CONNECT & ENCOURAGE & THRIVE

But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted?  And how can they hear if nobody tells them?  And how is anyone going to tell them unless someone is sent to do it?  Romans 10:14 (MSG)

Words from our DS Anita Hahn

So put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander.  Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation for you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.  (1 Peter 2:9) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people or God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the wonderful deeds of the God who has called you out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:1-3

In my own, personal faith walk, I have wondered what would happen if I put the words to “The Summons,” (page 2130, Faith We Sing, John Bell) into practice?

The first verse says, “Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?  Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?  Will you let my love be shown, will you let my name be known, will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?”

 Six years ago, God called my name and asked me to be a District Superintendent.  The voice on the other end of the phone sounded like Bishop Keaton, but the voice in my soul was God.  I was scared and overwhelmed, but I knew it was where God was calling me to serve.  After attending Annual Conference this year I came home thinking—I’ve been a District Superintendent for 6 years—I should have my act together, and every day I still wonder, “Why did God call me?  How can I serve more effectively?”  The question at the bottom of my heart is, “How can I live into this role so that the “Body of Christ,” the local church, will gain strength and keep leading us into transforming the world for Jesus Christ?”  Gracious God, I long to make a difference!

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?  God has called me (I’m still humbled).  God has called you (Praise GOD!)!   Thank you for taking steps to walk into new and tough places of ministry.  Thank you for not accepting easy answers and being willing to ask the tough questions so that you can hear God’s leading rather than simply doing “easy tasks.”

Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?  My initial question as we step into creating a new Conference is “what can we do new?”  I love change (I think).  But what scares me the most is that we will change everything—and not be any more effective?  Who is God calling us to reach—do we know their names?  And in meeting persons, needs, the longings; will we allow ourselves to be forever changed?  (Go to news.michiganumc.org and sign up to receive MIConnect every Wednesday to see how the United Methodist Church is transforming Michigan and the World–it makes me proud!)  I am grateful that transforming the world is not up to me-but that there are many gifted and talented persons who have said YES to God’s call and that we are seeking to walk and live as Christ has invited-in unity! Together!

Will you let Jesus grow in you and will you grow in Jesus?  I wish there were easy answers in the days ahead as we seek to witness to the love that Jesus has poured upon us.  Reality is-the walk of faith that Jesus has called us to is exactly that-a walk of faith!  And by God’s grace, with our eyes on God’s great mercy and love—we will grow in our effectiveness so that others too will meet Jesus—know the same forgiveness and grace that we have encountered and be allowed to realize that he/she too has been created by God—beloved and blessed!

 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.  Philippians 2:1-2

Grace and Peace!

Anita K. Hahn