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Soul Work” – March 2020

Discovering the movement of God in the Human Experience; Taking time to Fall in Love with God; Building Inner-Bridges with God and one-self.

Prayer

Keep our frailty before us Lord: that we might set our hearts on You.

Study

So, rid yourselves of all…and receive meekly the Word implanted in You that can save your lives…But if a person looks closely into the perfect Torah (i.e., the Gospel of Jesus Christ that brings freedom).

Worship

Worship doesn’t satisfy our hunger for God – it whets our appetite. Worship initiates an extended, daily participation in our peace and security.

Work

Do all you can to present yourself to God as someone worthy of his approval as a worker…handling accurately the word of the Truth.

Brother Lawrence wrote, “Men invent means and methods of coming at God’s love, they learn rules and setup devices to remind them of that love, yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business (i.e., to integrate spirituality and work, which he called the “practice of the presence of God”) wholly for the love of God?”             ~Brother Lawrence (1611-1691)

“Love, work, prayer, and suffering will sustain us in the future as they have in the past. All who are here now, all who will come after us, will have no other tools that these with which to build.”    Mollie Rogers

Wesley and the early Methodists believed the word of God was “living and active” (Heb 4:12). Hardened hearts, distractions, pride, possessions, temptations, and spiritual obstacles impede our hearing. Early Methodists adopted practices and personal disciplines of worship, Scripture study, the sacraments, fasting, prayers, giving, and service to place themselves in the most advantageous posture for perceiving and responding to God’s word. These patterns created openings and pauses in their daily lives where God’s grace, mercy, and hope could break in, and thereby shape their behaviors to help them starve the old nature and feed the new.

“A Wisdom that is not of this ‘age’.” – Feb 2020

In Micah 6:1-8, the prophet pictures an annoyed and enraged God, whose people continually forget what their God has done for them.  The only appropriate response to God’s faithful involvement in human history is “to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God”.   In other words, God doesn’t want sacrifice but obedience and honesty! 

In 1 Corinthians 1:18:31, God uses the weak and the “foolish” to accomplish the divine purpose (especially the ultimate sign of failure and weakness – the cross).   That God should choose the way of the cross to bring about saving help puzzles our human expectations. But in this foolishness and weakness is the very wisdom and power of God!

In Matthew 5:1-12, the beatitudes provide a wisdom that is not of this “age” – a wisdom that turns our human normal standards upside down and leaves us a vision of justice with an edge of danger to it (v.11).  But this is the way of Christ!

How is God turning upside down/inside out our lives, church, society, world?

I bid you peace, your brother in Christ.

 Michael

“Auld Lang Syne” – Jan 2020

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.”  (Genesis 12:1) And on this journey God said to him, “Do not be afraid, I will be your shield.” (Genesis 15:1)

Journey is the image found in the scriptures that is used to speak of our faith as “journeys”. Abram (Abraham) the father of our faith, obeyed God’s call to set out on a journey, and he did not even know where he was going. He looked forward to a city that would be founded, designed, and built by God. So, his “religion” is one of surrender, trust, and letting go!

On our faith journey, we follow the call of Jesus who invites us to leave everything and follow Him.  We must do what Jesus did: feed the hungry, visit the sick and imprisoned, and comfort the broken hearted. These are the very ways that we become Christ’s body (the Church) to the world today. While there are many practical matters to attend to in the day-to-day life of a church, our basic and fundamental mission is always to serve those in need and to bring Christ to others.

Happy 2020!

Your Brother in Christ,

Michael Padula

“Being Built into a Dwelling Place for God.” – Dec 2019

On July 7, 2019 (5 months ago), I was given another opportunity to worship and to serve God’s people who gather together at Tiffin Harmony UMC. I have learned that when you begin anew with a community of God’s people that it is best to Stop, Look, and Listen.

The past five months have been a learning experience. The Harmony Congregation has been hospitable in many different ways. There have been a variety of occurrence’s and “firsts” that have afforded me time to get to know this unique group of Christ followers: Darts; H.O.O.; Kidz Klub (especially the Drive-By prayer groups); Ladies Aide (don’t tell – my favorite thus far); Office Hours; Open Food Pantry; Visitation; Sunday AM Worship; and the meetings (Ad Council, S/PRC, Trustees, Worship Team, Nominations). There are no shortcuts or substitutes for getting to know people, in order to share a common life and God’s vision for community, than spending quality time with people.

The last five months have not been easy street for Tiffin Harmony. There are many reasons that have contributed to this time or season of the congregation’s life: UMC-denominational Christianity, Safe Sanctuary issues, GRACE- the newest non-denominational presence in the area, change of Pastor, to name a few. Yet, I have observed and witnessed a tenaciousness in most congregants. We have been angry and have grieved; laughed and cried; worked, played a little and prayed a lot.

Finally, for now, we are posturing ourselves for God’s guidance and direction in order to keep on keepin’ on. While we continue to complete our Healthy Church Prescriptions, the Nominations Team has agreed to take steps to get to know the congregation beginning January, 2020. We are committed to spending some quality time with the people that we share a common life and vision with.

May we always continue to grow in the grace and full knowledge of God and Yeshua, Our Lord.

Happy Holidays!

I bid you peace,

Your brother in Christ!

Michael


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