A boy sat through a Sunday School class and learned about Jesus attending a wedding and miraculously turning the water into wine.

“And what did you learn from the story?” his father later asked.

The boy thought for a moment, then answered, “If you’re having a wedding, make sure Jesus is there.”

Jesus’ presence really does make all the difference. His presence filled our sanctuary for the wedding we hosted over the weekend for Ollie Lane and Abigail Ferguson. His love was very real as I helped facilitate a home memorial service for Carolyn Mynatt. I know He will be present this evening for the memorial service for Howard Johnson. “Where two or three gather in my Name,” Jesus said, “there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20, NIV).

He turns the ordinary into the extraordinary through His presence. He comforts the ones who grieve just as gracefully as He celebrates with those who rejoice. He brings healing in the hospital room and hope for those on the streets.

But He never forces Himself in. He never demands that worship be given to Him. His love is not pushy. Still, He comes to us again and again, knocking at the door of our hearts.

Will you invite Him in?

Invite Him Into Your Mental State

Since the first of the year, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to have a “transformed mind.” I can see how negative thought patterns, judgmental thinking, and worry like a runaway train can take away my peace. Romans 12:2a says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

What does that mean?

First, I believe that it means setting a routine for the day that allows God to give you God’s peace. It begins with God’s Word — reminders from scripture, prayerfully considered, that can help you experience more of God’s peace.

As the day goes on, coming back to God again and again with prayer can help you continue in peace. Isaiah 26:3 (NIV) says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” If you find yourself worrying, train yourself to quickly bring it before God. Take some deep breaths and pray some simple prayers.

When the day comes to a close, a little reflection on the happenings of the day can allow you to rest with peace. You can talk to God about the things that didn’t go well. You can thank God for the blessings that outweigh your troubles. You can ask the Lord to guide the next day and help you be a little more like Jesus.

Invite Him Into Your Relationships

There is a Peanuts comic where Linus tells Lucy that he wants to grow up to be a doctor. Lucy says, “You could never be a doctor. You know why? Because you don’t love mankind, that’s why!”

Linus shouts back, “I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand!”

There’s not much that can steal our peace like other people can. People may hurt our feelings, cause us to be overwhelmed with anxiety, frustrate us by what they do, and disappoint us in a hundred different ways.

Our tendency is to deal with people from our human capacity. Some people are naturally patient and loving, but others struggle to not fly off the handle. We may find ourselves fuming over something someone did to us, even though they may barely have known how they caused us harm.

You can ask Jesus to help you in your relationships. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV) says, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” While this scripture deals with human relationships, you could ask Jesus to be the third strand. He gives wisdom to those who struggle to get along. He helps ease anxiety and forgives us such that we can forgive others.

When you make sure Jesus is in your relationships, those relationships can get better.

Invite Him Into Our Public Life

There’s a lot of fretting about the state of our politics. People are worried about the choice they will have to make in the Fall when they cast their ballot.

Christians are “dual citizens” on the earth. On the one hand, we belong to an amazing country. We thank God for veterans and those who continue to serve in our military, helping us to have freedom of worship. On the other hand, we belong to a kingdom that transcends our nation and allows us to be part of a people made up of varying ethnicities, cultures, and geographies.

Jesus said in John 18:36 (NIV), “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest…But now my kingdom is from another place.” His kingdom is greater than any earthly kingdom, and He will reign forever as the King of Kings.

While it’s good to be passionate about public policy and concerned for the direction of our country, we need to remember that Jesus is our King who is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NIV). We need to pray for our country and for our leaders on a regular basis.

It seems like somehow we think that Jesus should be invited into every other sphere of life, from families to work to finances, but somehow that politics are exempt from that. “That’s just politics,” we think, when we see so much division and anger and polarization, even demonization.

Let’s pray and ask Jesus to be more present in our public life. This is part of our calling as we move toward the Fall.

The missionary, theologian, and doctor Albert Schweitzer said, “He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lakeside. He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same words: ‘Follow thou me!’ and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is.”

Let’s be sure to invite Jesus into all aspects of our life this week. Let’s see what He can do. I have no doubt that wherever He goes, things will get better.

He’s knocking. Invite Him in right now.

With love,

Pastor Brent McDougal