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Pastor Doug's weekly meditation

Hello, my friends.  I’m Pastor Doug and I’m so glad to visit with you again. 

This week I’m thinking about the upcoming changes in my life and here at Wesley.  Change is hard work and that’s nothing new.  Read the story of how God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, and it is astonishing.  We read in Exodus 16:3, The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt when we sat by the pots of meat and ate our fill of bread, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”  They were oppressed slaves and God sent Moses to deliver them.  Firsthand they witnessed nine plagues and the final one was the worst as the Lord passed through Egypt and killed every firstborn except for the homes with the doorposts marked with blood.

If that wasn’t enough, as they left Egypt and are pursued by the Egyptian army, God split the Red Sea and they crossed over on dry land.  God led them by pillars of cloud and fire.  God provided water for them to drink.  And now they complain about being left to starve and seemingly wish to go back to their old digs.  After all the signs and wonders and provisions, they still struggled to trust God as they moved forward. 

Why do I lift this up today?  Well for Wesley Church and myself, we are on a journey towards July 1st when I will retire, and Pastor Bob Ryder will come and be the new leader.  For me, it means both fear and excitement after 30+ years in the ministry and what will this new chapter look like? How will I have to step out in faith and what changes will need to be made?  And the same for Wesley.  They have been so kind to Dee and me and we have appreciated their love and friendship.  But already we are praying for Pastor Bob and asking God to use him as he leads Wesley forward.  Doug, Bob, and Wesley are all trusting in God to lead us into the future and let go of the past so we can each embrace our new futures.

And it isn’t just church.   In May, we will enter graduation season.  Amazingly it is a season of change with mixed emotions—saying goodbye to lifetime friends and pressing on to new college campuses, workplaces, or the military.  Excited but hesitant.  We will see it at work as more are asked to return to the workplace rather than work remotely.  We will see it as others take on a move to a new place, town, or state.  Many, many other changes will impact our lives over the coming months.

Remember the story of the Israelites but don’t follow their example.  Don’t forget how God has given us the Bible and so many stories of his faithfulness and the trustworthiness of his promises.  Don’t forget how God has been there for you and your loved ones and all the stories you can share of God’s faithfulness in those times of need.  Don’t forget Jesus’ final words to his disciples, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Meet each change and challenge with courage, with faith, and with the power of the Holy Spirit abiding in each of us.  Know that as we walk in faith, God has great things in store for each of us.  God’s promise for all of us is to give you a future with hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

So, I’m both a bit apprehensive and mostly excited about the changes we’re going to make here in a bit.  I’m trusting God is leading us to our own promised land full of hope and new challenges and victories.  May we be faithful in trusting in God as he leads us forward.  AMEN. 

 I have some things to share today:

  1. Support Wesley Preschool by stopping into Duck Donuts in Mechanicsburg for a sweet treat this Sunday, April 30, between 2-4 pm.  You must mention the fundraiser at the register and not valid on kiosk orders.

  2. Mom2Mom will be gathering again this Wednesday, May 3 from 6:30-8:00pm.  We will be celebrating Mother’s Day! All moms with children of any age are welcome to join us as we celebrate the love of our lives, our moms.  

  3. Thursday is National Prayer Day and this year’s them comes from James 5:16B "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”  As we approach this day, Franklin Graham wrote:  “Pray that as a nation we would return to God. As we call on God, let us do so by genuine faith, believing that He hears our prayers. God can heal this great land, for which our forefathers fought and died. We need spiritual renewal, we need a revival in America, and we need each and every one to pray. Lord, Hear Our Cry!”  May we be in prayer on Thursday for our country and one another.  There is also an event in the courtroom of the Perry County Courthouse on Thursday evening at 7pm. 

 Let me close our time with a word of prayer.

Loving God, change is hard and sometimes it means we’re not fully trusting you with our future.  Help us to know you are with us and want what is best for us.  Help us to courageously embrace the changes we each need to make in our lives now and in the future.  We ask this in Jesus’ name.  AMEN.

Thank you for visiting with me today.  We’ll talk again soon.  May the peace of God be with you.  Stay strong and stay safe.    

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