As children of God, we often feel like there is a clear-cut list of dos and don'ts. But in reality, we live our days in gray areas where the rules are not always evident. We create great expectations and routinely let ourselves down. Perhaps we should go back to the source and look beyond our own expectations to the One who calls, claims, forgives, and loves us to the end. Let's journey together to see how this might look for us today.next >
You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, but though we had already suffered and been shamefully mistreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts.
1 Thessalonians 2:1-4next >
Sometimes it can be hard to speak on behalf of God. It can feel pretentious or even uncool. How can we genuinely share the message of Christ and be heard? How can we know when the time is right to share that message? What if it’s hard to say those words, whatever those right words are?
We know it’s time because we can feel the Spirit moving in our hearts and pushing us to speak truth in love. We know it is the time because we see someone going down a painful path towards destruction. We know it is the right time because someone needs our words of comfort or words of challenge and accountability that are not actually our own words but the words of God our Lord.
Those words will come to us, and we have to trust that the Spirit will move and speak for us and offer peace and grace in ways we never knew possible. It takes faith: prayer, love, a listening and discerning heart, and the courage to speak. Trust and be the voice of God when our brothers and sisters need it most.
Leslie Manningnext >
Lord, help to make me an apostle. Help me be a Truth-teller and a trusted voice to your people. Guide my words and my tongue so that I am praising you in all that I say and do. Amen.next >
“Go forth into the world in peace.
Be strong and of good courage.
Hold fast to that which is good.
Render to no one evil for evil.
Strengthen the fainthearted.
Support the weak.
Help the afflicted.
Honor all persons.
Love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit
and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be among you and remain with you now and forever. Amen.”
—The Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray, II
Leslie Manning currently serves as the Director of the Sawyerville Day Camp ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama. Prior to this role, Leslie served at a number of parishes and the diocese as a youth minister. Leslie also serves as a consultant for the national consulting firm, Ministry Architects. Leslie is married to the Rev. Bentley Manning and has a three year old daughter, Mary Bentley, and two smelly dogs. They all reside in Birmingham.
Speak to Us, Oh Christ