February 2019 Musings: Two Letters

In this month’s printed newsletter, you will find two letters. The first one, is to the membership of the First United Methodist Church of Waverly, Illinois relating to decisions that need to be made regarding church finances. The second letter is from the North Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops (our conference, the Illinois Great Rivers Conference is part of the North Central Jurisdiction) regarding this month’s General Conference in St. Louis. Both letters call for hope for the future in the face of necessary change. Our hope is in God through Jesus Christ in the working of the Holy Spirit. As you read these letters, do so prayerfully asking God to guide your response.

In our local situation a possible response is that we each take a critical look at our own financial giving. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

“Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver.”     (2 Corinthians 9:7 CEB)

How much each of us gives, is our decision. That is why it is important to see giving to the church as a spiritual exercise – something that we do prayerfully not only to please God, but to help ourselves grow closer to God.

Change is inevitable. (If you do not believe this, look at a high school picture of yourself as you are also looking into a mirror.) If we stay close to God and to each other as change occurs, change can be something to celebrate.

As we go faithfully into the future “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15.13 CEB)

Keep praying and keep in touch.

Grace, Peace, and Hope

Pastor Mark