Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Year... New Blessings

Christmas is such a busy time of year!  I love the season, but I know in my life I can get so overwhelmed with the preparations that I can forget to enjoy the moment.  It struck me, earlier this week, when I was looking around my house.  I realized I would soon be putting all the decorations away, and I really hadn’t taken any time to enjoy them.  There were so many things to worry about and stress over that I really didn’t pay attention to the joy of the season as much as I should have. 

However, in the midst of all the chaos, God still shows up.  I hope as you look back over this past year you can take time to remember the blessings.  Think about how you have changed.  You’re not the same person you were a year ago...  Can you feel God’s love today?  How will that Love change you in the year to come? 

Peace!


Pastor Brian

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Do you believe in Love?

Things are really gearing up as we get closer to Christmas!  However, in this midst of all this excitement, our nine month old baby, is getting sick.  Thankfully, he still has the energy to run, play, and scream with delight, but he is super congested, and his nose is running all the time. (Seriously, I didn’t think that much snot could come out of such a tiny nose!) The baby is also having trouble sleeping, which means we’re even more exhausted than usual…  However, in addition to bringing fourth snot, our child has also been able to bring fourth an incredible amount of love.  He makes me want to share love that I didn’t know that I had.  This week in Advent we are celebrating Love and the relationships it creates.  Today, I wonder if you feel loved?  Do you have relationships in your life that give you strength and hope even when your life is extra messy? 

I was reminded this week that in Greek the word for love is Agape.  Agape is unconditional love, but it is also so much more.  Agape can be translated charity.  Agape is the unconditional love that binds all relationships together, but it also sends us forth.  It drives us to want to reach out to others with charity and grace.  As we prepare for Christmas this week, I hope we can all find a way to be driven by love to serve the world. 

Blessings!


PB

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Living in fear... or preparing for Christ

I love the Christmas season.  However, this year it has been particularly hard for me to get into the spirit.  There is so much chaos overseas.  More refugees exist in our world than at any other time since World War II.   In our own nation, there have been so many shootings.  Violence, pain, and fear seem to be everywhere.  As we gather each week around the Advent Wreath, it seems almost wrong to lite candles of Hope, Joy, Love or Peace… Honestly, it seems like I am preparing for evil, fear, and chaos more than I am preparing for the coming of Christ. 

Today, we ARE preparing for Christmas, even though it seems like the world is falling apart.  The Bible says that God chose to come to a people living in deep darkness to bring light.  As we gather together this week, we are part of something radical.  We are protesting the darkness.  We will not be controlled by evil.  We believe God is still working in this world, and we believe we can actually be a part of the Good News.  This week I hope you can find hope to reach out and share God’s Joy in some way with the world around you!

Blessings!


PB

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

It's time to prepare!

The ring bearer was ready... He did a great job riding down the
aisle, but he tried to crawl away as soon as the wagon stopped!
I know some pastors who really don’t like doing weddings.  They say there are just too many expectations and ideas from the bride and groom that will drive them crazy.  However, I personally love working with people who are passionate about a service, and even though the day may be stressful, I love seeing so much energy and love.  A couple weeks ago, I had the honor of officiating at my brother in law’s wedding.  It was amazing to see the whole family come out early to prepare for that busy day.  Everyone was stepping up to handle a different task.  Some people prepared the reception area.  Others readied the food, and even our 8 month old baby got into the spirit by riding around in a wagon. (He would ride in the wagon to deliver the rings.  Pretty fun, right?) It was a busy day, but everyone wanted to be there and help in one way or another.  In the end it turned out great.  The bride and groom’s preparations made for a great day, and we all had a blast.

In the church, we are in a season of preparation.  Sometimes, I think it’s weird to prepare for Christmas.  What’s the point of preparing for something that already happened 2000 years ago?  Can’t we just celebrate the day?  Well, it’s true that God is already here, and Jesus has already been born as a Savior.  However, I believe God is still breaking into our world today.  Whatever you may think of yourself, God loves you enough to want to enter into your life.  That is powerful news, and although it’s possible just to say God is here… end of story.  I think we all need to take some time to prepare our hearts and minds to understand this news and to share it.  I hope you can dive into this season and find all kinds of new ways to share God’s love!

