First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

Unnoticed deficiencies.

November 23, 2016

Lately, (the last 2 years) my truck has been riding like a little red wagon with square tires. Every pothole, railroad track, and highway transition has been like a 'shake, rattle, and roll event.  Granted, the ole girl is 13 going on 14 years old. It would be no shame if the shocks and suspension are nearing replacement or modifying.

Well, last week I ordered new front shocks and they arrived yesterday. So, upon their arrival, I replaced old worn out shocks with brand new ones. I figured there would be some differences in ride but had no idea how drastic of a change I would experience.  The vehicle felt as though it had just rolled off the assembly line. The improved performance was and is remarkable. There is no rattle when I hit a bump or pothole.

   Deterioration of auto parts is usually gradual and often goes unnoticed. Performance slowly diminishes. What once was a finely tuned piece of machinery slowly displays slight rattles and wobbles not discernable to the common layperson. I'll never forget the old station wagon I used to own. I drove it for many years and the first time my mechanic friend jumped in with me he asked, "Do you hear that noise and do you know your front wheel bearings are shot?" I said, "What noise?" I had slowly become used to the low growling sound emanating from the front of the car.

    Our faith in Jesus Christ is much like a finely tuned vehicle that rolls off the assembly line.  New faith is exciting and fresh. It is vibrant and works well. If we're not careful and observant, our faith can begin to show signs of wear and tear. It will display some rattles and shakes; it pleads for much needed maintenance. We continue on thinking our faith is solid and rarely notice slight fractures in its integrity.

    Renewal is a good word here. Renewal speaks toward observing, listening, and identifying possible faith threatening deteriorations. Renewal opens our eyes to years of neglect and erosion in our faith that happened so slowly without notice. Renewal brings us back to some semblance of growing faith. In short, faith needs to be strengthened daily. Paul mentioned the importance of renewal here in Romans 12:2.

        "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your

        mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

        (Romans 12:2, NIV)

While auto parts eventually wear out and need replaced, faith is an integral piece of our lives that demands daily maintenance.

** Faith is strengthened through daily Bible immersion.

** Faith is strengthened through daily prayer and meditation.

** Faith is strengthened through meaningful times of fellowship with other believers in Jesus who should be maintaining their own faith structure.

** Faith is strengthened  when we roll up our sleeves and assist people in need.

** Faith is strengthened when we carefully and relationally share our story of transformation with another person.

At the end of the day, we are surrounded by many people who are limping through life unaware of their diminished condition. We can't help them until we address our own deficiencies. (That is if we notice them.) Allow God to renew you and get you running in good order again.

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