Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

Sometimes you need to go around

Josh Medlock, Director of Student Ministries

You find yourself standing in front of the tallest wall you have ever seen.

You were told by everyone around you that you needed to scale this wall and perch yourself on top of the highest point so that you can see what is on the other side.

The wall has some places here and there that you could possibly fit your hands and feet into.

There also seem to be some large cracks that look like you could really get a great hold on to pull yourself up.

You take a deep breath and start to climb.

Quickly, your body reminds you that you aren’t as young as you used to be, or that you are not in the shape you thought you were.

Probably should’ve used that gym membership you’ve been paying for but never actually use.

You climb back down.

Each time you try to climb, every place you put your hands and feet, it all seems to be too much.

Each time you tire quickly and must come back down.

You almost slip and fall so many times you’ve lost count.

Struggle as you might you just can’t seem to get there.

You begin to wonder and dream about the sights on the other side of the wall.

What will the world look like?

How much beauty are you missing because you can’t see what is there?

Is there a large lake or perhaps a beautiful frozen glacier that seems frozen in time?

You try again. No luck.

You are drenched in sweat and your muscles ache.

Your body is yelling at you to stop and rest.

But everyone told you that you HAD to get to the top, that what lies beyond the wall is something that MUST be seen.

How long would you try to climb?

How long would you push yourself past the point of exhaustion?

Wait! Did you bother to look to either side?

The wall doesn’t go on forever. If you walk a ways you can simply go around.

So you walk.

The walk seems to take forever but eventually you can see the end of the wall.

Your pace quickens.

Even though your lungs start to burn from the effort and your already shaky legs are about to give out, you find yourself inspired and full of hope because there it is!

The end of the wall.

You slowly and cautiously creep around the corner to view what is beyond the wall.

I find that there are many times I feel as though I am climbing that wall.

What I have to remind myself is that there are other ways of getting where I need to go.

The walk that I am on is not one that I journey alone.

I am surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who mentor me, guide me, and encourage me.

But most importantly, I walk with Jesus. I never walk alone.

The walk may be longer than expected and it might seem like it will never end.

But it will, eventually.

We don’t always need to climb the wall. Sometimes we just need to walk around it.

My prayer for you today is that you won’t walk alone.

That you will look to either side of you and recognize the cloud of witnesses that walk with you.

If you don’t see them, don’t look up at the wall.

Instead, look deep inside and know that you don’t ever walk alone.

Blessings.

A morning prayer

Kitty Williams, Director of Music Ministries

New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world.

Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. 

– An Order for Morning Praise and Prayer, United Methodist Hymnal, 876

I love this prayer because it reminds me that every day God is working out God’s purpose.

It also reminds me that we all need to be a part of God’s work every day. 

Sometimes when praying, my prayers sound like a task list for what I want God to do.

It’s almost as if I’m saying “my will be done,” instead of “thy will be done.” 

A few weeks ago, we sang the hymn Open My Eyes that I May See. 

This is a wonderful morning prayer! I hope you will pray it with me this morning. 

Open my eyes, that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me; 

place in my hands the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free. 

Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God, thy will to see. 

Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine! 

Open my ears, that I may hear voices of truth thou sendest clear;  

and while the wavenotes fall on my ear, everything false will disappear. 

Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God, thy will to see. 

Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine! 

Open my mouth, and let me bear gladly the warm truth everywhere; 

open my heart and let me prepare love with they children thus to share. 

Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God, thy will to see. 

Open my heart, illumine me, Spirit divine! 

Amen. 

What you think will happen

Josh Medlock, Director of Student Ministries

Have you ever played golf? See if this sounds familiar:

The pin is only 94 yards away.

You grab your pitching wedge.

Looking at the green, you line up your shot and step up to the ball.

As you settle in for the shot, you take a deep breath.

You transfer your weight slightly to your front foot as you begin your swing.

CRACK!!

You hit the ball and it flies in an almost prefect arc.

As it approaches the green you hold your breath.

The ball hits the green, takes two bounces and drops right into the cup for that elusive eagle! 

That’s what the mind creates as the perfect shot.

That’s what we convince ourselves will happen. We really do think it will happen that way.

What really happens is more like this. 

You are 94 yards away from the pin.

You grab your 9 iron because you know you probably aren’t going to make it there today with your pitching wedge. 

You line up the shot and swing.

Maybe you hit the ball. If you do, you probably hit it wrong.

it sails way left or way right and bounces off three or four trees before landing somewhere you’ll never find it. 
 
What we think will happen versus what actually happens. I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this.

It’s interesting though that when it comes to other people or other things I can usually predict what will happen.

It usually turns out not too far off what actually happens.

But when it comes to me and things I do, it often turns out differently that what I expected. 
 
I started thinking about the ministry of Jesus, and how people who witnessed the miracles or heard him explain things most likely had no idea what was happening.

Whatever they thought was going to happen, Jesus usually did it differently.

Whatever the expectation, it usually happened in a very unexpected way.

I love that about Jesus. I love that his ministry was never what was expected.

For me, that’s one of the reasons why his ministry was so powerful, and continues to amaze me today.
 
Perhaps one of the reasons people aren’t hearing our message of love and grace as well as they should is because we aren’t allowing ourselves to be surprised.

Maybe we should indulge a little in what we think CAN happen and get excited again.

I love talking to people who are excited about things.

Even if I don’t understand or don’t agree with whatever they are excited about, I still love the fact that they are excited.
 
Jesus crafted his responses to those who doubted in a way that was unexpected, and performed miracles that often turned out completely different than the way people thought they would.
 
I hope and pray that you are surprised this week, and that your relationship with Jesus gives you a sense of excitement.

Maybe this week things can turn out the way we think they will.

But won’t it be incredible if they don’t?