Healing grace brings radical change

If you've been watching the neighborhood around the church campus recently, you know that a new Starbuck's coffee shop opened up a few months ago - and I'm a bit concerned!

The root of my concern lies in the fact that I love coffee, but coffee doesn't love me. Let me explain.

In the midst of my love of coffee, I realized that, among other acidic foods that tear up my stomach, I needed to cut way down on my coffee consumption.

Yes, I have an ulcer, and if I follow the doctor's orders, which includes drinking a very small quantity of coffee, I feel great, my stomach doesn't hurt, and I experience healing and health.

But the change brought on by the healing of my stomach is a bit hard to take, especially with a new Starbuck's 100 feet away.

I love coffee, but coffee doesn't love me. The change brought about by a desire for my stomach to be healed means I can't waltz on over to Starbuck's any time I want.

The same is true for you when you know full well that you need to exercise more and eat more healthy foods in order to experience healing and health - the problem is the homemade cookies, pies and mashed potatoes are just too good to give up.

Indeed, healing, and the change that healing brings, is often a dilemma, maybe even discouraging.

A wise person has said that you and I are often afraid of grace - fearful of the change that God's grace affects and brings about in our life.

The healing that God's grace brings means that we most often experience radical changes in our life - and most of us are already comfortable with the way things are.

Introducing healing change is almost always difficult.

What's the chance that you and I are afraid of grace?

"Our progress in holiness depends on God and ourselves - on God's grace and on our will to be holy. We must have a real living determination to reach holiness," Mother Theresa said.

I'll see you in church, the grocery store, working out at the gym, or around town.

You can e-mail Pastor Michael by visiting www.stjohnsumc.com.