Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Enjoy the surprises!

He did very well for a sick guy...
The last week in May is usually pretty exciting in my house.  My wife’s birthday is on the 27th, and we also celebrate Memorial Day around that same time.  As a couple, we love to make plans to cherish every drop of the unofficial beginning of summer!  However, last Friday I got a call from our childcare center informing us that our two year old boy wasn’t doing so well.  He was super congested, and he was running a low fever.  When we got him home, he was miserable.  It seemed like all of our carefully laid out plans were going to be thrown out the window, and we were at our wits end...  Nevertheless, after an exhausting night, he seemed to be feeling better, and we decided to try and get him outside.  We did not fit in any crazy Memorial Day hikes, but we did have a ton of fun at the park.  As it turned out, all the rest of our carefully laid out plans wound up changing as well, but we were able to enjoy what we had.
I believe even the greatest plans can fall though… and that is pretty frustrating to me.  However, I also believe we are called to learn, enjoy, and grow through every moment.  Every day we have is a gift, and we get to choose if we enjoy it or not.  Jesus said that God’s Spirit is like the wind:  “it blows where it chooses…”  Our plans will never work out perfectly, but we can trust that the Holy Spirit is with us wherever we go!

Brian Ward
It's fun to be chased by dinosaurs on your birthday!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

God is here...

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve spent a fair amount of time at Home Depot.  It seemed like every time I turned around I noticed a new project that needed to be completed.  I started by fixing a leaky faucet, that led to repairing the irrigation system, and then I started working on the garbage disposal.  It’s been one thing after another.  Thankfully, nothing has been too hard to handle.  However, I have this ability to turn the simplest project turn into a pretty big mess!  I was forever running back and forth to the store, buying the wrong piece of equipment, and second guessing my choices. 
When I make mistakes, I can get pretty frustrated with myself.  However, I’ve learned to keep the bigger picture in mind.  Each week I have the opportunity to visit people who are stuck in their homes, sick in the hospital, or even locked in a prison cell.  Taking time to visit these people is an important reminder that there are bigger problems in the world.  I can get so frustrated when things don’t go my way, but the Bible tells us that in this world we will always have troubles.  We can either choose to let these things overwhelm us, or we can stand with each other, support each other, and love each other through the pain. 
Whatever you are going through, I hope you can feel the love of other people, and I hope you can feel the love of God. 


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Do you believe in Love?

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.
1 John 4:16
Personally, I find this to be an incredibly powerful scripture passage.  In the moments when it is hard to believe in God, this verse allows us to believe in Love.  When we see compassion, kindness, and generosity in the world, we are looking at God.  I love how God becomes so much more tangible in this verse.  However, simply stating, “God is Love” will not solve all of our problems.  In fact, I think it takes a lot of faith to believe in love…
I’ve visited a number of people who have felt so overwhelmed that they were ready to give up on life.  Whether it was because of sickness, depression, or isolation, they felt like their lives were broken and worthless.  I also have seen plenty of people who are haunted by mistakes they have made.  Love can become a pretty hard concept for anyone to believe in. 
I see the story of Jesus as the real hope that we all have.  Jesus embraced the sick.  He shared meals the sinner, and he restored hope to the broken.  Today I hope we can share a tangible sign of love to the world.  I hope we can give people a faith in the love that binds all things together.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!!

I have been blessed with a wonderful mother, and I am so thankful for everything she has done for me over the years.  However, when I was a kid I remember thinking my mom worried too much… I knew she had good intentions, but I always believed I had things under control.  She had nothing to fear. At least I felt that way until I had my own child… 
In two years my little boy has been to the ER twice. He has undergone surgery, chipped his teeth, and who knows what else! (I’m sure there are plenty of other terrifying moments that I’ve just repressed from my memory…)  In many ways, these past two years have been the most stressful of my life, but they have also been the most blessed.  I have seen love show up in more ways than I would have thought possible, and I am so thankful to have had these last crazy two years.  I wouldn’t trade them for the world!
In this week’s scripture reading, we are reminded that we are God’s beloved children.  There is nothing we can do that will make God turn away from us.  We are loved without condition.  We are loved for who we are, and we loved for who we will become.  Even though we may make a crazy mess out of our lives, our God would never leave us.  I hope there is a time this week when you can thank someone who has shown you a mother’s love.  I also hope that you can believe in God’s unconditional love for you.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

An Enthusiastic Faith!

1 John 1:1-4
We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life- this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us—we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ, we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
At Community Lutheran Church, we are in a sermon series that is diving into the Biblical book of 1st John.  The first verses of this book are listed above, and I think they are incredibly powerful.  They speak to the hope and grace we can all find in Christ.  In the original Greek language, these verses also make up one very big and awkward run-on sentence.  Translations have tried to clean this up a little bit, but if you read the passage again you can see this was originally one massive sentence!  I’m pretty sure my high school English teachers would not have approved of this, but the author of the text seems to have the enthusiasm of a kid in a candy story.  He is sharing everything he can about the Love of Jesus without taking a breath…
Have you ever found yourself so deeply in love with what God is doing that you can’t help but to share it?  Whether you are with family, friends, or even a group of strangers, I hope you can see God’s light shining!  Today, I hope you can be inspired.  I hope you can see what God is doing for you, and I hope you can find the enthusiasm to share this with the world!