Dear Friends,

I pray this letter finds you well and blessed.  So, sometimes things happen that you really should be embarrassed about, but are just too good to keep to yourself.  In this new role as a superintendent, I received a “Conference car” along with a paper license plate. I am very grateful for this, because I am in it a lot!  One day, as I arrived at a particular destination, I was getting my bag out of the back when I noticed my paper license plate was gone. Gone! Then, I remembered I had gone through a very aggressive car wash a few days before.  I believe the car wash “ate” my license plate. So, I let the Conference office know and they got a new one for me. “Just pick it up the next time you are in” was the response. It was a week or more before I was at the conference office.  The whole time I was rehearsing my story every time I saw a police car. So, I picked up the new plate and put it in the back seat and headed back to Muncie. Now, mind you, more than a week I had driven with nothing and no problems. Yep! You guessed it.  The lights came on. I pulled over. And, I had the chance to share my well-rehearsed story.  

In Acts one, Jesus commands us to be His witnesses.  I wonder if my witness is as well-rehearsed as my story was about the missing license plate.  I wonder if I am as ready to tell the story of Jesus’ power, love, grace, salvation, and call for justice.  I believe each of us should be ready to tell Jesus’ story in us. I find myself thinking of the “Messianic denial” themes in the Gospels (especially Mark).  Those folks who had been healed and blessed by Jesus, but did not have the chance to share it…I imagine they rehearsed their story. I imagine they strained toward the moment when they could tell the story of Jesus in them.  And, when they did tell, don’t you think it was a powerful and joy-filled moment. Again, I find myself convicted by these thoughts.

God is a God of second chances and of joy.  The officer, you know the one, sunglasses just right, hat cocked just ever so slightly, asked, “Do you know why I stopped you?”  And, out came the story. He fought it for a moment, but then a wide smile crossed his face and he laughed. It is amazing what a story can do.  




Russ Abel
Conference Superintendent serving the East District