From: Rich Carlson
Date: October 15, 2020
Subject: It's October 15; Good Morning Union

“… and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.”        Psalm 51:12

Sustainability; it’s a buzz word in some circles as a defining quality for succeeding in life. It’s “the ability to maintain.” Barna calls it, for the Christian, “resiliency,” or the “capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; the ability to spring back into shape.” And David, in this psalm identifies it at the prerequisite to “teach transgressors their ways SO THAT sinners can turn back to Him.”

Today’s culture and current stressors provide ample opportunities for me to either be overwhelmed or to demonstrate resiliency or sustainability as I respond to all the unknowns that keep changing. And if today’s traumas aren’t enough I can always dig back into my past and find plenty of reasons to at best give up or at least find no hope, UNLESS I have nurtured the gift of sustainability. With that gift I have learned to forgive myself and to forgive those who have hurt me. I have learned, and continue to learn the gift of mercy, of grace, of “turning the other cheek,” of “praying for my enemies,” of “doing good to those who harm me,” and to focus on the kingdom of God rather than the unconquerable mountains of stress; to keep my eyes on Jesus rather than the despairing result of sin in my life or in a sin-filled world.

According to David the way to spiritual success is NOT to try and fix sin or do battle with the devil. It appears more “sustainable” to ask HIM to:

  1. “create in me a clean heart”
  2. “renew a steadfast spirit in me”
  3. “restore in me the joy of His salvation”
  4. And “give me a willing spirit”

THAT is what will sustain me! It’s all about focusing on Him. HE can give me a clean heart; HE can restore in me a steadfast spirit; HE can give me the joy that comes when I understand HIS salvation, full and free; and HE can give me a willing spirit that will sustain me. And the operative word in all of it is “willingness.” I have to be willing to let Him to all that in me. And because even that willingness is hard sometimes when I feel beaten down, David even suggests that I can ask God to make me willing. Like the guy who said to Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief,” I can say to Him, “I want to be willing, help me be willing, to let YOU do Your work in me SO THAT I can provide a demonstration of You to a searching and hopeless world.”

Focus, focus, focus. I can’t get distracted. I can’t fix sin or rid the world of all it’s consequences, but I can demonstrate to sinful souls and a society seeking solutions to a sustained trust in the Savior, demonstrated by my ability to be resilient and bounce back from trauma and stay focused on caring for his hurting children and on His kingdom. “This world is not my home, I’m just passin’ through,” says the old gospel song. I can forget that too easily. I can’t get distracted. I have to focus, and that also comes from God!

I am “willing” God, to allow you to use me as a model of Your faithfulness, Your salvation, Your purity, and Your steadfastness in my life as I live for you and demonstrate it by how I care for your children. That is my hope and my focus, and it is my belief that THAT is what this crazy mixed up world is actually looking for. Lord, help me be Your model of sustainability.

Have a great day of reliability and sustainability with and for God,

Pastor Rich

Quote for the day:      “My tongue will sing of Your righteousness; my mouth will declare Your praise.”            Psalm 51:14,15

PS        uGather @ 10:35 in the church this week because it’s Mission Emphasis Week (and because it’s getting cooler out there!) Our speaker is Adventist Frontier Missions representative Ricardo Palacios. Join us as we learn more about the mission experience and “Create Community in Christ.” MOP (Masks On Please), physical distance, wash your hands, beat this viral enemy as you care for each other.

PPS      Marcus Larivaux, pastor from Allon Chapel, will be in Campus Ministries to offer additional pastoral support from 1-3 this afternoon. You can make an appointment by contacting Pastor Larivaux at or mobile 862 600 8399 or just stop by. We are very grateful that we can offer a variety of pastoral counseling for you.

PPPS   Prayer Warriors @ 6:30 and 7 in the ad building amphitheater. Come let us pray for you or pray together with you.

PP…S   “You’re In!” continues tonight @ 7pm in the sanctuary. Join the CVC pastoral team as they look at themes relevant to the assurance that we “are in” with Jesus. Tonight Pastor Mic Henton will be speaking. His topic, “Forgiveness in Christ.” Worship credit is provided for this event.