Thursday, November 7, 2019

Take time to love


Earlier this morning I dropped my wife off at the airport.  She was heading to Colorado to celebrate her mother’s 70th birthday.  I am so thankful that she has the opportunity to be there!  Unfortunately, we couldn’t make the trip together.  Kira took the baby with her, and I stayed home with our oldest son.  As amazing as it would be for all of us to celebrate together, this trip allows Kira to be present with her mom.  They were able to make a little space to just be mother and daughter.  They can shop, laugh, and chase the baby around… J

I also have an opportunity to spend some time with my oldest son.  This might seem strange, because I get to see this little guy every day.  However, when my wife is out of town, I become the person who goes grocery shopping with him.  I take him to the park.  I cook him dinner.  Normally, Kira winds up doing a ton of these activities while I am at work or running other errands.  It is kind of nice to spend some one on one time with him.  I am always surprised how much fun I have when we work on art projects together, wrestle like crazy people, or listening to baby shark on repeat!

In the month of November, we celebrate the season of Thanksgiving.  Today, I am so thankful for all my family, friends, and relatives.  I am grateful for my church and the people who have surrounded me with love.  I hope you can all spend a little extra time today cherishing the people around you.  I hope you can all find a little extra space to really open your heart to the people you love.

Blessings!!


Pastor Brian

This is a pic from a couple weeks ago on Halloween. 
Cherishing the people I love! :) 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Reformation!


This is an exciting time for ministry at Community Lutheran Church.  There are so many wonderful things happening with the arrival of our new Senior Pastor, Ben Bergren.  In the meantime, there has been plenty of other activity going on.  We have said hello and goodbye to our Transition Senior Pastor, Tom Anderson.  Personally, I have officiated nine different funerals and three weddings in the last two months.  There have been a number of hospital visits, appointments, and meetings.  Then to top it all off my two little boys got sick last week, just as my parents arrived from Minnesota…

Life goes by at a blur!  If we aren’t careful, we can miss out on some really sacred moments.  I have heard that we need five positive or affirming complements to counter just one negative comment.  Human beings are just wired to listen to the bad and doubt the good.  I know this can be true for me.  I will focus in on one little moment where I feel like I failed or neglected to help someone.  However, the past few days have been fairly encouraging for me.  My parents still wanted to visit, and they were an IMMENSE help with the sick kids!  (I just hope they don’t get sick in the days to come!!!)  I also received several very gracious letters from people who I helped over the last few weeks.  These small moments reminded me that God’s Spirit is always working!

This week we are celebrating the Reformation of the church.  The Reformation is the good news that God’s Spirit is always working for good in this world.  Sometimes we can get lost in the dark valleys, but there are always new options and new opportunities to move forward.  This week we are celebrating the Holy Spirit’s work in your life.  I hope you can believe that God is creating something good within you!!

Blessings!


Brian

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Pray with hope


What does prayer mean to you?

Personally, I believe in the power of prayer.  I pray every day for healing, love, and forgiveness in our world.  However, my prayers aren’t always so noble…  At times, I have prayed for good grades, to find my keys, and for God to stop my roommate’s snoring… If there is a desire on my heart, I often bring it to God. J

Image result for pray
Over the years, I have seen God do some amazing things, big and small.  People have been healed and lives have been changed.  There are also plenty of times diseases don’t go away, people refuse to change, and roommates keep snoring!

In Luke 18, Jesus tells us of the power of prayer.  Prayer has an ability to change our lives in unexpected ways.  When I pray, I know that I may not get the answer that I am looking for.  In fact, there are weeks where it feels like nothing is going right… However, prayer has played a deeper role in my life.  Prayer allows me to listen.  Prayer helps me to open my heart and experience miracles that I wasn’t looking for originally.  Prayer allows me to live in this world with hope.  As you experience the ups and the downs of life, I hope that you can listen for God’s love through prayer.  May prayer kindle hope in your heart, and may your experience of God give you a deeper understanding of grace.

Blessings,


PB

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Faith


The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
Luke 17:5

Have you ever asked for more faith?

Just last week, I found myself overwhelmed with a number of little things.  Personally, I don’t mind interruptions to my schedule if they mean I can help somebody.  However, I really dislike all the interruptions that prevent me from doing work or seeing people.  Last week I got stuck in several situations that had no good solution, but they took a LOT of time... In the end, I know I really do not have anything to complain about.  There are so many people who are dealing with so more than me.  However, even the smallest worries can be destructive if we allow it into our hearts.

