Rev. John Shaver

Sunday, July 12, 2020 at 9:30am - Livestream Worship

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Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

Dear SDUMC Family, I pray that this note finds you well. As I think about Philippians Chapter 4, these requests from Paul don’t always come easy (it may seem especially difficult in current times). Maybe Paul knew that would be the case throughout history; possibly, that is why he shares “rejoice” twice.

When I started to write this message, I had the news on in the background (probably not the most helpful way to study scripture). I won’t go on about all that I heard in the last few moments, but I’m sure like many of you, I begin to ponder… “Rejoice? Always? Really?”

Paul reminds us the first step to rejoicing is through the gift of prayer. We can cry out to God about our troubles, and then Paul tells us to give thanks. Take some time today and share your fears, frustrations, and worries with God. Then think about the abundance of blessings that surround you and share them with God.

As I move into a time of thanksgiving, I try to focus on my family, my supportive friends, and a graceful church family. I remember the incredible gifts I often take for granted, like water, air, and the amazing coastal sunsets. I remember the small things—ice on a warm day, laughter around the house, and a text from a friend in Nicaragua. All blessings that remind me to give thanks.

Paul reminds us that when we share our gratitude with God, “…the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds.” May we carry Paul’s reminder to share our joy with God, especially when it seems that the world may try to steal our joy.

This Sunday, I hope you’ll join me for our Livestream worship at 9:30 a.m., as we conclude our study in Philippians. We’ll look to Paul’s suggestions to find some relief from the difficulties and worries of this world. Also, we have some special music planned to lift your spirits, and we’ll be sharing in Communion and a Reaffirmation of Baptism (have your elements and a bowl of water ready at home).

Again, my prayer for each of you is to have a safe and blessed weekend (keep wearing the masks when you are in public, physical distance when you are out, and wash your hands). Also, take the time to choose joy!

Grace, Peace, and Prayers, John

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