Dec 23, 2018
Waiting and Hoping #4
Series: The Story
"12.23.2018 audio".
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    Dec 23, 2018
    Waiting and Hoping #4
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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!



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


Facade

Using my trusty thesaurus on my computer, here are some synonyms for the word facade:  disguise, cover-up, concealment, front, mask.

A few weeks ago, while Sheila was preaching, she said something that stuck with me.  To quote her, “I was that happy go-lucky, have it all together girl.  It was what I portrayed.”

Haven’t we all been there?  We only let people see what we WANT them to see—the pretty, perfect side.   I know I am this way, even to those closest to me.  And why?  Is it because I am too proud?  Maybe it is because I am embarrassed by certain circumstances.  It could be I don’t want to show my weaknesses, or perhaps I am ashamed and fear what others might think.  Or quite possibly my “control freak” of a self doesn’t want to admit that I might be fragile in a certain area.

We all have times in life when we are vulnerable, exposed, and need help.  That is just part of life.  So why are we being fake to those around us, trying to pretend everything is hunky dory?  We put on this façade when approached by people.  I have wondered if some people are hesitant to even walk through our doors at Delphi UMC because they might have a false sense that everyone here must be perfect and with no problems.

This week I had the privilege of meeting some people who were down and out on their luck.  However, instead of trying to cover up what they were going through, they were upfront and honest with their situation.  They basically said: here is where we are at in life and yes, it is rough.  But we pray each morning, thank God we have each other, and count our blessings.  In a time in which they could be angry about things, or even cover up what they were going through, they chose to be authentic and open about their circumstances.

I applaud Sheila for her candidness up on stage.  It isn’t easy to speak out about one’s own flaws, vulnerabilities, and situations.  I want to follow not only in her example, but in the example of my new friends; I want to be real, even when uncomfortable.  Being truly genuine is where we will find comfort, encouragement, and support from each other.  Church, will you join me?
By: Sarah Cross


The House of God

” Let us not give up meeting together.”    Hebrews 10:25a

 

Without prayer, a church is like a body without spirit; it is a dead lifeless thing.  A church with prayer in it has God in it.  When prayer is set aside, God is also set aside. When prayer becomes an unfamiliar exercise, then God Himself is a stranger there.

 

Prayer is important at the Delphi United Methodist Church, which is a good witness to our community and upon the foundation that it is built.  Our motto is “We have you covered in prayer.”
By:  Connie Hughes

 



Apps World Event: Putting God First!

On Friday, November 13, our Teen Ministry had an exciting first time event at church.  We had 85 6th to 12th grade students join us for a night of games. We played Spider Square (9 square in the Air with spider webs and black lights).  We played Clash of Clans dodgeball where students had to build a cardboard box tower to defend or to protect depending on the rules for each game.  We played Smash Hit (GaGa) which is a variation of dodgeball in a circle.  We played Draw Something which is like Pictionary.  We rented a blowup Obstacle Course that students could race through.  And, we provided pizza, hot dogs, and a room to watch funny videos and take funny pictures.

 

We had 16 adult volunteers who helped at stations as students rotated through each of the games.  We ended the night with announcements and a short lesson about “Choosing Others”.  I reminded the students how we need to keep God first, Others second, and Me third.  When we put God first, we are able to face anything that comes our way.  When we put Others second, we are able to help and to encourage those around us in faith and in actions.  When we put Myself third, we are able to still look out for our own needs, but only after taking care of the more important things around us that God might be calling us to.

 

Do you have your priorities in place?   Are you putting God first in your life?  How would those around you know that you are doing this?  How would you be able to describe to someone that you are putting God first?  It is more than mere words.  It is more than a saying.  It is more than just going to church.  It is . . . spending time with God each day/week.  It is . . . looking to God in the midst of good times as well as not so good times.  It is . . . making decisions that reflect God’s Word and direction for your life.

 

Go ahead.  Make the commitment once again.  You can put God first!

 

By:  Micah Hudson



Why Do We Value It?

This Sunday, November 8, will be our fourth child protection training session of this calendar year. Thank you so much, to those of you who have taken time to come and be trained.

The question is why do we value child protection training so much at DUMC? Here is the main answer. If we are to be the hands and feet of Christ, part of our job is to help keep each other safe.

There are four basic reasons we train volunteers in child protection.

1. We want adults to understand and be able to recognize the signs of abuse in children and youth.
2. We want to teach adults how to create a safe environment, and how to avoid situations that could be interpreted incorrectly or lead to false accusations.
3. We want to teach adults our church’s policies and procedures in regards to how we handle cases of abuse as a church body.
4. And most importantly, as I stated earlier, if we are to be the hands and feet of Christ, we have an obligation to keep each other safe. We have an obligation to look out for the children around us and to care for adults who have experienced abuse in the past.

HE is calling you to step up and help care for those around you, so please take part in this important training if you work in ANY type of children’s or youth ministries.

Here are the details for this Sunday’s training sessions if you are unsure.
•Initial training (those who have never trained) will be held with Gil Smith in room 212 from 9-11 AM.
• Those needing the refresher course (we re-train every other year) will meet with Danielle Majors in room 216 from 10-11 AM.

If you have questions in regards to when your last training was, please feel free to call or text Ashley Duff (574-967-5604). Please also RSVP to Ashley Duff with a call or text if you will attend one of the sessions this upcoming Sunday.

Thank you, in advance, for making this a priority, and as always thank you for the time that you put into serving those in our church and community!



Marriage Wasn’t Designed to Make Us Happy

What do you mean marriage wasn’t designed to make us happy? What a depressing thought. Of course marriage was designed to make us happy. That is why our society paints a beautiful picture of finding our soul mate, giving the perfect proposal, having an elaborate and symbolic wedding to begin our lives together, and riding off into the sunset in a vehicle with trail of tin cans and the words “Just Married” written for all the world to see. If not to make us happy, then what is it for?
Now don’t get me wrong, I love wedding traditions as much as the next gal, but unfortunately, this “picture of marriage” that our society has painted has led us down a very dangerous path. We’ve been trained to think that marriage is only about fulfilling emptiness in ourselves with the love of another person, and this other person is supposed to complete us and make all our dreams come true. There is only one problem with that. We are marrying a human; an imperfect soul that is also looking to fill the emptiness. How can that work? It can’t. God provided us the chance to have a spouse not to fill our deepest empty spot, but to give us a partner and a help mate as we let HIM fill that deepest empty spot.
I recently posted an article on the church FB page that was shared by Thriving Family, and it was about this very subject. There was one paragraph in particular where the author (Tricia Cunningham from the National Institute of Marriage) perfectly articulated God’s purpose for marriage.
“The purpose of marriage isn’t to “complete” you and make you happy. You may be happy in your marriage, but that is not the purpose. The beauty of a healthy and honoring Christian marriage is that God can and will fulfill the desires of your heart so that the weight of responsibility doesn’t lie on our spouse’s shoulders. What our spouse provides is an opportunity to grow closer to the image of Christ…whether that be through relational highs or relational lows.”
I love that. Marriage gives us the opportunity “to grow closer to the image of Christ”.
If you want to read more wisdom from Tricia Cunningham, check out the article at http://www.nationalmarriage.com/2012/06/loving-your-spouse/?refcd=112602, or just visit the church FB page to find the link.
By: Ashley Duff