Fall, 2019 is just around the corner. Students and parents and teachers are preparing for the start of the new school year and sports teams and bands are practicing, practicing, practicing! There’s something about the Fall that makes even those of us without children at home yet, excited and anticipatory! It’s a time of beginning!
We’ll be adding to our “activities list” and look forward to having you participate with us!
It seems that so many of us are consumed with saving time, making the most of our time, and being time efficient. As I think about “time” in the Scriptures, I don’t recall a time where Jesus was in a hurry, where Jesus ran, asked what time it was, or where He cut someone short because of another appointment. In Luke 8 He was summoned to Jairus’ home to heal his daughter. She was deathly ill. Even still, Jesus didn’t rush to the scene. He calmly went to the home and healed the young girl. I have to believe there’s a message to us in this example– in all of Jesus’ examples.
Jesus took time to converse, to listen thoroughly and completely. He took time to observe a situation, to enjoy the company of those He was with. He lingered when He broke bread. He lingered in the garden. He lingered with the social misfits and criminals. He even lingered on the cross.
As we head into Fall and make new commitments, let’s be mindful of Jesus’ example. He had time. He took time. He made time. How is it that each one of us can do the same, being at peace and maintaining contentedness in spirit?
If someone we care about has a heart attack or stroke, we’re quick to ask how they’re doing. We encourage them to see their doctor, make healthy choices, and cheer for any improvements they make as they get stronger. If someone we know has an emotional issue or makes mention of seeing a counselor, we grow uneasy and are at a loss as to what to say (or not say). We may find ourselves avoiding them or most certainly, avoiding the topic of mental health or issues we might know that cause them stress. We never ask, “How are you doing?”
Why is this? Why don’t we feel comfortable with sharing on this level with those we care about?
Mental health deserves as much attention and care as our physical health. We prioritize our annual physicals and the importance knowing our “numbers.” Do we all know where we stand emotionally? Do we know what issues cause us stress and how to constructively manage them? There’s potential for the daily bumps to get us off track as they begin to pile up. We may find ourselves overwhelmed or exhausted. The treadmill of life just keeps running and at times we need a break. At times we just need a safe and non-judgmental place to vent; to gain some insight.
Byron Community Ministries offers FREE and subsidized Christian counseling at our facility. Evening hours are available. Schedule a conversation with one of our therapists and see where you stand and how you’re doing. We’re here for you and your family.
Call Alliance Counseling Group at 616- 222- 0631 or Byron Community Ministries at 878- 6000.
Join us as we gather for a time of community prayer on Thursday, May 3. There are two times you may choose from- or attend both!
Thursday at 11:45 AM we’ll meet at the Byron Recreation Center on 76th St. for prayer, followed by at casual lunch of hotdogs and chips.
At 6:30 PM we’ll meet at 2nd Byron CRC on 76th St. to pray, following much the same format as at Noon. We’ll have a time of fellowship and refreshments after the prayer service.
Come, let’s lift our thanksgiving, praises, requests and concerns before our Holy Father, seeking His favor.
Genesis 1: 27 states that God created man and woman in His image. This tells me that we’re all created equal. Interestingly, God designed diversity via skin color and language, as He values creativity and no one person or group of persons is favored over another. James 2 warns us against showing favoritism, as we’re to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
Candidly, how do we practically live this command out in Byron Center, one of the least diverse communities in West Michigan? Granted, there’s slight diversity in socio-economic groups, but we lack diversity in any other way. How can we be found faithful in not showing favoritism and how can we fully understand the statement that “we’re all created in His image” when we live so homogeneously? Still further, how can we sincerely and yet intentionally create relationships of any depth and meaning with those who are different from us if “this” is where we live and work and attend school? Assuming you attend one of the local churches, look around your congregation this next week. Flip through your church directory. How reflective is it of what Heaven will look like? Of how God created Earth to look like?
Some of us might respond with, “But my Small Group delivers meals to the homeless in downtown Grand Rapids and we’ve had a couple of conversations with those people.” Still others might say, “I’m cordial to the Muslim/African American/Eastern Indian/Etc. clerk at the gas station.” Do we see these people the same as we see our neighbors? Do we see them as being made in the image of God?
Granted, we can’t help where we’ve been born and as we sit in our predominantly all white, middle class churches, we didn’t select our church based on that fact alone. It just happens because Byron Center is more rural and ….well, what else may have discouraged diversity? Please know, this post isn’t written with the intent to accuse or to make one feel guilty. It is written with the wonderings of “How do we individually and collectively live out the command to see men and women of all colors, beliefs, and ethnicities as created in His image; not showing favoritism, when my interactions are with people who look and live very much like me?” Can I dare ask myself, “What am I doing to increase my understanding of those who are different from me and my family? When I interact with someone different from me, what do I first experience– fear? Curiosity? Anger? Sympathy? Why do I feel the way I do and how can I change that so I feel friendship and warmth?” Evaluate honestly. Then, if you see a mis-match, what’s a possible solution? What might you consider actually doing to change this?
Let us love as Christ loves His church– with authenticity and intentionality. It sounds simple enough until we toss in reality.