“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Steven Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” (John 12:46)
The last month contained some real highpoints for Weller UMC, and for me, personally, as your pastor. At this year’s Annual Conference, it was a joy and privilege to be ordained as an Elder in full connection in the United Methodist Church. This was the culmination of many years answering God’s call to ministry, and I continue to thank God each day for the gift of ministry and the blessing to be your pastor. By God’s grace, we have come thus far; and by God’s grace, we have more to do together in the years to come.
Two other highpoints in the life of this faith family were the reception of new members through the confirmation class and those who joined the church at the end of June. These were joy-filled moments for us as we acknowledged and celebrated the grace of God at work in these lives as they become/join us in the journey of faith in Jesus Christ.
As I reflect on these moments, I am struck by the powerful, yet simple, questions we answer to profess our faith in Christ. As a refresher, these words from the Covenant for Baptism and Reception into the UMC are:
- Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin?
- Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?
- Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as your Lord, in union with the church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races?
The answer, in each case, is “I do.” And with this, we pledge ourselves to follow the lead of Jesus, to serve God in and through the church by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
These words, and those that follow in the service, focus us on the main thing that God is about in the world: salvation, redeeming what was lost, restoring the image of God in humankind, making all things new. This is “the main thing” that Jesus came into the world to accomplish. And it is the main thing that we, as the church, are called to keep doing in the name of Our Lord.
This month marks the start of my fifth year as pastor of Weller UMC. As we enter this new year together, let us make “the main thing the main thing,” in the words of leadership mentor Steven Covey. Let us, in the words of the book of Hebrews, “fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Let us commit to following Jesus ever more closely in the coming year so that we draw closer to God and we reach out to those whom God sent Jesus to save—the least, the last, the lost.
God’s salvation is for all. Let us keep on following Jesus into God’s future. And may we continue to be channels of God’s grace flowing into the world by the Spirit of Him who came to save us all.