United Methodist Church
Often times I am asked what I think about our world today and all that is going on. That question is usually followed up with how I think we got this way. The tendency is to address we related to God as a nation is the core of the problem but that is just a part of the problem. The real concern is with how we treat each other on a daily basis.
The problem is cyclical in nature in that the way we treat each other is driven by our character. Our character is often shaped by the values of the society that we live in and what that society deems as acceptable behaviors. Societal norms are largely shaped by our morals. Our morals are based on the standards of behavior or beliefs of what is and is not acceptable for these people to do. Simply put it, what we believe is right or wrong for us to do makes us who we are and who we are affects how we treat each other. The morals that we follow in society is what shapes the society that we live in. Thus, bad morals create a bad society. Ergo, good morals will create a good society.
This brings up and even more important question concerning the condition of our world today. Is it possible to make the world a better place again? My answer to that is yes but in order to do so it must begin in our own backyard. The chances of us making the whole world a better place is slim but making the place I live a better place is greatly possible. This is especially true if God is at the center of what we are doing.
Jesus and his disciples faced the same dilemma as many of us are today. They were living in a world where war was prevalent, people were mistreated with regularity, and the people in power were not concerned about the best interest of the people. Jesus did not address the condition of the world but instead focused on the condition of his disciples. He knew that if they treated each other differently that they could bring positive change to the world. He gave them a formula for making this work even in the environment they lived in. This formula was:
Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (MSG)
As Christians, I believe that it is crucial that we understand what it means to shine. If for no other reason I believe that it’s important because of what we call ourselves. The Greek word Christianos literally means that to be a follower of Christ. Today we use the term Christian to identify who we are but I am not so sure that was the intent when it was first used in Antioch. After asking several people what this meant to them I came up with my own understanding of what it really means. I believe that it means it’s someone who has chosen to act like Christ. It belongs to people who not only believe in Jesus but to live like him.
So to shine we need to act like Jesus in the world. How can imperfect people act like a perfect man, you ask? We do this by performing simple acts of kindness in unconditional love for others. It does not take a special tool or skills to perform an act of kindness but it does take the help of the Holy Spirit if we truly are to do it the way Christ did. On our own, we cannot do this consistently but with God’s Spirit we can. Where do we start? We start in our own families, with our friends, in the church, and in the community whenever we see an opportunity. What do I get out of it? First, we get the blessing of knowing we are working in line with Christ but also, if we do it consistently we begin to see a change in our surroundings. As people begin to change so does society and when that change is a spiritual change then great things begin to happen. The world around us becomes a better place and, who knows, maybe the world at large is affected as well. Either way, there is always a blessing when you are acting like Jesus.
In closing, let me remind you that God is always at work whether people believe in him or not. He is always working out his perfect plan even though we are not following it. He will complete that perfect plan whether we are helping or not.
He who testifies to all these things says it again: "I'm on my way! I'll be there soon!" Yes! Come, Master Jesus! Revelation 22:20 (MSG)
I am blessed to be in partnership with people who are striving to be like Jesus and to love others unconditionally. I eagerly look forward to all that God has for us in his perfect plan in the days ahead. Keep up that good work, my friends! I pray that the Lord will bless and protect you and that he will show you mercy and kindness. May the Lord be good to you and give you peace.
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!