Opportunities are Everywhere

The view here at the beginning of September is not what I had in mind at the New Year.  A quick survey of the past half year, a look at our current news, and a glance at what people are talking about in the coming months – and it is easy to understand why many are stressed and despairing about 2020.  Uncertainty of what will be, fear about what is, and paralysis of analysis on what has been has led to inaction and anxiety.  Yet,  John Adams’ wisdom observation still shines through, “Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.”  The way it was is now problematic.  The way it will be has yet to be revealed.  We must have courage to the opportunities budding.  We are in the transition, but with our God at the helm, we know glory is not far away.  Take Paul’s words as further evidence:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
Through the cross, we can find resurrection.
Our denominational founder also speaks to these moments.  John Wesley brought hope to the downtrodden masses with a long look at holiness of both heart and life, personal and social.  He knew we had to be accountable or else we would rationalize our every departure from the ‘methods’ of scriptural holiness and despair at society’s prospects..  One question he asked of regular class meetings cuts to the quick in times like these, “What is your doing?”  
This one hits close to home.  I am far more comfortable with ‘how are you doing?’  There I can keep it subjective and real – my feelings, my thoughts, what happened to me – the other calls me to account on my actions and my inactions.  ‘How’ allows for interesting stories and good reflection.  ‘What’ draws us back to the commands of our savior – the One who is good.  This is why Wesley’s 3rd rule was to attend to all of the ordinances of God (Prayer, Fasting, Conversation, Bible, Serving, etc.)
In the midst of a pandemic we righty give ourselves a pass on so much.  Do we want to give ourselves a pass on those things which draw us to our God and eternal life?  Opportunities are everywhere.
We have such an opportunity to walk with one another in social holiness in our upcoming Workbook of Living Prayer study.  In this we will have a workbook to guide us through regular prayer while doing so amidst a group of fellow sojourners.  We will cover both the what and how in the journey and be transformed along the way.  I don’t know about you, but I am excited about deepening my prayer life while learning from others during these coming 6 weeks.  Lord, hear our prayer.
You can access and sign-up for these groups here on OnRealm.  I have come to realize many still do not know what OnRealm is.  Let me take a little more time and offer some clarity. 
OnRealm is our existing directory service for Central. We have been using it for years.  When the pandemic hit we wanted to activate the online login feature so all at Central could stay connected to one another.  To do this, we had to invite you to access your already existing account (hence the email and creation of password).  As everyone logs in and updates their photo and information, we will be able to print off our own directory for those who do not have access to OnRealm.  Further, with everyone now signed on, we can offer other features such as a messaging board for prayer requests, private access to your current giving statement, sign-ups such as this study, private chats, and group communications.  With OnRealm, we can adapt as a church and continue Christian conversations in 21st century mediums.
Sure, there is pain ahead and the unknown, but I like what our God is calling us to.  Through the cruciform life, new opportunities arise.  New neighbor outreach, a new focusing on prayer, new ways for Christian conversation – 2020 could go down as one of the most formative for our Christian journey.  
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Joseph

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