When God calls us to Himself and gives us a vision, He does so for a very specific purpose. The Bible gives many examples whereby God called ordinary people as we are and gave them a vision. Nehemiah is one of those people who was called by God for a specific purpose. After accepting the call, we understand that Nehemiah demonstrated his passion for the work of God. He developed a heart for God’s people and did something tremendous about it. His path was not that easy though. He faced challenges and oppositions but because of his determination, commitment and actions, Nehemiah was able to see the vision being accomplished and the project becoming a reality. By doing so, God was given the glory and honor. Do we have people like Nehemiah in our midst? If we are to give God the glory and honor He deserves, we are in need of people like Nehemiah. This year for us at Stoddard United Methodist Church is a year of rebuilding: rebuilding lives, rebuilding small classes, rebuilding committees, rebuilding physical elements of our ministries, rebuilding… Shall we rise up together and build?
“Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” Nehemiah 2:17
Before you know it, Lent will be here! February 10th will be the official day that the season of Lent begins this year. Lent is a forty day period of spiritual renewal and spiritual preparation through repentance and growth. It is also a season where we prepare our hearts to receive and celebrate the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ at Easter. We will begin the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday Service at 7:00 p.m. The whole idea of Ash Wednesday is to remind us of our spiritual condition and our mortality, urging us to remember that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life. So, on Ash Wednesday, we will humbly come to God asking for His forgiveness and strength so that we can be able to draw closer to Him and live a life of holiness. Imposition of ashes will be also applied on our foreheads, not only to remind us of our mortality, but also of the hope of eternal life we find through the Cross.
As you may be aware, the disciplines of Lent are prayer, confession, repentance, self-denial and fasting. As we observe these spiritual disciplines, we communicate at a deeper spiritual level and become more connected with the God of grace and forgiveness. Not only that, but we also connect deeply with humanity. This year we will do something different at Stoddard United Methodist Church. After Ash Wednesday, we will continue to have a 7 o’clock service every Wednesday through Lent up to Holy Week. We will explore the theme of prayer; and R. C. Sproul will be our guest. How many Christians today do not know how to pray? How many Christians today neglect prayer in their daily life? How many Christians go about their daily life without connecting with God through prayer? Prayer must be a vital part of our lives as followers of Jesus Christ. It is impossible for a Christian to live a life of holiness and live in good standing with God without prayer. It is also impossible to overcome the brokenness of this life without prayer. When we look at the Scriptures, we find that prayer is what made Daniel strong whenever his faith was tested. Prayer is also what made Jesus overcome the darkness in the world. Through prayer, He remained connected to God until His last victorious day on earth.
We are excited about offering this opportunity to learn about prayer. We are encouraging you to strengthen your prayer life; praying and listening to God, and praying for and with each other. We are also encouraging you to join us for these services and we will learn a great deal about communicating and connecting with God and the entire human community.
In His Service,