Blessings!


PB

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Christ the King

This coming Sunday is special in the Lutheran Church.  It is known as Christ the King Sunday, and we are celebrating Christ’s Kingdom here in the world.  I hope all of you feel like Christ has control of your lives, but I know that’s not always the case.  We are entering into a wonderful time of the year where we are supposed to see Christ’s Kingdom in all we do.  However, there have been moments I’ve looked at the world, and I’ve felt like everything was out of control.  Terrorist attacks, bombings, and hatred seem to dominate the headlines.  How are we supposed to go forward, believing Christ is King?

Christmas wouldn't be complete anymore without a laser!
Recently, Kira and I have been feeling a little overwhelmed listening to the news, preparing for this busy season, and just managing our own lives.  However, early last week our neighbors came over to our house with a gift.  They knew we were pretty busy, and they wanted to help us out, so they put up Christmas lights on our house!  Actually, they didn’t have to string up any lights… they did something better.  They bought us a CHRISTMAS LASER that shoots colorful beams all over our house.  It’s pretty amazing!  However, more than anything, it was so wonderful to know that someone cares about us.  It reminded us that Christ’s Kingdom of Love is still present on this earth.

This year we hope everyone at Community can get involved in the Month of Christmas.  We are inviting people to share God’s love in whatever way they see best.  Maybe you can help someone out with their holiday decorations.  Maybe you can serve food to the hungry.  Or perhaps you can just take time to get to know your neighbors better.  I know Kira and I can’t wait to get out and share the love we’ve been given.  In spite of all that is going on in the world, let’s share the news that God is here, and Christ is King!

Blessings!


PB

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Surprising Joy

When was the last time you were truly surprised?  Sometimes I feel like there are very few things that will really surprise me.  Personally, I spend a lot of effort trying to take the surprises out of life.  If something unexpected happens, it’s usually a bad thing, and it means I haven’t prepared very well. 
 
After having a baby, this past year has been filled with surprises.  Everything feels new, and that has been amazing!  Scary… but amazing.  I’m constantly making mistakes – catching the kid playing in the fireplace or chewing on something electrical.  However, I’m also seeing everything new.  It’s so much fun to prepare for the holiday season and see it all from a child’s perspective.  Everything has become fresh and alive!

This week, Jesus reminds us that nothing ever turns out exactly like we expect.  Life is filled with surprises.  I hope each of you find joy in the surprises in life.  I pray that you might believe God’s Sprit is working to bring Grace to the world.

Blessings!


PB

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Trunk or Treat at CLC

We are trying to figure out How
to Train our Dragon
Last Thursday, fourteen hundred people visited our church for the annual Trunk or Treat event.  This was a wonderful family friendly event that welcomed all people from the community.  The church served as a safe and fun place where local families could have fellowship, fun, and an opportunity to send the pastors into the freezing water of a dunk tank… Good times! 

Sometimes these events are not seen as very important to church life.  However, I believe this event helped to show the local community that we really care, and it was fun to see our entire congregation stand behind this effort.  There was involvement from all kinds of different ministries, and I believe we really helped show Christ’s love to the world.  This week, I hope you can find some way to reach out to share God’s love with other people.  Maybe you can’t quote scripture or sing any hymns by heart, but I hope you can all find some way to share God’s love with your neighbors.

Blessings,


PB

Getting into the Halloween Spirit!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Toroweap - Camping at the Canyon!

As a pastor, I don’t have normal weekends.  However, I typically get Sunday afternoon through Monday evening off.  It can be hard to fit an epic adventure into that short amount of time, and that certainly hasn’t gotten any easier since we’ve added a baby to the equation.  However, too many weekends at home had us ready to get out of town. 

