Midweek Reflections

“From pain to gain to joy”

This Weeks Meditation:  “From pain to gain to joy”
Read: 1 Peter 1:3-9

I have participated in many sports through the years and one
common theme that every coach stresses is “no pain, no gain.”
The idea is that you have to put in the hard work in order to
see the results come game time.  In some ways that theme works
in our spiritual lives as well; we learn from our mistakes, we
grow through times of pain and suffering, and we can often
grow closer to God if we place our trust in him.

That is what this passage in 1 Peter encourages us to
remember.  In verses 5-7 it says, “though now for a little
while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that your faith, of greater worth than
gold, which perishes even though refined by fire, may be
proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when
Jesus Christ is revealed.”

Yes, pain and suffering can help us grow stronger in our
faith, but that pain can also be damaging if it is not handled
in the correct manner.  I once heard someone say, “Don’t let
the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest.”  What
they meant by that is that we should use those difficult times
to grow but at some point we need to leave the hurt,
resentment, and hard feelings in our past.

In verse 8 Peter talks about “an inexpressible and glorious
joy” that we should have because of our salvation in Jesus
Christ.  Our salvation in Christ is what sets us free from the
pain of the past.  Jesus wants us to live in that freedom and
that joy instead of being burdened by the disappointments in
our life.

Pain in this world is real!  Suffering in this world is real!
But in John 16:17-33 there are some very powerful verses in
which Jesus describes to his disciples about how their grief
will turn to joy.  In verse 33 Jesus said, “I have told you
these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world
you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the

There is no doubt that pain can bring us gain in many
different ways, but at some point we need to let go of the
pain and move into a new season of joy.  That joy is found in
the pages of God’s Word, the resurrected life of Jesus Christ,
and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  That reminds
me of another saying, “No Christ, NO peace : Know Christ, Know

Make it personal:  If you’re going through an especially
difficult time right now I hope you will hear these words of
Jesus that were spoken for you and your situation.  Read 1
Peter 1:3-9 and John 16:17-33 and let God’s Word remind you
that He is there for you.  His peace is your peace!

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

“Kind, smart, important”

This Weeks Meditation:  “Kind, Smart, Important”
Read:  Ephesians 3:14-21

Those of you who have read Kathryn Stockett’s book “The Help” or have seen the recent movie by that same name probably recognize the three words in my title this week.  One of the most powerful moments in this movie is when the nanny stoops down to the level of a little girl and tells her the words that she really needs to hear from her parents.

She says, “You are kind, you are smart, and you are important!”  It’s hard to watch that or listen to that without good feelings overtaking your emotions.  It’s just too bad that we can’t treat each other in that same manner more often!  Instead, our world so often tells us the opposite.

But as I heard those words I was reminded that we have someone in Jesus Christ who continually spills out this kind of love and affirmation over us.  In Ephesians 3:17-19 Paul says, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

You see, no matter what the world (or anyone) says about us, God has an unconditional and everlasting love for us.  It is so big that it is even hard for us to totally comprehend.  We live in a culture that often seems to look at the negative before the positive, and often we take it personal and feel unloved or attacked.

But Jesus affirms us, and fills us with the goodness, and the good news of God.  He leans down and whispers in our ear, “You are kind, You are smart, and you are important!”  And if we have any doubts about that we should turn to John 3:16-17 and read….

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Make it personal:  I’m not sure what words you have been hearing this week or this month, but you need to hear what God is saying to you.  The Christian music group Mercy Me says it so well in one of their songs, “You are treasured, you are sacred, you are his, You’re beautiful!”  Please don’t forget that!

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

Ways to Worship

This Weeks Meditation:  “Ways to Worship”
Read: Genesis 12:1-9

When it comes to worshiping God there are many different ways
that people choose to worship.  As we see in this Old
Testament passage from Genesis 12 Abraham and others often
worshiped by building alters to God.  In other places in the
Bible we see enthusiastic worship (David) as well as
contemplative worship (Mary).

Even today we all have different temperaments and
personalities when it comes to how we worship God.  None of
them are right or wrong as long as they are directed to
bringing praise, adoration, and thanksgiving to Jesus Christ.

In a recent article in “Thriving Family” magazine, Gary Thomas
shares 9 Spiritual Temperaments.  He says, “See if you can
find yourself in one or more of the following……

Naturalists’ (hearts open to God when they get outdoors)  God
seems real to them when they’re hiking under a big expanse of
sky or at least sitting under a tree.

Intellectuals (really like books, even the reference kind, and
live in a world of concepts)  They want to come out of their
devotional time and worship with new understanding.

Sensates (more aesthetically inclined) The artistic types that
prefer creative and original music or nice atmosphere and
architecture.  Worship is about seeing, hearing, feeling.

Traditionalists (find great meaning by worshiping in set
patterns, their own or historical ones)  They may organize
their life around scheduled times of worship and devotions.

Ascetics (meet God internally)  They prefer to shut out the
world and meet God in solitude and austerity.  Quiet and
orderly environment.  They don’t like distractions.

Activists (meet God in the vortex of confrontation)  They want
to fight God’s battles.  God is most real to them when they
are standing up for justice or working on the frontlines to
build God’s kingdom.

Caregivers (love God by loving others)  Providing care or
meeting needs in Jesus’ name spiritually energizes caregivers
and draws them closer to the Lord.

Enthusiasts (like the excitement and celebration of group
worship)  They probably buy more praise CD’s than books.  They
feed off enthusiasm of other believers.  They embrace creative
forms of worship.

Contemplatives (are marked by an emotional attachment and
surrender to God)  They want to spend time in God’s presence,
loving him, adoring him, and listening to him.  They like to
journal and share their emotions and feelings in writing.

