Blessed… Give Me Faith

When they came to the crowd, a man met Jesus. He knelt before him, saying, “Lord, show mercy to my son. He is epileptic and suffers terribly, for he often falls into the fire or the water.  I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.” Jesus answered, “You faithless and crooked generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Then Jesus spoke harshly to the demon. And it came out of the child, who was healed from that time on. Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and said, “Why couldn’t we throw the demon out?” “Because you have little faith,” he said. “I assure you that if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Go from here to there,’ and it will go. There will be nothing that you can’t do” (Matthew 17:14-20, Common English Bible).

At one of the churches I served we had a southern gospel quartet who came and performed. We served them lunch following the concert. I was able to share the meal time with one of the group. As we talked I told him, “If I could do whatever I wanted, I would sing bass in a quartet.”

I am a preacher. And, while I am fortunate enough to sing bass with a barbershop chorus, I am not a gifted singer. I am fortunate that I have a career, a calling in something I love doing.

I really like to think that more often than not, my sermons are something from which people can grow in their faith. But, I also realize that it isn’t because of my skills, but God who is at work in me.

When I first started in the ministry, the idea if having to prepare a sermon every week scared me death. I knew I didn’t have that much to say. I have never been afraid to talk but I knew I was going to need something to say for about 20 minutes every week. It was able to happen, again not because of me but in spite of me. I am also convinced it happened because I prayed, “Lord, give me the faith I need to do this job.” It wasn’t always about the preaching or sermon preparation. That first hospital visit was also pretty frightening.

In our lesson today Jesus heals a young man the disciples had been unable to heal. Jesus said the reason was a lack of faith. He tells us if we have faith the size of a mustard seed there is nothing we can’t do.

So what does that say about my dream of singing bass in a quartet? Well, I do know this, singing bass isn’t my calling. And, God has given me all I need and continues to give me what I need to fulfill my calling in life. As for the singing bass part? I have a gift from God there too. When I came to Sweeny God lead me to the Coastalaires. To sing with them lets me have some of that experience that for me is beyond anywhere I ever thought I might be. All I can say is, “Lord give me faith. Faith to preach and faith to sing.” I am blessed.

What do you want to do? What are you called to do? Do you pray for God to give you faith?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" 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. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have 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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