Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Praying for Houston

The news coming out of Houston is pretty terrifying.  A police officer was killed while trying to serve others… A mother drowns while saving the life of her 3 year old… There are so many terrible stories out there of everyday people just trying to survive. 

People coming together for their neighbors!
As I watch these situations develop, I know I can get overwhelmed by all the pain out there.  It is easy to feel inadequate in these moments.  However, Christ taught His followers never to let the world overwhelm you… for as overwhelming as the situation is, something powerful happens when people come together for the sake of their neighbor.  I was reminded of this when I saw pictures of ordinary Texans with boats heading into the city to help anyone they could.  Businesses started opening their doors to people in need, and monetary donations started coming in.  Whatever we face in this world, Christ promises never to leave us.  As a church, we are called to stand together and offer Christ’s Love to all. 

Please keep all the people of Houston in your prayers this week, and if you feel called to donate, you can click the link below.  Know that 100% of the money taken in by the Evangelical Lutheran Church for Hurricane Relief will go directly to the people in need!



Thursday, August 24, 2017

Identity in Christ

Who do you say that I am?

This question seems to have had an incredible significance to Jesus 2000 years ago, and I believe it still has an incredible importance today. 

Jesus was called many names… Savior, Messiah, Son of the Living God… as well as a blasphemer, fraud, and demoniac.  Ever since the day Jesus preached his first sermon, people have argued over his identity, and I know plenty of people who still fight over this question.  However, I sometimes wonder if we are missing the point.  Jesus certainly wanted his disciples to know who he was, but his teaching quickly moves toward redirecting the disciples to understand who they were.  Even when the disciples clearly don’t have their Messiah figured out, Jesus tells them they are valued.  Peter, in all his imperfections, becomes Christ’s Rock and the foundation of the church. 

Today I hope you can take a little time to understand who you are.  God says that you are His beloved child, and you are a foundation for His Love.  Take heart, and know that you are not alone!



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Faith that Overcomes!

The two men pictured below are the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

They look pretty happy here, but both of these men have seen their share of pain.  The Dalai Lama has fought against oppression and for the freedom of his people.  Desmond Tutu was a spiritual leader for the South African Nation through Apartheid and in the years following.  Both of these men have seen heartbreaking pain and tragedy in their lives.  They have seen the sin that results when one race seeks to dominate others.  They also responded to the violence and division with peace and grace.  I honestly can’t imagine the strength it would take to continue to stand for peace while facing such hostility and destruction from another power.

Problems still remain for these men and their countries, but they clearly believe love can overpower hate.  Looking at their picture, one can also see they have a joy that hatred cannot touch.  This gives me hope when I see division in our world today.  God’s Love can overpower any evil! The Dali Lama and the Archbishop are from very different religions, but have come to value each other.  They have chosen to open their hearts to learn from each other.  In this week’s scripture passage, Jesus will show the power of an open heart by embracing a woman of a different culture.  Today, we don’t have to look far to find hate.  It is my hope and prayer that we could open our hearts to Love.



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Finding Faith

I love summer!  It is a wonderful season that I have always looked forward to.  Now, it is a little different in Las Vegas when it’s 110 degrees outside, but there is still a change of pace that I love.  At the church, I have been able to experience Vacation Bible School, mission opportunities, and my own vacation time.  It has also been a chance to share these experiences with my own 2 year old child.  This is not always easy.  Our little boy really seems to thrive on a routine, and traveling with him can be a little chaotic.  However, it is amazing (and perhaps a little scary) to think about all the trust he has in us.  We may be leading him to the top of a mountain or on some other crazy adventure, but through it all he has faith that we will always be with him.  He trusts us.  He trusts his grandparents and family, and it’s amazing to see that he also trusts the church.  He knows there are people here who care about him.  He may not understand everything that goes on in the world. (I don’t think anybody does), but he has faith that we will be here for each other!

This week we are looking at the story of Peter walking on the water.  This is a story of faith… How much was Peter willing to trust Jesus?  In our lives, I wonder if we believe that we are loved.  Do you believe that God will always stand beside you?  Do you believe that the church will believe in you even when you make mistakes?  Today I hope we can all find grace by believing in God’s divine love.  That is what brings life to the world!