It took all week for us to prepare to take the baby camping for one night.   It’s amazing how much the kid needs.  I think he applies more ointment in a day than I’ve used in my entire life, but I suppose he has to keep his skin looking young and fresh... :) Anyway, we checked and double checked that we had enough for him.  Then Kira and I quickly threw a few things together for ourselves on Sunday morning, and we took off after church.  We drove to Toroweap, on the western end of the Grand Canyon.  If you haven’t been there before, it’s pretty exciting.  You have to drive over 50 miles on dirt roads, and there are moments of 4-weeling up mountainsides and through some muddy sections of standing water.  Good Stuff!

We finally arrived to watch the sun go down over the canyon.  It was amazing!  We took in some wonderful hikes, and we ate some great food.  Somehow, we were also able to spend over 9 hours in the car with a wild little baby, and we kept him from rolling off any cliffs!  In the end, it was wonderful to let go of life’s daily distractions and focus on what matters most.  I’m thankful for all our modern day luxuries, but I am also so grateful to be able to spend time with people I love in an awe inspiring place. 

This week we are celebrating All Saints Day at Community.  We are taking time to remember all those who have died.  We are also remembering the love those people shared with us.  This week, I hope you remember the people who have shown you love, and I hope you take time to enjoy this world with the people who matter most to you!

Blessings!

PB


A pretty awe inspiring place...



Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Praying...

Last Sunday afternoon, I started to feel a little off.  I didn’t want to believe I was getting sick, but I was.  There was a time, before I married Kira, when I would eat all kinds of rancid things hiding in the back of my refrigerator.  Not surprisingly, that made me pretty ill from time to time.  However, when Kira started bringing home foods that had not hit their expiration date, most of those problems went away.  So I’m not sure what hit me earlier this week, but it sure knocked me out for about 24 hours.  At first, I thought if I could ignore the problem, it would go away.  I tried hopping on my bike and going for a quick ten mile ride… Surprisingly, this didn’t help.  Instead, I needed was to admit that I needed help from others.  That was what really got me though.

There are times I can convince myself I can conquer any problem on my own.  However, there are other moments when reality sets in.  I realize I need help.  This week we are looking at the Lord’s Prayer.  This prayer plugs us into a power beyond ourselves.  It brings hope, grace, and peace, and these are things I know I need every day.  I hope we can all let go of our own selfishness and pride and realize it is okay to ask for help.

Blessings!


PB

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Trying to keep up!

Agile, mobile, and hostile!  Just try and keep up with this guy!
I love being a dad.  There are so many new experiences that have brought me so much joy these last few months.  However, I am also learning about humility...  I am realizing just how much I really need help and support.  Recently, the baby started crawling.  I will turn my back on him for a second only to find him eating a plastic bag, chewing on a power cord, or banging his head into a cupboard.  Try as I might, I can’t keep up with him!  It’s scary to think how little control I really have… What will happen when he starts growing up?  What happens when I can no longer force him to make all the right choices?  It makes me realize how fragile life really is.  I can try to convince myself of my own power.  However, if I am honest, I know I need a power beyond myself.  I need God.  I need other people.  Without the grace of others, I am nothing.  We all receive gifts every day.  Whether we wake up to find the sun on our face, or a smile from a friend, these undeserved gifts give each one of us life in a real way.

In the Bible, there was a man, named Jabez.  Jabez realized he needed God’s grace.  His prayer for help has survived, and it has provided guidance to countless people over the years.  Today, I hope whatever we are going through, we would know it’s okay to seek help and grace.

Blessings!


PB

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Answering Prayers...

There are people in this world who pray several times day.  Other people may go their whole lives without uttering a single word to God.  Personally, I believe prayer can be incredibly powerful, but I also believe it can be incredibly mysterious.  There are times when I will cry out to God, and hear only silence.  In that sense, prayer can be exhausting.  It’s hard to pray at someone’s bedside as they slowly slip away.  In the end, it can make me wonder what the purpose of prayer really is. 

This week, we are going to be looking at a Bible story about a man named Gideon.  Gideon had faith in God, and he believed in prayer.  However, Gideon lacked faith in himself.  He prayed that God would solve all his problems, and God was indeed with Gideon every day of his life.  However, God wanted Gideon to answer his own prayer.  God was calling Gideon into action, and that was a response that Gideon wasn’t ready for. 

