Beloved of God,
We at Mt. Pisgah received a much needed boost during the month of April during our Annual Spring Revival. Our speakers encouraged us in the fact that when life has us “Almost Crazy,” God will step in and show us that God is still on the throne, and that if we would just “Get out of the Boat”, we can be assured that “The Best Is Yet to Come”. My prayer is that we will carry these thoughts through the remainder of the year so that we can continue to THINK BIG, and face the challenges and opportunities before us with the boldness and confidence befitting a child of “The God of Greater Glory.”
A Time to Pause
Looking forward into the month of May, the thoughts of all good Philadelphia Conference AMEs begin to turn toward our Annual Conference, which will take place from May 24-30 in Lancaster PA. Annual Conferences are a lot of work to prepare for, but when we reach them they do force us to stop and reflect on the journey that we have made through the past year. (This year’s conference being in Lancaster forces those of us from Philadelphia to stop and break from our normal routines and be “fully present” at the conference without distraction.) I have often shared my belief with the congregation about the importance of reflection, i.e., taking a break (forced or otherwise) at key points to consider one’s traveled path and possible future directions. As we prepare for the conference, we are thinking (as a church) about what the Lord has done for us in the past conference year: the good that we’ve accomplished (by God’s grace), the mistakes that we’ve made, the difficulties we’ve faced, the things that we have learned, and the opportunities that lie before us. At the conference, when we listen to the pastoral reports (which are pastors’ annual “reflections” on their congregation’s work in the vineyard) we can be tremendously inspired (assuming one resists the temptation to compare the work of one church versus that of another), especially when we realize that the God who is “no respecter of persons” can and will do for us what God has done them. Thus, stopping and reflecting gives us a cause to be amazed at how far God has brought us, and to be inspired by God’s work in the lives of others. We are motivated to press on as a church to make an even greater impact for Christ.
There is a personal lesson to be learned here as well. Many of us stay so engrossed in the day to day struggles and problems that we have to deal with (trying to earn money, deal with our family, pay bills, manage relationships, etc.) that we don’t intentionally stop and consider the distance that we’ve travelled, or meditate on God’s involvement in our lives. (Some of us will only stop if we’re forced to through injury, illness, or crisis.) When you take the time to stop and reflect (on what came your way today, on your response to situations, on where God was in your encounters, on what scripture has to say about things you dealt with, etc.), you find that God’s hand becomes more clearly seen in our “replay screen.” This is a critical means by which we learn God’s nature. When we learn more about God’s nature, we begin to be able to see God’s hand more clearly in the present, and build our capacity to trust God for things for the future. All of this comes from regular and consistent pauses from the daily grind to reflect on our lives in Christ.
The Psalmists in the Bible have a particular way of forcing a pause for reflection in their poetic passages. They insert the word “Selah” at certain points in the text, probably as an indicator to the reader to stop and reflect on what has been said, and on the goodness of the Lord. God’s design is that we grab intentional “Selah moments” in our lives to absorb the richness of God’s presence operating in our lives. Enjoy a Selah moment today!
During May, we also pause to show our appreciation to MOTHERS, whose love and nurturing has provided the foundation and strength for many of us to be who we are and do what we do. Let us keep in mind that biological mothers are not the only mothers. There are many “mother figures” without whose nurture and training many of us may not have survived. Let us stop, reflect, and honor those women in our lives that have given so sacrificially for us. May God bless and keep you as you consider God’s goodness to you!