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Written by Rev. Dr. Tom MacMillan
At a swim meet Saturday night in Canton, all stood for the National Anthem. As the instrumental music played, a random man on deck facing the flag began to sing out. He had no mic and perhaps no invitation to sing. Neither was required. People around him turned in surprise, gave him space, and then watched in gratitude as this big guy in a gray shirt gave his gift to all in that natatorium.
Martin Luther King, Jr. didn't wait for a mic or for an invitation to lead. Neither was needed. He understood his quest for racial justice to be his call that history and God himself had thrust upon him. His actions were an outpouring of God's determined love through the life of an individual who was willing to step up and step into the powerful flow of God's purposes. And that action, which was met with severe disagreement and violent opposition, drove him to sink his roots deeper into the life of the One who called and would sustain him.
But how often we wait for the mic, ask for permission, and get swayed from our call and purpose by doubt, distraction, and disorientation? God might well be inspiring us to undertake bold initiatives, but paralyzing doubts keep us from translating the inspiration into action.
Dr. King knew that God and God alone provides the interior resources to bear the burdens and face the challenges of life, especially those that come as we claim our gift and stand for what is right in this world. Had he not known how to move from action to prayer and from prayer to action-how to let God free him from deep doubt and guide him in bold initiatives- he would have been lost in fear and discouragement.
What do you want God to free you from?
What inspiration has God entrusted to you?
What prayerful action awaits translation?
Are you available for the outpouring of God's determined love?
Click here to view the Guatemala Medical Mission Team Prayer Calendar. The team will be traveling to Guatemala between January 27th and February 5th.
Check out this podcast of Pastor Tom
Tom recently appeared on the radio show Living the Word with Jon Loufman who hosts the program on The Word 1220 AM radio. Check out the podcast below. This is a lively conversation with lots of good information about our work here and overseas. Tom is on after another guest. His segment begins about 26 minutes into the broadcast. Enjoy: https://soundcloud.com/living-the-word.
January Pastor's Page
Some conversations are hard.
Some of us have never found our voice and cannot imagine speaking from the heart; others of us are drowning in pointless talk at meetings or social circles that make no difference; some feel frightened by voices (sometimes including our own) that quickly turn hostile when we disagree; still others cannot stop talking and miss out on the colorful exchange of ideas beyond their own.
When we don’t engage in real conversation, the cost is high.1 The resulting gap can soon be filled with misrepresentation, trivia, and sometimes poison. But when we’re honest and courageous in our conversations, creative energy seems to show up.
Jesus brought this creative energy to the table and loved getting people to think. He asked all kinds of provocative questions:
What do you want?
Where is your faith?
Why are you frightened?
What is truth?
Who do you say that I am?
What do you think?
He wanted people to ponder, to grapple with, to own their faith. He told open-ended parables. Those who wished to understand would find the answers.
Jesus talked with everyone. He talked to prostitutes, sick people, possessed people, friends, an unproductive fig tree, the wind and waves, disgruntled religious people, and even the devil.2
So why are we so reluctant? If Jesus conquered the power of evil and death itself, if Jesus is with us and remains with and in us, I think we can get over our fear of being rejected or offending someone or making a mistake. Our fears are not worthy of blocking the Good News from being proclaimed and experienced. People need our open minds, our listening hearts, our creative energy, our desire for relationship, our testimony.
So this month, along the path of Courageous Conversations, ask great questions, ask wondering questions, allow others to talk, solicit feedback, get beyond clichés, encourage thinking, address tough subjects, listen carefully, affirm someone before seeking their affirmation, speak the truth with love, and give grace that will last this whole new year.
1Kery Patterson, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes Are High (New York: McGraw Hill, 2002), 1.
2 Thom & Joani Schultz, Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore (Group, 2013) Chapters 7 & 8.
9:30 am and 11:00 am
JOHN KNOX UPCOMING EVENTS
Lenten Guide devotions due
7:30-8:30 - Library
5:30 - Trinity Hall
Proceeds received from the GFS
Fun Fund Program are used to
help support the annual youth
summer mission trip.
JKC's Organization # 2324060
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