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Trail Notes: 12/17/2017

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Have you heard a voice in the wilderness? 

Have you ever been heading down a questionable path, and had a friend care enough to challenge you to rethink it, to turn back, to seek a better future? 

Maybe you were in a relationship that was seductive, but really unhealthy.  Maybe you were stuck in a job that was deadening, but you were afraid to change.  Maybe you were violating your own deep values in some way, and somebody called you to account. 

That person was your “John the Baptist” – the one who called you to turn, to repent, to redirect your life.  Like John, her words might have sounded harsh.  You might have wanted to turn away, not listen, continue as you were.  But something gave you pause.  There was truth in her words. 

We all need a “John the Baptist” sometimes, to challenge our ways when we get complacent, when we seek expediency more than doing the right thing.  But we also need something to turn toward…to draw us into a better, healthier, more honorable life.  John didn’t do that part.  Instead, he pointed toward the one who could: Jesus of Nazareth.  While John could be off-putting, Jesus was magnetic: he drew people with his love of life, the wisdom of his teaching, his gift of hope. 

We all have times when we are “in the wilderness” – not comfortable with the status quo, searching for something better, truer.  Maybe you are in the wilderness right now.  Listen for “John” who calls you to turn, to reevaluate your life.  Then look for Jesus to draw you to himself, to love and forgive you into a new life.  JBM 

 


 

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Trail Notes: 12/10/2017

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Five Talents Saves Lives

Our friends and longtime mission partners from Five Talents will be here at both services this Sunday, Dec. 10, and between services during our social time, to share their recent ministries.  St. Dunstan’s is currently supporting the project in South Sudan, a place where few aid organizations can even work due to instability there. 

Five Talents is the Anglican microfinance ministry – with a difference: FT doesn’t just make small loans and hope it will help poor people.  FT works through local Anglican churches.  It creates local communities called savings circles, give training in business practices, and walk with these brave entrepreneurs who start businesses to support their families.  Most FT group members are women, who use their money to buy food and medicine, and pay school fees for their children.  Each small loan (often under $100) lifts up many lives out of extreme poverty, saving lives, giving dignity and hope.    

What could be more fitting in this Advent season, when we pause to remember how God came to a poor family in Palestine, in order to bring hope to a world full of poor and scared people?  Our own needs may not be material, but we are spiritually thirsty for something to encourage us in a world that’s often pretty dark.  Some of us are despairing of the hatred and indifference we see in societies today.  We need the hope and light of Jesus just as much as a South Sudanese woman who is trying to keep her children safe and fed. 

God gives something to each of us – maybe five talents (a whole lot!), maybe just one talent (still considerable resources).  Each of us is responsible to use what we’ve been given for God’s glory.  How are you using the resources entrusted to you by God?  JBM  


 

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