I’m not sure which of those temperaments best describe you and
those in your family, but it’s important to remember that we
are all created in a unique way by God.  That uniqueness is
also obvious in the ways that we worship him.

As we worship Jesus together lets embrace that uniqueness and
develop understanding with each other.  Our purpose is always
the same (to worship Christ) but our methods may be different
depending on how He created you.

Make it personal:  Many of these ways to worship are done
throughout the week.  As you go through your week this week
find ways to worship God as you care for others or take a
hike.  God is all around us and He loves it when we worship
Him in whatever way that may be.

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

“Little Things Matter”

This Week’s Meditation:  “Little Things Matter”
Read: Mark 4:30-34

The parable of the mustard seed reminds us of many things but one of the truth’s it proclaims is that little things do matter for both good and bad.

I was reminded of that again last night when the St. Louis Cardinals played a big game against Milwaukee whom they are chasing in the National League Central standings.  In the sixth inning the Cardinal pitcher walked a batter and then a couple pitches later the backup catcher allowed a past ball (that should have been caught) get past him.

That small error allowed the runner to go to second and soon after he was hit in for the score when Milwaukee’s catcher Jonathan Lucroy singled.  The next player made the third out of the inning.  If it wasn’t for the passed ball the runner would not have scored.

It seemed like a small thing until the 9th inning when the score was tied and went into extra innings.  If it wasn’t for that past ball the Cards would have been up 3-2 and won the game in 9 innings.  Instead they lost 5-3 in extra innings.

When Jesus tells this parable he is describing what the kingdom of God is like.  The smallest thing, the smallest seed that is planted can end up making such a big difference in someone’s life and in God’s kingdom.

The same can also be said about a wrong choice we make in life or a seemingly small decision or error.  What at one point may seem small and insignificant may one day end up having a huge impact on your life or others lives.

When we think of the mustard seed we need to consider how small things can lead to great things for God, but we also need to remember that small choices that go against God’s will can also grow into bigger problems if we are not careful.

One baseball game is not a big deal, but those little things in life that we sometimes take for granted sure can be.  Remember that this week as you face each day.  Take nothing for granted and live to grow the good in your life and not the bad.  After all that is God’s perfect will!

Make it personal:  No matter how small or insignificant you may think your job, your responsibilities, etc. are, God plans to use you and them to further his kingdom on this earth.  Approach your life in that way and live each moment as if it matters to God, because it does.

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

“The Lord of the Sabbath

This Weeks Meditation:  “Lord of the Sabbath”
Read: Mark 2:23-28

It seems like there has been an ongoing debate for many years now about what Christians should and should not do on the Sabbath (Sunday).  Many times in the Gospels we see the Pharisees being very strict and condemning about certain things that happen on the day that God declared for rest.

In this passage in Mark 2 Jesus and his disciples are walking through the grain fields on their way to their next destination when they begin to pick some of the grain to eat.  The Pharisees become upset and say, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

Jesus then refers to an example of David from 1 Samuel 21 to explain that the Sabbath was made for our good, we were not made for the good of the Sabbath (v. 27-28).  In other words, the Sabbath is a day for us to worship the Lord, rest, and enjoy a change from the normal routine of our week.

This doesn’t mean that we should come up with a long list of do’s and dont’s for the Sabbath, it simply means that we should use it as a day to honor God, celebrate the joy that Jesus brings to our lives, and enjoy our time with family and friends.

There are even other examples in the Gospels where Jesus and his disciples healed on the Sabbath in order to bring God’s mercy to people.  They didn’t work to increase their estate, they worked to increase God’s blessings to others.

Jesus simply is telling the Pharisees and us today that we should be wise about the Sabbath.  Yes, it should be different from the other six days of your week, but it shouldn’t be a source of burden or division for His church.

When Sunday rolls around, give God your utmost attention (worship) first and foremost, and then enjoy the day that He has given you to rest and recharge your physical and spiritual batteries for life.  Remember, Jesus is Lord even of the Sabbath (v.28).

Make it Personal:  Obviously every day is the Lords; but what do you do to make yourself aware of that?  Sunday is a special day that Christians set aside to worship the Lord together, but what are we doing throughout the week to worship the Lord individually or in our family?

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

“The Perfect Temp!”

This Weeks Meditation:  “The Perfect Temp!”
Read: Revelation 3:14-22

With the excessive heat and humidity this week many people have been talking about the weather.  This is nothing new except that so often we are complaining about it being either too hot or too cold.  I wonder what the people in San Diego complain about, the average yearly temp. there is a lukewarm 71 degrees.

However, lukewarm is not always the best.  In the Bible that word is used only one time and it is not in a positive way at all.  Revelation 3:16 is a part of a letter to the church in Laodicea and it says, “So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot or cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”  Perhaps lukewarm is not all it seems?

What this letter is really talking about is when believers start to go through the motions and take their faith for granted.  When life is easy we too often forget the one in Christ who is our provider, deliverer, and Savior.  When life get’s tough he is often the first place we turn.

That is good, Jesus wants us to turn to him during those difficult times but he also wants us to stay in tune with him when we are having the perfect day and things are going great.  We dare not become complacent as it appears the church in Laodicea had fallen into.

Verses 21-22 in the Message Bible are paraphrased to say, “Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father. That’s my gift to the conquerors!  Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”

let’s not just knock at the door when then temp. is turned up or down in our life, let’s be a consistent visitor even when life is 70 degrees and sunny.  Stay on fire for Jesus, alive in His Word, and don’t let your faith become lukewarm.

Make it personal:  Maybe we should try talking about the faithfulness of God to others as much as we talk to them about the weather.  Hmmm…. who knows where that type of conversation may lead?

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

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