Sometimes, we are willing to pray.  We can ask God to solve our problems, but there are times when God seems unwilling to answer.  Perhaps these are moments when we are called to listen.  Perhaps God is calling us in some way.  We may doubt in our abilities, but there may be some hidden way we can offer hope.  God is calling each one of us…  Do you believe you can answer?

Blessings!



PB

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Conformation Retreat!

Exploring the Slot Canyons   :)
Last weekend, I traveled to Camp Lutherwood with the youth group.  I was one of the leaders for the conformation retreat.  Lutherwood is a beautiful camp located in between Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon.  Typically, Kira loves joining me as a leader on these trips.  However, we have a baby now, and at first, that raised too many questions… How would the baby handle camping?  Would he scream the whole time?  Would he get too cold at night?  Would he ruin the experience for the kids?  There was a lot to worry about, but at the last minute, we decided to give it a try.  It turned out to be an amazing trip!  There were mountains, canyons, long smelly car rides, and so much more!  Besides, when else were we going to have the chance to change a diaper at the bottom of a slot canyon?  (Imagine an exceptionally dirty diaper, a kicking and screaming child, and sand and rocks flying everywhere…)  It did take a little extra effort, but the kids were really the ones who made the trip incredible.  We really had 20 babysitters who were ready to help whenever we needed it.  The trip was rejuvenating for me, and I hope it was just as life giving for the kids.  It’s always powerful to watch a group of young people become united for God and for one another!

The conformation retreat was a great time for the kids to come together.  It was also a time for the kids to see God in new and exciting ways.  This week at Community we are starting a new sermon series on Prayer.  On the conformation retreat, I saw God answering prayers in so many surprising ways.  Today, I hope we can open our hearts and minds to listen for God.  There are new opportunities available to each one of us… if we just take the time to listen.

Blessings!



PB   

Bryce Canyon

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Do you have hope?

A few days ago, I met with a woman who asked for a pastoral visit.  She was not a church member, but she really needed help.  Her home was filled with trash, partially eaten food was lying around, and everything in her house seemed to be falling apart.  Anyway, this woman was also mentally ill.  She suffered from depression, anxiety, and a fear of all kinds of evil.  She didn’t believe God, or anyone else, could love her.  I desperately tried to share the Good News with her.  I tried to show her Christ’s love and proclaim God’s message, but it didn’t feel like I was getting through to her.  Instead, everything I said seemed to make her even more depressed… Not exactly a fun way to start the day.  By the time I got back to the church, I was feeling pretty burnt out.

There are times when it’s hard to have hope.  However, I believe God loves each and every one of us.  Even when we give up on God, God does not give up on us.  In our scripture lesson today, Jesus says we all need to share the Good News.  We have to work together, use one another’s gifts, and find ways to share God’s Love.  I need to remember, it’s not just up to me to save someone.  Jesus said we cannot do this all on our own.  It feels hopeless when we try.  We need each other in our walk with Christ.  I hope you can all share God’s Love this week, because this world needs each of you!

Blessings!


PB

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Blessings of Life

On a normal day, the baby will wake me up between 4:30 and 5:30 am.  Kira does the night feedings, so I wake up early to change his diaper, do some chores around the house, and then I’ll pack him in his stroller for a run.  When I get home, Kira and I are in a rush to eat breakfast, get ready for work, and get the baby set for day care.  Although we have so much to be thankful for, it’s easy for life to turn into one big rat race.  We just rush from one thing to another.

At the end of the day, I usually head over to Hill and Dale to pick the kid up from day care.  Some days are exhausting, but nothing can beat the feeling I have when the baby’s eyes light up to see me.  He gurgles, smiles, squirms, and just recently, he started snorting for joy when I show up. (As a father, nothing makes me prouder than a snorting child!) There may be so many things in life that I ignore or rush through, but I am so grateful to have these moments. 

