At God's Disposal

As we move into the New Year, my work opened with a Bishops' Conclave (a TMF clergy group consisting of the active bishops of the South Central Jurisdiction) meeting in Austin.  We discussed issues facing the church and commitments/convictions we are carrying forward.  Clarity on the mission statement forms the foundation -- "to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."  There is renewed conviction coming out of the Council of Bishops on the Call to Action, especially the first two critical points:  1)  a sustained focus on local church vitality; and 2) leadership development. Concomitant with this ongoing work, I have continued in my devotional life using an electronic copy of The Way: 365 Daily Meditations by E. Stanley Jones edited and updated by Dean Merrill.  It is worth recalling that early Christians were not called Christian but "followers of the way."  At least for me, when I wrestle with this faith conviction, I do so out of older language about submission to Christ, obedience, and being under orders.  I desire, pray, and work on being a follower of the Way of Christ. E. Stanley Jones' meditation for December 23rd pushed me back to Philippians 4:11, 13; "I have learned how to be content in any circumstance. . . . I can endure all these things through the power of the one who gives me strength."  It is here the Word of God offers me great nourishment for the coming new year.  Jones writes: "We do not need to strive to do things -- instead, we put ourselves at God's disposal, and He does things through us. . . . Say this prayer: 'O God, can you do anything with me? I'm at your disposal.  You've got me.' Then let spiritual expectancy possess you."