SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2023
Hymn of Preparation: MHB # “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”
Prayer: Lord, we thank you! We thank you for your grace which led us from last week up to today. For we don’t deserve this. But Lord as I stand before your people this morning to say to them, ‘Thus Saith the Lord’, put your words into my mouth that those things that I will say, will be heard and done to your glory and honor. And let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength, our redeemer, in Jesus’ name. Amen!
Mother Quire, my darling wife, Bishop Kulah & Mother Kulah, the Actg. Conference Lay Leader, our conference speaker, our partners in ministry, representatives of other faith communities present here, government officials here present, members of the cabinet, clergy and lay delegates to this conference, special invitees, observers, brothers & sisters in the faith:
I bring you greetings this morning on behalf of all the people called United Methodists, and in my own name through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I am indeed grateful to God Almighty for God’s guidance and direction since our gathering here on this mount.
My Friends, it is God’s Special Grace that has kept us here, and I am confident that this grace shall take each of us back home in Jesus’ name.
Our conference text and theme have been dealt with in depth by our Bible Study Leader and our Conference Speaker this week, and I assumed that we all have been charged and loaded, and ready for serious business as we depart from here back to our various places of assignment this conference year.
Fellow United Methodists, there are two more things left for many of us as we close this 190th Session of our conference, and guess what?
1. This closing message from the bishop, and
2, the bishop’s appointment, which is the last agenda item, and right after that, we will depart from here.
So let me quickly share with you my closing message, which will be very brief, but powerful and challenging for this dispensation.
Text: Psalms 46: 1, 7 & 10; St. Mark 4: 35-41
Theme: “BE STILL”
The phrase be still is a command; an instruction which is given by authority from the one to whom the power or authority has been given.
Therefore, when an individual, or a group of people are commanded or instructed by the one who holds that power or authority to be still, it suggests to me, conference the following:
- That the individual/s or a group of people are not stable or in a stable condition at present;
- That there are some issues which these individuals/group of people are faced with at present;
- That there are threats of danger awaiting them at present;
- That things are not normal as usual at present, and in my mind, that is why the commander or the one who holds that authority is instructing/commanding them to be still. Are you with me?
Listen to me, Church, and listen well: If the bishop of the Liberia Area of the United Methodist Church is commanding or instructing United Methodists and Christians in general under the sound of his voice this morning to be still, it means that there are issues, circumstances, serious challenges, difficulties, confusion in the minds, unstable state of affairs, disagreements, all crippling amongst us here and there is a need for us to be still.
But what is meant by be still, Church? To be still in my mind, suggests the following:
- To be still means to be in a stable state or condition;
- To be relaxed and for the freedom of the mind to concentrate properly;
- To be calm
- To be undoubtful, or to be at ease;
- To operate under normal circumstances
In the Psalms, which is our major text, 46:1,7 & 10, I picked up these things:
In Psalm 46:1, the author says: “God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in trouble”. Let me do some exegesis here: There is some evidence that this Psalm was written during the siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrians. It is quite possible that the Holy Spirit gave it at that time through Isaiah to Hezekiah at Jerusalem.
If that, in fact, is the case, it addresses itself as well to the siege of Jerusalem which will take place by the Antichrist in the Battle of Armageddon, according to Zechariah 14:1-3. Amen! In verse 7, we read: “The LORD of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge”. Selah. In this verse, the reason for Israel’s victory is the “LORD of Hosts”. It is the same presently; but in a little different way. Presently, the victory has already been won at Calvary. Faith, my friends, in that Finished Work guarantees the victory afforded by the cross. Amen! Then in verse 10, it reads thus: “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the Earth”. This is exactly what happened with Sennacherib, and will be exactly what will happen at the Second Coming. Praise the Lord!
In the Gospel of Mark which was also read, the author narrates a story of what transpired between Master Jesus and His Disciples. Mark narrates that Master Jesus and His disciples got into a ship to go on the other side of the Lake. But as they sailed, there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
At this point, for the disciples, their lives were at stake; there was uncertainty, an existential threat to their lives. They were in a very critical condition. In their situation, they strived helping themselves to calm the situation but all their efforts became a massive failure. Why did their efforts fail, for they were all professionals at sea fairing? Let me suggest why they failed:
- They depended too much on their human ingenuity. You see, my friends, the gifts and graces from God to us are excellent. But when we so much depend on these gifts and graces and leave out God, then we become failure; then we become unstable in our situation. This was the case of the disciples, and this is our problem as United Methodists, and as Liberians. Many times we depend on our human intellectualism to do God’s work.
- They did not recognize Master Jesus at first, and we are not just too different from the disciples who got into serious mess before calling upon Master Jesus.
MY Fellow United Methodists, and Christians alike, I Bishop Samuel J. Quire, Jr. of the Liberia Episcopal Area do call on all and each of us to be still as we go through the storms that we are going through at present. But for Master Jesus to calm our situation, we must do the following:
- Stop the cheap gossip
- Stop the undermining
- Stop the petit jealousy and envy
- Stop the you say, I say in our midst
- Stop the hypocrisy, and
- Stop being pretentious
We must depend on HIM Who has called us. He said, I will not leave you nor forsake you, for as I was with Moses, so will I be with you. Amen!
Finally, I stop by to let you know that Master Jesus is willing and ready to speak to our situation. He is ready to say right now, “Peace Be Still” in the United Methodist Church in Liberia; in the Global Connection of our United Methodist Church; in our various districts; in our local churches; in our organizations and units; in our homes; in our institutions; and even in our hearts.
Be Still, my friends, for the storms will soon be over. Be still and know that God is God, even in our circumstances.
Go in peace; and may the grace of God be with you.
In the name of God, the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Amen!