Derek’s Message: How Do You Seek God’s Guidance?

When I was asked to write a few devotional paragraphs for the FPC newsletter, the topic that I felt most strongly in my heart was guidance. Guidance is probably on my mind because I have been praying that God would guide me concerning the possibility of accepting a call to your congregation. But most importantly, what exactly is God guiding us or calling us to do in the rest of our lives?

Guidance is a very Biblical theme. It involves God’s love for us, God’s desire for us, prayer, listening, our own free will, and maybe most essential, God’s providence (which I have heard best described as God providing for us).

Abraham certainly relied on God’s guidance, in more ways than one. Matthew, Mark, and Luke record Jesus praying for guidance in Gethsemane. The entire book of Numbers reminds us that God is our guide (admittedly, it’s not the most compelling read). In the scriptures God and Jesus are frequently referred to as shepherds for humanity. A shepherd, if nothing else, most assuredly provides guidance and safety for the flock. In Psalm 32 we are reminded that God will instruct us and teach us the way we should go, that God will counsel us with God’s eye upon us. In the Old Testament there are nine separate Hebrew terms for guidance, and in the New Testament scriptures there are three Greek terms.

Guidance is seemingly everywhere in the Bible, but there still remains a problem. Guidance from God can be a difficult thing to feel and to interpret. It can be difficult to understand. If you are like me you have never heard God’s voice spoken out loud to you. I do not have clear dreams of knowing what God is guiding me to do. But perhaps you have felt God’s guidance in some other way. Perhaps you have had that stirring deep in your heart, and known that God was somehow speaking to you. Perhaps you have gained wisdom from a friend, and known that God was leading you or guiding you through that person.

Guidance sometimes seems hard to come by in our world. How do we seek out God’s guidance in our lives today? I spend a significant amount of time praying for guidance, and subsequently giving thanks for guidance. When we pray, do we spend as much time listening as we do appealing? May we be reminded that if we don’t always know what God may be guiding us to do, whatever we do should be done in the interest of loving the people and the world around us.

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  • Lent in the Midst of COVID

    We’re in the church season of Lent, a time of journeying with Jesus as he makes his way to Jerusalem and to the cross.  In addition to Sunday worship services on YouTube we will be adding short mid-week Lenten devotions from Pastor Meg and myself (also available on YouTube).

     Last month Mary-Ann Muffoletto sent me a picture. She took a ‘screen shot’ of our most recent Zoom congregational meeting, and I’m thankful she thought to do this. This is the moment when we ordained and installed new elders and deacons to our church. This is usually a sacred moment of our worship together on Sunday mornings, a special time for those new deacons and elders and also for the congregation as these individuals step into leadership positions for us. We’re usually doing a “laying on of hands” at this moment, as we offer a prayer for these new officers. This last year Presbyterian churches around the country have doing this via Zoom, and here we are, lifting up our hands as a blessing for these church officers, as we lift them up to God in their new roles.

    The big thing on our mind in the church office and with Session is when will we be back in worship together? I don’t have an answer for you at the moment, but as more people receive vaccines and transmission rates continue to decrease in Utah and around the country, we get closer to that time. Two Session members have volunteered to work with Pastor Meg and myself on plans for when we get back into the building. Outdoor worship services in a park is also a possibility before we return to our church building. When we are back in the sanctuary and Bruner Hall together our plan is to record the service and make it available on YouTube for those who choose to continue worshiping from home.

    I want to close by sharing a few things with you about our building during this last year. You might think the building has been empty and unused, but I assure you this is not the case. While most of our activities have been put on hold, several things have been occurring in our building. Session approved Loaves & Fishes to serve take-away meals and that has been ongoing through much of the year. Additionally, numerous recovery programs (similar to AA) have been meeting throughout the year (for some people, being able to attend a sobriety meeting is a life and death matter). And finally, the Red Cross has been holding blood drives every month or so. Craig Mortensen passed along to me that Red Cross blood drives at FPC collected 490 units of blood in the last year. Most of these units even came from willing donors… (just kidding!). All of these activities have required people to wear masks and socially distance to prevent spread of COVID.

    It brings me great joy to think of how many people Loaves & Fishes has helped, how many people have continued their journeys of sobriety, and how many people were helped through blood donations in the last year. Each of these activities come with some risk of COVID transmission, but Session approved them because they are essential for certain members of our community. All of these happenings are possible because of the use of our church building. I thank all of you for your ongoing support of FPC Logan. I know we aren’t worshiping there, and many of us are anxious to be back in the sanctuary (I am too). Thank you for bearing with us and our cautious approach. Good things are indeed happening through use of our building and because of our collective journeys with Jesus Christ.

    Grace and peace be with you on your Lenten journey.

    Pastor Derek

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