New Year…Fresh Start – Help Others

…if you open your heart to the hungry, and provide abundantly for those who are afflicted, your light will shine in the darkness, and your gloom will be like the noon (Isaiah 58:10, Common English Bible).

I can’t say I have ever made this resolution, nor have I actually known anyone who has made helping others or volunteering a New Year’s resolution. I have heard people, during Lent, commit to performing random acts of kindness but I don’t see them as the same thing.

Perhaps that is because most of the people I know are very giving folks. They are quite willing to give of their time to benefit others. I think back to this past October to a group of people in my church who gave up two days of their time, some more than that, in order to prepare and serve the teachers of our school district. In a previous church they got up and were at the school at 5:00 AM to prepare and serve teachers breakfast. Another church served close to 100 children by providing Christmas gifts to needy families. A friend raises money to buy water filters, then forms mission teams to go to Haiti and teach families the importance of drinking clean water and then gives them a way. The list could go on and on.

I always feel blessed when I see these activities. I feel even more blessed when I am part of the work. I know others feel the same. It is at least part of the reason these people continue to be part of something bigger than themselves.

Just this morning I was talking to a woman who has a couple of volunteer opportunities she participates in. She felt she wasn’t doing enough and didn’t really do anything to help. I would argue she is wrong. If not for her and people like her, lots of other people would have less to eat. She is a blessing to others because she serves others.

In our lesson today reminds us that when we help others, we are shinning our lights into the world. For people of faith in Isaiah’s day, it was a dark world. It still is. When we help, our light shines in the world. We make a difference for them and we make a difference for ourselves.

I have long believed everyone should have at least three ministries. The first they do for their community, the second for their church and third for the world. Sometimes these ideas may overlap and that’s OK. It’s OK to go with a church mission team to take those water filters to Haiti and train the people who will be using them It is both service for the local church and for the world.

Make no mistake, when you serve you are making a difference. In my secretary’s office hangs a wall decoration. I have also seen it as a Facebook meme. It says, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” When we do that, we serve others, we volunteer.’

In what ways do you serve others?

Have a blessed day in the Lord,

Joy and Peace,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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