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Little Things -> Big Things (When God Is Involved)

"If it is possible, so far as it depends on you,
live peaceably with all" (Romans 12:18).
"If I could, you know I would; if I could, I would, let it go." (U2)

Sometimes it's the small things that make the big difference. You have heard that cliche a ton-- I know I have. The thing about cliches, is that they are usually based on hard earned, shared experiences. They are true to many people over time. I'm thinking about small things today, and how they can become big things when God becomes involved.

Two weeks ago we went home for a family reunion, and discovered Mom had lost a bunch of weight. Christy inquired as to how this happened, and the answer, was, you guessed it, simple: sugar. She cut out sugar and the weight went away. What happened next, you ask? Well Christy shared this news with me, as well as the news that we would now be cutting out sugar as well. I enjoyed the Coke I drank on the drive home, because I knew it would be my last one for a while. The next morning I weighed and wrote it down. Two weeks later, with only a couple of small sodas and no refills I'm down seven pounds. Many of you will remember Ray and Chia-Ying Wang, members of OLUMC who moved to San Diego a few years ago. Ray was my doctor for a while, and he would tell me that all the time: stop drinking sodas and you'll lose weight. Did I listen to my doctor? Nope. To Mom and wife? Yup.

Little things, little changes, matter. They may seem insignificant at the time, but they can add up. This week we wrapped up the 10-week Psalms course. Anyone who knows me knows I love Disciple Bible Study, but I was worried about offering a 10-week course, as opposed to the usual 30-week option. My concern was about the material and the smaller commitment. But folk signed up, we finished the course, and I learned a lesson: I was wrong. The material was some of the best I have ever used, and just about everyone committed to "trade up" to a longer (30 weeks!), more in depth study starting in January. Sometimes little things add up to big things.

When you get to the bottom of this message, keep reading. A few weeks ago we began sending out these emails for two reasons: to foster better communication, and to touch people in more ways than just Sunday morning. We received the first email to the right about a month ago. I wrote Mary Kay back and asked her permission to share what she said. Her response is the second email. When we began to send these emails out-- a little thing-- no one thought of the potential to speak to someone on the other side of the world-- a big thing! When we talk about Oak Lawn's parish being bigger than 75219, you see what we mean! God bless you and your service, Mary Kay!

Little things matter. Small things add to big things. What little changes could you make today that would lead to big changes? What attitude could you change? What invitation could you accept? What insignificant gesture from you would make God's love real to someone today? As I was writing this I listened to U2's "Bad." There's a recurring line throughout the song: "If I could, I would, let it go." What little--or big-- thing can you let go today that would make a little-- or big-- change in your walk with Christ? And the first part of the line-- the "if I could..." part-- is within you. You can make that change. The power of God lies within the heart of the believer. The song reminded me of Paul's line in Romans 12: "So much as it depends on you, live peaceably with each other." You can control your actions, your tongue, your will. Start with small changes and watch God make them into huge changes.

How long will my soda fast last? Dunno. If I keep listening to my real Dr and avoiding Dr Pepper, will I keep losing until I evaporate? Doubtful. But I will say this: one of the real blessings of being in ministry is seeing how God changes the lives of people. This weekend, think to yourself: what small change could I make? What different words could I speak? What new action could I take? If I take the first step, can God lead me the rest of the journey? You know the answer to that one.

So-- who's up for a vanilla Coke from Sonic??

+++

I would like thank you for sending me the weekly messages from Pastor Drenner. Although I only have the opportunity to come to OLUMC a few times each year, I absolutely love the the church and the people within. I am currently in Kabul, Afghanistan working with the US Department of State. These emails provide much comfort during a very stressful time in my life. Please know that your work is very much appreciated. Thank you again for being wonderful Christians. I hope to see you soon.

Warm regards,
Mary Kay

+++

Rev Drenner,

Thank you for your response. You are welcome to share my comments with others; the more prayers, the better!

The hardest part of being here is the stress. It doesn't take long to see attitudes change and tempers flair. People seem to lose their common courtesy very quickly. As being one of two whose job it is to keep morale up for close to 2,000 in an enclosed compound - most are unable to leave, you can imagine how hard it is to keep positive. Along with a constant security threat, working long hours 7 days a week and less-than-appetizing food everyday it is a major challenge. Your messages are a link to home and God, allowing a quick escape in a tumultuous environment.

Please know again how much I appreciate your messages. They help me to re energize and in return I can pass that positive energy to my colleagues.

Thank you for your prayers. I'm counting the months until I can return to Dallas and visit OLUMC.

Warm regards,
Mary Kay

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