UMM Gathering with Mike Denelsbeck (4/12/14)

Posted by on Apr 12, 2014 in EventReport, Friends & Fellowship, GroupPresentations, men, UMM | 0 comments

The United Methodist Men held our monthly gathering this morning (Saturday April 12).  Our guest speaker was Mike Denelsbeck.    Mike has an interesting story.  From working as a prison guard, to being a Lay Director of the Garden State Walk to Emmaus Community, to his current ministry as a local pastor (of the Rosenhayne UMC), he has led a life of growth and commitment to our Lord. Mike has a passion for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.

The following shares the message that Mike shared with us….

Where Do You Find Comfort?

When life hits you with stress, worry, or pain… where do you go for comfort?  Here are a few paths that people frequently take:

  • FOOD…
    Whether its candy or something more substantial, food often provides a temporary relief from stress (in fact there are physiological explanations for this).  They don’t call it “comfort food” for nothing!
  • DRINK…
    Anything from water, to something stronger.
    Take a walk, journal,  shut out the world.
    Be with friends
    “Time heals all wounds”

2 Corinthians 1:3-11 talks about the comfort that Paul found from doing God’s work and sharing with other Christians…

Read Passage

2 Cor 1:3-11 3

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.

But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,  as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. NIV

Who was Paul?

Before his conversion, Paul was known as Saul. Saul was born at roughly the same year as Jesus. But unlike Jesus who had a lowly background, Paul was well educated and respected. He became one of the Pharisees; one of the leaders of the Jewish people.

After Jesus’ died (and returned to heaven!), Saul zealously persecuted anyone who believed that Jesus was the Messiah (God’s promised King). He was on one of these missions (to Damascus) when Jesus appeared to him in a blinding light.  Check out the passage in Acts chapter 9.

Saul then became known as Paul. From that time forward, Paul began to defend and promote the same faith he had earlier tried to defeat.  The book of Acts records three missionary journeys that he took; through his teaching, many churches all over the known world were started.

Much of the New Testament consists of the letters that Paul wrote to these churches during his travels and during his eventual imprisonment.

Paul certainly wasn’t concerned with “comfort zones.”  In fact,  in the above passage from 2 Corinthians, he says that his comfort comes from relying on God, not by trusting in himself.  Paul went through a lot of suffering, and yet as he looked back, he was convinced that God was using everything in his life to build His kingdom.

What?  Who?  ME!?!

Mike shared several personal stories showing how his life prior to becoming a pastor prepared him for his calling.  But all through those times (and even now), the question “What- who, Me???” keeps popping up.  Who am I do do this?   Moses had the same questions at the burning bush when he eventually ended up saying “Oh God… send someone else!” (see Exodus chapters 3 and 4).

If our source of comfort is always in our comfort zones, we’ll never the the people God wants us to be.  When we’re in our comfort zones, we’re tempted to rely on ourselves and make it the “Me Show” instead of the “God Show.” 

AquariumFishWhen you buy a tropical fish, the people at the pet store dump the fish into a plastic bag filled with water from the tank he came from.  When you get the fish home, you’re supposed to place the entire bag into your tank and give the fish a few minutes to get acclimated.  You don’t just dump the fish into the tank until the temperatures balance and he gets used to the new environment.

But, for the fish to live and to thrive in the “real world” of your tank, you have to cut open the bag and release him into the “big tank”.  

In the same way, we need to be released from the protection of our comfort zones in order to move where God wants us to be and to experience the true comfort of being the people God has called us to be. 

What’s it All Mean???

  • Is God calling you to to do something outside of your comfort zone?
  • Is He currently preparing you for something you’d never imagine yourself doing?
  • Would you hear His voice if He called?
  • Are your ready to trust in God for your success instead of your own abilities?
  • Are you ready to trust God for His comfort instead of your own “Comfort Zone?”

For more info on the Men’s Group, Click Here.


Check out the following video from a couple of years ago where Mike shares about two of his ministries, Walk to Emmaus and The Christian Motorcycle Association…






Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *