I am not a good cook, but I am an excellent eater. I can cook simple things like spaghetti or tacos. I can also grill, as in I can grill a slab of meat, but I am no chef. I am certainly not a baker. My daughter and wife can bake and my sister is an exceptional baker, but I fail every time. Luckily, where I live there are lots of places to purchase baked goods and there are lots of people at the church who can bake really well. I tried my hand at a cake once, but I was missing an ingredient and may have compensated by adding more of others. This resulted in a lumpy semiliquid mess that even I would not eat.  

Our discipleship is similar to a cake in a lot of ways. Discipleship as faith lived out under the power of the Holy Spirit has a lot of ingredients. Among the ingredients are worship, prayer, and service. These ingredients used under the power of the Holy Spirit bake up something beautiful. When we try to substitute, however, we get something different than what we desire. Without worship we become selfish. Without prayer we become lost and confused. Without service we lose community and  forget love. In other words, without the ingredients of discipleship we bake up something other than what God intends.

I have found this last year and a half really difficult.  All the changes we have experienced have thrown my ingredients list off at times. Perhaps it has for you. It can be hard to worship today. We have multiple ways to worship, but none of them are perfect. It can be overwhelming to pray today. There is so much need that we can get lost. It can also be hard to serve, because of the amount of need and the desire to stay healthy. All of this is true, and yet God is still providing us with opportunities. Maybe we have to worship in a new way, but I have seen that the Spirit still moves and God still gets honored. Maybe prayer can feel overwhelming, but I promise God knows what is on our hearts even if it comes out in moans. Maybe we have to serve in smaller ways, but calling others to check on them and let them know they are loved is service. If we look for ways to serve, God will show us. 

In short, we just need to choose to use the ingredients God has made available to us. Are we choosing to follow the ancient recipe of worship, prayer, and service or are we choosing to make substitutions? Faith is a gift from God. Let us put it to use so God can bake up something amazing. 

Still trying to get it right and thankful God is not done with us,



Rev. Jimmy Hendricks
pastorjimmy@nolensvilleumc.org