Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Think About Such Things

So as I was leaving out of the sanctuary this afternoon my attention was drawn to a section near the doors containing various materials pertaining to the available ministries of the Church. I read through some of the flyers and then my attention was drawn to the upper room devotionals. Now understand I am in no short supply of reading/devotional material but was led to take one with the desire to follow along devotionally with the congregation.
As you may be learning we follow along in the Scriptures on Sundays together why shouldn't we be in sync the rest of the week? This isn't a necessity but it is amazing to stop and consider how God's Word-the same precise Word-is penetrating the mind and heart of God's people. Even more astounding is how this same Word for a multitude of people on the same day will have something in particular for each individual.
I prayerfully read and considered the text Philippians 4:8 (NIV) "Brothers and sisters whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Then I am challenged by the author of this devo. Delores Kight to focus on each of these virtues daily as the vices connected to them invade our thoughts and activities.

Monday: Whatever is True (think about such things)
Tuesday: Whatever is Noble (think about such things)
Wednesday:Whatever is right (think about such things)
Thursday: Whatever is pure (think about such things)
Friday: Whatever is lovely (think about such things)
Saturday: Whatever is admirable (think about such things)
Sunday: Whatever is praiseworthy (think about such things)

For me the idea and hope of a simple exercise as this is to allow the sanctifying work of the Spirit authority in my life, and i know that for me there's always work to be done. So may the "whatevers" in your life that's working against the virtuous calling in Christ be redeemed by the gracious work of His Spirit.

In Him with You
Pastor Brian

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Bit of my calling to ministry

Describing My call to ministry (Don’t miss yours)
   It is a joy to be able to share with you the most amazing thing in my life, that being a relationship with Jesus Christ and God’s call to a vocation of ministry. First and foremost “calling” as a disciple of Jesus Christ pertains to wherever and whatever one’s context may be with a focus toward being a disciple who in turn makes more disciples. “Calling is the truth that God calls to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion, dynamism, and direction lived out as a response to his summons and service.”[1]  
   This calling came to me as it has to all humanity, a calling to know God and to be in right relationship with God through the Son Jesus Christ and follow Christ’s way of living (my paraphrase of Romans 8:28-30). Calling in its purist form results in Christian Perfection, the goal of God’s grace. John Wesley described it as, “The loving of God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. This implies that no wrong temper, none contrary to love, remain in the soul; and that all the thoughts, words and actions, are governed by pure love.”[2] 
   I discern a specific call to a vocation of ministry. I answered God’s primary call when I surrendered my life wholly to Christ and the mission of the kingdom at the age of twenty-one, and haven’t turned back. I immediately pursed Christian education at Bible College[3] where I obtained a degree in education in hopes of teaching in the public school system. All the while I was sensing God’s call to ministry but felt too young and inexperienced. The inner witness of my spirit with God’s spirit and the church has since affirmed my calling; I know I am called to serve the church.
   Admittedly, I have rebelled and wrestled with my calling. I considered long and hard the possibilities of any other profession but none were as sweet and pleasing as a life of service in God’s church. My thoughts and plans always concern God and leading God’s people. My heart has been completely renovated toward a reorientation of desires leaving me with no other fulfilling option for life.
Licensing/Commissioning/Ordination at Fl Annual Conf  2014
with Faith, Abbey, and Rev. Bob Laidlaw (friend, mentor, and golf coach)  

   I began exploring my calling upon graduating college by serving the people and ministries of F.U.M.C, Madison as youth pastor. As this ministry began I immediately fell in love with ministering to people and knew this was my calling. Serving people on behalf of God brings me great honor and joy. Youth ministry was a great privilege and wonderful opportunity, one I committed fully to for twelve years. As the years went by, one day I just knew it was time to pursue seminary education and ordination to become a pastor. I thank God for Godly leaders and mentors who were instrumental in my discernment process. Seminary seemed on the surface to be an insurmountable goal, one that led me to place my predicament and family into God’s care. God had a plan the whole time and inspired the church to fully enable me to pursue a seminary education without the worry and added pressure of debt.  Youth ministry, serving others, my family, mentors, and seminary has been God’s affirmation of my calling revealing what I was created for and gifted to do.   
   I hope that my gifts could best be used in service to God through the ministries of The United Methodist Church.  This far my calling to a vocation of ministry has led me to serve Lee UMC in Madison, Fl. for two years and currently Druid Hills UMC in Ocala, Fl. My family and I couldn’t be more proud to be here in this great community with these folks! It has been amazing to see God's faithfulness each time we step out and trust God's lead. 
   Calling includes a humble submission to the forward movement of life with God. “It’s all about moving forward in that relationship, following wherever he leads us, as God’s child, as Christ’s partner, friend, disciple. In relationship with God through Christ, we can become our true selves. We discover that the more we are his, the more we are ourselves!”[4] Here I stand, in humble adoration, surrendering my all to God’s summons. 
   My hope is to faithfully live out my calling. If done well others will also discover and fulfill God’s call on their lives. This is my hope in sharing my calling with you, that you hear the whisper of God’s Spirit and allow Him to move you forward into the life you were created for. God has been, is, and will be on your side!   

God Bless, 
Pastor Brian Sanderson

[1] Guinness, Os. The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life. (Nashville; Thomas Nelson, 1998) P. 29.
[2] Wesley, John. A Plain Account of Christian Perfection. (Kansas; Beacon Hill Press, 1966) P. 51.
[3] The Baptist College of Florida, Graceville, Fl.
[4] Johnson, Reg. “The Call: Discerning Life’s True Purpose,” 2004. IS 502. Asbury, summer 2009. P.3.