Do you have a pair of old, probably not so great looking, but too comfy to throw away sneakers?  I do.  Actually, I have a few pairs.  One for mowing lawn, one by the basement door to run outside for something, and one stinking up the closet.  I hope Lisa does not read this or I will be down to one spare pair.  But you know the kind.  Pre-laced, just loose enough to slip on but tight enough not to fly off.  

Now every once in a while, they get a little too loose, stretched out, or lacking in adequate support to keep them from coming off in the heat of an unplanned chase to the mailbox or run down of the garbage collector who came a couple minutes earlier than usual.  A little adjustment can usually do the trick and extend their usefulness a few months, right back to near perfect.  Okay, eventually they will need to get replaced and tossed, which is always a sad day indeed. 

Oddly enough, dwelling on this made me consider my faith journey.  As we progress along life as a disciple of Jesus, we can become quite comfortable, and that can be a good thing and even a benefit of being a long-time follower.  We get used to our faith and better at conforming to the values of Christ as our experience grows.  We can become relaxed a bit more, but still supported and faithful.  But then come times when, if we are being honest, perhaps we become a little too comfortable, maybe a bit complacent in our behaviors and attitudes.  Our language might degrade a bit, our sensitivity to the needs of others may decrease, or our memory to always consider the least and the lost may lapse.  That is when we might need to consider “tightening up the laces” to adjust to what we are supposed to be.

John Wesley, an influential church leader and follower of Jesus, challenged people to pursue scriptural holiness.  To look at one’s own (not others’) life practices and consider whether they were in line with the values lifted up and exemplified in the Bible, in order to adjust our motives and actions accordingly.  When faith is new, like the sneakers, it is naturally more “tight” to Jesus’ teachings and our newfound passion and appreciation is renewed with every new thing we learn.  That in turn fuels our attitudes and behaviors to be as Christlike as possible.  But as time goes on, even though we might get better at some things in the Christians life, the comfort may lead us to get a bit “sloppy”.  Like the gym shoe.  

So just in case you might be like me, I invite you occasionally, maybe now as you read this, to reconsider your faith journey and your response to God’s grace in your life.  Do your spiritual laces need tightening to still be a natural and good fit?  Are you as intentional at following closely to Jesus’ teachings and values as you should be?  Adjust to draw closer to who and what you desire to be in your relationship with God, and your goal of pleasing the one who loves us enough to give us life and who died to give us life again.  

As you grow in your faith, enjoy the comfort of getting good at some of the things of following Jesus.  But may we never get so comfy in our faith as to forget to serve and love our Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer.  An old sneaker can be a beautiful thing, but takes updating and adjusting at least every now and then.

We have a few opportunities coming up this week in Amesbury to update and adjust your body and soul:

Motion & Devotion this Saturday 9/16 at 9 am at the Rock Church in Amesbury! Men and women are welcome to join us for coffee, strength and flexibility training, and worship... we call it the Jesus brew! Bring your yoga mat, water bottle, and invite a friend!

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Best place to be on Tuesday Night:  Celebrate Recovery @ Rock Church Amesbury! Join us Tuesday nights @ 5:30 dinner 6:30 gathering as we begin a new year of CR and restart the lessons that help us in our walk to be healed from our hurts, habits and hangups.  New this year in our renovated NextGen space we have "The Landing" a program designed specifically for our youth (grades 6-12)



Lastly but not least, Dinner Church @ Rock Church Newburyport. Thursday is the night! All are invited - dinner is served! Nice lite summer fare by Chef John Bickerstaff. And of course doing life and being church together as well. 6-8 pm at 46 Bromfield St., Newburyport, MA. Hoping to see many there.

So remember – God loves you and there is nothing you can do to stop that, but because God loves you, there are many things you can do to respond to it.  May our lives be a response to God’s love.

In Christ,

Pastor Paul