His Work in the Storm

 
If the clouds are full of rain,
they empty themselves on the earth,
and if a tree falls to the south or to the north,
in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.
He who observes the wind will not sow,
and he who regards the clouds will not reap.
As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones
in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know
the work of God who makes everything.
Ecclesiastes 11:3-5
 
 
 
Dear Servants,
 
It's not often I can quote from the book of Ecclesiastes, so when I came across this passage I just had to write a blog.
 
Like most of you, I’m trapped in my house watching the weather and wondering what the next 24 hours will bring. I take from the writer of Ecclesiastes (King Solomon) that we aren’t going to make sense of this hurricane. This will be an event like so many natural events that we must live by faith and trust that the Lord has a plan.
 
“He who observes the wind will not sow,” I take to mean a lot of time can be wasted watching the weather. Consider alternatives, at least periodically, to staring at the Weather Channel or out the back door (one of my favorite pastimes). For instance, I’m trying to catch up on my daily Bible reading (yes, I’m about 3 days behind) along with some time spent finishing a book. I realize that some of you are trapped with young children and so free time isn’t in great supply.  May we all pray for those caring for young children during this storm. Lord, give them strength!  If it’s any consolation young parents, I would give anything to have my three back here living through this storm with me. Can’t help but think about Hurricane Charlie back in 2004.
 
We do not understand the work of God, Solomon tells us, but we do know His work for us. The sermon I didn’t get to give this morning from Romans 12 includes verses 12-13 where Paul shows us love in action:
 
“12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”
 
For now we meditate on verse 12. Once this storm has passed (and it will pass) there will be many opportunities to practice verse 13. Be mindful of the needs of others, show hospitality and contribute to needs where possible. Just this morning at the church, I found a family from Trenton, FL living in our worship space. Thanks to the McCreadys we were able to outfit them with two air mattresses rather than having them sleep on the pews another night.
 
Like Solomon, I don’t know what God’s work with be in this storm, but I am reminded of Matthew 14:22-33, Jesus is Lord over the storm and He comes to us in its midst. Stay safe and I will see you next Sunday if not before.
 
God bless and keep you,
Alex +


Seeking Financial Contentment: Biblical Principles, Practical Tools

 
For I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11b-13 (NRSV)
 
Whether we like it or not, money is a huge part of our lives. We spend a significant portion of each day earning money, spending money, thinking about money. That is not inherently a bad thing, but for many people it is a source of worry and obsession. And the world does not help by its push to consume and acquire more. This stress and worry is not what God wants for us, and the church is to be about helping people get out from under this weight and showing that there is a better way to live.
 
Unfortunately, the church as a whole has a problem talking about money. Either the church talks about money so much that people feel like that's all it cares about. Or, to avoid being perceived as the former, it deemphasizes and avoids the subject. In either case, it often times fails to address or provide solutions for the real-world difficulties with which people are struggling. So the call from the church to give sacrificially often only adds to the guilt and stress.
 
Adrienne and I want to help fill that gap. The Bible provides answers to our real-world struggles, and we believe that the answer to financial stress lies in contentment – the opposite goal that the world presents. As we learn to be content with what we have, to recognize that we are called to be stewards of what God has entrusted to us, then it is easier to practically manage our possessions. This perspective is one of the ways we “learn to do everything Jesus said.”
 
Starting on September 20th, Adrienne and I will be facilitating a class on biblical principles for dealing with money and practical guides to budgeting and financial management. The 8-week class will be part book study – where we will go through Your Money Counts together learning the biblical perspective on "earning, spending, savings, investing, giving, and getting out of debt” – and part budgeting workshop – where we will introduce tools and techniques for managing money on a daily basis. We will be meeting at the church from 6:30 - 8:00pm with childcare provided.
 
So whether you are a natural saver or are living paycheck to paycheck, join us on September 20th for the class overview to discuss what the Bible has to say on being financially content. Contact us at JoseAndAdrienne@boada.org if you plan to attend or have any questions. You can also RSVP on our Facebook event page.
 
 
 
Jose Boada
 
 
Though both Jose and Adrienne have some experience in finance - Jose has led a Crown Financial Ministries course, and Adrienne has a degree in finance and is our treasurer - they would hardly classify themselves as experts. Since everyone struggles with money in some shape or form, they both have a passion for bringing people together to learn how to find financial contentment in Christ. On a more personal level, they both love the Gators and traveling to visit friends.


The Question of Suffering

 
 
“From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:21-23
 
Dear Servants,
 
On Sunday, by the grace of God, I will preach on the necessity of suffering from the words of Jesus written above. Suffering, while we cannot always understand God’s purpose in it, is something we all experience. Viktor Frankl, a Nazi concentration camp survivor, was convinced that “our response to unavoidable suffering is one of the chief ways of finding [the] meaning [of life].” (Philip Yancey, The Question That Never Goes Away, p. 52)
 
Like you, I find myself in prayer this week for those suffering from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, along with all my brothers and sisters suffering within our community. We Floridians know the scary moments before a hurricane, worrying about how bad the storm will be. Some of us also know how horrible the winds and rains can be, disrupting our everyday lives for weeks afterward. Though I for one have no idea what it is like to suffer through the kind of flooding happening in Texas. If you are looking for a way to help, you might donate to the Anglican Relief and Development Fund or any of a host of other amazing charities focused on bringing relief. One of our ACNA bishops, Fr. Clark lives in the Houston area and is working with local ministries to aid those displaced.

In the face of such suffering, not just in Texas and Louisiana but in our own congregation, I am reminded of a book I read during my sabbatical that I found helpful. Philip Yancey, a well-known Christian author, has written a book called The Question That Never Goes Away, which I quoted from above. In it, he explores the question of suffering, focusing on mass tragedies in particular. He has spoken to groups following tragedies like Columbine and Sandy Hook Elementary here in the U.S., the tsunami of 2012 in Japan, and the bloody civil war in Sarajevo. Talk about speaking into fear and darkness! Before you run out and buy it, he doesn’t give the definitive answer for “why suffering.” But it is helpful on many levels for struggling with the issue as a follower of Jesus. As we struggle with these ideas together, allow me to relate a couple of his points.
 
First, Yancey reminds the reader that every critical question about suffering that people ask of God can also be found in Scripture. We are not alone in our doubts and questions. Next, he also points out that Jesus did not meet people with theological answers to suffering, but rather touched them, healed them, and spoke words of comfort. God is now working through His Church to do the same. Lastly, Yancey reminds us that God promises a day of restoration; quoting from John 14, “I go away to prepare a place for you.” I recommend this book to you as a helpful tool.
 
Please know what a privilege it is for me to walk along with you through the painful circumstances of your lives. May we gather Sunday to be reminded of our hope in Christ and to pray for one another and the world.
 
Onward and Upward,
 
 
 
 
 


A Place to Worship and Grow

 
"'And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,
and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'"
Matthew 16:18
 
Dear Servants,
 
In the sermon Sunday I will tackle the above passage from the mouth of Jesus. What, if anything, is Jesus saying in this passage about the modern church in all its current manifestations? After all, we have everything from mega-churches to family-sized, various denominations, non-denominational types, liturgical, online, traditional, revisionists, etc. I don’t want to steal my own thunder for Sunday, but I do want to tease out a thought that arises from time to time with regard to picking a local congregation to attend.
 
As of late, I have been asked to officiate several weddings for young adults. I was, in fact, down in the Orlando area this past weekend to officiate another wedding. One of the by-products of taking on these weddings outside the congregation is that I get to speak into the lives of young adults through the pre-marital counseling (usually 4 or 5 sessions via Skype). One point I focus on is finding a congregation to join so that you and your spouse can grow together in Christ. The classic way of stating this is ‘if both husband and wife are growing closer to the Lord individually, the closer they will become as a couple.’ In the early days of my marriage, Sunday mornings were one of the times Jody and I felt the closest. Finding a congregation in which to worship and grow with your spouse is so essential to marriage.
 
I don’t think many would disagree with this statement; however something changes when we have children, especially when children become a little older and start expressing their thoughts and feelings. At this point, some married couples put their own spiritual growth on the “back burner” and focus primarily on finding a church that meets their children’s needs. I remember years ago, a young couple saying that they really loved worshiping at SOC but that the service was just so long with weekly communion that they had decided to join a church with a one hour service…for the kids.
 
The question I want to raise is simply, if finding a place for worship and growth is so essential for a couple, why is it no longer a factor for that couple once kids come along? I have two points to make. First, I would strongly suggest that the spiritual life/health of mom and dad is the number one determinant of the spiritual health of children. In fact, Deuteronomy 6 reminds us that as parents, it is our responsibility to be the primary disciplers of our children. Verse 7 says, “You shall teach [these commandments] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” For this reason, I think the most important question for parents to ask when seeking a congregation is, where can I best worship, be spiritually fed and equipped to lead my children?
 
Second, I would like to point out that where our children want to go to church or what they think should happen at church is not always truly best. I always go back to a time when we were living in Pittsburgh and the kids asked if they could climb out their upstairs bedroom window and play on the roof. Would it be tons of fun for a kid to go on the roof? Yes. Would it be best for them? No! Our job is to train our children in the way they should go. This means we as their parents must make the best decision we can for them, whether they understand it or not. As a former youth pastor, I can tell you that the biggest factor in your child pursuing Christ in the adolescent years will be if they have a core group of friends also seeking Jesus. That is not guaranteed in a church of any size but can be achieved in a church regardless of size. I am so grateful for the friends Jake, Charleigh, and Samantha had growing up. I’m also thankful for caring adults at Servants of Christ who invested in their lives. The focus of our prayers and action should be in helping them make good friendships, and for a community that can speak into their lives with the love of Christ. Now I’m not suggesting you should join a congregation where there is no thought or resources for children and youth ministry. This is why I am so thankful for Kim Harris and Nikki Smith who lead our ministry to youth and children. Pray for this important ministry as we head into the fall. I pray that SOC is a place where you as adults are growing in relationship to Christ, fully equipped to lead your children. If any of you have questions, Jody and I are always available for conversations about raising kids: it’s one of our passions.
 
See you Sunday,
 


About the Special Parish Meeting

 
Dear Servants,
 
We are only days away from our Special Parish Meeting on Sunday, August 20th. We will enjoy a fish fry dinner starting at 5:00pm followed by an information meeting regarding the opportunity before us for a facility purchase and also an update on our current financial position. There will be a presentation from several key leaders and then opportunity for the congregation to ask any questions or bring forward any concerns.
 
I trust every member, and anyone interested in hearing what Servants is planning, has RSVPd by now. The fish fry is being paid for by the vestry members because they feel the need for this meeting so strongly. The meal will be catered by a team from Forest Meadows Funeral Home – their cook team makes these fish fries available to non-profits at cost! Please thank these generous men on Sunday.
 
For those who could not be in church last Sunday, my sermon focused on Matthew 14. Jesus invited Peter to step out of the boat and walk to where He was on the Sea of Galilee. While I didn’t mention the building purchase process and finances specifically, this week God keeps bring this image to my mind. Meeting with the vestry and preparing for our time together Sunday, keep in mind that Jesus is calling us to come to where He is. This requires faith on our part. It also requires us to keep our eyes focused on Jesus rather than the storm. Storms are scary! Yet Jesus comes to us “walking through the storm,” wrote Rev. Dr. Michael Green. “Jesus walks on the storm.” My prayer is that God will continue to strengthen our congregation and unify us around His vision for our parish.
 
Like all of you, I rejoice in the news that the potentially-violent rally with an extremist speaker which was planned at UF on September 12 has been cancelled. Yet even when we still thought this “storm” was coming, our eyes stayed focused on our Lord! I rejoice in the unity among the churches of Gainesville, which crosses racial lines. Today the Alachua County Christian Pastors’ Association (of which I am a member) will meet for our monthly fellowship under the leadership of President Karl Anderson and Vice-President Phil Courson. I am confident that regardless of what plans the evil one brings against our city or county, the body of Christ in this city will stand in unity “to do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God.”  (Micah 6:8, ESV)
 
Onward and Upward,
 
 


Back and Refreshed

 
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31
 
 
Dear Servants,
 
Not surprisingly, “how was your sabbatical?” is the most common question asked of me these days. I am humbled and grateful for all of those who prayed for me and graciously released me for that time away. Short answer, sabbatical was what I needed: the balance of alone time, time with my family, hiking, golf, kayaking, reading, prayer, and reflection time.
 
Most of all, I would say it was refreshing. I find myself with more energy not just for the exciting stuff like Camp Araminta and new facilities but even for the places of tension and problems that confront any congregation. Having spent lots of time listening to God over the sabbatical, I am ready to listen to individuals within the parish with new energy and compassion.
 
Big thanks to all the ministry leaders, lay and ordained, who picked up additional responsibilities in my absence. We are blessed to have such an incredible group of leaders at Servants and without them, my sabbatical could not have happened. I could leave for ten weeks, knowing that the parish was in competent hands.
 
Since my return on July 9th, my plan has been to catch up on all the goings on of the congregation and any pastoral issues that need attention. As most of you know, I took sabbatical early to return in time for our mission outreach at Camp Araminta for children and youth, 4th-12th
grades. While officially this is a diocesan summer camp, a disproportionate number of the adult staff comes from Servants of Christ. I am so grateful to John and Kim Harris, Jamey and Beth Kirby, David and Tracy LaCagnina, Leanne Manley, and Scott Stephenson who served sacrificially at camp this summer. In addition to our adults, some of our college and high school students gave sacrificially of their time: Clara Darr, Samantha and Charleigh Farmer, Kieran Kirby, Carter and Mallory Matthews, and Grace Schuppie.
 
The fruit of Araminta can only partially be measured at this time. As I said during the sermon Sunday, the Kingdom work of discipling our children and youth takes years to realize fully. I can tell you that we had 180 campers this year with 14 of them making first-time professions of faith in Jesus! Praise God. Overall, Camp Araminta grew by another 20% for which we give thanks to the Lord. We rejoice in what God has done through the ministry once again this summer.
 
So, what should you expect for the fall? In just over a week our children and teachers return to school, and shortly after, UF and Santa Fe students and faculty will return to class. The fall is fast upon us. The vestry has two objectives for this academic year. One is to promote and encourage members in their prayer life. You will recall last fall we focused on daily Bible reading. You can look forward to teaching and testimonies that seek to relate the “how to,” as well as the “why” of prayer in our daily life. Secondly, the vestry is moving forward with plans for the purchase of permanent facilities for our life together and worship. You will hear a lot more information about this at our Special Parish Meeting, Sunday, August 20th at 5pm. Dinner and childcare will be provided by some generous individual vestry members for this meeting, so RSVP to the Facebook event or call the church office at (352) 271-1188.
 
I thank the Lord for renewing my strength over the summer and know that God has prepared me to lead our congregation into this new season of growth. Please continue to pray for other leaders in the parish, as well as, myself as we move into the fall. I am praying for you.
 
Onward and Upward,


But Don’t Jaywalk

 
To my knowledge, I have no enemies. If I did, I would be obligated to carry out a number of inconvenient activities including loving, blessing, praying for, and doing good things for them (Luke 6:27-31). But, like I said, I have a shortage of people who are cursing me, mistreating me, striking me, or taking my stuff. So I feel pretty blessed.
 
