Hello, beautiful people of South Georgia!
Now that I have your attention, it is important for me to share words of care and encouragement as well as a new way of communicating my support for you through the scriptures.
Let me begin with the subject of sex. As an annual conference, I believe we are getting stronger and stronger as we grow in our discipleship. We are becoming more Christlike as we love one another and invite others into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
From my first days with you, I have emphasized the importance of Self Care
as way of staying strong so we can serve strong. I have also made this an emphasis because as Christians it is easy to tire and grow weary in ways that keep us from being as effective as possible. Some of you may remember during a clergy day apart I held up several bottles of pills and vitamins that I take because of my poor health. I know first hand that we can fall apart if we do not take good care of ourselves. This care is not about being lazy or irresponsible or taking our goals less seriously, but rather wanting to serve God as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
A part of taking care of ourselves includes having a healthy plan for how we will manage the gift of sex in our lives. Sex is a part of life and each one of us should consider how to manage this gift from God. “We affirm that sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons. We call everyone to responsible stewardship of this sacred gift.”
(The Book of Discipline para. 161. F)
For some of us, sex is not a major concern in our personal lives for various reasons, but for all of us who are believers we must prepare ourselves to live in a world where sex is an important element in our culture through family, friends, and the media.
I have two primary concerns regarding this subject:
- Sometimes being over worked, feeling guilty, and simply denying God’s gift of our sexual needs can be suppressed in ways that are not healthy. Keep in mind that for many this is not an issue and to that extent this concern should not be included in their self-care system. It is important to be truthful to who we are in order to find healthy expressions for healthy living.
- Many of you have heard me say, “If you do not brake, you will break.” We have been made for Sabbath. Sabbath should be a time for rest and renewal. We must stop for a while if we want to go endless miles.
In order to remain focused as a disciple of Jesus Christ you must build into your daily life some time for renewal, which includes playtime. All work and no play leads to an unhealthy lifestyle, which ultimately leads to a path of destruction. To have a constant flow of healthy outlets in your life, identify at least FIVE OPTIONS for renewal
. Some examples of renewal options could include the following:
- Exercise (walking, yoga, aerobics, biking, swimming)
- Reading (magazine, Bible, devotional, novels)
- Power naps
- Window shopping (with or without a companion)
- Playing a sport
- Playing table games
- Road trips
- Horseback riding
- Hanging out with buddies
- Appropriate sex activity
- Shop work
- Working a jigsaw puzzle
- A bubble bath
- Yard work
- Spending time with your pet
I am sure you can name some additional renewal activities. The point is this: to remain healthy and focused on growing a Christlike world as a disciple of Jesus Christ, you need to have several renewal options to use on a regular basis in order to stay in balance.
As we strive to be made perfect in this life, we will need the guidance of the Holy Spirit, grace, compassion, forgiveness, self-control, the practice of discipleship values, and the encouragement of supportive friends.
As your bishop, I am encouraging you to not only develop a disciple plan but to also be sure to include in your Sabbath component a strategy for addressing all of your needs.
What is your strategy for growing more Christlike spiritually, emotionally, and physically?
In addition to sharing thoughts and photos on Twitter
and my blog
I now plan to share a devotional thought called “My devotional takeaway.”
Each morning I begin with prayer and read various devotionals as a part of my disciple plan. To re-center myself with the gift of a new day, I find it helpful to begin with God. Each day is filled with blessings, challenges, and opportunities. It is so easy to lose our balance as we navigate a spiritual path for the transformation of the world.
While the responses to my devotional life are fresh, I plan to share a brief devotional takeaway with you. My hope is that by sharing a takeaway thought you may find some encouragement and support for each day’s journey. Included will be the scripture reference if you want to go deeper into the rich well of God’s word.
Read our Advocate (www.sgaumc.org/advocate
), follow me as I tweet at www.twitter.com/BishopJamesKing
, or visit my blog at www.bishopking.org
Until next time, remember – God’s will for us is good. We must do the rest.
Growing a Christlike world.
James R. King, Jr.