It’s hard to believe that, in three short weeks, the summer season will officially end. The children, however, have already been in school almost two weeks. No doubt they feel as if summer ended when school started back. For all of us, the slow pace of summer is over.
As autumn approaches, the church is starting to hustle and bustle. Preparation for charge conference is underway. PPRC is in the middle of setting ministry goals for 2015. Planning has started for Vanna’s first ecumenical community Christmas program. Our local clergy group has already scheduled a retreat to help each other plan holiday services. And, for the next three years, I have been given the honor of serving on the Committee on District Superintendency. There is much work to be done.
As we begin a new season, it is my prayer that God will teach and empower each of us to BE and DO all that He is calling us to BE and DO. Each day, we get to choose who we will BE and what we will DO with the time the Lord has given us. One of my favorite authors and pastors, Max Lucado, reminds us that, every day, we have choices to make. He says:
In a few moments the day will arrive. It
will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn
will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be
replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early
morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met. For
the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now that I
must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I’m free to choose. And so I choose.
choose love . . .
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love.
Today I will love God and what God loves.
I choose joy . . .
I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the
temptation to be cynical . . . the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to
see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to
see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.
I choose peace . . .
will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.
I choose patience . . . I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage. I choose kindness . . . I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me. I choose goodness . . . I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness. I choose faithfulness . . . Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home. I choose gentleness . . . Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself. I choose self-control . . . I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek his grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.
A new season is upon us. How will you choose live it? Choose well, my brothers and sisters. And I will try my best to choose well, too.
Max Lucado, When God Whispers Your Name, (Thomas Nelson, 1994).