Wednesday, January 28, 2015

God is Love

Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.
-1 John 4:8

There is something very profound in saying God is Love… Love helps us to know God, and love helps us share who God is.  It’s incredibly powerful, and it’s a major theme throughout the Bible. 

Earlier this week, I was researching the history of some ancient Jewish Rabbis and their thoughts on love.  (Thrilling stuff, right…?)  Anyway, it made me realize how important love is to all kinds of people.  Love was important to the ancient Rabbis, but it’s also important to pop music today.  How many things are that universal?!?  As long as there has been recorded history, people have tried to express the importance of love.   

However, even though people have been writing about love from the dawn of civilization, there seems to be something about it that we just can’t figure out.  We all seem to know love is good, but we can also be afraid of it… or abuse it.  In the end, I think love will always remain a mystery…

This week, we are starting a new sermon series that is all about Love.  We aren’t going to be able to solve all of love’s mysteries, but that’s okay.  I know I don’t deserve to be loved.  However, in a wonderfully mysterious way, love keeps showing up.  Today, I pray that no failure would ever define you.  Instead, believe that God loves you just as you are, and believe the love you share can change the world!


Pastor Brian

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New Opportunities!

When I was a kid, my parents made me take piano lessons.  Personally, I never really enjoyed those lessons.  In fact, I hated them... with a passion.  I dreaded the 30 minutes I had to practice every day.  I remember my parents telling me music was very important, and they told me practicing would be incredibly valuable.  However, I didn’t buy it.  I heard what they were saying, but I had made up my mind – I did not want to do it!    

A picture of me as a kid when asked to practice piano...
Today, it’s funny… I totally recognize that my parents were right.  I love music, and I wish I would have taken more time to learn.  Looking back, I’m not even sure why I was so resistant.  I just made up my mind that I didn’t want to be there.  I wonder… how often are we just stubborn for the sake of being stubborn? (For me, it’s a lot!) I think there are times in life when we say “no” without even thinking about it.  Perhaps, someone just offered us a great new opportunity to utilize our gifts, but it sounded like a little extra work.  It’s always easier to make excuses, instead of trying something new.

In our scripture text for this week, Jesus asks us to take on new opportunities in mission.  Christ proclaims that we each have gifts, and now, He wants us to go!  Jesus promises that seizing opportunities, we will lead to new life.  As I reflect on my life, I know this is true.  In the moments that I faced my fears, I grew immensely.  It just took an attitude adjustment.  Instead of seeing one more problem, I can believe I was made to do incredible things! 

So, the only question that remains is:  “What is God calling you to do today?”



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Spirit behind God's New Creation

When I was a little kid, I thought I was going to be an astronaut.  As I grew older, I decided I wanted to be a doctor.  When I graduated from college, I was interested in working for a big pharmaceutical company…  Somehow, in the midst of all of that, I wound up being called as a pastor in Las Vegas… crazy right?  Life is filled with change, growth, renewal, and rebirth – and although I love the way my life turned out – it hasn’t always been easy!  In fact, I am still wishing my life could be a little bit more predictable.  Sometimes, I feel like all my carefully laid out plans will go out the window before I even get into the office.  However, that is the way life is for all of us.  Things will change, and we have to believe there is new life in whatever comes next…
As a church, we proclaim the promise of new life.  We are people of the resurrection.  Our past can no longer define us.  Sin can no longer define us.  Death can no longer define us, because God is making all things new!  The Holy Spirit is working everywhere we go.  Do you believe New Life is available to you?  This week I pray you would trust God’s Spirit wherever it leads you!


Pastor Brian

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Life with God's Grace

Our theme at CLC this month is:  Making all things New!  I love this!  I know I need to try new things to keep learning and growing, and I believe renewal is essential to who we all are.  Last week Kira and I decided to kick off the New Year by visiting some family in Scottsdale, AZ.  We would see new people, explore a different city, and I would get to run to the top of a few different mountains – all of which were new to me.

A few of the beautiful mountains in the area. 
Overall, the trip was a blast!  Of course, the first thing I noticed was the mountains. (They had actually received some snow about 3000 feet, and that’s definitely a new thing for me in the desert!) I was so excited to be out on the snowy trail that I wound up running about 12 miles one day around these deserted peaks. (I was having so much fun I didn't

even care that I kept slamming into all kinds of cholla cactus – which can be pretty nasty!) We also had the best time relaxing and having fun with the people we love.  It was great.  However, on the drive back to Vegas, I started to wonder what made the trip so wonderful.  Sometimes traveling can be stressful, and Kira and I both had a lot of work to get done.  Before we left, I even questioned if the trip would really be worth it.  Would I really see anything new?  Couldn't I just talk to family on the phone?  I certainly don’t need to go to Arizona to find a good run.  What was it that really made the trip life giving?
The teddy bear cholla looks and sounds pretty cuddly,
but it sounds like velcro when you have to rip their spines out
that are stuck in your skin.  :) 
Personally, I think the reason this trip meant so much to me was not the snow or the mountains.  It was the experience love and grace in the midst of it all.  This experience of grace from family and friends brought renewal, and I was reminded of what was really important. 

When you look at your world, do you see stress and uncertainly, or do you hope and adventure?  I think it really all depends on the community that we are surrounded by.  Do we share love and grace so that other people feel encouraged?  Or do we doubt all the gifts that we have been given?  Our communities, families, and churches can encourage us to see the world as an opportunity for new hope and life.  I pray that we may all share that hope with the world!


Pastor Brian