by Bishop Leslie Francisco, III
Minister of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Re-Focus, Reflect, Resolve
As the year has drawn to a close and you look at the possibilities ahead of you, what is it that seems impossible? What has the Lord called you to do that appears far beyond your ability to achieve? You may not see how it could ever work out, but God does.
As a Conference, we are facing many challenges that are trying to divide and conquer us. The question looms, who does the onus lie upon to unite us or to separate us? Who carries the real authority and influence to shape the destiny of our congregations and conference? We often say it’s the people who get to decide, but who influences the people? I am not sure anyone can answer that question. Is it culture, media, peers, scripture, tradition, environment, personal experiences, or a myriad of other factors?
As a leader, one lesson I’ve learned is that people follow leadership. Why did people seek after Jesus? One reason was because He stayed focused and didn’t allow distractions to sway or deter Him. He followed His compass (scripture) rather than His feelings. He wasn’t controlled by legalism but rather, by the Spirit of God.
One of the prime lessons I learned while in flight school was to be aware of spatial disorientation, especially in inclement weather. Never follow your feelings in flight, but always follow the instruments to aviate, navigate and communicate.
This translates for me in the spiritual realm regarding my journey as a Christian. What is my prime objective in nebulous, unclear circumstances? My instruments in my walk with God are found in:
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good;
and what doth the Lord require of thee,
but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?
In turbulent and unclear times, do justly, love mercy and walk humbly before God!
I have 3 points of reflection for us as we enter into 2023:
1. Re-Focus on Hope. No matter what has been or is, I challenge us to remain optimistic and trust that God is still in control. We are stewards of the faith and not enforcers of the faith.
2. Reflect on peace. In the midst of every storm, conflict and/or crisis, we have been given the gift of the Prince of Peace—God’s only begotten Son.
3. Resolve to Love. For God so loved the WORLD (He loves humanity, not just the Holy and pristine.) Despite all of our inadequacies, faults, transgressions and shortcomings, He still loves us.
What has the Lord called you to do that appears far beyond your ability to achieve? You may not see how it could ever work out, but God does.