Rev. Bod Dean, Retired Pastor Iowa Annual Conference
January 17, 2021

Scripture: 1 Samuel 3:1-10, John 1:43-51

Theme: Get the Lead Out!


  • God uses our experiences to “sharpen” us and sends us out to reveal God’s love as we “make our mark” on the world.
    In life, we all “get the lead out.” In other words, we make our mark on the world and the people around us. Our inevitable marks can be positive, similar to an “A” on an assignment, or negative like an “F.”
  • In this way, our pencils sometimes get dull and need to be sharpened. Scripture reveals how God can use our life experiences to sharpen us so we can make positive marks, revealing God’s grace on the world and the people around us.

Lessons from 1 Samuel and John

  • In both Scriptures, we see examples of how God can use our experiences to “sharpen” us.
    While God is not the cause of all our experiences, God’s life-changing power can heal and transform us. In this way, what happened to us or caused us pain can become a source of strength and promise.
  • God had a purpose for both Samuel and Philip, using their life experiences to prepare them to serve. God always has, and still does, work through human beings to spread the Good News of Redeeming Love. God has a purpose for you, an individual message that can only be communicated through you. God seeks to prepare us – God sharpens us in order to send us.
  • Like Nathaniel’s question, “can anything good come out Nazareth?” people asked of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “can anything good come out of Selma and Montgomery?” But God was working through Dr. King, shaping him to sharpen the church of his day. Similarly today, many people witness judgement and hypocrisy asking, “Can anything good come out of the church?”

Take Away and Call to Action:

  • Even in the midst of a pandemic, God is still at work building relationships that seem unlikely and transforming hearts, minds, and spirits.
  • Even when churches must close their doors, we must and we can continue to partner with God in ministry. Today we are challenged to respond with a special offering for Human Relations Day. This is an opportunity to join with other United Methodist churches in new possibilities and realities.
  • Giving to others is one of the ways that God sharpens us, ready to make a positive mark on the people and world around us. When new relationships are formed, Jesus is with us and the promise of resurrection becomes real.
  • Pray that God would give us the courage to cross boundaries, build trust, and “come and see.” For Jesus loves each of us, and with him, greater things are possible.

Growing Together

“Even in the midst of a pandemic, God is still at work building relationships that seem unlikely and transforming hearts, minds, and spirits.”   If you are interested in growing your faith in this community we invite you to join us in an online small group.

  • Mondays at 7:00 pm – Bibles at Barleys currently via Zoom
  • Wednesdays at 5:00 pm – Women’s Bible Study currently via

Complete the form below and let us know which group you would like to connect with.

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