Midweek Reflections

“Dream Big”

This Weeks Meditation:  “Dream Big”

Read: Luke 1:26-38

This past weekend in Augusta, Georgia another green jacket was awarded to the winner of “The Masters,” one of the most coveted trophies in all of golf.  The winner was Bubba Watson who won on the second playoff hole with a dramatic 40 foot hooking shot out of the woods and to within 15 feet of the cup.

Bubba is a very likable high strung young man who follows Christ and is even more excited about his 1 month old adopted son than he was about winning the green jacket. In the Butler Cabin as he was receiving his green jacket Jim Nantz asked him to comment on the moment.  His comment was memorable, he paused and said, “I’m not sure, I never got this far in my dream.”
When I heard that I was reminded of the verse in Luke 1:37 where the angel tells Mary, “Nothing is impossible with God.”  Not even the birth of God’s Son to a young virgin. Not even the dreams that you have for you and your family.

Sometimes I think we let the impossible get in the way of the big dreams that God places within us.  We think in human terms instead of spiritual terms.  God may not provide everything or anything we ask for (and often that is good) but we must never doubt God’s ability to do the unimaginable.

When my wife and I were first married we put this short verse on our checks so that each time we opened our checkbook we would be reminded of this truth.  20 years later it is still there. It is a constant reminder to dream big and let God do his thing.

I wish Bubba Watson and his wife the best!  I am glad for him that the past three weeks have gone way past anything he dreamed was possible.  But I have a feeling his dreams just might get a little bit bigger now that he has seen how God works in our world.

Mary asked the angel, “How will this be?”  We often ask that question about many things, but how often do we remind ourselves that the God we follow is even bigger than our biggest dreams.

Make it personal: Think about the last month.  What things have you deemed impossible in your mind?  Have you prayed about that?  Have you asked God to help you with that impossibility?  The one key word in verse 37 is “nothing.”  Nothing is impossible for the Creator of the Universe.

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church



“The Passion”

This Weeks Meditation: “The Passion”
Read: John 12:12-19 and John 19:17 – 20:9

The week ahead is often referred to as The Passion of Jesus. It also known as Holy Week. It’s a week in which we recall the most important historical event to ever take place on our earth. It was the week that changed our world forever. God, through his Son Jesus Christ showed his passion for his people and provided us the way to salvation.

These events in John 12-20 can’t be explained away as anything other than miraculous and life changing. And that is exactly what author Josh McDowell realized in his own life. When he entered college he was a young man looking for a good time and searching for happiness and meaning in life.

He tried many worldly things that failed before he noticed a group of students engaged in a serious study of the Bible. As he watched the people in that group he noticed a genuine radiance coming from those in the group. He asked one young lady why that was, she looked him straight in the eye, smiled, and said, “Jesus Christ.”

His first response was, “Don’t give me that garbage about religion.” But she then responded by saying, “I didn’t say religion; I said Jesus Christ.” Josh accepted their invitation to learn more and once he realized the truth and the proof supporting Christianity he received Jesus as his Savior.

Since that time he has written many books and spoke thousands of times about what he found when he investigated the historical resurrection of Jesus. He realized it’s power in his life, in others lives, and in our world. He eventually wrote his well known book entitled, “Evidence that Demands a Verdict.”

Just like Josh McDowell, you too can experience the power of Christ’s resurrection on a daily basis. It is this week in history that opened the door to heaven and a relationship with God that cannot be matched in our world in any way, shape, or form. All it takes is for us to believe, receive, and allow Jesus to transform our life through him. I hope that you will do that this Easter Season!

Make it personal: In what way can you allow this truth of Easter to change your daily life? Is it peace you need, is it a change that you need, is it a re-commitment? There is no better time than the season of Easter to allow that change or that peace to become a part of your life!

Have a great Easter,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church



“Children and Fences”

This Weeks Meditation: “Children and Fences”
Read: Proverbs 4

Larry Burkett once told the story about a kindergarten that sat right on a corner by a busy highway. Although the school had a nice yard in which the children could play, at recess they would huddle right up against the building. The cars whizzing by frightened them.

One day some workers came and put a steel fence around the school yard. From that point on, the children used the entire playground. The fence did not limit their freedom; it actually expanded it. Burkett went on to say, “Children need fences, for they feel more secure having the discipline of clear boundaries.”

Proverbs 4 is a great chapter about wisdom. But if you look a little closer you will notice that several times it begins a verse by saying, “Listen, my son.” This wisdom is good for all ages, but it is very powerful when you imagine a father or a mother saying these words to their child. Many times children will argue with parents that they need more freedom to do what they want to do, when actually most studies show that children do want boundaries in their lives.

Just like the children at the kindergarten they feel more freedom when they know where the wall is and what is right and wrong in life. The Bible instructs parents to erect these walls with love and concern for your child, not a heavy handed approach. In Ephesians 6:4 Paul says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Parenting is hard, and tough decisions must often be made, but by balancing love and compassion with fences and boundaries our children will feel loved, protected, and safe to venture out on their own in a hostile world. Most importantly we must teach them and show them the ways of Jesus with our lives.

When our children see Jesus as the center of our world, they will know that his life gives us the perfect example to follow. Proverbs 4:11 says, “I will guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.”

Make it personal: Find ways to show your children that the boundaries you set are not because you are trying to restrict them; they are because you love them and care for them and want God’s best for them. As parents we know that, but do we tell our children that?

