A New Year’s Vision

Dear Friedens Folks,
I’m happy to be writing to you at the start of the New Year. While the pandemic,
political, and racial concerns still dot our horizon, what are you looking to
accomplish in this New Year? One of the items on my to-do list is I want to invest
significant time in spiritual growth. I believe the best way we fight the forces that
would drag us down is to develop an indomitable spirit. Spirit makes it so when
we get knocked down, we get back up again. When our spirit is intentionally linked with God’s Spirit, we
keep getting back up. But that kind of spiritual strength does not come through wishing it. Strength like this
develops as we exercise our faith in new ways. If you would like to be part of a spiritual fitness program, stop
what you are doing—text, email, call, or otherwise message me. Let me add you to my list.
If Jesus at times seems far away, please consider this: Sometimes we can be so preoccupied in our thoughts
we see people, but we don’t see people. I was in the grocery store and saw a friend. I could tell he was deep
in thought. He looked right at me but did not say hi. It wasn’t until I interrupted his train of thought with a
cheerful, “Hi, Tom,” that he finally shook himself awake to my (literally) standing right in front of him.
“Bill,” he said, “I never saw you.”
Folks, Jesus is always standing right in front of us. We can be so preoccupied with our concerns we don’t see
him. Let’s learn, together, how to interrupt our train of thought so we can not only see him, but celebrate his
presence with us.
Happy New Year!

Pastor Bill

a new year

I’m turning on my inner nerd for a minute. I like the Marvel Comics Universe (MCU)
and all the movies they have produced. Perhaps my favorite is Thor: Ragnarok. As I was
thinking about what’s on my heart, and considering what might be on your heart, I
remember a scene from the movie. Thor, the hero, has just been imprisoned when he says
to Korg, a fellow prisoner, “This doesn’t make sense.” Korg says, “The only thing that
makes sense is that nothing makes sense!”
Perhaps you find yourself with Thor’s sense of disequilibrium about living life right now.
Perhaps you also really relate to Korg’s observation that “nothing makes sense!” Maybe life feels like you are on a
treadmill, but all the controls are broken. Abrupt starts, quick stops, too fast, too slow—nothing is predictable. Life
doesn’t make sense. Then a Korg-like person in your life says, “The only thing that makes sense is that nothing makes
sense!” Is that really what you want to hear?!?
Friends, there is a lot about living life that doesn’t make sense. So how about we ease upon ourselves. Instead of trying
to make sense of what’s going on, let’s lean into our Lord so that he might show us how to help. Rather than be
overwhelmed by the magnitude of our problems, we look for opportunities to make a difference, even if it’s just a small
difference. That small difference you just made might be the cup of cold water that truly refreshes another person’s soul.
And, truth be told, going and doing something to help another person in the name and Spirit of Jesus is the best way to
spend our time waiting for life to get back to some sense of normal.
Friends, thank you for being there for me. Know I am here for you. If it’s been too long since we talked, call me, or
email me, or text me. I’d love to spend a moment with you so that we might encourage each other. If life is not making
sense, let’s help each other, or let’s help someone in the name of our Lord. It’s surprising how much better-focused life
feels after being with him.

Pastor Bill

lean into god

Are you a Reformer at heart? A Reformer has love and passion for the traditions
of the past that honor God and gives life to the masses. A Reformer has deep
values grounded in God’s Word. These values serve as the motivation for what
they say, how they act, and who they are. A Reformer recognizes hypocrisy and
fights with undaunted determination to make corrections that steer toward the
mission of helping neighbors encounter the living Lord. A Reformer recognizes
the times and boldly uses whatever means are necessary to offer the Good News in
a language and media that most will understand. A Reformer looks to be transformed as they work toward the
transformation of the prevailing culture. A Reformer will do whatever it takes to connect God’s love to a real
Jesus Christ was a Reformer. The Apostle Paul was a Reformer. Martin Luther was a Reformer. How about
This month we will be celebrating the transformations God causes in our lives as we move from religion to
relationship, practice getting over worry, learn to choose God first and celebrate the best of our Reformation
Are you a Reformer at heart? Whether you are watching online or here in person, come find out as we journey
together through God’s Word each Sunday.

Pastor Bill

reformed heart

Friends, thank you for taking a moment to stop and read and grow. I, like many of you, am doing my best with all of the adjustments we’ve had to make because of
all of the unrest. If I let myself drift apart from the Lord, I am grumpy, impatient, and frustrated. Work becomes drudgery. Play becomes repetitious. And rest
becomes fitful. If I let myself drift apart from the Lord…

That’s the key to it all. When I am drifting more deeply into the Lord, I am happier, patient, and peaceful. Work becomes creative. Play becomes inspirational. And rest is peaceful.

Friends, when I am intentional about fostering my relationship with Jesus, he shares his spirit with me. As his spirit lives inside of me, my perspective changes causing a deeper, mature approach to the unrest around me. I find I am more confident in myself because I have been in conversation with Jesus who assures me and provides for me and shows me how much he cares. The same can be true for you. Do not let yourself drift from the Lord. Drift into the Lord and see what his spirit awakens in you.

Pastor Bill

drift to God

Success in Faithful Living sermon notes

Some key elements in faithful living according to Jesus in Luke 9:51-62

  • Have a clearly defined purpose (v. 51)

  • 1. a. Define what God wants you do.

    (After 40 days, Jesus knew)

    b. Determine what you are willing to give.

    (Jesus knew it would cost his life.)

    c. Establish a definite date when it will be done. Create a plan and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put it into action.

    (Jesus had a clear plan beginning with his baptism and the call of his first disciples.)

    d. Write out a clear concise statement of what God wants you to do, what you’ll give, the time frame, and your plan.

    e. Go over this plan every morning and evening allowing yourself to both feel and believe you already are doing. (Jesus prayed in evenings and mornings.)

    f. Believe it will happen and let yourself imagine what your life will look like when it is happening.  (Jesus called this praying and believing you have already received it.)

    2. Learn to let go and move on. (v. 56)

    3. Eliminate distractions. (v. 58)

    4. Give up excuses. (vs. 60,62)

    successful living

    Jesus says, just as I have loved you, you should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have a love for one another.

    For most of us, June marks the start of the summer season. Our youth get out of school. We get out of the house off on vacations to the beach or the mountains or to see relatives or to places we’ve never been. We look forward to fresh corn, tomatoes, melons, squash, beans, peppers, and other vegetables. We fire up the grill or stoke a fire in the pit to serve up meats kissed with our favorite smokes—mesquite, oak, hickory, cherry, and apple woods. We have many opportunities to show love like Jesus is talking about.

    To love like Jesus is to invest in those around you wherever you are, whenever you are with them. On vacation, will we venture to strike up a meaningful conversation with that parent who looks like they are struggling? Will we share the produce of our gardens with that neighbor who is living off food stamps? Will we invite those we don’t know well to our backyard parties so that we might get to know them? There are so many ways we can love like Jesus.

    How about us as a church? As we make plans for the summer and for the fall, how can Friedens show the people of Gibsonville that we care about them—that Jesus cares about them? I’d like to invite you to look around, dream a little, and share with me your ideas how we can reach out to the people of Gibsonville. You can text me or leave a voice mail message at 336-693-7000. I’ll look forward to hearing your ideas. May we not only kick off the start of the summer season, may we also kick off the start of showing and sharing Jesus’ love in a fresh, new way.

    Pastor Bill
    make a difference