Thursday, March 23, 2023

At the feet of Jesus...

Community Lutheran Church has been in a sermon series entitled: At the Feet of Jesus. We are looking at stories of different people who came into the presence of their Savior. Each of these individuals came with something different on their hearts. Some were ready to worship. Some were in search of a miracle. Others came to Jesus out of gratitude, or they wanted to learn and grow in the Spirit. However, all of these people lived by faith, and they were able to trust that Jesus was the answer to everything they had been searching for.

I think it is incredible for people to find Jesus and discover that He matters most. It reminds me that, whatever I am carrying on my heart, I can let it go and turn to Jesus. However, this week we are going to turn the tables a little bit. We are going to consider who Jesus was seeking after. The answer to this may seem obvious:  He sought after God... and that is most certainly true, but Jesus also seeks after us. As much as we need to be in the presence of Jesus, Jesus wants to come to us. Jesus sees each one of us as sacred, and God knows we all have gifts we can use to serve and love others.

There are so many times I forget to look for God's presence in my life. Each day becomes a blur filled with ordinary activities, but last week I had the opportunity to travel to Colorado with my family. We didn't hike any mountains or explore any new trails. We were there to be with family. My wife's parents opened there home to us, and we had a joyful week of love. Sure, my family is a little wild and crazy, but we were welcomed in. It can be important to seek after God in far off places, but my trip last week reminded me that we can find God in the people who surround us. We can find God, just like Jesus did, in our relationships with others. 

Enjoying the simple moments!

Today I hope you can all experience a little bit of God's love today. I hope you can all learn what God is doing, and I hope you can realize that you are a blessing as well.


Brian Ward

Thursday, March 9, 2023


Can you think of a time that you have been overwhelmed with gratitude?

My oldest son just turned eight years old, and he has lived the last few days with an incredible amount of joy. He couldn't wait to open his presents. He immediately had to start building the lego sets, wearing his new costumes, and playing the new games with his brother. He was also excited to call his grandparents to say thank you for all the good things that they gave to him. 

I think there are a few important steps to gratitude that my son lived out. First, he took time to value each and every gift. Next, he shared his gratitude with the people around him and those who gave the gift. Finally, he is enjoying life with the presents that were given to him. He is living life with in joy and gratitude.

At Community Lutheran, we are taking time each week to consider the people who found themselves at the feet of Jesus. Each person who we have followed in this series has come to Jesus for a different reason. The wise men were inspired by Jesus, and they bowed down with awe and wonder. The family of Jarius and the hemorrhaging woman fell at Christ's feet while they prayed for healing. This week we are going to meet at woman who came to Jesus feet with an immense feeling of Gratitude. Her gratitude brought her to her knees. 

Life is filled with moments to be grateful for. However, there are plenty of times I find myself too busy to really appreciate the gifts around me. Stress and anxiety can consume us, and we can forget to say thank you for some of the most beautiful gifts that God has given us. We can also forget to live a life that is filled with joy. 

I recently met with a person in the hospital. He has faced a number of difficulties over the last few months, but he was also filled with gratitude. Some of the trials he faced reminded him of all the gifts he had but that he had taken for granted. He was now going to intentionally live every drop of life to the fullest.

Today I hope that we all and take a bit of time to appreciate the gifts that God has given to us. I hope we can take time to say thank you to God and to the people who have blessed us. Finally, I hope we can all intentionally live each day with joy.


Brian Ward

Thursday, February 16, 2023

The trials we face

 Are you facing any difficulties or trials today?

At Community Lutheran this week, we are concluding our sermon series that we entitled: What God does when your in a Jam... We have taken time over these last few weeks to look at some of the problems people in the Bible faced, but we are also looking at our own lives. How is God working in your life when things seem to fall apart?

There are a ton of things that I find myself worried about. I worry about my kids not finding their shoes in the morning. I wonder who unplugged my cell phone. I get frustrated the kids dumping their food on the floor when I'm trying to get out of the door. These things are pretty trivial in the grand scheme of things, but the little things can overwhelm us if we aren't careful. There are plenty of other difficulties in our world. There are people who are very sick right now. There are others who are grieving or in pain. There are people stuck in cycles addiction or violence. Of course, there are also all of people facing the awful devastation after the earthquake in Syria and Turkey. 

It can be hard to wrap our minds around all the pain in the world. Instead, we wind up becoming lost in the small stuff. This week, the scripture passage that we will look at shares the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus had to let go of his personal desires, and he sacrificed his own needs for all of us. It is because of Jesus that we are forgiven for our imperfections. I hope we can all remember that there is more to the world than just the small stuff we face everyday. I hope we can let go of some of the pain that weighs us down, and I pray that we would be able to reach out in love toward our neighbor.


Pastor Brian

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Believing in Love

 Are you in a jam?

Do you ever wonder what God is going to do with the situation that you are in?

Earlier this week, I got a call from my son's preschool. It's rarely a good thing to get this kind of a phone call. I have to wonder if my child has a fever, maybe he is throwing up... Who knows, but they rarely call just to say that everything is great. :) Anyway, this phone call was to inform me that my four year old had run head first into a metal pole. Then, he was knocked backward onto the concrete sidewalk, and he bonked the other side of his head. Not great news...but I can't say it really surprised me. My son is at the age where he wants to try everything, and sometimes his body just can't keep up! However, this was a pretty big hit and he did have quite the lump on his head. Thankfully the staff at Hill and Dale were wonderful, and by the time I got to see him, he was happily running around at full speed playing with all his friends. He wasn't worried at all about the GIANT goose-egg on his forehead. He wanted to tell me how he got to play Spider-man with his teacher!

