e-letter 4/27/18

Do you ever get the opportunity to see God’s movement in your life? I mean to look back over the past few days, weeks, or even years and see God’s hand in the moments surrounding you. I know I’ve gotten to see that very thing just in the past week or so. It’s fun to recognize, but it’s also important to reflect on and see what it is that the Spirit wants us to see more clearly.
                I’m currently taking an inductive Bible study course on the epistles of Paul.   This last week the assignment was on Philippians 2:5-11, specifically this phrase “who, though he was in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself…” (2:6-7). “Emptied himself” this is important. It’s important because we see how God took the form of a human in the life of Christ. Though Christ was one with God, He did not equate himself with God, something He clearly had the power to do. This kind of power that emptied into a human vessel and the life of Jesus is what we call the incarnation. That incarnation leads to Paul’s understanding of humility. It’s what we believe in and attest to in our Apostles’ Creed. We claim this kind of power all the time……it’s a given for many of us who say these words and speak about Jesus all the time.
Sometimes I forget that not everyone has heard the Gospel. 
                I say that I forget because this week I was working on a job for a guy about my age who has a physical disability. His new home required some work to make it more accessible for him and these are some of my favorite jobs to go to. We’re making someone’s daily life just a little bit better. It’s also a good time to just chit-chat with the client and learn about them as they are sometimes sitting right with me in the room as I work. If you haven’t noticed, I like to talk….a lot. As it will typically come up we discussed what it was that I did (other than construction) and that inevitably leads to a conversation about God. In our conversation he said something that caught me off guard. He said he always thought God sent His son to die for us as some sort of command from a father to a son to go and do something. He then went on to say how he heard that God and Jesus were the same and that he didn’t quite understand that. 
                Now, I know a lot of people are fearful of “evangelizing” and not knowing what to say and I don’t blame them but this moment landed right in my lap and I had to say what I knew was needed. I told the client all about the life of Jesus that came into this world as one with God, not separate, but one. That God came to this human life to feel and be a part of everything from birth, to puberty, to friendships and heartache and even death. God didn’t command someone else to do, but to do it for us all. As someone who sees God clearly through this theology and even more so with service I couldn’t help but to share my experience of serving God’s people and how every person is valuable to God’s Kingdom. We then talked about serving the community and in schools. We talked about the Blue Sky Community Garden and I invited him out to serve with me any time he’d like. 
                Tell me God wasn’t in that story! I’m always amazed by the ways God is working in and around my life and especially through Suntree UMC. This church constantly sends out people who Love God, Love Each Other and Love our Neighbors in Extraordinary ways. We are e3 People! I know because you send me out there into the Kingdom with God’s word. You go out and serve the community in countless ways and spread the humbling word of God in people’s lives. 
                  They see that we are motivated to change our location, to go out and be physically present with those in need. 
                We have gone out of our normal five-mile radius and gone into a school that was and continually is in need. We are sending volunteers out every day to serve at Harbor City Elementary school and the community sees us and they know about us. They know we travel outside of our neighborhoods to go and be present with those in need. I know that God’s word is being spread because this afternoon I get to go and be recognized on behalf of SUMC at the Brevard County School District. We are being honored with an award for Partner in Education for the 2017-2018 school year. I know it’s not about the honors or the awards, but it’s amazing to see how your work is going out and building the Kingdom because you believe in a God who changed his location, got present and showed us the humility we would need to truly Love in all forms and all ways. 

Thank you Suntree for being with me on this journey!
 
With Grace & Peace my friends,
  1. Augie