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church



“Love and Marriage”

This Weeks Meditation: “Love and Marriage” 
Read: Ephesians 5:21-33 

This passage in Ephesians often gets a lot of attention because of one word. That word is “submit.” It’s a word that is not liked very much in a world that often seeks out self before anything or anyone else. When we think about the covenant of marriage and this scripture passage we realize that this is more about love than it is about power.

Paul is encouraging couples to look out for the other spouse before we fulfill our own desires. Husbands are to love their wives in this way, wives are to love their husbands in this way. If we truly make that our goal then imagine how loving and healthy our marriages can be.

In fact Paul mentions that we are to love each other (spouses) just as Christ loved the church, and then he reminds us that Christ gave himself up for the church. In verse 33 he ends by saying “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

Love and respect for each other is a two-way street. I recently read an article by Justin and Trisha Davis who started RefineUs ministries after they went through a victorious battle for their own marriage and family. They shared these helpful tips on how to put the other spouse before yourself as this passage encourages us to do.
1. Your preference is more important than my preference.
2. Your desires more important than my desires.
3. Your wishes more important than my wishes.
4. You being right is more important than me being right.
5. You are more important than me.

They ended that list by saying, “God’s desire is that both people in a marriage make the other person more important than themselves.” That really is what Paul is encouraging us to do in this passage. It’s not always easy when we have the world and our sinful nature telling us to please ourselves, but Christ can help us nurture this attitude if we submit our life to him. His example can inspire us all to put others before ourselves, especially our spouse.

Make it personal: What are some ways that you can practice this in your marriage this week? Sometimes it is the little things that communicate this love just as much as the big things. Try doing them both (Big and small) but be sure to start somewhere.

Have a blessed week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church



“Culture of Virtue”

This Weeks Meditation:  “Culture of Virtue”
Read: Psalm 37:1-11

This Psalm of David contrasts the righteous with the wicked.
He talks about how those who do the right thing will find
peace and safe pasture while those who practice deceit and
wrong will be cut off.  Sometimes in our world it doesn’t feel
like that is the way it works, but in the long run it really
is.

While some may prosper from doing wrong in the short term it
eventually will catch up with them as time passes.  We often
see numerous examples of that in the news.  But even until it
catches up to them it will fester within them because they
know of their wicked schemes even if no one else does.

These verses in Psalm 37 are a reminder that righteous ways
bring about peace and ultimately the desires of our heart.
As we see many in our culture continue to choose wrongful ways
in politics, business, and even personal matters, we need to
remember that “peace” comes through doing things the right
way.  Peace of mind and a peace in our hearts.

God’s Word holds those virtues up for us.  It reminds us of
the culture of virtue that we as Christ followers are called
to cultivate.  Chuck Colson recently wrote, “Free societies
and the free market cannot flourish in the face of rampant
corruption. We must re-build a culture of virtue at every
level of public life if we are to survive.”

Christians, it must begin with us!  We must live our lives in
a way that rejects the temptations of sin and corruption and
place our lives and decisions in the ways of God.  Like with
many other things, one person can’t change the world.  But if
one sets an example many others may follow.  One spark is all
it takes to light the fire.

Let’s enjoy a life of peace and fulfillment by living out the
virtues found in God’s Word.  Let’s be the start of a new
culture of virtue that can displace the culture of corruption
that we hear about on the news each week.  Our families need
it, our cities need it, our country needs it, and our world
needs it!

Make it personal:  Perhaps during this season of Lent we can
think about what virtues we need to be cultivating in our own
lives.  If we dedicate those to Christ then we can be an
example for others to follow.  What do we need to repent of in
order to realize this peace that David talks about in verse
11?

Have a Blessed week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church



“Silence as Wisdom”

This Weeks Meditation:  “Silence as Wisdom”
Read: Job 13:1-5; Proverbs 10:19, 17:28

So often it is a temptation to just “say what is on our mind.”  In some cases this can be a good thing, it’s important to speak truth, share wisdom, and to impart common sense.  But there are also times it serves us better to just be silent.

When Job’s friends in the Old Testament first came to him after his tragedies they simply grieved with him in silence. Then when they tried tell Job the reasons for his heartbreak they started to share their own opinions.  In Job 13:15 Job says, “If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom.”

In Proverbs, Psalms, and other places in scripture we are reminded that silence is often a good thing.  Proverbs 10:19 says, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”  Perhaps we should take these verses to heart the next time we are ready to impart our voice.

It is often said that the best thing we can do for people who are hurting is just to be there for them and not necessarily try to say many words.  Sometimes the presence of a person or the presence of a moment can speak louder than what we might say.

I recently read an interview with Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully in which he described a historic sporting event that he was broadcasting.  He said that when Hank Aaron hit his record breaking 715th homerun in 1974 he actually took his headset off and walked around the pressbox so that his words would not spoil the historic moment and the noise of the crowd.

He stayed away from the mic for a whole minute and forty seconds before continuing.  He said, “I gathered my thoughts so that I could say something intelligible when I returned.”  Perhaps that’s a good habit for all of us to try.

In moments of silence there is power.  Power for God to speak, power for us to receive wisdom, power for human connection, and power to accept peace in a very busy and hurried world.  Yes, it is a blessing to be able to speak, but it can also be a blessing to cultivate silence.  May the Lord give us restraint to listen, courage to speak, and the wisdom of when to use them both.

Make it personal:  If you struggle with sharing your opinion too quickly or speaking more than listening, try using Vin Scully’s approach.  Build in a minute or two buffer in which you ask Christ what should be spoken and what should be left silent.

Blessings in your week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church




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