Grace, peace, and mercy from God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
What makes the bible so special? Why is it that every time I feel just a little out of sorts, I open God’s word and it speaks directly to me? Why is it that when things are not making sense and confusion is rampant, I step back, take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and ask God for some help, help comes – not always exactly when I want it, but, as I am patient, it does arrive. I believe the answer to all these and many more questions is that the God we serve is an incredible encourager!
To help think through this, I began recalling many of the biblical stories from God’s walking with Adam to the words given to John in Revelation. God encourages his people through his word; through answered prayer (I don’t always like to hear “no” – but – that is an answer); through other people both godly and ungodly; and through whatever method God knows will get our attention! God is the quintessential encourager!
So what makes our ministry together so different, dynamic, and life giving? Encouragement! Think about the encouragement we give those we invite to attend a weekend. Think about the encouragement people receive during the weekend: People I barely knew were demonstrating God’s love to me within minutes of arriving at the retreat location. Think about the encouragement we receive during our weekly or biweekly small group gatherings. Think abut our regular gatherings as a larger group, the things we call Ultreya’s – where the meaning of the word is: “Onward.” How rich is our encouragement to one another? How rich is God’s encouragement to us through his creation, his word, and his coming to this earth to reestablish relationship with not only us but all of creation!
To God be the glory! May you continue to be encouraged by the living God – and – may his name continually be a blessing to all that read this musing and God’s word!
In Christ –
I respectfully request your prayers and those of your Secretariat as the NLS Executive Committee meets in two weeks (January 27 – 29) to finalize plans the 2013 NLS Annual Meeting and the various aspects regarding the integration of an Executive Director. With respect to the latter, our goal is for the necessary draft documents to be in your hands as quickly as possible after our meeting to provide your and your Secretariat an opportunity for input and questions. We will vote on the final documents during our Annual Meeting, July 25 – 28, 2013, in Florida. Please make plans for your Secretariat to be represented at this meeting.
I also respectfully request your prayers for God to guide us in electing our leaders at our 2013 NLS Annual Meeting. As you may know, we elect half of the NLS officers each year: President, Vice President – Outreach, and Secretary in the odd numbered years with Vice President – Administration, Spiritual Director, and Treasurer in the even numbered years. Steve Gielda, our current VP – Outreach is term limited and a replacement is needed. Magdala Ray our current Secretary is not term limited but has requested her name not be entered into nomination. I am the current President and am willing to continue in that position for another term. If there are people in your Secretariat who would like to serve, please have them contact Carolyn Hawkins, our VP – Administration. If you know someone within the Via de Cristo community that you believe could serve in any of these roles, please begin the conversation with them and Carolyn. I can tell you without any reservation serving this community as an Officer is both humbling and rewarding.
At the beginning of a new year, many people look back at what they accomplished, what opportunities did they miss and what their plans are going forward. Many people evaluate where they are in their lives and begin to establish New Year resolutions. I think New Year resolutions are good as long as you develop a plan to stick with the resolution and make the change. Stepping back and looking at ourselves from many different perspectives is a good thing. At the beginning of a new year many people establish goals of wanting improve themselves by losing weight, quitting smoking, reading the bible, spending more time with family, being more discipline with finances, etc… Not many will argue that these are not good ideas. We know what is healthy for us and what’s not, yet we still fall into our sinful self and avoid focusing on the fundamentals of what God has called us to do.
As many of you know, one of my goals for this year is to help each Via de Cristo Secretariat and their communities to get back to the fundamentals and essentials we know are good for us. Many of us have strayed away from our core mission of building and strengthening our Fourth Day communities and put too much focus on just hosting weekends. Therefore, with the help of our Regional Coordinators we have developed a ½ day workshop titled; Rediscover & Recommit. This half-day workshop will be rolled out in each Region in the spring of 2013. We will encourage multiple communities within a Region to come together and participate in this workshop sharing ideas from across Secretariats. We have a talented group of Regional Coordinators that have a vast amount of experience in Via de Cristo. To help cross-pollinate ideas we will most likely have a Regional Coordinator from another Region come facilitate your Regions workshop.
Your Regional Coordinator will contact you to identify a set of dates that will work best for the multiple communities in your Region. We encourage you to get your ENTIRE community together, NOT just your Secretariat leaders. We are hoping to have hundreds of people from across your Region come to the ½ day workshop to share ideas and Rediscover & Recommit themselves personally to what was shared with each of us on Sunday afternoon of our weekend…The Christ is Counting on YOU…and whom or what are you counting on?
God loves you and so do I,