By Dr. Rick Vance
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem… When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. ”
––Matthew 2:1, 10-12
At this time of year people begin to reflect on the year past and look forward to the possibilities of the year to come. This is particularly true in a year filled with pain and confusion.
While many Christmas sermons primarily focus on the gifts the Wise Men brought, I suggest we focus on the givers; they can provide insights into what our ministry should look like.
The wise men were men who:
- Learned about the prophecy of God as found in Scripture and were willing to do whatever it took to respond.
- Understood the importance of Jesus, sought him, and were willing to be humble and worship him.
- Offered Jesus the best of what they had and were willing to be obedient to God’s word rather than follow a person simply because he held a high political position.
I believe that God is calling UM Men to intentionally coach men to thrive through Christ, so, I ask you:
- How is your discipleship as a follower of Christ?
- Are you continually striving to grow in your discipleship through prayer, accountability, worship, and study?
- Do you have a plan to coach men to thrive through Christ?
- Are you willing to listen to God even if being called to go in a different direction than you want to?
In short, are you willing to live our vision; “To coach men to THRIVE through Christ?”
I pray that as you continue your Advent journey to Christmas, you will be filled with joy and excitement as you worship Christ. May you have a very merry Christmas and a blessed healthy New Year.
Your brother on the journey
The Rev. Dr. Rick Vance, director of the Center for Men’s Ministries
General Commission on UM Men