The pastor of Mt. Pisgah United Methodist in metro Atlanta has chosen “December Peace” as his sermon title for this Sunday. I will be playing “Discovery,” “Shepherds and Stars,” and “Away in a Manger” with grand piano and visuals at all three services. Each selection will play a part in preparing our hearts for the holiday season: 1) discovering surrender so we can receive the gift of God’s peace and rest, 2) reflecting on the wonder of the scene when countless angels appeared before a few shepherds to announce the Savior’s birth, and 3) the mystery of God’s grace in coming to earth as a child to forgive our sins.
Lately I have been reflecting on what I call “Joshua-Caleb faith.” There were twelve “tried and true” leaders selected from each tribe to scout out the land God had promised the people of Israel. The fruit of the land was robust – grapes, pomegranates, figs. It took two men to carry one cluster of grapes on a pole! Yet, when these twelve strong leaders returned and gave their report, after showing off the incredible fruit, ten of them focused on all the reasons they shouldn’t go into the land, even though God had told them He was giving the land to them. So, I ask myself, am I refusing to accept any gifts from God in my life – grace, forgiveness, provision, moving forward to receive a blessing He has in store? I am inspired by God’s words about Caleb, “he follows me passionately.” (Numbers 13-14).
The story behind “Resting” from “The Voice” CD…Rest is something I often seek to take a step back from the pace and fullness of life, to trust that things I cannot control are in good hands, and to find a few moments of calm strength in a world so full of unrest. There are times when I need to rest physically. There are opportunities when I need to rest by fully trusting God in the midst of activity. “The Lord replied (to Moses), ‘my Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'” (Exodus 33:14)