This week’s scripture passage says:

Jesus took a little child and put it among the disciples; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me’”

Today, I hope you all can find the joy of God’s Kingdom by welcoming others, or by being welcomed yourself.  Life is a blessing.  I hope we can open our eyes and appreciate the gifts of the Kingdom.

Blessings!



PB

Oh, and in case your interested, I attached a video of the baby learning to snort... enjoy

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

New Journeys... New Identities

The view I saw for hours on end... but at least there were
nice bike lanes :)
Last Monday, I hopped on my bicycle and peddled about 60 miles to Pahrump, NV…  It was a great way to spend my Labor Day!  I am going to be officiating at a wedding in Pahrump soon, and Kira and I wanted to scope it out.  Kira planned to meet me there around 11am, so I filled up my water bottles and took off around 7am.  It’s was a neat ride with a few thousand feet of climbing and a wild descent.  However, after you conquer the mountain pass, you still have to spin through about 35 miles of empty desert… That was probably the hardest part of the trip… It’s exhausting to look at endless miles of dirt!

Thankfully, I arrived safely, and I wound up having a great time!  I met a few other really neat people, and I also felt like I accomplished something… Pretty fun!

If I put my silly adventures aside, my bike ride also gave me plenty of time to think.  There are so many people today who are on a much harder journey.  They are leaving their friends, family, and homes behind to search for a better place.  They are fleeing violence, terrorism, and destruction, and even if they reach their intended destinations, it seems unlikely their problems will go away.  These people are struggling to find new hope and new identities.

This week, in our scripture lesson, Jesus asks His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”  The world was a dark place for the disciples, and it can be a dark place for us too.  However, we can all find hope in Christ.  Do you believe God’s Grace is more powerful than war, ISIS, or any other evil?  Can love overpower bombs and bullets?  We are all God’s children.  That is our identity.  I pray today that wherever you are on your journey you may discover the power of grace.

Blessings!


PB

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Power of Words Part II

Laundry can be a real problem
when you have a baby :)
A few days ago my washing machine broke down.  (This is a big deal when you have a 5 month old baby who likes to vomit over everything!) I felt like I didn’t have time to deal with this issue, and I was worried about how much money it was going to set me back.  Overall, I think it left me in a pretty sour mood.  However, I had a conversation with my dad on the phone, and that conversation changed everything.  My dad didn’t tell me how to fix the washer or anything like that, but he didn’t have to.  He basically just said he thought I could handle it.  He believed I could do what it took to fix the problem or resolve the issue.  Sometimes hearing words of faith is all I need.  I wound up feeling energized.  I diagnosed the problem, replaced the motor coupler, and now Kira and I are back in business!
Cedar offered some additional encouragement
while the washer was being fixed. 

Last week, our Bible lesson talked about how the words of the Pharisees could bring destruction.  This week we are hearing how the words Christ offer us new life.  The Bible tells us that we all have God’s Spirit inside of us… Do you believe your words have the power to bring life to this world?

Then looking up to heaven, Jesus sighed and said, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
-Mark 7:34-35

I believe all our words can bring comfort and hope.  We can speak words of life, grace, acceptance, and love.  Perhaps those words are just as powerful as anything else. 

Blessings!


PB 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Power of Words

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…

Sometimes I like to believe that I am immune to the words of other people, as this saying suggests.  However, looking back at my life, I know the words of others have deeply influenced me.  At times, words have dragged me down.  Other times, words have lifted me up.  Personally, I am grateful to have had so many positive voices in my life, and I actually owe so much of who I am, a running climbing pastoring dad, to the wonderful words of the people who believed in me. 

However, I also know words can hurt, and I know my life has been molded by this too.  When a colleague or coworker tells us we are incapable of a task, it can shut doors.  The judgments of people we’ve just met can destroy us.  When you think about your life, how are others influencing you? 

In the Bible, it is very clear that words are powerful.  In Genesis 1 and 2, God creates everything with His Word.  God gives life to humans with breath.  Words, and the Spirit that is behind them, create.  In the Gospel of Mark chapter 7, Jesus says that our words can bring good or evil.  Our words, and the spirit we share through them, can create good things in this world, or they can tear others down.  Today, I hope we can remember the power we all have.  Whether we realize it or not, we can each change the world.  We have the breath of God inside of us, and we can use it to love, or we can ignore it and pretend our actions don’t matter.  How do you want to live?

