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8002 U. S. Highway 301 South, Riverview, FL  33578  813-677-5995
Mary Ann’s Pfister Faucet
My friend, Mary Ann, needed a new kitchen faucet.  Her old one, purchased 45 years ago, had begun to leak.  She  ordered a brand-new Pfister faucet online. When the package arrived, the faucet came with the following guarantee: “If properly installed, this faucet is guaranteed to last a lifetime.”

This reminded Mary Ann of all the manufacturer guarantees 
that she has heard down through the years. You know these by heart—will give you fresher breath, unparalleled driver satisfaction, the perfect night’s sleep. She has reserved her enthusiasm over these kinds of guarantees which are only as valid as the flawed people who give them.

Thinking about man’s guarantees led Mary Ann to start 
thinking about God’s promises. Has God ever given us 
reason to second-guess or to doubt him? Or has God 
promised us something that deserves or unwavering trust
and allegiance, and then backed it up with a guarantee?

Ephesians 1:12-14 describes the guarantee that most Christ followers agree on:  “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” (NKJV)

The letter to the Ephesians tells us that God has given us an inheritance—one that we shall fully enjoy when we stand  redeemed in heaven. Our guarantee of this inheritance is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit abides within each of us who have accepted Christ as our savior. The Holy Spirit assures us that we are members of God’s family and partakers of His heavenly inheritance.

Whenever our emotions lead us down the road of discouragement, whenever we feel like we’ve been forsaken and forgotten by our Lord, we need to rely on the promise that Ephesians gives us. We belong to God, we are loved by God, and we are entitled to every blessing and benefit from God. We have an ironclad guarantee that this is so—a guarantee that we can’t misplace, a guarantee that will not expire, and a guarantee that’s ever present in our hearts and will be until the hour we are with God in heaven.

Hear the good news from Paul:  “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not of human hands. We go weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these dying bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies wo that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee, he has given us his Holy Spirit.”  (2 Corinthians 5:1-5 NLT)
Navigating Uncertainty
May 2019 is filled with change and transitions. We have students graduating from local high schools and colleges. We announced new clergy leaving and coming to churches in our District. Families are experiencing transitions in light of births, deaths, illness, employment; financial, marital and spiritual changes are impacting lives daily. Even our denomination now finds itself in the midst of change and transition following recent General Conference and Judicial Council decisions.





















Transitions bring with them expected and unexpected emotions and actions. Wisdom is needed as we navigate. William Bridges, author of the book Transitions reminds us that every transition includes “the difficult process of letting go of an old situation, suffering the confusing nowhere of in-betweenness, and of launching forth again in a new situation”.

The Message translation of Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us of the importance of discernment related to the actions needed at this time.

A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

It is my prayer that we recall “God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time”. Let us seek to be helpful partners with God and people who are in the midst of the sometimes “confusing in betweenness” of change and transition. Remember: helpful people are non-anxious listeners, seekers of truth and the common good, courageous, trusting God and loving all of God’s people, following the example of Jesus.

We are On Mission Together,
Candace Lewis, District Superintendent
Gulf Central District