Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
Marie Curie was the first woman to receive the Nobel prize for her work in physics. George Washington Carver was an innovator of agricultural science. Just like them, God gave you talents you can't imagine. He custom designed you for a one-of-a-kind assignment. Dig like a gold miner the unique-to-you nuggets, talents, and gifts from your life.
This past Sunday, Pastor Nathan preached on prayer becoming second nature to us. As I pondered his words, I wondered why I did not feel it came as second nature to me. I have always heard prayer defined as a conversation with God. We are taught that we ought to pray in a certain manner. I once heard a pastor share a mnemonic device on how to properly pray-ACTS: Adoration Confession Thanksgiving Supplication. Didn't really sound like a good flow of conversation to me. We are taught by Christ to follow His example, and pray as He taught in Matthew chapter 6...go into a closet (room), shut the door and pray in secret. Have some time with just you and Jesus. You don't need to use "showy" words or even a lot of words. Christ knows what we're asking for before we even get to it.
In early May, I and six other church members spent a week at the UMCOR Sager-Brown Depot in Baldwin Louisiana. I was accompanied by Joyce White, Kathy Helmer, Dawn Rice, Lisa Henson, Susanne Osborne, and Butch Chapman. This was the 12th year that JFUMC has sent a mission team and it was the 8th time I had made the trek south.
I imagine we've all heard those words many times over. Even if you are in your teenage years, you've likely grown accustomed to hearing the phrase on or around your birthday. Yet, the older I get, the more the birthdays I accumulate, and the more I hear Happy Birthday, the more it makes me think about my life. Often around my birthday, I begin to reflect upon the trajectory of my life. I think about where I've come from and where I am headed. I am often reminded of my childhood and the various places I grew up. I remember the blessings of friendships of the past as well as the circumstances of the past which have made me who I am today. But even more so, I begin to wonder what my future will hold. While I like to believe I have many years ahead of me, a passing birthday brings with it even a tinge of uncertainty as to the extent of my life. That's not to be fatalistic, but realistic. I'm not getting any younger (though I feel and know I'm still very young!