A Message from Pastor John
You may remember a while back a catchphrase used by the U.S. Army in their recruiting ads: “Be All You Can Be.” The gist of it was that by signing up for Army life you’d grow into something far greater than you’d be if you didn’t do so. And if you think about it, all of the growth and change in your life wouldn’t happen right in the moment when you sign your name on the recruiting papers. Oh, your life would be forever changed when you sign up, but Basic Training and all that followed would continue to remold you into something quite different.
That’s not unlike signing up for the Christian life. In that moment, we undergo a change we call justifying grace… being forgiven and made right with God through faith. That’s when we can claim Jesus Christ as our Savior. There’s no question that nothing will be the same again… we’ve gone from being lost to being found, from being blind to the ways of God to having sight to see God’s ways. But there’s much still to be done. God’s Holy Spirit continues to remold us, training us up in the way we should go… not unlike a loving and grace-filled version of the Army Drill Sergeant.
This transformational reshaping that the Holy Spirit works in us we call sanctifying grace, and we may experience it either as a long, gradual process or in an instant—or most commonly as combinations of the two… growing slowly and steadily and suddenly lurching forward to another level of gradual growth. John Wesley understood this growth as restoring to us the very image of God that was shattered through Adam and Eve’s disobedience. And the closer we are to Christ the more we’re enabled to undergo that transformational change. The more we’re changed, the more our hearts are filled with God’s love, the more our own desires are to fulfill God’s own desires, the better we can claim Jesus Christ as our Lord.
I invite you to use the Lenten season, from Ash Wednesday until Easter, as an opportunity to grow closer to Christ and to pursue God’s holiness as your own. There are a number of ways you can do this… through prayer, through periods of fasting, through loving service to God and neighbor, or through our new Bible study Thank God It’s Friday that focuses on Jesus’ Last Seven Words. No matter what you do during this season, my prayer is that God will draw us all closer, preparing us for a fresh experience of Good Friday and Easter.
Be blessed, that in turn you may be a blessing to others,