Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“For this very reason you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7
Here’s what we need to do… we need to find a way to “support" our faith (at least that’s what the Bible says), to have our faith be sustained in the most doubt-ridden and trying times. And how might we do that? Here’s how, through…
Goodness: The best way to get better at faith is practice it… think through your actions and decisions, but don’t overthink it. Follow your heart and be a Christian, we won’t always get it right, but that’s what grace is for. Seek goodness and it will aways find you first.
Knowledge: Knowledge sound a little nerdy, but let’s be honest… if we’re going to dedicate our lives to this guy named Jesus of Nazareth, I’d recommend knowing as much about him as possible.
Self-control: Maybe more important now than it ever has been, reckless abandon isn’t our deal… measured thoughtful interactions that don’t precipitate much regret is definitely the way to go. Just take the “high road,” it might take a little extra effort, but the views are definitely worth it.
Endurance: While short bursts of passionate energy certainly have their place, we need to be in this for the “long haul” as well! Knowing
what to expect before you begin the journey will bless you with the perspective necessary to navigate the rough patches. in the end, persevering might result in the most meaningful transformational adventure you have ever had.
Godliness: Trying to be “like God,” has gotten some of our ancestors into real trouble… luckily that’s not the kind of godliness that we’re going for here. Devout, prayerful, committed to consistently seeing the sacred in the world, that’s more like it…
Mutual affection: It’s inevitable… as we make our way, we will need one another. Over the last few years, we’ve learned just how true that is. And if we need one another, why not just honor those that have committed to journeying with us, and the best way to honor them is by sharing in a distinctive kind of respect and deference. This is so much better that cynically mistrusting our neighbors and seeing them as our conniving competitors.
Love: And here is the “greatest of these,” the foundation upon which faith is built, love is the driving force behind all of creation. Yes, if love has the power to bring the whole universe into being, it can bring renewal into our spirits. Love is the reason, the purpose, and the hope that makes our life in Christ matter each and every day.
Question for reflection: What is it that most readily supports your life of faith?
This week at Bethlehem:
On Wednesday we conclude our study of Exodus with classes at 10:30 and 7:00.
The women’s book study begins on Tuesday at 7:00 pm.
On Saturday evening our spoken word service with Holy Communion begins at 6:00.
On Sunday morning we will offer worship at 8:00 and 10:30 with Sunday School at 9:15. On Sunday evening confirmation classes and youth group begin at 6:30.
Yours in Christ,
Gracious Lord, you have children in this world who have grown deeply weary of the hunger, the heartache, the injustice, and the exploitation of the innocent. Inspire and strengthen us, that we might confront it all with the truth of your liberating Gospel and the strength of your eternal Spirit We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.