I do have some friends who I greatly enjoy spending time with. I love them and they are pretty easy to love. But spiritually speaking, it seems this is neither particularly beneficial nor even creditworthy (Luke 6:32-34).
 
My life is infested with neighbors. I have people all around me as I work, travel, and run errands. I also have a large number of Merriam-Webster definition neighbors. But this seems an overwhelming number of people to love as myself. And who is my neighbor, anyway?
 
I grew up hearing the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37), but to be honest, it never quite made sense to me. Jesus tells the story to answer the “who is my neighbor?” question, but pretty much turns the question back on the questioner: “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” (Luke 10:36). As everyone knows, the answer to the question is “the Samaritan.” But what is the answer for me?
 
I think the answer lies in the relationship between the Jews (i.e., the questioner in the story) and the Samaritans, which (as my commentary informs me) was one of hostility. So it looks like my neighbor specifically includes those people I feel hostility towards, that I really don’t like, those people I see coming down the sidewalk and (if I am honest with myself) just wish I could cross to the other side of the street and avoid having to deal with.
 
Jesus is telling us when we see ______ (fill in blank with people you really don’t like) on the other side of ______ (pick a busy street) during rush hour traffic, we must cross over to them and dish out some serious love. It might involve providing a ride, money, or a place to stay (Luke 6:34-35), but you can expect it to be one thing: inconvenient.
 
Only then will we prove to be a neighbor.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Justin Smith has been a member of Servants since 2012. He's a lector, a sound guy, and serves on the vestry. He's a fantastic father and husband, too.


The Lonely Ember

 
Years ago I heard Dr. John MacArthur tell the story of The Lonely Ember.
 
A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.
 
Guessing the reason for his pastor's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a big chair near the fireplace and waited. The pastor made himself comfortable but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs.
 
After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet fascination.
 
As the one lone ember's flame diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and “dead as a doornail.”
 
Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.
 
Just before the pastor was ready to leave, he picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.
 
As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said, "Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday."
This story reminds me that God longs for friendship with us. God wants to have a relationship with us. God created us for companionship but even God can’t have a friendship alone. When we don’t read the Bible daily we become one lone ember; we become cold and our relationship with God is diminished. If we want to grow the relationship, then reading the Bible every day is absolutely essential.
 
Being a Christian is about being friends with Jesus. It is a real relationship just like the one you have with your best friend. Now in all relationships we talk and we listen to each other. And this is what reading the Bible and praying is all about. When we read the Bible, we are listening to what God has to say to us. In the Bible, God has made sure He has told us everything we need to know in order to be the best of friends with Him. So when we pray and read, we are really having a conversation with God and that is definitely something worth doing every day.
 
2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
 
If we want to live more in line with who God wants us to be, we need to be regularly in His word and as we do that, God can use us to change other's lives too.
 
 
 
 
 
Fred Cantrell


The Comfortable Words

 
I was delighted when the Comfortable Words were added to the liturgy of SOC. I am a “cradle” Episcopalian/Anglican so when the 1928 Prayer Book was used, these verses of Scripture were always part of the liturgy. As time went on, the inclusion of these Scriptures after the Confession was optional and seemed to happen less often. My dad was an Episcopal priest so he was my priest when I was still in the womb. I have to admit that there were a lot of Sunday services that I usually zoned out during, especially the sermons. The one part that I always heard and found comfort in was hearing the Comfortable Words. I can still see and hear my dad saying those Scriptures at the front of the church in front of the altar, as I prepared for the Eucharist.
 
What is it about these Scriptures that give such comfort? I think that, for me, it is that the words speak to real life. There is nothing sugarcoated. I want to share some of my thoughts about each verse. Some of this is how I felt when I was sitting in church listening to my dad; some thoughts are what I think and feel now.
 
