"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit." Psalm 51:10-12
The over-arching theme for our community of faith this year is "Living a Generous Life". In the midst of that we are challenged by the realities of life as we "Face the Truth", and also consider our call to "Follow Jesus".
The realities? This is a complex world we live in, and often times we may feel pushed and pulled in all sorts of directions. Sometimes by things we choose to do, and sometimes by the vagaries of life itself. All that pushing and pulling, and wondering if we have enough time, energy and other resources to meet the demands placed on us may leave us fearful at the very least. We may feel like the disciples on the boat in the storm with Jesus, wondering if He can make things alright.
In the end Jesus did make things alright, but he also had a question for the disciples, "Why are you afraid?" They focused on the wind and waves instead of Jesus presence with them. So the question comes to us as well, "Why are you afraid?" What is it that we focus on?
Can we focus on "following Jesus"? Or do we over schedule ourselves so much that we find it impossible to focus on anything much? Is there ever enough of us to go around? I am already being generous enough, can I be still more generous?
There are many questions there. Questions that we can only answer individually. But the answers affect us as a whole. This letter is about us individually and as a whole at Shepherd of the Valley. It is about our financial pledges, our time and talent commitments, our prayerful support of this community of faith.
As we consider our commitments may we do so with the words of the Psalmist as a guide, that God would continue to "Create in us a ... willing spirit." May we not be guided by fears or demands, but by faith.
Commitment Sunday this year will be November 21st, which may seem like a long way off in some respects, but will be upon us soon. Please use the time to prayerfully consider what we are called to do.
Pastor Randy, Bob McFall, Diane Lewis, Larina Hoffbeck, Deb Mueller-Kruse, Terry Wagemann