Blessings!


PB

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Spirit of 45

Recently, I had the privilege of participating in a “Spirit of 45” event.  This event was celebrating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.  It recognized around 50 veterans of World War II, who were present at the event, and it left me with a sense of hope even in the darkest of times. 

It’s crazy how often I feel entitled to a care free life.  I mean, I’ll get frustrated when I run out of breakfast cereal or stub my toe…  However, we are all called to serve, and that’s not easy.  Seventy years ago soldiers risked everything they had in the hope that they could provide a better world for future generations.  Today, I wonder what we are living for?  Do we see ourselves in a world full of problems? Is everything against us?  Or, do we live with the hope that we can really accomplish something amazing?  Today I hope we can remember Christ is with us, and He asks us to believe we can work together to really accomplish something in the world.

Blessings!


PB

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Summer Fun! (From Pastor Dan)

On the LA Mission Trip!
"Greetings to you! I am NOT Pastor Brian. This week’s “Brian’s Blog” is brought to you by Intern Pastor Dan! I am delighted to get to write a little bit and share some of my own thoughts and feelings about Ministry and Scripture.

We have had a very busy summer at CLC. Between mission trips, VBS, and different staff being on vacation, the heat of the summer has flown by. Something that has been on my mind and heart often over these weeks are just how difficult ministry, and life, would be without the love and support of those around us. We have around 2 dozen people working throughout the week to make sure that worship and ministries happen, and they happen well. This is including, but not limited to: Worship Leaders, Musicians, Youth Ministry, Children’s Ministry, Gift Shop, Office Administrators, Accountants, A/V/L Techs, Custodians, Graphic designers… So many people prayerfully working for the Kingdom of God! To me, this is a wonderful example of living out what Paul addresses in Galatians 6. He writes, “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (v. 2).

As disciples of Christ, we are called to live in community with others. This is not always easy; sometimes we can’t stand the people we do community with! Even more dangerous, is the temptation to think we can do it on our own. Society informs us that we can “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps”, and we are tempted to justify, or even save ourselves. Paul assures us that we have an advocate in Christ through the Holy Spirit, and we have lists of “fruit” in how the Spirit lives in us. I challenge you this week to look for ways the Spirit is calling you into community, and how you can help others in their times of stress or need.

- Intern Pastor Dan Nelson"


Pastor Dan and Pastor Brian... Can you tell the
difference?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

VBS Week!

How to climb Mt. Everest!
It’s time for Vacation Bible School here at Community Lutheran Church.  That means every day this week our church is filled with kids running, jumping, and singing to God.  This year one of my responsibilities is teaching Bible Stories to preschoolers, and I have really been impressed with the kids.  Sometimes I kind of wonder how much the kids are really taking away, but it’s amazing to see these kids becoming passionate for God.  Yes, they want to be silly, and they certainly want to have fun, but they also want to hear about God’s Love.  These preschoolers are also proving that they have the ability to share God’s love with others.  They’ve shown such genuine love to me that it’s been impossible for me not to turn around and share that with others! 

I know I can get caught up thinking my studies in theology somehow put me on a different level, but that’s not the case.  Yes, my seminary degree has been pretty useful over the years, but God Spirit moves inside of preschoolers as much as it moves inside of me.  We are all called, and we all have gifts!  This week I hope we can appreciate the fruits of the Spirit in everyone we meet! 

Blessings!


PB

The Art of Teaching Preschoolers...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Child of God

Many of you know that I love to ride my bike.  It doesn’t matter if it’s 0 degrees or 110 degrees outside.  You can always catch me out there riding.  However, this past week got pretty frustrating.  I had to buy two new tires, patch five flats, and I noticed I am going to have to replace the chains on two of the bicycles we have.  It’s turning out to be an expensive and annoying week for riding.  I feel like I have spent more time sweating on the side of a dirty road than I have on the bike.  Insane!