Kids, like adults, find themselves in jams all the time. I am thankful my child was at a place where he could trust that his teachers were going to solve his problem. Yes, he was in a lot of pain, but he knew there were people there who could make it better. The faith he had in his teachers made him willing to jump right back up and start going again. 

As adults, I think we can be much more suspicious of the world around us. Instead of trusting our neighbors, we often try to fix everything ourselves. If we get into a jam, we may try to hide our pain, which will make things worse. We don't believe that honesty will help us, or we believe other people will take advantage of our trust. 

Our sermon series at CLC is looking at the difficult moments that we face in life. This week we are remembering the Bible Story of King David and Bathsheba. King David had great potential, but when he got into a jam, he doubled down. He tried to hide all his mistakes, and he brought a lot of pain on himself and his people. 

Today I hope we can trust in God. If our world has flipped upside down, I wonder if you have someone you can turn to. I believe the church can be a place of comfort and support. We just need to have the faith of a child.



Wednesday, January 18, 2023

A step of faith

When was the last time you were stuck in a jam?

We all face difficult choices, and it can be very difficult to decide what to do. We can procrastinate. We can try to run away. We might fall apart... No one wants to be in these stomach churning situations. However, it never helps to hide ourselves from the problem. In fact, great leaders from Moses, to Jesus, to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. all stood up to their trials. In each of our own lives, we are also called to trust in God's Love and take a leap of faith. 

In this week's Scripture passage, we are looking at an Old Testament prophet and judge named Gideon. Gideon was a leader in ancient Israel who had a number of gifts. He was also very connected to God, and he personally experienced a number of miracles that showed that God was present with him. However, Gideon lacked faith. He didn't believe in his own gifts, and he didn't believe God would really stand beside him when he needed it. When Gideon became stuck in a jam, he tended to fall apart. Like so many of us, Gideon would have preferred to run away from God's calling. Over and over, God had to affirm God's own presence. The story shows how difficult it is to have faith when life falls apart.

I remember working with a 15 year old girl several years ago, who was incredibly talented. She was a natural leader, incredibly smart, and she was compassionate. However, her family constantly had to move from one house to another. Her mother struggled to provide enough food, and there was never enough money. The difficulties she faced made it hard for her to share her gifts. If things were going well she was amazing, but if her world was falling apart she was unstable, lashing out at others. For her, the church became a place where she could be accepted no matter what. Good day or bad day... we understood what she was going though. It was not always the ideal situation, but we were growing together. I think Gideon could have gone a lot farther if he found a community that loved and accepted him no matter what.

We all need acceptance, and God is offering that to each of us. God wants us to experience the grace that is only found in making bold mistakes. God's Love exists for all of us. Let's take some time to listen for this grace, and take a step toward faith.



Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Loving every minute of it!

 Life moves fast doesn't it?

A couple weeks ago, we were preparing to celebrate Christmas. There was so much excitement at church, and my house was just as busy. I felt so blessed by all the people at each of our worship services, and there was definitely a sense of hope in the air as we gathered together. 

After all of our services and after the Christmas presents has all been opened, my family was ready to spend some time together. (As wonderful as the season is, it is also very busy, and I felt like I was always off to one event and my kids were headed to another!) So my wife set up a trip for a couple nights in California. It was a blast! There was so much to do, including some time at Legoland. It never really felt like I had a chance to catch my breath, but it was perfect! Just being able to set aside the time with my family was all we really needed.

Personally, I find the most meaningful experiences come when we really embrace the moments we have right in front of us. When I saw my kids opening their presents, they were so thankful just to be there. It didn't matter if they unwrapped a gigantic new dinosaur or a tube of toothpaste. They were filled with joy! They also loved our trip to Legoland and playing on the beach, but most importantly we loved the time we had together. There was a lot of laughter, a few bumps and bruises, and maybe a few tears, but we cherished the time we had.


Today I hope we can all enjoy these moments that surround us. The Scriptures teach us that everyday is a gift from God. We are often too worried about what is going to happen next. We are concerned over an endless stream of problems that may occur, and sometimes these fears overwhelm us. What if we started seeing these moments we were in as a gift? What if we opened our hearts, and we started believing that God gave us this time? I hope we can all cherish the love we have right now!


Pastor Brian

Thursday, December 22, 2022

The Joy of Christmas

This is an exciting week. I love the energy we have at church. Everyone on staff is brainstorming new ideas for all the services coming up, and there is Spirit of Joy that surrounds this time of Christmas. It's hard to put all the excitement into words, but I am certainly feeling the wonder of the season. 

In my home, my kids are counting down the days. Christmas break has started and my boys are running around with so much energy that I'll be surprised if we have much a house left by the end of their break. They have a lot of energy, and they can't wait to open presents. However, they are also are drawn into the mystery of it all. They are delighted by the magic of Santa Claus, and they are also asking more about the Christmas story. "Where did all of this come from?" There is a mystery to this story that began with Mary and Joseph so long ago. Mary started the journey believing she knew how her life was going to look. She was an ordinary peasant girl. She thought she understood everything she needed to know about religion. She believed God was far away, and God would only show up for a priest in the temple. However, through all of this, God comes to her. God becomes present in her life, and God completely changed her perspective of faith. Instead of being far away, God came to her. Love came to her. Divine Love came into the world to transform everything.

There are so many aspects of faith that I try to understand. Sometimes I pride myself in thinking I have it all figured out. I want to understand where my life is going. I want to understand religion. I want to understand everything. However, my children are focused on the mystery. They are open to beauty of the season and they are excited to see where all of this goes. 

I wonder what would happen if we opened our hearts to this kind of childlike faith. What would happen if we had the faith of Mary. What if we said, "Yes" to God's Love. Perhaps we could open ourselves to the exciting new opportunities of Grace that exist everyday.


Pastor Brian