, if taken seriously, have a potential to deepen our relationships with God and
with each other.
But let’s start with a challenge.
A few weeks ago, I told you this was coming. Over the course of the next ten months, this will not be the
only challenge that I present to you. This, however, will be the foundational challenge for our journey and
it will be the foundational challenge in your relationship with God.
Here it is: PRAY FOR TEN MINUTES EVERY DAY.
It sounds simple enough right?
One of the biggest hindrances in our walk with God is that we often feel like there just isn’t enough time
to do what we want and also invest in our relationship with God. So, where does that leave us?
It leaves us in a spiritual deficit.
Praying for ten minutes a day can actually be quite a challenge. Your mind might wander to things you
need to get done, something you forgot to do, or any other thing that might pop into your mind. However,
it is important that we make the time and be dedicated to this challenge. Not to make me happy or to say
that you have completed a challenge, but so that your spiritual life may go deeper. You may learn to trust
in God more. You may hear him talking back. I mean, how else do we know what He is leading us to do if
we don’t sit down and listen? (Hint: you won’t.)
This is the challenge. This is the beginning of our adventure together. I hope you will choose to invest in
yourself and your relationship with God as we begin this first step together.
In lieu of that information, I also have an announcement to make.
WE WILL BE BEGINNING SMALL GROUPS.
Small groups are foundational to the life of the church. Some churches call them life groups, some faith
groups, in fact there are a plethora of names people use for these. Essentially, they are groups designed
to build relationships within the church and to give people something to lean into as they go throughout
their own faith journey.
Right now, we are working on formulating a group specifically for PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN.
This is not a group to tell you how to parent or how to discipline your child. This group won’t tell you
you’re doing it wrong or that you need to start doing something else. This group is being put together with
the knowledge that raising children isn’t easy. This group is going to focus on you and how you are
experiencing parenthood. It will be a safe place for you to come and express the possible concerns or
anxieties you might have about parenthood. If you are worried that you’re all alone, need support, have
questions, or have worries about raising your child in this social climate we live in today, this small group
will be for you.
I am not yet sure about the start date of this group. As I said, it is still in the formation process and it may
take a while. Any interest or ideas for this group would be welcomed and appreciated. And, I want to say
that this group is not just for people in our church. I know that we have several young families in our
congregation and I’m sure you have friends that also have young children and might need support. Invite
them. Our doors are open to all.
And finally, if there is a group that you think you might want to be involved in, please let me know.
Chances are if you are interested in a topic, a Bible study, or something else, someone else might be
too. I want this journey to be beneficial for everyone and will work to do what I can.
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Jonathan Wisdom is the pastor at the United Methodist Church in Ransom, IL.