From the Desk of Bishop Mark J. Webb: Trusting that God is enough
July 18, 2017 / By Bishop Mark J. Webb
This issue of the Advocate reflects the Upper New York quadrennial theme, “Together in Prayer:Trusting that God is Enough.” In June, during Opening Worship at the eight session of the Upper New York Annual Conference, I spoke about the deep meaning and importance of this theme for the future of the United Methodist Church. Here is some of what I shared…
“I want to be honest this morning – this message was one of the hardest I have ever prepared. What do you bring to a Church that is anxious, divided, and holding its breath about the future?
How do we share authentically in the midst of deep disagreements that are present not just around human sexuality but in even more foundational matters of doctrine, theology and ecclesiology?
How do we live together as a group of people who are called to love one another, but sometimes fail to treat one another with respect, too often see one another in categories and at times struggle to like one another?
How do we focus on being together in prayer when we are not certain what it means to be together or if being together is even what we want or desire?
How do we seek God together without continuing to harm one another and the world we seek to offer Christ to?
How do we allow our disagreements to be spirit-filled rather than mean-spirited?
How do we find space to celebrate our diversity, follow our convictions and honor our covenant with God and one another?
How do we move forward?”
“Let us be careful - Prayer cannot be a spiritual exercise that keeps us from acting and prayer cannot become something we use to support our own desires. John Bunyon said, ‘You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.’
We are called to humble ourselves, to stop depending upon our own strength and depend solely upon the power of God’s spirit and the direction of God’s voice.
We are called to seek God’s face – to stop looking for help and purpose in every area of ourselves and life first. The Church is not called to seek the ways and opinions of the world, or the halls of academia or politics or the journals of science, first – we are called to seek the face of God!”
God is enough for the future we face! God is enough for the future of the United Methodist Church! God is enough for the future of The Upper New York Conference! God is enough for the future of your local congregation! As we seek to live out our why, God is always enough. God gives to us the gifts, energy, and resources that are enough to accomplish the task God has given us. We have to trust that God is enough!
That’s the truth throughout the Biblical narrative.
- God was enough when Noah built loaded and lived in the ark for 40 days and 40 nights.
- God was enough when Abram became Abraham and Sari became Sarah.
- God was enough when Moses was called to lead God’s people out of Egypt.
- God was enough when the Israelites wandered the wilderness for 40 years.
- God was enough when the walls of Jericho came tumbling down.
- God was enough when David slew Goliath.
- God was enough when Nehemiah rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem.
- God was enough when Esther became queen.
- God was enough when life crumbled around Job.
- God was enough when Daniel found himself in the lion’s den.
- God was enough when Jonah tried to run away.
- God was enough when Mary found out she was going to be the mother of God.
- God was enough when over five thousand needed lunch.
- God was enough when the blind man wanted to see.
- God was enough when Jesus was mocked, tried, and crucified.
God was enough when the stone was rolled away and sin and death were forever defeated.
God is enough! God is always enough!
As we strive to be the Church that God has called us to be, we have to stop living with a theology of scarcity and start living the truth that God is enough. Whatever God is calling us to, wherever God is leading us, God has already given us everything we need to accomplish God’s purpose and plan. God is enough for your life – God is enough for the ministries of your church – God is enough for the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. God is enough for the future of The United Methodist Church!”
Editor's note: To read Bishop Webb's full AC2017 Opening Worship sermon, click here.