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  -Matthew 11:28
These words acknowledge that some of us are going to be in church on Sunday morning with heavy hearts and hard burdens. God is not expecting us to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed all the time. We are reassured that there is rest to be found. When we are followers of Jesus our burdens are bearable because He is with us.
 
God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  -John 3:16
This verse, for as long as I can remember, has always assured me of God the Father’s love for me.
 
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  -1 Timothy 1:15
I am reminded that I am a sinner, but because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I am saved. As a child and teenager in the church I didn’t really understand this Scripture. I knew it, I could recite it, but I didn’t really see myself as a sinner in need of a Savior. Not a lot of talk about sin was going on in the ECUSA in the 1970s. The realization of my sin nature and need for a Savior occurred while in college and that’s when my adult walk with Jesus really started. PRAISE GOD!
 
If anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.  -1 John 2:1-2
This verse gives instruction on what we are to do when we do sin. Jesus is our advocate (a person who presents a case on someone else’s behalf) and the substitute for the propitiation (atonement) of our sins. It also reminds me that I need to get the word out – share the Gospel so that people around the world can benefit from Jesus’s willingness to take the punishment for the sins of the whole world. This part of my spiritual growth and development is an area that has been slow-going for me. I pray for boldness and awareness of situations to share the Gospel. I struggle with worry about “offending people” or “turning people off” which I think really translates into fear of rejection. Slowly but surely God is pushing me forward and I keep praying for the courage and discernment to speak boldly.
 
These Scriptures, these Comfortable Words, have always been a part of my spiritual identity. My faith in Jesus Christ was cultivated in its infancy by these words and they continue to nurture and grow me today.
 
 
 
 
 
Libby King is a part of the Servants' worship team and vestry. About a year ago, she became a grandmother and she couldn't love her grandson more!


A Blog for Pentecost

 
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters [...] and God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” Genesis 1:1, 31a
 
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:15-17
 
 
The Spirit hovering over the face of the deep; a picture that is both eerily mysterious and ethereal and yet precedes the most physical, tangible era of recorded history: the creation of the physical world. It is this same Spirit that lives in us in the context of our very material, physical, seemingly unsacred, daily lives.
 
I think as humans in the post-Christian, post-Modern West we walk a fine line of not knowing where the spiritual begins and ends and where the physical starts or stops. A lot of false doctrines and cultural ideas have drawn a solid line between things physical and things spiritual. I even think that in many cases we have subconsciously adopted the idea that physical things tend to be a necessary evil, and necessarily second tier to things spiritual. But this idea is not affirmed in Scripture. Our bodies are affirmed, our work is affirmed, food and drink are affirmed, and the created world as a whole is certainly affirmed. When we behold the faces of our children, when we speak a sharp word to a colleague or spouse, when we eat and drink, especially at the Lord’s Table; we encounter the overlay of things spiritual and things mortal or material. When we consider the
, they sound intangible (love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, self-control), but their bearing out in our day-to-day lives is almost always displayed in tangible and observable ways. It affects the lives of those around us, but yet is accompanied by an internal, intangible testimony from the Spirit of God.
 
This week as we consider the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, remember that God has truly put His Spirit in you, once and for all. Pray that God would stir Him up, secretly and deeply affirming His love for you, that you might move through your day with the heart of flesh He has given you. Ask Him to show you the tangible results of His Spirit in you.
 
The Spirit that is in you hovered over the deep darkness and inspired the creation of a very good, created world. On a good day, when we behold the faces of those around us, we do so with the eyes and heart of God’s Spirit. It is no small thing that we walk among our co-workers, families, and neighbors with the Spirit of God dwelling within us.
 
 
 
 
About our guest blogger: Ethan Stonerook is husband to Valerie and father to their 4 children, Carver, Roan, Haddie, and Nora. He works as a physician assistant in Bone Marrow Transplant at UF and is a member of our vestry and our current senior warden. His favorite things to do include being with people, eating and drinking good food and drink, running, and starting multiple projects at the same time and never fully completing them.