May 14, 2017
Revelation 1, The Story #31
Series: The Story
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  • May 14, 2017Revelation 1, The Story #31
    May 14, 2017
    Revelation 1, The Story #31
    Series: The Story
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Letter to Leaders who serve the body of Christ at Delphi UMC:

First of all, thank you for serving our family of God as leaders in our church. Often, the word “leader” is shied away from. People often don’t feel qualified to lead. And if they do feel qualified, they are afraid to own that for fear of being perceived as arrogant. Let me assure you that leading others is a God-ordained sacred offering of service to God and to His Kingdom. It takes humility, courage and trust in the Holy Spirit–that He will work through your unique personality, spiritual gifts and abilities. Your commitment to God and His Church, your life experience, and your character qualities have contributed to you being placed in a position of leadership under the authority of God, His Word and His Spirit. This is a big responsibility. In your role, you not only lead and influence the direction of our church, but you also model how others can follow Christ fruitfully. I encourage you to carry this responsibility with prayer and humility. But also with confidence in the God who called you and empowers you for such a time as this. Don’t forget, Satan has a kingdom too. And he is out to destroy the Church. In fact, he is out to steal, kill and destroy life from all of the people around us. Our church and our community need strong, confident leaders to push back the darkness and bring the Light of Christ. Take up your mantle with Courage and unashamed Confidence in the God who has called you. We need you! And we appreciate you!


All Paths lead to God

“All paths lead to God.” I really wish this were true. If it were, I wouldn’t have to feel so concerned for those who are following a path other than Christianity.

 I have studied many world religions and philosophies. I have met people around the world who follow paths other than Christianity, and many of them seem to live lives of integrity, peace and love. But Jesus makes it very clear that unless the path leads to the Cross, it does not lead to the One, True and Loving God. The Cross truly changes everything. I can’t think of one other religion or philosophy that includes anything like the Cross; a Savior who takes on our sin so that we can be forgiven of it and set free. We are all Barabbas, a thief and rebel who was freed in exchange for Jesus’ conviction.

 I sometimes think lightly of my own sin because of God’s grace. But when I read about the torture and humiliating abuse perpetrated against innocent Jesus on behalf of my sin, I think again about it’s severity. What Jesus endured was God’s wrath for my sin, and for the sins of the world. It makes me see sin as utterly disgusting.

 I hate it, what Jesus went through. I hate that sin put Him through it. And then, I realize this must be one small measure of how much God hates it. Reading through the Passion narrative always returns me to my knees with deep remorse for my sin, and deep gratitude for Jesus taking my sin upon himself (substitutionary atonement.)

 Life can be downright brutal. Jesus experienced brutality at its depth, and redeemed it. The path of the Cross is the only path that sees the world, our human depravity, and our divine potential as it truly is. May we be faithful leading others to the Cross of death that leads to life.

 I encourage you, this Resurrection season to be praying deeply for those in our church and community and in your life who don’t yet know Jesus as their Savior. Maybe THIS will be their year of Salvation!
 
Written by Sheila Wilimitis, Director of Discipleship and Outreach at Delphi UMC


Portion Control: Jesus is More Than Enough

“I really hate all of life’s goodbyes. It hurts so much, this life of limits and not-quite-fullness.”

I recently shared these feelings with a friend. It’s a sentiment I express often. Life includes small goodbyes; when relationships end due to relocation or circumstance. Life includes painful goodbyes; when we are forced to say goodbye due to death or divorce. And, as our community has recently experienced, life includes tragic and excruciating goodbyes; when evil abruptly rips loved ones from us with violent depravity.

But it’s not just the goodbyes I hate. It’s the limits. Life includes circumstances and situations that fall short of our hopes and dreams with painful regularity. Life includes limits. I seem to have a particularly hard time acknowledging this fact and allowing it to shape how I set expectations. This is partially due to the fact that I’m a dreamer, a visionary, always seeing what COULD be. This positive trait is coupled with the negative trait of being a raging perfectionist (every bit as self-destructive as a “raging alcoholic.”)  These traits fuel high expectations that end up dashed by real life. Limited life. A life of goodbyes and let-downs and disappointments.

I should not be caught off-guard by these disappointments. After all, Jesus says of His followers in John 17:14-15, 17, “they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one. Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.” This world is not our home. Heaven is. Earth is limited. Heaven is unlimited. Be careful what you wish for.

