Clay United Methodist Church
Pastor's Page
Ecclesiastes 7:8
Better in the end of a thing that its beginning; the patient in spirit are better than the proud in spirit.
As we enter in to February, I wonder how many of us made New Yearís resolutions. Then, I ask myself
how many of us already failed at our resolutions. Yet, is one slip a failure. Even if youíve stumbled a few times, have you given up?

Often, we make our resolutions in an attempt to better ourselves. Bettering oneís self is an ongoing process of discovery and transformation. At each stage in our lives, we learn new lessons about how best to care for ourselves and others, as well as our limits. The same is true of each new year. The beginning is the hardest part.
Years ago, I heard a stand-up comedian make the point that quitting smoking and starting flossing are the two hardest habits to stop and start respectively. Both quitting smoking and starting to floss are in the best interest of our personal health and hygiene. However, the beginning is the hardest part.
Speaking from personal experience, one of the happiest days of my life was realizing it had been 1 year since I smoked a cigarette. It made me almost as happy as each time I realize Iíve flossed every day for a full week. Yes, both are an ongoing struggle, especially the flossing. But the end of each successful period of self-improvement brings greater reward than the struggles of when I first started each endeavor. Both require patience, not pride. I recognize first and foremost it would be easiest for me to neither quit or start. Due to years of habit forming, my first inclination each morning is to smoke a cigarette and not floss. Overcoming these urges requires patience and the recognition that I am the one standing in my own way.

Likewise, in our spiritual lives and in the life of our church, self-improvement requires us to see ourselves as the greatest obstacle and to work patiently to improve our behavior. This patience comes from the realization the end benefits will far outweigh the initial difficulties we will face when developing deeper spiritual habits and seeking the Spiritís guidance for the life of our church.

If youíre looking for a place to develop your spirituality, please join us at Clay UMC for worship, small groups, and service opportunities.
If youíre already involved in the life of Clay UMC, please speak to someone about becoming a part of the ministries at our church. One wonderful way to get involved is to attend our Sunday night Mission and Visioning meetings at 6 p.m. during February and March. We will be spending time with one another in conversation about the future of our congregation and the ways we see God calling us to be a part of His vision for creation.
May God guide you and protect you! May you find peace and patience in the promises of Christ, the work of the Father, and the continued work of the Spirit!