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God Brings Us HOPE

EFUMC is intentionally pressing into understanding and deepening our discipleship.

Sunday morning teaching is being built around the questions our community has regarding faith, the scripture, Jesus, being a United Methodist, anything that will help us become better disciples of Jesus and have a more intimate relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Being a believer, a disciple, isn’t always easy. Life can come at us in ways that knock the breath from us. That’s just life. How we handle that is tied up with our discipleship. Leaning into hope and helping others see God’s goodness and presence during these times is vital to healthy discipleship. The verse at the top of this newsletter was the verse I wrote our Christmas morning devotional around. I’ve kept that little card on my desk since December of 2022. It feels like my own words come back to me all the time since then: In these four words, you have the assurance that you are never alone. In these four words you have the most costly

expression of God’s-love for you and valuation of your worth. The gift of Emmanuel means that no matter how dark, how uncertain, or fearful our circumstances may seem, there is HOPE. Hope is the light that shines in the darkness that will not, cannot, be extinguished.

I won’t pretend that the last 8 or so months haven’t been hard, painful even. They have been dark, uncertain, and I have been fearful. To pretend otherwise would diminish God’s faithfulness and my own discipleship. And while there just seems to be one Goliath sized trauma after the next, and while I often feel out of sorts and unable to process, I know this: I am not alone. God is with me. No matter how I “feel” my ever-deepening discipleship teaches me, allows me, to walk the dark, uncertain, frightening path in front of me with grace and courage if not confidence. I feel God’s presence around me, God’s Spirit comforting me, as I alternately weep and rage. I hear God singing over me. And in those times when I don’t, God’s people, the church, YOU, are with me. You, being the tangible expression of God’s holy presence. That is part of YOUR ever-deepening discipleship. To learn how to walk with the brokenhearted, to learn how to sit and offer comfort, to pray for God’s power and wisdom when we don’t know what or how to pray. Together, we look for the good God is doing

without platitudes or pretense. Together we are honest and authentic about a hard painful season that we will someday see redeemed.

Seeking Deeper Discipleship

Pastor Michelle

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