In Psalm 73:25-26, the Psalmist empathizes with my plight, but also corrects my focus. “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

The day after I shared my song of lament with my friend, the Lord led me to listen to Kari Jobe’s song, “Healer.” In that song, she sings, “I believe, You’re my portion. I believe, You’re more than enough for me. Jesus You’re all I need.” As I sang these words, I realized that my disappointment was the result of “portion distortion.” I had been focusing on the portion that life on earth had served me, and ignoring the portion that Jesus had served me: a portion without goodbyes, without limits, endlessly satisfying, more than enough for me.
 

By Sheila Wilimitis, Director of Discipleship and Outreach at Delphi UMC



Comments on The Story Chapter 25 “Jesus, the Son of God”

This chapter shares pictures of Jesus’ life as it was leading up to arrest and crucifixion. It includes many stories of Jesus facing opposition from the Pharisees and religious leaders. The fact that Jesus was claiming to be one with God was just too much for them. Jesus’ way of doing life with God threatened their way. In John 11:48, the Pharisees say, “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” So they plotted and schemed to stone Him, silence Him, persecute Him, and ultimately kill Him. I noticed that several times in this chapter the word “but” comes in between a description of his followers listening and his opposition plotting.

For me, I struggle like Peter did with the reality that Good must suffer at the hands of Evil in this world.

Here is one of the toughest passages of Scripture for me (Luke 9:22-24):

“He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priest and the teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But when Jesus turned and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter. ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ He said. ‘You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’ Then He called the crowd to Him along with His disciples and said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.”
 

When it comes right down to it, following Jesus makes my life better. Would I really follow Jesus if it meant great suffering and early death here in this Lower Story? Do I really “live” in the Upper Story Kingdom of Heaven that much?  (I remember sharing a very similar sentiment several months ago when we began The Story.) I share this because I think it is good for us to wrestle with these sayings of Jesus.

 

From the Participant’s Guide, Question 2:

“Jesus told His followers they would do four things as they walked with Him day by day:

(1) deny self; (2) take up His cross; (3) follow Him; and (4) be willing to lay down their lives for Him and the Gospel.

What does it look like, in an ordinary day of your life, for you to seek to do these things?

 

I often feel I am not really laying down my life…I think about our brothers and sisters around the world who really are and wonder how our “sacrifices” for Jesus can be anywhere near similar. It makes me want to be more engaged in their world in some way…supporting those who are really suffering and dying because of their commitment to Jesus.

 

Hebrews 13:3 “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”

Lord Jesus, thank you for coming to earth with human flesh. Thank you for teaching us about the amazing Kingdom of God. Thank you for showing us your compassion and power by healing people and working miracles. Thank you for loving us enough to tell us the truth about suffering in the Lower Story…that Upper Story people will suffer here on earth as we follow your commands with passion. Please be with our brothers and sisters around the world who suffer and die for their faith in you. Be their comfort and peace as they walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Help them to fear no evil, for you are with them. Prepare a table of feasting for them in the presence of their enemies. Make their cups of salvation overflow. In the name of Jesus, the Messiah, Amen.
 
–Sheila Wilimitis


Bonked

I have often joked that if God wants to speak to me, He will have to bonk me over the head!  I’m not like those who seem to hear God speaking to them; I seem to second guess if it is actually God or just my mind trying to think it is God.

 

That changed last week. 

 

Upon hearing some disheartening news, I immediately started to feel nervous and anxious. I got myself all worked up worrying about a situation I had no control over. I began to run through scenarios in my head, only to stress myself out even more. And while this behavior is very self-destructing, it is normal for me. I tend to think of the negative in a situation, and always plan for the worst. 
 
 
Fast forward to 30 minutes after hearing my bad news:  My phone randomly made this weird noise. I swiped it and realized I didn’t recognize the notification at the top. Out of habit, I almost deleted it without looking at it. When I did look at it, I saw it was a Bible verse. What???  How did THAT get there? Never has a Bible verse just popped up on my phone. For some reason, I hesitated and then read it. It said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, and also trust in me.” John 14:1. I paused as I was awestruck… 

 

How that notification got there was beyond me, but it was meant for me at that specific time. I interpreted the verse as God saying, “Girl, chill out. I’ve got this!”

 

GOD JUST BONKED ME OVER THE HEAD!

 

Did I continue to worry and stress over this issue? At times, yes. But then I stopped and pulled up that verse on my phone and re-read it. Again. Over and over. Until I had it memorized.

 

And here’s the icing on the cake:  In less than three days, the issue resolved itself—perfectly, and on its own. I had nothing to do with the solution. I just waited and trusted that God would have this. And, like always, He did. 

 

–Sarah Cross



New Year’s Day Service

Reminder:  On Sunday, January 1st, we will have one combined worship service at 10:00 AM.  Come start the New Year off right and worship with us!



