Reflecting Love in all we do

Christ_Washing_Feet_Giovanni_Agostino_da_Lodi1500_smallSome Thoughts from Pastor Dave

(Jesus final prayer and greatest desire…)

“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name- the name you gave me so that they (the disciples) may be one as we are one…”

“…I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them they glory that you gave me, may they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them, even as you have loved me.”

John 17:11b, 20b-23 (NIV)

 

The bread has been broken. The cup has been shared. The disciples’ feet have been washed. Jesus shares of the coming betrayal, abandonment and denial. He offers his disciples, his friends’ final words of comfort, advice and encouragement as He nears his final hours. He promises the same spirit that gave him wisdom and strength; power and peace would be with them. He told them the world will often hate them, and that many would persecute them and think they are doing God a favor. He told them in this world they will have troubles, but take heart, He has, will overcome the world.

After Jesus shares his final words of comfort, He looks up toward heaven and prays. He prays that he may bring His heavenly Father glory. He prays for his disciples. He prays the words they have accepted and followed will not keep them separated from the world but protected from the world they will immerse themselves in for His sake. He prays they may find joy in tribulation, triumph over tragedy, in peace in the adversity. He prays they may find purity in a putrid world.

Jesus prays above all that they may find strength and unity in one another. He prays that all who believe may be in unity and love with one another and that this unity and love may speak more powerfully than any words uttered.

Psalm 133 speaks of how pleasing it is to God when we are one in unity and love with one another. In the book of Acts, the early believers truly embraced this and became one. They focused on Christ and put God’s needs and others’ needs above their own.

Jesus taught us to love one another. The disciple John, in his first letter chapter four, says we cannot love God and hate another. We are called to love, family, friends, and enemies alike. O how we may go beyond tolerating at best but not loving all we are called to love.

As a church family, we are not called to be alike, to agree on all things or even to like one another. We are called to love one another. As the Rabbi who walked in the woods taught the monks, the messiah, Jesus is among you. As we treat the least, as we treat one another. So we have treated Jesus.

May the love and unity we show one another shine like a light and a beacon to all who are in darkness God’s marvelous light and love. May people watch and see our testimony and be drawn to the one who has shown his light and love toward us.

As we seek to become one, may our Sunday morning worship, our fellowship, our discipleship (learning and teaching) and our service toward one another and the community reflect this love and unity for all to see.

Amen.

Opportunities available to help us draw closer to God

It’s that time of year.  New Year’s resolutions are often made (and quickly broken).

Recently someone commented to me about our United Methodist history and tradition.  I realized what a wealth of resources we have in The United Methodist Church to draw us closer to God.

One of my favorite worship services is a service called John Wesley’s Covenant service.  It is a service at the beginning of the year that allows people to renew their commitment to God each year.  I have included the prayer below.

We also have something called means of Grace.  These are opportunities to draw closer to God.  These opportunities include individual actions, such as prayer, fasting, reading the Bible and healthy living.  There are group practices which include: communion, baptism, and fellowship.  There are actions and practices which involve helping others: doing good, visiting the sick and those in prison, feeding and clothing those in need, earning, saving and giving all you can.  Other group actions, practices include seeking justice and helping other who can’t help themselves.

Our church family at Akron First UMC is going to strive to offer as many of these opportunities to help people to draw others and each other closer to God and each other as possible.

We will look to be the hands, lips, and heart of Jesus and see how we can separately and together draw closer to God in the coming year.

Tired of making (and breaking New Year’s resolutions?)  Come be an active part of our church family in the coming year and see how your faith will soar and you will draw closer to God and others in amazing, incredible ways in the year ahead.

Amen.

Pastor David Wickins

John Wesley Covenant Prayer

I am no longer my own,

but thine.

Put me to what thou wilt,

rank me with whom thou wilt.

Put me to doing, put me to suffering.

Let me be employed by thee

or laid aside for thee,

exalted for thee or brought low for thee.

Let me be full, let me be empty.

Let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and heartily yield all things

to thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

thou art mine, and I am thine.

So be it.

And the covenant which I have

made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.

Amen.

From John Wesley’s

Covenant Service, 1780

 

 

 

“Where’s the line to see Jesus?”

Christmas is creeping into our lives earlier and earlier each year, this year, even before Halloween arrived, signs of Christmas were not hard to find. It seems to me more like signs of “Xmas” are everywhere, not signs of Christ.

inlineOne song I heard written a few years ago really caught my attention and touched my heart. It was the song, “Where’s the Line to See Jesus?” Here are some of the words…

Christmas time was approaching, snow was starting to fall
Shoppers choosing their presents, people filling the mall
Children waiting for Santa, with excitement and glee
A little boy tugged my sweater, looked up and asked me
Where’s the line to see Jesus? Is He here at the store?
If Christmas time is His birthday, why don’t we see Him more?
…Where’s the line to see Jesus? He was born for me
Santa Claus brought me presents But Christ gave His life for me

The season of advent is to be a time of preparation for the “comings” of Jesus. God has touched my heart to prepare for his “comings.” Not just his coming 2000 years ago. Not just for the time he will come back and make all things new.

I am committed to prepare for him to come into each person’s heart and life, not just Christmas day, not just on Sundays, but all day, each day, every day.

Come join us on Christmas Eve, as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Come Join us on Sunday mornings, as we prepare our hearts and lives not just to remember he came.

Not just to prepare for his coming, but to prepare for God to come into our hearts and lives each day every day.

I can guarantee God will be coming to join us Christmas Eve. Will you join us? God and I hope to see you there.

I guarantee God will be coming to join us Sunday mornings during Advent. Will you join us? God and I hope to see you there.

The congregation and I are making all the preparations. Come join us at Akron First UMC and join the line to see Jesus this season we celebrate and remember the “comings” of Christ.

Amen.
Pastor Dave.

Under Construction

Akron First UMC is building. Literally, as we develop a new website and construct a community patio and public restroom project at the C. Dee Wright Center, and figuratively, as we design Christian Education, Worship, and other ministries for the upcoming year.

My firm belief is church should be an opportunity, not an obligation.

If you are already part of the process with your faithful prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness we say THANK YOU! And hope you will continue to help us build.

If for any reason you have pulled back in any of these areas or have never visited, we hope you will check out all that is happening and join us as we answer God’s call to put into practice those things scripture outlines for Kingdom living.

Looking forward to building together,
Pastor Dave Wickins