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Wait Patiently

Dear Garland Church Family  

At staff meeting this week,  as we usually do, we spent the first 30—45 minutes in a time of devotion and focus.  My usual goal is to help us align our plans and efforts around what God is doing in our lives, to renew our trust in how he would have us to lead.  This past Wednesday connect time was rich as usual...

First, we spent a time of prayerful listening to Psalm 27: “The Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?”  “Hear me as I pray, O Lord.      Be merciful and answer me!  My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’  And my heart responds, ‘Lord,      I am coming.’”  “Teach me how to live, O Lord.  Lead me along the right path.”          These words flow from a deeper space, helping those to pray them get real about their desire for God.  It was helpful to us, too.  Finally, we settled on the last verse:

“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”

Psalm 27:14

The farther up and the farther in I get into knowing the Lord, the more I have become willing to accept the profound realities of the inner life with God.  I’m less and less satisfied with complicated theologies, oversimplified religious maxims and the saccharine pat answers advocated by the Christian sub-culture operating around us.  In contrast, I’m finding myself more compelled by God to meet him in solitude and     silence, allowing him to deconstruct my sin and put me back together according to his life-giving Word.  And in so doing, I’m finding myself more able to wait...to wait for heaven to come down and for glory to fill my soul...to wait for his visions and dreams to settle into my heart and become my visions and dreams...to wait for the Lord.

It takes profound bravery and courage to wait patiently.  Everything in us (me) wants to fix things pronto and get action, like, yesterday.  And indeed, many times God calls us to action and we are still intent to sit on the couch and do nothing.  But most of the time, I think God is indeed calling us to WAIT.  To patiently call on him morning, noon and night, and wait for Him to do the thing.  Lord have mercy, this can be so hard!

May God grant us His grace, his bravery, his courage, to wait patiently for the Lord.

For Christ and His Church...Pastor Rod

 

Darcy Stockdill
My Favorite Candidate

Dear Garland Church Family,

I’m writing this on Wednesday morning, the day after our national elections and…old news by the time you read this…Donald Trump has been declared our President-elect.  Amy and I watched the election coverage on Tuesday evening, flipping around between the four major news outlets whenever they annoyed us.  And now this morning, there’s more of the same: over-the-top excitement that this candidate won or that issue got passed, or deep-in-the-dungeon despair that this other candidate lost or that initiative got voted down.  I care about these matters too, but for me, the sun has neither risen in any truly fresh new way nor has the sky fallen.  It’s not just a cliché for me to say—and live—as though I believe God is above all of this.

And so this morning as I met with the Lord for morning prayer, my eyes caught Psalm 146. I read it with interest and share it with you to contend with either your joys or your fears as they relate to whomever just got elected or whatever just got passed:

Praise the Lord!
Let all that I am praise the Lord.
I will praise the Lord as long as I live.
I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.
Don’t put your confidence in powerful people;
there is no help for you there.
When they breathe their last, they return to the earth,
and all their plans die with them.
But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper,
whose hope is in the Lord their God…
He made heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them.
He keeps every promise forever.
He gives justice to the oppressed
and food to the hungry.
The Lord frees the prisoners.
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.
The Lord loves the godly.
The Lord protects the foreigners among us.
He cares for the orphans and widows,
but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.
The Lord will reign forever.
He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations.
Praise the Lord!

The Lord is MY favorite candidate!  He is powerful and trustworthy beyond measure!

May the Lord grant us his grace to our nation in this time of transition…Pastor Rod

Darcy Stockdill