Paxton United Methodist Church

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Christ

I've been thinking a lot in recent weeks about the blessings which God provides. They come in so many sizes, shapes, and packages. Oddly, the event that caused me to start thinking more intentionally about my blessings was a sudden encounter with a quite fierce "dust devil" (- those strong, well-formed, and relatively long-lived whirlwinds that we chased as children.) This one was particularly defined and was juggling a huge number leaves, flowers, and twigs that it had picked up in its travels. Suddenly, the energy broke and the items came floating down until they were at rest on the ground ahead of me.

As I looked at each item rocking gently in the light breeze, they each seemed to be at rest-content to have found a place of rest and were not at all fearful that they might again be picked up and tossed about with such force. Perhaps it is because of the nature of our summer that the idea of relief from the whirlwind brought peace to me. Certainly the chaos of moving, starting ministry with a new congregation, the need to learn so many new things in such a short time, and the added time and energy expended on just getting settled into a new community with a whole new set of service providers and places of business is fix-in's for a whirlwind. Add to that a new grandson, a couple of weddings, and attending to the needs of our family. Well, you get the idea!

I suspect that you too have experienced the makings of the whirlwind in the busyness of your schedule and life issues, job demands, new schools, extracurricular activities and interests...the list goes on. I've heard older family members talk about how life is just too rushed. They comment...families don't seem to have time to even sit down and eat together, worship has become just one of many things to be fit into our busy schedules, jobs possess us, hobbies consume us, and ... Well, you get the idea! What's scary is that I am beginning to lament these same things. Is it because I am just becoming older (let's say more mature!), or, is this something we all see in our lives regardless of our age? Try not to examine someone else's situation, but look at your own life. What do you see? Are you so consumed by busyness that you miss seeing your blessings?

As I have begun to take note of my blessing with more intentionality I find a higher level of peace and a clearer focus upon priority and purpose. As I begin to "count my blessings", I find greater joy in the people around me. As we come together in community, I recognize the many gifts and graces, as well as, the strengths and goodness of those around me. When I begin, as they say, "to stop and smell the roses" the awareness of just how blessed I am seems to multiply. Are you blessed? Can you count your blessings? Who in your life is blessing you right now? Who has been a true blessing to you for a long time?

The tune and words of an old worship favorite, "Count Your Blessings" by Johnson Oatman have been a regular part of my devotion time as I consider what God has and is doing. You can find it on page 2 of this months Circuit Rider. Perhaps it will invite you to consider just how blessed you are.

Someone writing in The Upper Room a few years ago told of a school-days experience when the music teacher drew a profusion of black dots on a white sheet of paper. None of the pupils could make anything of them. Then the teacher drew a few connecting lines, put in a few rests, and a clef at the beginning. It was then seen that the black dots took the form of a musical score. On sounding the notes, the pupils found themselves singing The Doxology: "Praise God from whom all Blessings flow ..."

In worship... we can connect life's disconnected dots. Daily living is made up of a little of this and a little of that, small events and brief moments that occur now and then along the way. And often it is difficult for us to see that these have any meaning, or, if so, what the meaning is.

In worship we seek a God's-eye view of what we are; we seek to see ourselves as we are seen by him. This is to see our life in perspective and entire - not as a meaningless scattering of random dots on a blank page, but as a musical score that sings "Praise God from whom all Blessings flow ..." Then each new day of living, each common task, becomes simply another note in this one majestic song.

1 Thessalonians 5:18, says, "Give Thanks in every situation, because this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (CEB)

Let us then count our many blessings and give praise to God from whom these blessings come!

-- Grace and Peace!
Pastor Stephen King


8:00 AM Early Worship
9:00 AM Fellowship Time
9:15 AM Sunday School
10:30 AM Late Worship

Paxton First United Methodist Church :: 217.379.3817 :: 523 Design