Be encouraged. In a recent visit with a confirmation class at Castleton UMC, I was reminded how the church is an instrument of God’s grace and a place for discipleship growth. When we meet in groups including 7th and 8th graders, we can see glory sightings of discipleship incubators. When asked, “What do bishops do?” I responded to the students with, “encouragement.” Though my encouragement was a reminder that God speaks to us through the Bible with a consistent message, “you are loved.”

As much as your family loves you, your church loves you, God loves you. God loves us with an “everlasting love.” (The Lord spoke to me again. Jeremiah 31:3 CEB)

I continued to answer the confirmation class, “bishops preach and visit, pray and encourage, convene and listen.”  As I answered, I listened, and observed young children who were no longer strangers to John Wesley. Young souls being nurtured in the ways of the church where Jesus is taught as Savior and friend.

Christians are covenant people in need of others to hold us accountable for our walk of discipleship. As I visit throughout Indiana I am amazed at the beauty of our churches, the excellence of our worship, and our commitment to missions. With so much “noise” in the world that exists to promote worry and fear, I have found peace and comfort in time alone with God and time of prayer with others.

This season of Lent we take time for prayer and fasting. We take time for study and soul care. We take time for drawing closer to Jesus and joining others in the work of discipleship growth. The goal of discipleship is described by the apostle Paul in Philippians 2:5 – Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus. “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.”

As I pray for people in Indiana and around the world, I ask you this question: Is it well with your soul?

Be encouraged.
Bishop Julius C. Trimble