I have been reading this book entitled The Marks of Hope. One of the three authors, Pastor Juan Carlos Huertas, writes: Congregations that are hopeful are learning to practice surrender as they work toward Gods mission by giving of themselves to the power of the Holy Spirit, a Spirit who then calls them and sends them to serve. It is the word surrender that really caught my attention and gave me need to pause. I have known for a good while now that one of my constant struggles in my walk will be the act of letting go... letting go and letting God. I am a control freak, that is, I like to think I am in control of most aspects that surround my life. So I knew that letting go would always be a challenge. However, I have never thought of this act of letting go as surrender.

When one thinks of surrender, one thinks of defeat or giving up or quitting or throwing in the towel for self preservation. Surrender is a negative term... at least in my book. I dont like to surrender... on those rare occasions that I have had to surrender they have often been followed by periods of pouting and sulking. Surrendering leaves me in a bad mood. Yet here is Pastor Huertas telling us that Gods voice was telling him to surrender as he walked in the woods on at a retreat in Minnesota... speaking the word to him as clearly as he was hearing the birds sing and wind blow. God was telling this pastor to surrender and telling him to let the world know that they too should surrender. Telling us in writing that hopeful congregations are ones that learn to practice the art of surrender... surrendering so that they can truly serve. The Marks of Hope book is something like 140 pages and that one page, page 128, made me stop and consider my walk with God like no other page I have read in a long time. I would even dare to say that between those lines on the page, I was hearing... reading... seeing God telling me I too needed to surrender. Perhaps we all need to surrender. No scratch that, I know we all need to practice surrender when it comes to our faith walks.

You see, surrender the way Pastor Huertas explains it or the way God asks us to do it means letting go of anything that might keep us from living fully into Gods way of life. When we surrender to God, we are not giving-up or admitting defeat... we are actually winning. We are finding a prize. We are coming into the realization of just why we were created by God... to serve and be set free in that service. God is asking us all to surrender to our desire to hold on so tightly to the ways and values and riches of this world and discover in that surrender something so much more. To discover in that surrender that special something God has created just for us... Gods blessing. And to receive that blessing we must surrender... surrender all that we hold as true and valuable and worthy and instead discover in our surrender all that is truly true and valuable and worthy. So I will pray for surrender. I will look for surrender. And I will struggle with surrender because my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, asked me to surrender and implores me to not be like the rich man who walked away from Him because he had so much.

Will you become willing to practice surrender with me?

Grace... .Pastor Steve