When I get home, it’s easy to take out my frustration on others.  Minor bicycle problems can really have a big effect on my attitude.  However, something struck me as I was reading Galatians chapter 4.  The verses remind us to focus on what really matters.  Yes there are things in life that annoy us, but God has called us each His children.  That is what matters!  It’s pretty incredible to think about how much we are all loved.  This week Kira and I are celebrating because we are baptizing our baby.  It’s pretty amazing that God has made each one of us a part of the family!  That is what I want to focus on.  There is nothing else that matters!

Blessings!


PB  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Who needs sleep?

As many of you may know, Kira and I have a wonderful baby.  We’ve taken him on airplanes, camping trips, and hiking adventures.  He seems to be able to go anywhere, even when that means he will be strapped to my sweaty shirt as I climb a mountain.  However, his new favorite game is trying to keep his parents up all night.  Gone are the days when he just slept.  At the moment, he just wants to kick, shout, and slobber over everything.  I guess this is what babies do, but we could seriously handle a bit more rest!

Thankful for every moment...
Children are a blessing.  However, there are certainly moments where I’ve become tired and overwhelmed.  No one ever said this would be easy.  Instead, we are promised that love would show up – even in the difficult moments.  I know this is true.  If I open my eyes, there are so many blessing spilling over in my life.  I simply need to take the time to see them.  It is my prayer that we could all believe in God’s promise of love, because we all have so much to be thankful for.

Blessings!


Brian

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

LA mission trip!

View from the top of the Union Rescue Mission.  Looking out
we could see downtown LA as well as skid row.  
Last week I had the privilege of traveling with the youth on their annual Los Angeles mission trip.  It’s hard to explain why I love these trips so much, but I do.  Sure there were difficult moments… I mean, I was responsible for driving a 15 passenger van with a bunch of wild teenage boys… so the LA traffic got a little weird at times! :) However, I also got to see that same group of guys, who normally only seem to care about flatulence, care for people on skid row, clean up local school yards, and speak to others who were struggling to find hope.  Watching all the kids from CLC was amazing.  Even though they came from different places, they all stood together for love, and that was inspiring.

This week in Galatians, Paul writes that there is only one thing that really matters in this world: Grace.  We find Grace and Love through Christ Jesus, and it binds us all together.  Yes, Los Angeles is crazy, but grace shows up… and that brings hope.  I hope we can all find God Love and Grace this week.  No matter what we are going through God is here, and we can all believe we are accepted and loved.

Blessings!


PB

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Father's Day Fun

Ready to climb to the top of Arizona!
So, it’s getting hot in Vegas…  I’m still enjoying my early morning runs, but my late afternoon bike rides are just getting ridiculous!  So for my first Father’s Day, I wanted go somewhere to cool off and relax.  Now, Kira and I thought about taking some time just to chill out by the pool, but I guess that wasn’t crazy enough.  We decided to take the baby on his first camping trip to Flagstaff, AZ.  The weather was great, but I’m not sure it was the most relaxing thing we’ve ever done… :) I don’t know how many of you have ever stayed in a small 2 person tent with a baby… but it’s kind of crazy. You have to crawl over somebody every time you move, and we were tossing and turning all night searching for supplies and checking to see if the kid left another “Father’s Day present” in his diaper.  Fun times!  To top it off, the next day we decided to climb Mt. Humphreys, which is the tallest point in Arizona.  We reached the top, but by the time we got home we were ready for bed!  It was exhausting, but it was also perfect.  It was such a beautiful place, and we were so thankful to be there and spend a short weekend away with family…

In our Bible lesson this week, Jesus will encounter a family, and he will bring them together.  This family had dealt with illness, trial, and even death.  However, God was there.  I pray that we would all realize that God is with each one of us.  Whatever we face… we have love, grace, and community in Christ!

Blessings!


PB


Whistling for his horse/dad to go faster...

He really did a great job sleeping... our neighbors were
much noisier than he was!  :)