Dear Brothers and Sisters;
Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and our Lord, Jesus Christ!
Over the past several months, I have
received three distinctively different – but very apropos –prophetic words from
three distinctively varied but well-trusted sources.
These words are not only applicable for our lives together as the church
– and our lives individually – they are also good missional watch-words for us
as we go through the fall and winter months – thru Thanksgiving, Advent and
Christmas, into the New Year.
These words are:
GET GROUNDED… STAY GROUNDED… and STAY THE COURSE.
These seemingly simple concepts are
essential to the Body of Christ today.
The prophet, Micah, echoed these watch-words when he wrote “he has shown
you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you, but to do
justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.” (Micah
How do we put these concepts into
practice? How do we get
grounded? How do we stay
grounded? How do we stay the
course? The answers to these
questions are from the“Easier said than done” department – yet they are not
impossible to put into practice!
One of the things that happened in a consumer-oriented society was the
establishment of a buffet-style mentality. If you don’t quite like what’s on your
plate, you can always go back and try something different.
Another by-product of this mind-set is the phenomenon of
church-shopping. When I go to buy
a new electronic gadget or gizmo, I will visit a few different stores, and
compare the different devices to find out which one fits my needs, which one has
the best price, and then if my criteria are met, I will make the purchase, and
then put said gizmo to use. So it
is with church-shopping (not necessarily a bad thing)
but I’ve also got to know what I am looking for.
Am I made to feel welcome and ‘at home’ here?
Do people interact with me, or am I pretty much left alone?
Am I here because I am looking for something here, or am I here because I
don’t like something that happened where I was before?
When someone tells me at church on a Sunday morning (and yes, I’ve had
this conversation with many different people over my career thus far…) that
they are “seeking” or “looking for something” my reply is to tell them “let God
speak to your heart this morning.”
I am reminded of a song from“South Pacific” (the Rogers and Hammerstein
masterpiece)… “Once you have found
her, never let her go.” Translated
into “Christianspeak”that thought might sound something like “once you have
found where God wants you, stay where He wants you.”
If your place of anointing is in one area, if God is leading you in a
certain area, or in a certain fellowship, follow the words of Poor Richard’s Almanack
and “grow where you are planted.
From an agricultural perspective, any farmer or gardener will tell you
that it is impossible for roots to grow, and for a plant to get the nutrients it
needs if it is constantly being uprooted and re-planted every few days. Eventually the plant that is being
constantly uprooted and replanted will die… or at the very least will be stunted
and mis-shapen in its growth.
There are, however, some instances in which
being trans-planted is a good and healthy thing. I remember
meeting up with a former parishioner one day who had informed me a year
before that God was leading her to go to another church – where the rest of her
family was going. After praying
with her, I bade her a bittersweet “fare-thee-well”.
One year later she joyfully shared with me that the move she made was
even better than she could have possibly imagined!
She and her family were really growing there, and she was exactly where
God wanted her! She was really glad
that she followed the move of the Holy Spirit, and thanked me for
encouraging her to go (and grow)
where God was planting her. Today,
we are still very close friends with this sister and her family, and it is
always a joyful reunion when we run into her at the grocery store, or at a
restaurant, or at another community event. I also rejoice to take note of the fact
that while God was leading her to where HE wanted her, that HE was also leading
other people to be planted and grow right
Stay The Course:
Jesus, one day, told his disciples a parable of a mustard seed. A little, insignificant seed, no bigger
than the period at the end of this sentence. Or this one.
Yet, when it is planted in the soil, and is allowed to germinate and
grow, it can become so big that it provides shade for the whole garden. So big, he continues, that even birds
can build their nests and live in its branches. Elsewhere, Jesus also tells us that if
a seed falls to the ground and dies, it will grow and bear much fruit. In like fashion (and we have seen this
kind of spiritual growth here…) if we die to self – if we give up our own
agendas, devices and desires – and focus on what God wants for us here – we,
too, will bear much fruit for him.
If we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy
Spirit to go where God wants us, and if we allow our spiritual roots to grow
deep into where we are planted, just watch how HE will
use us to be a blessing to
As we prepare to gather around the table
with our families to give thanks for each of our many blessings, let us remember
to be a blessing to others. Let us
remember those who are in need – and let us remember that HE gave HIS best to us
when we were in need. For God so
loved us – that HE gave us HIS son.
Monica, Amanda, and the whole
Beres-Calandra family join me in wishing each of you a Happy Thanksgiving! A Blessed Advent!
Merry Christmas! May this
season of sharing and caring also be a time in which you and your family
experience great blessings!
I Bid You Peace!