United Methodist Church
God has also said that he gave us eternal life and that this life comes to us from his Son. And so, if we have God's Son, we have this life. But if we don't have the Son, we don't have this life. 1 John 5:11-12 (CEV)
This month’s article was inspired by a statement from a new book by Dallas Willard that I am reading. It is a book on how God changes lives called The Spirit of the Disciplines. The statement was actually the title of the third chapter, Salvation Is a Life. The basic theme of the book is that when we become a follower of Christ there must be a transformation in our lives when the Holy Spirit begins to work. The chapter talks about the problem that comes from believing that salvation is a solitary event in our lives when in reality is an ongoing event.
He goes on to talk about the role that our body plays in our spiritual life. Faith must be lived out in our bodies, by our actions, every day. This chapter was a great reminder of what I learned very early on in my journey of faith. From the day that I made my initial decision to follow Christ I have gone through a myriad of changes in both what I understand about our faith and the way I live it out.
The one constant is this lesson. I have learned that if we are to experience the spiritual life fully then we need to act on our faith in service to God. This service that we are called to is part of God’s plan from the beginning in the garden with Adam and Eve. They walked with God daily and tended the garden according to his direction. It is only when they acted in disobedience that their roles changed. Even though they were separated from God and the garden, they were still called to worship him and to serve him as before. It was just not going to be an up close and intimate way anymore.
The spiritual life that we were created for is a practice of doing things that draw us closer to God such as time in solitude, fasting, prayer, and service. Throughout the Bible we see that all the people God used were called to do something before he was able to fully bless them. This is something that Jesus himself exemplified and that has been revealed to us in the stories of his life and ministry. Jesus was the great master of the spiritual life.
He was born for this task but not everything he learned came naturally. He too had to learn and experience life in order to grow and become equipped for the work God had for him. As we are shown in the scriptures, Jesus would draw away from the crowds and his disciples to spend time alone with God. He fasted and prayed regularly. He served God obediently in every area of his life with the help of the Holy Spirit. It was not easy and he suffered a lot but his greatest lessons on obedience were learned in times of suffering.
Jesus is God's own Son, but still he had to suffer before he could learn what it really means to obey God. Hebrews 5:8 (CEV)
The greatest blessing when we do these things is the peace and confidence that we attain from being in a close and intimate relationship with God through the Holy Spirit.
Some of you who are reading this article may be struggling with how to live out your faith daily. The key is to not take on too much at once. I unfortunately learned that the hard way with my lesson of the 30 mattresses. (Come see me if you have not heard that one and are interested.) Begin by taking small steps of faith and you will be amazed how much bigger they get as you walk with God and grow. But you have to step out in order to fully live the life. Find out what you are good at or determine where your heart is leading you. Ask someone to help you to discern what your calling is. There are many of us who have been there and who understand where you are at.
For those of you who have stepped out in faith and are already serving Christ faithfully (you know who you are) keep up the good work. Keep on stepping out and make sure you keep your eye on the goal. You will never regret what you have given up because the rewards far outweigh them. I am a firm believer when you say yes to Jesus and step out in faith that there is always a blessing awaiting you somewhere down the road.
I am looking forward to another exciting year of serving with you here at Butler United. I have been richly blessed over the past nine years and I know God is not finished with us yet. May the peace of God be with you and may his face continually shine upon you. Amen.
Greetings from Butler United and Pastor Kevin Marsh. My wife, Susan, and I want to welcome you to Butler United's web site. We hope that you find what you need to get to know who we are and all that we have to offer if you come to visit us. We hope that you will because we are sure that you will be blessed because you did.
We believe that God loves everyone and that he has a perfect plan for each and every one of us. His greatest blessings come through a personal relationship with his Son, Jesus Christ. The people of Butler United are striving to reach out and truly make a difference in the lives of the people in our community. We do so by sharing Christ's unconditional love and helping out whenever and however we can. Our main ministry is a food pantry that serves the Eastern Dekalb School District.
We believe that everyone who comes here, no matter who you are or where you are from, can find a connection here in some way. We hope that you will come and find out for yourselves. We look forward to seeing you soon. Shalom!