12 I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need.13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress. Philippians 4:12-14(NRSV)
What a year it has been! There were Weddings and Funerals. Our church family decided to worship together and learn to worship hand in hand, respecting and celebrating different ways to worship. We are learning how to share and pass on our faith to our younger generations. We celebrated one of our strongest financial years, being able to fulfill all of our financial responsibilities. I am inspired by all the people who put their individual feelings aside to look towards what is best for the church family.
Personally, I dealt with a mother whose memory continues to fade, but a spirit as vibrant as ever. Dad made it through a green mold infection with a 106.5 fever overnight the previous fall. After weeks in the hospital and a month in the nursing home, he was able to come home again. He went from being a caregiver to needing care. Yet even after a kinked colon, a couple of hernia’s and a broken hip and getting a new hip, I see a father whose determination and positive attitude being an inspiration to even those helping provide care for him.
Both my sisters have moved into my parent’s home and continue to do a wonderful job dealing with a very difficult situation.
Our daughter is still discerning God’s calling for her life, exploring working with youth and young adults, counseling, while pursuing her gift of photography. Even while numerous physical and health conditions continue to knock her down, she keeps getting back up.
Our Son is in his senior year of high school , preparing to graduate and finding a gift in the field of graphic arts, getting the highest grade in the Harkness/BOCES program in that area. After a summer of working hard at Darien Lake in the food services area, He would be blessed with an opportunity to work t Schmitt’s garage. His work ethic getting him praises from his bosses. Even after a sudden, emergency appendectomy, He is back on his feet within a week.
My wife continues to be the rock of our family, holding it all together and dealing with all the challenges of being a wife, mom and spouse of a preacher, she deals with it all, continuing to have a positive attitude and outlook.
I continue to be humbled by the attitude and perspective of family and friends. I look around and see people I love find the ability to be content whatever the circumstances are around them and yet see a God who can help them overcome anything in their path. I have been inspired by them as I deal with my own health and other challenges.
I have also looked back and see how far God has brought me in my life and how much I have been humbled and matured, even in these last three years since I have been here. I also see how far I have to go to see the perfect reflection of Jesus as I look in the mirror, inside and out. I am challenged and encouraged by Paul’s other words as he realized he has not attained, but he reminded us to not look back, not be trapped or held down by our past, but put the past behind, to look forward and see all we can become in Christ. The key is not trying harder to be like Jesus, But to invite Jesus to be more and more at work in our lives so there is more and more of Jesus in us. As we started the New Year as a worshiping community, we shared in John Wesley’s covenant prayer. My prayer for myself and for each of us is I, we can allow God to be more and more at work in our lives, and as we do, I, we will see more and more of Jesus in and at work in each of us. Amen.
12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;[a] but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Beloved,[b] I do not consider that I have made it my own;[c] but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 (NRSV)
John Wesley Covenant Prayer
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.