Today Christ tells us to have faith.  Jesus says that even faith the size of a mustard seed can lead us out of the darkness.  When I reflect on this, I am reminded of how easy it is for the problems of this world to consume me.  Christ reminds me that love is greater than all fear.  There is no height or depth that can keep us from the love of Christ.  Today I hope we can all make a little room in our hearts for faith.  God has incredible love for us all.  Let’s let go of our fear, and let’s allow love to set us free.

Blessings!


PB

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Opening our eyes...


Are there people in your life who you are ignoring?

Are there people you want nothing to do with?

Are there people you can’t forgive?

Sometimes as I am driving around with my four year old son, I will hear him shout out, “Dad!  They need a bag!!”  He is referring to the Matthew Kits we have in our car.  These kits offer supplies to people who are experiencing homelessness.  My son always has his eyes open to look for people who might be in need, and he can’t wait to offer a little bit of love to the world.

Image result for open the eyes of my heartThere are days I can become callused to the needs of others around me.  It is easy to see the imperfections.  It is easy to think of reasons why I can’t help.  However, our scripture passage this week calls us to look at the world with love.  We are not called to fix every problem.  We are not called to heal every wound.  However, we can see each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.  We can allow God’s Spirit to flow through us when we offer a genuine smile to our neighbor.

This week I hope I can be a little bit more like my son.  I want to look out at the world and open my eyes to love.  I hope and pray we can all live with this kind of faith…

Blessings!


Pastor Brian

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Rediscovering Joy


A few weeks ago, my wife and I were talking about some of the trips we have taken.  Our oldest child has had a number of great experiences.  We have taken him camping all across the west, and we have carried him to the top mountains in Nevada, California, Arizona, and Colorado.  As much as we love all these trips, we really haven’t gone on any big adventures in the past year.  We were just trying to get a basic sleep schedule figured out with our second child, and it seemed absurd to throw all that out the window to spend the night together in a tent!

Crazy or not, we decided it was time for an outdoor experience.  We were tired of the heat, and we were craving the fresh mountain air.  My wife found a spot in Pine Valley, Utah, which really wasn’t far from us, but it felt like a different world!  We spent time hiking, sitting around a campfire, and splashing in the creek.  Both kids handled the nights well too.  We went through a pretty good thunderstorm our second night and the kids barely flinched!  Sure there were exhausting moments, but we grew so much as a family!  It was a blessing just to cherish the world around us, and it was a blessing to take time to cherish each other!
 
Today, in our scripture passage, Jesus is going to describe what it means to be lost and found.  There is joy in finding the lost.  There is also joy in rediscovering part of ourselves that we forgot we had.  To me, this is part of the reason I love camping trips.  I am always surrounded by my wonderful family, but sometimes I need an intentional trip to remind me of the joy that God has already blessed me with!  God is always seeking after us, blessing us, and sharing love with us.  I hope we can all take time to find ourselves and discover the blessings around us!

Peace!!


Brian Ward



Loving the Outdoors!!  :)

The view from our tent!






Thursday, September 5, 2019

Faith and a Canoe


When I was a teenager, I took a canoe trip to the Boundary Waters in Minnesota.  I traveled with a group from my church, and the trip became one of the most memorable experiences in my faith journey.  Everything was awe inspiring.  We had almost perfect weather, and I remember enjoying even the longest portages.  (This is saying something, because I always portaged with a canoe over my head!!!)  I don’t even remember the mosquitoes being too awful!  I simply recall the amazing landscapes, the loon calls, the stars, and the amazing people around me.  In the end, I couldn’t wait to go back and share the experience with others!
 
It has been almost 20 years since that first canoe trip, and although I have been backpacking in many other places, I have never returned to the Boundary Waters.  However, last week my wife and I moved one step closer to such an adventure.  We took our four year old son on a short canoe trip from willow beach to the emerald caves on the Colorado River.  We went with some of the young adults from the church, and we figured it would be a great way to introduce our child to canoeing.  He loved splashing around in the water, but we discovered that it was pretty hard for him to trust that wobbly old canoe.  He really did quite well, but faith does not always come easy when a speed boat rushes by!  By the end, he was ready to be back on shore…  We will have to wait a few more years for that epic canoe trip with the family. J
 
Sometimes life, like a canoe trip, requires trust.  We don’t really know where God is leading us or how we are going to get through the waves.  However, we are called to be disciples.  God promises to lead us on an amazing journey if we let go, have faith, and follow.   

Do you believe God has wonderful plans in mind for you?  Do you believe you are called to something beautiful?  We are going to make mistakes on our journey.  We are going to mess up and fall in the lake at times, but each day is an opportunity to take another step with Christ.  Each day is another opportunity to walk in love toward something beautiful… 

Blessings!


Brian