Fridays with Beulah

 So we can better seek, share, and serve with God.

August 11, 2017

Tangible
 
I had an opportunity to walk around the soccer fields at Ukrops /Stratton park this week; the County does such a great job maintaining the walking paths, fields, border plants, etc.. As I was walking, following a well beaten path, I was reminded of our journey in discipleship. Just like the path I was traveling, eventually back to my car, many before me have traveled the road of discipleship. I am reminded of the story of Martha and Mary in the book of Luke: 10-38- 42.
 
Mary, against the demands of her sister to join in the work of preparing for a guest, decided to sit at the feet of Jesus. It seems that Mary had a desire to know Jesus better and to understand what it meant to not only believe but follow. One of the ways personal transformation takes place is through spending time with the person we wish to be like; Mary had a sense of this. The disciples spent actual time with Jesus. They walked with him. They talked him. They shared meals together. They had an actual, “tangible” relationship with Jesus.
 
So, I ask you, “what does your (my) actual tangible relationship with Jesus look like?” I do believe — as we see with Mary — that a personal relationship is the solid foundation of discipleship. I invite you to investigate your relationship with Christ; perhaps even pause to sit at his feet today.
 

August 4, 2017

Family

 

familylife

 

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another:

just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34-35

 

Hello all, blessings, and Happy August!

There has been a flurry of good activity around the church these past few weeks resulting in a stronger family of faith at Beulah. The family of faith, the body of Christ, at Beulah UMC is strong and growing. What a strong and wonderful word- family. What does family look like to you? Family can be understood in many ways but certainly any understanding of “family” always involves people and love. We are reminded, in the scripture offered above, that as people, created in the image of God, we are commanded to “love one another” which is the only-true representation of our Creator. We are understood, and so is God in us, by how we love. We as a family are invited to have a love for one another that both identifies us as God’s creation, as His disciples and family; God’s children. Isn’t that what family is-or should be? I invite you to celebrate with me the incredible gift of family; by this they will know that we are all disciples of Jesus Christ!

July 28, 2017

Peace

 

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Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you.
Not as the world gives, give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 14:27

 

Peace (pēs) n. [[ME pais]]
1 freedom from war
2 a treaty or agreement to end war
3 freedom from public disturbance or disorder
4 freedom from disagreement or quarrels; harmony
5 an undisturbed state of mind; absence of mental conflict;

6 serenity; calm, quiet; tranquility

 

In 2011, Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three women:  Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, activist Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, and activist Tawakkul Karman of Yemen.  All three have been strong activists in their homelands for peace, democracy, and the rights of women.  Upon hearing of her award, Ms. Karman stated: “We cannot build our country, or any country in the world, without peace.”

 

Peace is a very rare commodity to find in this world.  There is always another demonstration, gang violence, crime, civil disturbance, terrorist attack, or war.  Fifty-four countries are currently embroiled in 463 separate armed conflicts, against other nations and against 209 militia/guerrillas and separatist groups.  In many areas of our world, peace has not existed for decades.

 

I believe that within the human heart, peace is one of the most important aspects of a healthy life.  Without the absence of mental conflict, there is stress, anger, hostility, and fear.  If the world cannot provide the peace we need, what options do we have?  Jesus promises a different kind of peace – unlike anything the world has to offer.  His peace is complete and eternal – offered to us in the midst of the conflict that will always be a part of the human experience.  Knowing that He is in control and that our lives have been placed in His hands brings a serenity that is heaven-borne and life-centered.

July 21, 2017

Trusting

house

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

A few years ago, my three daughters and I took off on an adventure to New England for the Thanksgiving weekend. Our destination was the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The journey there was peaceful and relatively uneventful until Mother (that would be me) began to argue with the GPS of the driver.    It was not a wise move, and much lively–if agitated–conversation ensued.  In the end, my driver daughter and her GPS were correct, and I needed to chill out.

There was a lesson to be learned there.  Trusting my daughter to do the job she was obviously doing quite well was difficult for me somehow.  Her careful driving and her GPS had brought us safely and accurately for seven hours.  All of a sudden, she and it were wrong?  It was a classic case of foot-in-mouth disease, and I was clearly out of line.

At times I have the same difficulty trusting my heavenly Father.  I am so sure that my way is correct, and so very often I am entirely wrong.  Learning to trust is an on-going process for me.  Thankfully, the Lord (and my daughter) have not given up on me yet!

July 14, 2014

Sing a New Song

nightingale-on-grass

 

How have you seen God today? In the rising sun, a gentle breeze, a sturdy and strong tree, the voice of a loved one, the purring of a beloved pet? All these things are ways of watching for and seeing God! As Disciples of Christ we are to be continually watching for and seeing God. Looking for God in the ordinary things of life is what prepares us for corporate worship – our gathering together on Sundays, Fridays, or Wednesday evenings. Sadly, if we wait until corporate worship to fill our spiritual tanks, to experience the power and presence of God, we will find that we may leave with tanks half full. We should prepare throughout the week, watching for and seeing God, and then, as a response, gather to respond by offering God our worship.

 

 

In Psalm 96:1-3, David reminds us of this incredible opportunity:

 

“Sing to the Lord a new song;

sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Sing to the Lord, praise his name;

Proclaim his salvation day after day.

Declare his glory among the nations,

his marvelous deeds among all peoples.”

 

If we do so, we come to corporate worship filled with the wonder of God’s goodness and we can then celebrate together; it is in this celebration that the Holy Spirit of God moves! I pray that you are looking for and seeing God in this day!

July 07, 2017

Transforming

sunrise-with-clouds-nattapon-wongwean

 

 “So our faces are not covered.

They show the bright glory of the Lord,

as the Lord’s Spirit makes us more

and more like our glorious Lord.”

2 Corinthians 3:18

 

Hello all and blessings!  What kinds of changes are taking place in your life, in your physical body and spirit?  Sometimes we laughingly say, “getting old isn’t for the weak or faint of heart,” or, “I’m falling apart,” or, “I have half-timers; I remember half of what I should know.”  All these, as painful as it is to admit, are realities of our human condition.  We are changing, every day we are changing.  Paul invites us to remember that we are not to only account for the ways we are failing, however, we are encouraged to give an account of how we are growing, being transformed, becoming more like our glorious Lord!

 

Paul, in 2 Corinthians 3, is reminding his readers of Moses’s encounter with God.  Moses’s face was covered, after encountering God on Mt. Sinai, and yet we are reminded that, “when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD.” Exodus 34:29.  As a result of beholding God and communing with him, our faces uncovered, we are “being transformed”, “being changed”, even our appearance is being changed.  Paul reminds us, as he did those at Corinth, that we have a new and improved appearance, spirit, and outlook.   So, we are not weak, we are not falling apart, however we are growing, being transformed, taking on a new image, a new identity.  That’s how I want to present “what’s happening with me.”  How ‘bout you?

June 30, 2017

Welcoming A New Pastor

gift

 

Beulah UMC received a wonderful gift this week – a new senior pastor!  Reverend Don Gibson and his family have come to our community in North Chesterfield to share laughter, leadership and love with our congregation and the surrounding neighborhood.

 

You have a major part in welcoming this wonderful family into the life of BUMC.  There are so many things you can do to infuse this transition with warmth and caring.

~ View our new pastor as a GIFT, not a “change.”

~ Open your hearts and decide that you are going to love this precious new family.

~ Begin praying daily for Pastor Don and his family, even as you continue to pray for Pastor Keith in his retirement.

~ Send a card of welcome and encouragement (the church office has the address information).

~ Know that welcoming Pastor Don and his family in genuine and effective ways lays the groundwork for a healthy and vital relationship.

 

Prayer for Our New Pastor

 

Dear Lord, we pray that you will be with us as we receive Pastor Don into our church family. Help us to show love and understanding when things are not always as they have been. May our membership increase and our spirits be rekindled with the flame of the Holy Spirit. We pray that Pastor Don and his family will find peace and joy in their new surroundings. Show us ways of removing stumbling blocks that will make Your path easier to follow. Continue to be with us and bind us together in Christian love and service. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. AMEN.

06/23/17

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN

 

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When you work for a church as long as I have, it is inevitable that we face the time when we must say,

Goodbye. Changes in pastoral staff are a regular part of ministry, and this year, Beulah UMC has two:

next Wednesday, our Senior Pastor for the past seven years, Keith Mottley, is retiring; and our

Director of Christian Education for the past four years, Tracey Lyons, is moving on to full-time

pastoral ministry in NOVA.

 

It is wonderful when the staff you work with are not only fellow-professionals and colleagues, but also

friends as well. To Keith, and to Tracey, we send you on to this next page of your life story with tears,

with joy, and with a great deal of love.

 

Friends

Packing up the dreams God planted in the fertile soil of you,

Can’t believe the hopes He’s granted means a chapter in your life is through.

But we’ll keep you close as always; it won’t even seem you’ve gone.

`Cause our hearts in big and small ways, will keep the love that keeps us strong.

With the faith and love God’s given, springing from the hope we know,

We will pray the joy you’ll live in gives the strength that now you show.

And we’ll keep you close as always; it won’t even seem you’ve gone.

`Cause our hearts in big and small ways, will keep the love that keeps us strong.

And friends are friends forever, when the Lord’s the Lord of them.

And a friend will not say “never,” `cause the welcome will not end.

Though it’s hard to let you go, in the Father’s hands we know

That a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.

6/9/17

Kind

kind

 

…dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:

compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.

Colossians 3:12

I am a huge fan of Starbucks, and often stop in for an unsweetened green tea lemonade.  I love to look at their pastries and other goodies, but being gluten intolerant, it is always look but don’t touch!  Then a few years ago, I noticed they were carrying a new gluten-free snack bar – the KIND bar.  I tried a Cranberry Almond, and then a Blueberry Vanilla Cashew, and was hooked!

 

Imagine my surprise when the wrapper on one of my bars suggested that I do a KIND act for someone else.  Curious, I went on the company’s website, and discovered their Mission Statement:

 

We believe kindness has the power to change the world. That’s why we are on a mission to make the world a little kinder, one act at a time. We call this the KIND Movement! Small act or big, we encourage it. We all have the potential to make a difference each and every day. Join us!

 

How wonderful to know that there is a commercial venture that is interested in helping other people just as much as helping their bottom line. They have even developed their own KIND vocabulary:

kindaholic – someone with an uncontrollable love for spreading kindness

kinding – an unexpected act of kindness done for someone else

kindtastic – being extraordinarily kind

There are many ways to spread kindness to those around you:  writing an encouraging note, holding a door, stopping to listen, giving a smile, sharing a hug, calling the homebound, visiting the sick, letting someone else go first, giving of your time for a charity.  What act of kindness can you give the world today?