Everything the God of the Universe has for me is mine right now. Help me to access all things as I align my time, talent, and treasures with God's Will.
- Pastor Francys Johnson
We are halfway through 2023! What a great time to evaluate our spiritual progress, assess our strengths and weaknesses, and recalibrate how we spend our time, talent, and treasure. This month's teachings have focused on our readiness to make the most of the second half of this year.
LETS GO! READINESS FOR SUCCESS
Need for a Spiritual Tune-Up, drawn from Romans 12:1-2, was designed to alert believers to 5 warning signs prompting us to engage in a Spiritual Tune-Up. Ask yourself if these things are true:
Finding beauty in others or the world around you is hard.
Sadness or hopelessness permeates your life. Or both
Daily life seems to be a series of frustrations.
You’re easily angered.
You feel disconnected from your higher self.
An honest assessment and realigning our allegiances, attitudes, and actions will ensure that we are not conforming to worldly patterns but being transformed by renewing our minds. By doing this, we can run at peak performance, living according to God's good, well-pleasing, and perfect will.
Time for a Trade-In considered Matthew 11:1-6 and the exemplary life of John the Baptist. John was truly a transitional figure, forming the link between the Old and New Testaments. He spans the ages with one foot firmly planted in the Old Testament and the other squarely placed in the New. He ended nearly four hundred years of prophetic silence and paved the way for the Messiah. In the spirit of Elijah, he preached a message of repentance and baptism. Yet, even people with extraordinary lives, great callings, and faithful works, such as John the Baptist, face trials and tribulations.
In John the Baptist's greatest hour of need, he sent word to Jesus, asking, “Are you the one who is come, or are we to wait for another?” (Matthew 11:3).
Ultimately, John the Baptist's query to Jesus of Nazareth and Christ's response provides a reminder that we are to live so connected to our purpose that we add value to others, ourselves, and the Kingdom. Ultimately, one day we will trade in these lives for life everlasting.
Pre-Approved to Buy is about the story of the unnamed Samaritan Woman at the Well in John 4:1-30 and a testament to the fact that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah. Her encounter with Jesus opened her eyes to the truth, and she recognized that He is the greatest thing that could ever happen to us. The story is contrasted with that of Nicodemus in John 3, who did not readily accept the offer despite being pre-approved for salvation in the Kingdom.
We live in a society that is always searching for the next best thing, but we don't need to look any further than Jesus. The unnamed woman in John 4 understood this and left behind more than just her water jar - she shared the Good News with others, letting them know that they, too, have been pre-approved for salvation.
Despite being unfairly scandalized by backward preaching based on misogynist views, the Samaritan Woman's encounter with Jesus was remarkable. She was not only the first person to whom Jesus revealed His divinity, but her testimony also led many others to believe in Him. Let us strive to emulate this incredible woman and understand that we have been pre-approved for salvation.
Theologian In Focus | Rev. Teresa L. Fry Brown
Fry Brown is the author of numerous books, including Delivering the Sermon: Voice, Body, and Animation in Proclamation, and Weary Throats and New Song: Black Women Proclaiming God’s Word. Among Fry Brown’s “firsts” is her role as the Bandy Professor of Preaching at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, where she is the first black and the first woman in that position. She is also the first tenured, Black, female professor at Candler, and in 2012 was elected as the first woman historiographer of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Learn More
Sunday Bulletin | The Bulletins in July were themed #BlackJOYRising, our mantra from this Season marked by legal, financial, and cultural threats to our hard-won freedoms.
Joy and Freedom are especially relevant in this Season of Pentecost. On Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit on the gathered disciples after the resurrection of Jesus marked the beginning of the Christian church. In July, the nation marked the Fourth of July. Although the promise of America is not fully realized, those of us who believe in Freedom cannot rest until it comes! Read Bulletins