Art of Marriage Retreat coming very soon!

Please join us here at Delphi UMC Friday evening,
January 13th from 7pm – 9pm and then again on Saturday, January 14th
from 9am – 4:30pm. This retreat is for any couple (married or engaged) who wants to strengthen, rebuild, or work on healing their marriage.  
 
This 6 session video event is funny, practical, and straight to the heart.  It is interactive with your spouse and you will also hear live testimonies from other couples in various life stages.
 
Tickets are $49/couple and includes course materials, refreshments, and lunch on Saturday.  For more information, or to purchase tickets, call the church office at 765-564-3791. 
 
**Hosted by Marriage and Family Life Ministries**


Worship Service update for Dec. 18

We will hold our two worship services at Delphi UMC this morning.   Please use your own best judgement.    Please be sure to park on the black top parking lot and be cautious when walking up to the church.  The snow does provide some good grip when walking. When Pastor Todd drove to church this morning, the city streets were snow covered but passable and the highway was clear, as well as the Hoosier Heartland.  Drive safely.


Date Night with Barnes & Miner

Think it’s difficult sharing a bathroom with your spouse?  Try sharing a STAGE! 
 
Saturday, November 12th,
Marriage and Family Life Ministries is excited to be hosting “Date Night” here at church at 6 pm.  Bring your date, leave the cooking (and cleaning) with us, and join us for a night of hysterical comedy!  
 
Christian Comedy Husband and Wife Duo Jerry and Amy are from Washington state and travel all over the country helping people laugh at the little things in life.  This is a pre-sale ticket event and the last day to purchase tickets is Sunday, November 6th.  Tickets are $30 per couple and can be purchased on Sunday mornings in the Rotunda or in the church office during the week.  Childcare (for 0-5th grade) is available, but we must have them registered before-hand.    
 
Know some friends who might want to join you?  Invite them!  Not only is this is a fun time to spend with your date, but it’s a great no-pressure event to introduce our church to other people.  
 
Art Of Marriage Retreat tickets (to be held January 13-14) will also be available for purchase in the Rotunda on Sunday mornings and in the church office for $49/couple.
Want a deal?
Purchase Art of Marriage retreat tickets WITH Date Night tickets for $74 and save $5!  
 
Have questions?  Give us a call at 765-564-3791.  
 
Hope to see you on November 12th!


The Battle Begins

This week in The Story, we read Chapter 7, “The Battle Begins.” Here are a couple sections out of The Heart of The Story that represent the central ideas of this chapter:

God says to Joshua, “Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:7-8.

This passage both convicts me, and encourages me to be more disciplined in my Bible study, obedience and prayer.

 Here is a great quote from General George S. Patton to the Third Army before the Allied Forces stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II:

“I don’t want to get any messages saying, “I am holding my position.” We are not holding…We are advancing constantly, and we are not interested in holding on to anything…Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing, regardless of whether or not we have to go over, under, or through the enemy.”

 This makes me think about the land God has promised to our local church…people saved, healed and set free by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Are we constantly advancing this mission personally and corporately? Or are we “holding our position”? I want the Kingdom of God to advance in my own heart, and I want to advance the Kingdom of God in our local community with passion, and to keep on advancing.

 In order to do this, I need personally to be more consistent and disciplined in prayer and intercession for the lost, and more obedient to God’s Word in thought, word and action.

What would it look like if our whole church was single-minded about advancing the Kingdom of God amongst those who don’t yet have a life-changing relationship with Jesus? (Courageously entering the land God has promised to our church.)

 In my mind, I envision it looking like this:

1. Reading the Bible every day and letting it change us. Obeying what it says to do.

2. Prayer gatherings where we are just broken for those without Jesus.

3. Fasting to purify ourselves for the spiritual battle of advancing God’s Kingdom.

4. Praying for the lost in our hearts while singing hymns and worship songs in church services.

5. Making prayer requests for ourselves and our friends and neighbors to be purified, healed, set free, saved.

6. Worshipping God in our church services as a way to defeat the darkness in our communities. Not just singing, but giving God the praise He is due. And doing spiritual battle for those who need someone to fight for them.

7. Being open to God-conversations with co-workers and family and friends.

8. Offering joyful opportunities for people to experience God as a healer, lover, friend and Savior.

9. Every person in our church having the great joy and privilege of helping someone accept Jesus as their Savior, and helping them grow in their faith.

 How is God calling you to advance His Kingdom while you are on this earth?

 How is God calling our church?
 
By: Sheila Wilimitis