Monday, December 29, 2014

A New Year!

I love Christmas!  I love the celebration, the food, and the time with family and friends.  However, I have a confession to make… In some ways, I seem to get more joy in the anticipation of Christmas, rather than Christmas itself.  As soon a Christmas is over, I’m looking ahead to see what is next...  When I really stop and think about it, this is how I live my life.  I’m often trying to get to the next big event, and when I get there, I find myself thinking about where I could go next.   Now, I know I need to take some time to step back and just live in the joy of the season.  However, we live in a world that is constantly moving forward.  I think there is something inside each of us that is searching for something new.  We look forward to the NEW Year.  We find hope in a NEW day, and we delight in seeing something new and different.  Many times I think this is a very good thing.  However, I think it can also be pretty dangerous.
Throughout the Bible, God’s people are also searching for New Life.  They think they will find it in victory on the battlefield or through a bigger kingdom.   However, time after time, God’s New Life shows up in ways the people didn’t expect.  This week we are beginning a sermon series entitled “Making all things New!”   It is my prayer that we would continue to search for God, but I also pray that we might be open to seeing all the new and unexpected things that God is doing along the way!



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Closer to Christmas...

Wow!  This week has been crazy!  There is so much stuff that needs to get taken care of before Christmas.  On a normal week, I will try to get out to the mountains or go on a long bike ride at least once.  However, there hasn’t been time for any of that this week.  I’ve got to prepare for Christmas!  There are sermons to write, people to serve, and last minute details to iron out.  Most of the time I feel like I’m barely staying above water…

Christmas is supposed to be the time where we remember God is with us.  God is here right now, and we are living in God’s New Creation!  However, in the chaos of life, there are times we can ignore the blessings that are right in front of us.  This week we are looking at the story of the Shepherds.  In the time of Jesus, the Jewish people had long lived in severe poverty and oppression… but then these ordinary Shepherds received Good News.  The Angels came to them proclaiming that God’s Kingdom had arrived!  They were called to open their eyes see that God was with them!

So often, I find myself wishing for some great new adventure or experience.  However, today’s scripture reminds me that New Life is right here… in front of my nose.  There are relationships of Grace, Hope, and Love right in front of me.  It is my prayer that in the midst of this busy season, we may all see the love that is present.  May we open our eyes and see that the Kingdom of God is here!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sharing the News!

Christmas is just a few weeks away!  Are you spreading the Good News?  There are so many things I love about this time of year.  However, there are times I get lost simply rushing through life.  Instead of sharing in the joy of the season, I can become overwhelmed by all my concerns, worries, and frustrations.

In our services this week, we are looking at the role of Angels in the Christmas story.  Personally, I feel that Angels are very mysterious, and there are so many questions I have about them.  However, one thing is for certain:  Angels came to proclaim God’s Good News to the world!  In fact, the word “Angel” actually means “messenger.”  Angels can’t wait to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. 

Recently, Kira and I were talking about all the good things we couldn’t wait to show our new baby after he is born.  There are so many people, places, and events that will bring him so much joy… There are mountains, bike rides, and all kinds of other messes that I can’t wait to get him into!  More importantly however, there is love I can’t wait to share with this little guy!  I think God looks at each one of us with the same kind of enthusiasm, only much greater!  God can’t wait to show us all of the wonderful things this life has to offer.  I think we are all called to be messengers of this joy.  Let us share the Good News of what God is doing in the world around us!



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Unexpected Adventures!

“Oh dude!  Not good!”  That’s what a new friend of mine kept saying to me on the side of road earlier this week.  (Except he used a few more colorful adjectives to describe the situation…) 

Every time I ride, I have to be ready for some kind of chaos...
It all started when I decided to ride my bike to Mountain Springs.  I’ve done this several times, and I thought I was totally prepared.  However, about 12 miles from my house I hear a BAM… and I feel my rear tire go flat.  Usually, that’s not too big of a deal, but this time the tube was so shredded it was not holding a patch.  That left me stuck a few miles outside of Blue Diamond trying to find my way back home.  That’s also where I met my new friend.  He was riding his bike the same way, and he stopped to help.  He turned out to be a really neat guy.  He was from Germany, but he talked like a surfer from California.  The two of us used our cold and numb fingers to try and glue and patch my shredded tube back together.  Each time we had the same result… “Oh dude! Not good!” 

We are in the midst of our Advent season, and this week we are taking a look at Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.  Their trip was filled with unexpected events!  This young couple had to go on a long journey, and there was no way for them to call in any reservations.  They simply had to hope someone would open their doors to them along the way.  They didn’t know who they would run into.  They just had to hope that God’s promises for them would be realized.  In the end, their journey could be seen as a failure.  The baby is born in a manger, they are far from home, and things won’t get much better.  However, Mary and Joseph decided not to dwell on all the awful stuff.  Instead, they found hope that God was working in the unexpected.
The Journey to Bethlehem was filled with

I think we all need to keep that in mind.  In spite of the best preparation, we will all face uncertainty.  We can choose to become annoyed and frustrated, or we can find God’s blessings right where we’re at.  For me, my bike ride was not what I expected, but I got to meet my new German surfer/biker friend, and I could give thanks for all the people who helped me get me to a store to buy a new tube.  Soon enough, everything was fixed, and I was on my way back home.  Sometimes life does not work out as expected, but God is there.  That’s something I know I have to keep in mind… especially when I heard my back tire blow out for the SECOND TIME on the way back to my house! 

Keep Adventuring!