March 17, 2023 Message From Rev. Bill “It’s halfway through Lent – are you like Jesus yet?”

We United Methodists have a tradition, given to us by John Wesley, that makes us unique. It’s the doctrine of SANCTIFICATION – becoming more like Jesus each day. 

             Some denominations put a lot of emphasis upon SALVATION – getting your heart right with Christ. We believe in this too, but a doctrine of salvation all by itself is too small. If all you focus on is salvation, what about the rest of your life? 

             Think of it as a baseball team – the scouts go out and recruit rookies to come and play on their team. This is what John Wesley would call PREVENIENT GRACE – the grace of God that comes searching for us, getting our attention and calling us to God’s self. 

             There comes a time when the player has to sign on the dotted line – being committed to the team. That’s JUSTIFYING GRACE, or what many call SALVATION. You are now known by that name – Christian (or Brave, or Astro, or whatever!)

             But what next? Can you just sign up for the team and never practice, or never play? No – what comes next is SANCTIFYING GRACE – becoming the player the coach knows you can be!

             United Methodists believe that there is a period before we are aware of God where God is at work in our lives – through parents, through friends, maybe a pastor or a relative or even a stranger that God uses to get your attention. You find out that there is a God who cares, and you want to learn more about Who this God is. 

             At some point you make a decision – “I will follow Christ.” You repent (turn away) from your old ways, and tell Jesus that you belong to Him. 

             And then – the journey continues. Each day we re-commit ourselves to following Jesus. It’s not a one-time decision, just like a good marriage is not a one-time statement at the altar. You converse with God; you go through good times and bad; you learn more and fall in love all over again. 

             During Lent we are focusing on deepening our relationship with Jesus. Through prayer, through service, through Bible reading, through giving, through encouraging fellowship with other believers. We help each other to become more like Jesus every day. 

             Halfway through Lent – how are you becoming more like Jesus? 

  • Rev. Bill

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