Southview United Methodist Church   •   3539 Peters Creek Road, Roanoke, VA 24019    |    540.362.1767
pastors note
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Pastor's Note
Reverend, Warren R. Carswell

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Where do we go from here?

My good friend Rob and I have hiked all of the Appalachian Trail (AT) in Virginia! The AT runs right through
our area. McAfee Knob is the most photographed spot of the 2200 miles from Georgia to Maine. The AT is
marked by white blazes which are strategically placed on rocks and trees. The white blaze helps hikers to stay
on the path. Inevitably, hikers do venture off the trail and get lost. Some need rescuing and deaths have
occurred who stray from the path.

Jesus said, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it (Matthew 7:13-14 NIV).

There are many similarities to following Jesus and hiking the Appalachian Trail. Each year the Appalachian Trail Conservatory compiles a list of stats of people who attempt and complete a "thru-hike." A thru-hike is the
entire 2200 miles within a single time period. In 2016, of the 3377 people who attempted to compete the trail
only 685 finished! That's just about 1 in 5 hikers finish the course. The reasons why greatly vary from running
out of money to just wanting to go home.

Thousands considered themselves "disciples" of Jesus, "followers" of "the Way." However, few stuck with it.
Many walked away. Why? Cause it was and is hard! Shortly after Jesus fed the "multitudes" with a few loaves
of bread and a few fish, He began to teach. His teaching was powerful and inspiring! So much so that they
wanted to make Him king! So what happened to these thousands, possibly tens of thousands of people? Many
of them who claimed to be His disciple.

"On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?… From this time many
of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him" John 6:60, 66 (NIV).

Jesus turned to the twelve and asked, "You do not want to leave too, do you?" John 6:67 (NIV).

We are living in similar times in which it is hard to be a follower of Christ. Many, like then, turn away because
the teaching is difficult. Many are asking which way to go, to whom shall we follow, what camp or party
should we align with? Sometimes those voices are loud and demanding. During uncertain times like this, let us
boldly follow Jesus. Let us believe in His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Let us drink from the cup of Life that He
provides (John 4:4-42). Let us build our house on a firm foundation (Matthew 7:24-27). Let us be people who
walk that straight and narrow path.

Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to who shall we go? You have the words of enteral life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God" John 6:68-69 (NIV).

As Easter approaches, boldly share the Good News, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life" John 3:16 (NIV)

Grace and Peace,
Warren Carswell
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