· Ministry to Men, Church Renewal

Take the first step

By the Rev. Rick Vance

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But, the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

––Luke 2:8-16

The Bible is full of examples of God calling people from normal activities to experience miraculous events. One such event was when God called shepherds to go witness the birth of the Christ child.

It is said, “The first step is always the hardest.”

As I reflect on this part of Luke’s account of the Advent story, I am amazed at the courage that it took for the shepherds to take the first step.

In spite of worrying about their sheep, they began a journey where they became the first witnesses to the miracle of the incarnation––the “Word made flesh.”

As you continue through this Advent season, I challenge you to reflect on several questions:

            1. Have you heard God calling you to take a new first step?

            2. How is that step leading you into a new or deeper relationship with God?

            3. What frightens you about taking that step?

            4. How will that first step facilitate the ministry God is calling you to do?

            5. Will you take the step?

In Revelation 21:5, God tells John; “I am making everything new!”

These words are true for us as well.

The Rev. Dr. Rick Vance, director of men’s ministry

General Commission on UM Men


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