Do Not Fear

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Feb 24, 2019 Do Not Fear

If you are a pastor or church member who cares about The United Methodist Church, it is hard to ignore what is on the immediate horizon for our denomination. For two years the specially called General Conference of The UMC beginning this Saturday in St.Louis has loomed large in our minds. For many it has cast a shadow over our denomination’s future; a potential catalyst for a tidal wave of doctrinal division and infighting, powerful enough to sweep United Methodism from the face of the earth. Others welcome it as an opportunity to bind up the deep wounds of our divisions and to refill the reservoir of goodwill and mutual respect that has been severely drained after five decades of debate.

I will admit that there are moments when I share the thoughts of the young pastor I heard preach last Sunday morning while I was away on vacation: “I fear that in a few days our United Methodist Church will be no more.” There are other times when I share John Wesley’s fear that our United Methodist Church will not so much disappear but exist as a dead sect having the form of religion without the power.”

Fear and the weariness it brings can quickly deaden the joy and peace of our walk with Jesus. That’s why – in the midst of the denomination’s conflicts – I have been listening to God’s Spirit lately, hearing God’s constant reassurance in Scripture to those who hold fast to Him in faith and obedience – “Do not fear, I am with you.”Our God asks us to love him with all our being. To seek His will and obey, no matter the cost; no matter the world’s opinion of us; no matter the fears that threaten to overtake and undermine our faith and life together as brothers and sisters in Christ. God is with us. No matter the outcome of the coming conference in St. Louis, know this: God will faithfully guide us into the future that awaits. That is the only thing I know for sure.

Peace in Christ, Pastor Bob

Isaiah 43:1b-2a