“When you pause and look around, what is it that you feel brings you closer to God?”
14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
Saturday afternoon, I got a friend request on Messenger from one of the children from Centennial Christian Church. Within a few minutes, I was virtual friends with four children from our congregation. One of them created a group chat. As you can imagine, it was a lot of silliness with goofy pictures, laughter, and joyful conversation. Then Sunday morning, 2 minutes after the virtual worship service, another group chat began. These kids were so excited to be together virtually. They shared that for communion they had Goldfish, Oreos, juice, and banana bread. According to them, the sermon “rocked”. Later Sunday evening, a plan evolved between the children and their parents to surprise Meredith (member and past nursery worker) with a Zoom call for her 21st birthday on Monday morning. As Meredith’s mother, I got to be part of that call. Sweet voices sang “Happy Birthday”. Giggles and well wishes and “I love you” filled the conversation. Meredith was filled with joy and love from the youngest members of the church.
As I pause and think about what brings me closer to God during this difficult time, it is the children. This group of young people have shown God’s love for each other by starting this little group chat. They are too young to realize the impact they are having on each other, their parents, and their church family. The Christian witness they share is huge. Community, fellowship, encouragement, joy, unconditional love, acceptance, support are just some of the ways these children are sharing God’s love.
The scripture from Mark has been one I try to practice in my daily life. As a result, I have a lot of very young friends. The simplistic views they so eagerly share are so pure and clear. During this uncertain time, I pray that you may cling to the child like ways of our youngest members.
With the crush of news and health updates continuously going out it is harder to pause and look for the good news. Currently we have an imposed isolation, a time to stop the busyness, a Lenten break from our rush of life. As I walk the dog I see tulips pushing thru, grass greening, hear birds chirping. God’s beauty and grace continue to move forward, drawing us into God’ plan to love one another. Stories of hoarding are being replaced with stories of people helping one another, stories of alternative ways to teach and enjoy our children and grandchildren, to reach out to those in need in creative ways. Look around with Gods eyes and see the beauty surrounding us and the opportunities to share Gods love with those around us. Seek justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God. Mark
Drawing Closer to God by Bill Wetzel
All of God’s children are experiencing a difficult time these days. This isn’t a time to be disappointed or discouraged with God. This is a time to draw closer to God. We can accomplish this in three ways. 1. Physical Well-Being. Our body is God’s temple, and we should attempt to do what we can by getting/staying physically healthy. We can do simple exercises at home. Each of us knows our own boundaries and we owe it to ourselves and to God to do our utmost to be physically fit.
2. Mental Well-Being. During this time of physical isolation we should do everything we can to maintain a good attitude and a good mental health. Take this time to reach out and call or write a family member, a friend or a neighbor. Do something each day (read, do puzzles, do crosswords, etc.) that challenges your mind-XEMT (make an Xtra Effort to remain Mentally Tough).
3. Faithful Well-Being. Every day, sometimes more often than once, I recite Psalms 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”. Immediately I am overcome with a sense of peace. A great thing to remember and experience is that God is always with us if we let him. Take some time each day and spend it with our Lord and savior in whatever way you choose (TV & personal devotions, praying, etc.). Let God find a home in your heart today. You’ll love having him there for all the right reasons.
May you experience peace, hope, joy and love during this tough time in your life. Centennial is here for you, your family and your friends; just let us know how we may help. May God continue to bless and keep you.