July 23, 2019

July 23, 2019

July 23, 2019
1 John 2:1-6
by Leonore "L.E." Schmerber
Laity of Christ UMC (Knoxville, TN)
Tennessee Valley District

A few years ago I felt a pull to change where I worshiped.  It was a very hard decision that took a lot of prayers, tears, and encouragement from friends.  I not only joined a new church but I joined a new religion.  I am sure you can guess that the new religion was Methodism. I grew up in a home that was half Catholic and half Baptist. I am very thankful I was able to grow up with two parents that knew Jesus and taught me about him. Being exposed to different ways of worshiping has really opened my eyes to how people spend their time with Jesus. These experiences have also opened my eyes to different ministries, worship styles, Bible studies, and church doctrines.  

Jesus has always been the center of all my religious experiences. However the details of those experiences have been very different.  My first baptism was in second grade where I was sprinkled with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is where I joined the Catholic Church.   My second baptism, I was 20 years old and I was submerged in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is where I joined the Baptist Church. Both Baptisms are important to me because they are part of my journey with Jesus. Fast forward to a few years ago where my son and I joined the Methodist Church in our community, and the story is a wee bit different. The pastor welcomed us forward, asked us a couple of questions, and we joined. But I was curious when I would be baptized and was surprised I didn’t have to be. Secretly I was relieved because at this point I thought I could safely mark off the Christian to do list for being baptized….twice. This was one of many things that pleasantly surprised me about joining this new Church. I am sure you are thinking that I should have done more research and knew what I was getting into, but this was a Jesus thing. He called, I finally listened (it took a little bit to make the jump) and bam…I was a Methodist. 

Now what?

Keeping with my former Baptist Faith I submerged myself in all things Methodist. I joined a small group, found a service that I liked, and my son joined the youth group. We were here and we were going to be the best Methodists we could be! I knew I was where I was supposed to be and got really comfortable.   Then it happened again…oh how I didn’t want it to happen again…but the Lord’s call was evident. I was to teach a Sunday school class. But how can a new member and a new Methodist teach other Methodists about the Bible? Well here is the other cool thing about being a Methodist, they rarely say no. Want to teach a Sunday school class? Sure! Want to start a small group for Women? Sure. Want to reach out into the community to teach other women about Jesus? Sure!  But how is this possible? How could I do this? Well here is the cool thing about Jesus, when you answer a call and take a step out to do what has been asked he is right there to guide you through it. God provided a classroom, a ministry partner, and an audience. I was officially outside my comfort zone, again! But that is where we rely on God when the path set before us is new and intimidating. Through this experience I have learned not only how to be a Methodist but how to be a Jesus person. The Bible is still the same and Jesus still saved us all from our sins. The communion table is open to all and all are welcome at the table! I am still learning how to be a Jesus person. Don’t just think because you teach about Jesus and the Bible that you have it all together. I continue to learn that God’s grace is sufficient even when you think that the path doesn’t make sense. When faced with tough trials I pray and try to always remember Jesus is always with me even when I am not always with him. When I fall he picks me up and sometimes has to carry me to the next destination. He always forgives. He always listens. He always answers prayers, even if they aren’t answered the way we think they should be. 1 John 2:5 tells us “But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them.” I focus on the part “truly made complete in them.” I long to always follow Jesus’ commandments: Love God and Love one another. We live in a complicated world with many social rules and expectations a world that is ever changing with politics, social norms, and pulling at Religious organizations to change with it every day.  As a Jesus person I can’t just sit and watch it all pass me by and say nothing. It’s not about saying what is right and wrong, it’s about way more than that. It has been and always will be about Jesus. Keeping his commandments, about truly knowing Jesus, and sharing that love with everyone so I may continue to be complete with Jesus in my life!

Please pray with me: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to share your word and your love. Help us to follow your commandments and may we be ever reminded to keep you at the center of our lives and be complete in being Jesus people. May we always long to follow your will and not become comfortable in our ministries and desires to do your work. Lord guide and protect us on our paths wherever they may go both near and far. We ask these things in your Holy Name.  Amen!