Geneva United Methodist Church
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Pastoral Message

 Greetings from . . . GENEVA!!! As I sit down to write this letter, I am still living in Akron, but by the time you read it, I will have completed my move north and be living in Geneva. I can’t believe how much more I have to do before the movers arrive, and then comes the tedious task of unpacking and finding places for all my stuff. Like many U.S. Americans, I have too much stuff, and every time I have to move it, that point is emphasized even more. Although I have begun to downsize the amount of stuff I have, I still have much more to get rid of. This situation is the same for many of us with respect to the brokenness, guilt and hurt we insist on carrying around with us. God encourages us to forgive others for injuries they have done to us, and to seek forgiveness for injuries we have caused them; to heal relationships that have been damaged or broken. But instead of doing this, we insist on carrying the heavy burdens around with us. We clutch onto the guilt and pain like a medal of honor or something that we need to keep us strong and powerful. Instead, it just weighs us down. It doesn’t hurt the other person at all; they may not even be aware that we are still carrying the hurt. Instead, it only damages us, dragging our spirits down like a millstone around our necks. And even after we finally ask God for forgiveness, we still sometimes refuse to completely give up our guilt or pain, snatching it back up from God and refusing the sweet comfort and peace that God offers in its place.

It is time to downsize! Seek forgiveness from God for all of the bad things you have ever said or done or thought. Seek healing for all of the brokenness of your spirit, and of your relationships with God and with other people. Know that God’s grace is enough to forgive ANY AND ALL sins, no matter what or how bad and unforgiveable we think they are. Know that once they are forgiven by God, they are forgiven – totally and completely blotted out, wiped away as if they never happened. And do not attempt to seize them back once they have been given to God, for Christ has already paid the redemption price for them and for us.

By the time most of you read this, we will already be worshipping together. I know it will take many of you some time to grieve over the loss of Pastor Bruce. As I have worked with and gotten to know him better during the last few months, I have begun to discover what a great Christian brother and pastor he truly is. I must confess that it will also take me some time to grieve over the loss of my church family at Firestone Park UMC in Akron. But I am also very excited about what the future will hold for all of us, as we continue our faith journey together! Just think of all the new ways we will see God, serve others, share the Good News, and most importantly, make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the whole world! We – you and I – are the builders of God’s kingdom here on earth, and we must keep laboring on this vital work. After all, WE, THE CHURCH, are Christ’s body here on earth. We are called to be Christ’s hands and feet and voice and heart, to do all of the things he did and to work to complete all of the tasks he left undone when his life was ended so prematurely. So let’s roll up our sleeves, take a deep breath, say a prayer, AND GET STARTED!
Blessings, Pastor Randy