Granbury First UMC Blog Posts

I Give Up

“I Give Up” On December 31, 1999, I was living the good life and was in control of every aspect of my life.  I was the Vice President of Operations for an up and coming homebuilding company married with a seven year old boy and had just moved into my dream home.  I took my family to Las Vegas to celebrate New Year’s Eve. My life was turning out to be exactly what I had wanted. Then came New Year’s Day, 2000.  Though the world didn’t end, as some had expected, my world began a spiral out of control.  My then wife told me she wanted a divorce but that she thought it best that our son live with me.  Living on only one income, a few months later, we had to move out of my dream home. For the next couple of years I was a single dad trying to keep my head above water.  Then I was told my services were no longer needed at the company that I helped start. What happened to all that control? After a couple of years, things began to turn around.  We moved down to Central Texas, I wound up working for another homebuilder, again as Vice President of Operations, met a wonderful lady and began dating.  Three years later we were married. I was, once again, in control of my life. Then, in late 2008 and early 2009, things began to spiral out of control…AGAIN!  The homebuilding industry was crashing, along with many of the nations banking industry.  The homebuilder I was working for virtually stopped selling houses because no one was buying them.  Once again, with a family of four to help support, I lost my job. Life is like that.  We, all too often, think we have control over our lives only to find that the control we have can be taken away in the blink of an eye.  Fortunately, at least for Christians, we have hope in the knowledge that God is ultimately in control. This Wednesday, March 6th, begins the Christian season of Lent.  Lent is a season leading up to Easter Sunday in which Christians spend time in self-examination and reflection of their spiritual lives and on our relationship with God, how much we rely on him and how he always comes through for us.  Many of us choose to give something up for Lent or take on a new practice that draws us closer to God. In our church we begin the season of Lent with an Ash Wednesday worship service.  I’d like to invite you all to begin your Lenten journey with us this Wednesday, March 6th, at 6:30 PM, as we begin to focus on our relationship with God. I’d also like to invite you to worship this Sunday as we begin a new series of messages, “Give it Up!” In Christ, Pastor Scott Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33, CEB)

Pastor’s Pen

Pastor’s Pen “Opening Up the Shut Down”
January 23rd

Since our government leaders seem unable to solve the nation’s current crisis, perhaps we ought to look to scripture to help us discern how they, and we, ought to respond.

The U.S. government shutdown over lack of funding has now entered its second month; and the nasty, vitriolic war of words between President Trump and leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives has continued. The latest point of contention is over differing ideologies regarding national security.   President Trump and most Republican senators and representatives argue that building a wall between the U.S. southern border and Mexico is essential to secure our nation from threats from the south while Democratic leaders argue a border wall sends the wrong message to the rest of the world and that the impact of the wall would have minimal effect on our overall national security.   As for public opinion, no one seems to be winning. At this point, the president, the Senate and the House all have approval ratings lower than 50 percent.   While there are no winners at the moment in this conflict, the American public overwhelmingly, and rightfully, believes that it is the loser as politicians continue to bicker and refuse to reasonably meet to discuss solutions to the crisis. The shutdown of nonessential government programs has led to widespread frustration across all political ideologies.
During the last federal government shutdown in 2013, George Friedman, founder and chairman of Stratfor, astutely noted; “Each faction is deeply committed to its beliefs, and feels it would be corrupt to abandon them.  Even if it means closing the government, even if it means defaulting on debt, ideology is a demanding mistress who permits no other lovers.”
As ancient Israel departed from God’s way, God inspired the prophet Isaiah to write: “They don’t know the way of peace; there’s no justice in their paths. They make their roads crooked; no one who walks in them knows peace.” (Isaiah 59:8). The “something” that Friedman refers to that could be done to help the U.S. is for its politicians to practice “the way of peace.”   The first step would be for them to begin leading the nation by their example and begin showing respect for each other—despite their differing ideologies. The Bible teaches it is each person’s individual responsibility to pursue peaceful relations with others (Romans 12:18).   
Perhaps we ought to contact our senators, representatives, and even the president and let them know that we expect and insist on a certain level of respect and peace in the way they treat one another as they debate their ideologies.
Perhaps we can set the example for them!  Perhaps we can treat others, particularly those with whom we disagree with respect and peace.  Who knows, doing so may just open them up to listening to our perspective as well.

In Christ, Pastor Scott If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people.”    (Romans 12:18, CEB)