Many of us, struggling with the pressures of contemporary life, have bought into the myth that “quality time” is more important than quantities of time. But it has been our personal experience that the most truly significant times we spent with our children growing up occurred spontaneously. These significant events arose during unplanned moments—times when we just happened to be available to provide guidance, support, and love. Our experience is that “quality time” grows out of “quantities of time” dedicated to our children’s lives.

Of course, when we spend time with our children, we need to keep in mind that we are their parents and not their pals. Our children may have plenty of friends, but they have been given only one set of parents to nurture and train them. God’s design is for us to love our children unconditionally and to lead them intentionally.

Ephesians 6:4 says “do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” This indicates that we are to provide both “nurture” and “admonition”. Both ingredients are equally needed. Without nurture (love) we are in jeopardy of raising angry, frustrated children. Without admonition (discipline), they are likely to become spoiled brats.

A book that we found to be tremendously practical and helpful in understanding how to balance love and discipline is How to Really Love Your Child by Dr. Ross Campbell. Dr. Campbell identifies four aspects of parenting that are crucial for a child to fell loved. These eye contact, physical touch, focused attention, and discipline. We highly recommend this book.
Gwen and Ed Diaz
71:17 Ministries

God’s Plan for a Hurting World
Turmoil, unrest, and riots, seem to be occurring in every corner of our world today. If we dare comment on such things, we are bullied into taking an extreme position. We are pushed into positions of black or white and there is no tolerance for gray. We are urged to not only hate a position, but to hate the person holding the position. It’s hard to find an unbiased source of information that just report the facts and events without espousing positions on what’s right and wrong in our world.

Despite this rancor and division, we are called to establish sustainable relationships with men who want answers to questions which will help establish secular or biblical worldviews. We need to offer prayer and love as an antidote to this hate mongering.

We preach a God-breathed love that is offered without condition, requirements, or borders. This love provides grace and forgiveness instead of the hate that manifests itself in judgement and revenge. This love can overcome the crippling disdain that exists for anyone who thinks, looks, or acts differently than us.

The beauty of the timeless master plan of God is that He makes His love available through the Trinity at all times, for all people and without conditions. All we have to do is seek and believe.

Jesus came to all the world as a source of empowering and sacrificial love. Jesus brought into our world the light that can take away all darkness through the power of a loving, personal relationship with Him. 

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. (John 1:1-5)

Jesus fulfilled His earthly mission of teaching us to seek and save the lost, to live and transform as His disciples and to love God and others. While we were still sinners, Jesus sacrificed Himself as an act that provided the forgiveness that through Him a bridge exists for us to connect to the Father. By first following Jesus, we can serve and become His disciples to become disciple-makers as we love and influence others in His way.

Prior to His ascension, Jesus assured us the Spirit of God would take His place to love us, guide us, and direct us in being His church.

“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Through this sanctifying love of seeking to be like Christ, we can be equipped, coached, and mentored through our relationship with the Holy Spirit.

We are called to be change agents. As men committed to do ministry with other men and their families, we must seek to become the calming voice that reaches above the fray of all the hate and judgement that exists in our world today. While we seek to minister to others through loving, transformative relationships our charge will be to help them grow in their daily focus on God, the Creator; Jesus, our Savior and Lord; and through the Holy Spirit.

As servant leaders, we should seek to gather men wherever they are in their faith journeys and share the news of the unconditional, sacrificial, and sanctifying love known through the Trinity. In doing this we can become the men God is calling us to be in the building and serving of His kingdom.

Jim Boesch, Deployed Staff Member
General Commission on UM Men

Pastors Message
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Fresh Beginnings
The post-Easter season is a great time to start a new and fresh beginning with our Lord Jesus. As Christ-followers, we ever desire a closer relationship with God. Whatever our experiences have been since Easter can be that which motivates and inspires us to give ourselves fully and completely to Him in this season of our lives. So, let’s consider a fresh opportunity to get back to the basics of our faith.

Fall in Love with Jesus.  To have a close, abiding and personal relation with the Lord Jesus, it’s essential that we truly and genuinely fall in love and stay in love with Him. We need to really get to know Him, appreciate Him, and honor Him every day of our lives. We need to ask our Lord to renew our love for Him, and to give us a deep longing for Him in our worship, service, and witness. Let’s encourage on another to “Love the Lord our God with all our hears, souls, minds and strength.”

Spend Time with Jesus. We need to spend time with the one we love. There is no substitute for quality time spent alone with Jesus, free from interruptions and distractions. By spending time in the morning with Him before we get involved with the business and affairs of our day, we can experience his fellowship is a real and intense way. It’s only through being in touch with Jesus that we will know Him, grow in our relationship with Him, and grow stronger in our walk of faith. “Be still and know that I am God.”

The Bible is Our Spiritual Food.  In Jeremiah 15:16, the prophet said, “Your words were found and I ate them, and Your Word became to me the gladness and joy of my heart.” We must daily come to the Word of God hungry to taste, enjoy, and be nourished. We do not live on food alone, but by every Word that comes to us from God.

Come to Christ in the Word.  When we come to the Bible only for knowledge and guidance, it’s very possible to “miss” the Lord. When we come to the Bible, we must come to contact the Lord himself and turn our heart back to Him. We should not separate the Word from Christ, but instead find the Lord within His Word. As we seek and find Jesus in the Word, we can talk to him about what we are reading. As we do so, His light in the word will shine brightly upon us!

Read God’s Word with Prayer.  John Wesley advised, “For all reading should be joined with meditation and prayer. Read a little, pray and meditate much.” There is a vital connection between the Word and prayer that is one of the simplest early lessons of our Christian life. Our time with the Lord should be filled with conversational praying and audible reading of scripture. As we read, we can pray over the word, even using it as our prayer. In this way, speaking the scripture becomes our prayer and reading it becomes our listening to Him.

In the days ahead, we can all have a “fresh beginning” with the Lord. We can grow a personal relationship with Him by spending quality time with him. May we learn how to nourish ourselves in his word ever more deeply and renew our love for Him. Our active and genuine relationship with Him will enable us to live a life of faith, grace and victory that will bring our Savior honor, glory, and praise!

In His Service and Love,
Pastor Merritt

No Shortcut to Child Rearing

We all want to raise children who will not only succeed as adults, but people who will make a positive impact on the world they live in. But there is no shortcut in achieving these goals: we are required to spend a lot of our time with our children to make those things happen. In Deuteronomy 6:6-9, the Old Testament writer insists that we make God our ultimate priority, and that we bring our children up to love Him and learn His Word.

We need to make a conscious effort to be involved in children’s growth and development. This means that

  • We must spend quite a bit of time in teaching and training our own children in the faith—instead of leaving their understanding of God up to others.

  • When we are at home, we must make every effort to be in the same room with our children, willing to carry out meaningful conversations with them—instead of each person becoming involved in their own social media outlets.

  • We must participate in meaningful activities together outside of the home—instead of always scattering in different directions for individual activities.

  • We must be present as our children get ready for bed and be available as soon as they wake up—directing their hearts towards God.

  • We must make our home known in the neighborhood as a place that honors God.