Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The space in between...

Earlier this week, I found myself stuck in traffic on my way home, and the waiting frustrated me.  It was my day off, and I felt like I had spent my whole day waiting in lines, waiting in traffic…just waiting, waiting, waiting… Now I really didn’t have anything to complain about.  In fact, I made it home earlier than I expected.  However, even a small amount of waiting can frustrate me.  It seems like such a waist!

In this week’s scripture passage, we are told of the virtues of patience.  Very few people get exactly what they want, and even fewer get that right when they want it.  This can be pretty annoying. However, the Bible says that God uses the space in between.  The Israelites had to wait 40 years in the wilderness before they had the wisdom to become a nation.  In the New Testament, a Pharisee named Saul was blinded, and he has to wait 3 days before his heart opened enough to hear the words of forgiveness and healing that he so desperately needed.  Even Jesus spent 40 days in the desert waiting, listening, and praying for God.  In each of these cases, the individuals couldn’t just jump to the happily ever after… They had to wait, listen, and grow in the silence.

Today I wonder what would happen if we opened our hearts and listened for God.  What if we stopped focusing on the end goal, and we opened our hearts in the moments of waiting? Perhaps these are the moments God is using to help us grow and live to the best of our abilities…



Thursday, September 21, 2017

The spirit that dwells in you...

Today I invite you to ask what kind of spirit lives inside of you.  Do you have a restless spirit?  Do you have a spirit of contentment, thankfulness, or anger…?  What lives inside of you?  Today our scripture passage contains a very powerful verse:

“God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”
-James 4:5

People have speculated over the meaning of this verse for centuries.  However, it seems to say that God has made us who we are.  Whether we are restless, energetic, content, or overbearing… God gave us our spirit, and it is something we can embrace.  We are all different for a reason, and we don’t have to change that.  However, if we want to find fulfillment, we are going to have to offer our spirit back to God.  This is the only way we can truly embrace our gifts and who we truly are. 

I remember being in college and knowing I had gifts.  However as I reflect back on those times, I realize that I was using my gifts for selfish purposes.  I wanted them to make me successful.  This all changed one summer when I worked at a Lutheran camp in Colorado.  This job was one of the most exhausting things I had ever done.  I was waking up early, going to bed late, and helping kids work though all kinds of issues.  Each day brought new challenges, but it also allowed me to grow in ways I never thought possible.  Looking back, I realize that there was so much more fulfillment in offering my spirit to God than anywhere else.  Today, I hope you believe you have a spirit inside you, and I hope you can excel to new levels by giving that spirit back to God…



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Judgement or Blessing

How often do you judge people?  As a pastor, I feel like it is my responsibility to stand against any kind of racism or discrimination.  Unfortunately, I know there are times when my unconscious biases get the best of me. 

A few months ago, a woman came to visit me in the office.  She was wearing worn out clothes, and I assumed she was living on the streets.  As she was coming in, I was on my way out.  I had a few errands that I needed run, and I wanted to get home to my family.  Nevertheless, I decided to stop and talk to her.  I thought it was important to listen to her, but I admit that I also judged her.  She resembled too many other people who only wanted money, and I assumed I would not be able to help her.  However, this particular woman was simply looking for prayer.  She had real concerns for the people in her life, and she was looking for the church to support her in prayer.  After we prayed and I went on my way, I was taken aback by how powerful that moment had been.  This woman had been thoughtful, compassionate, and caring, and I was saddened by my own lack of faith in her. 
Today I wonder what conscious or unconscious judgments we are making.  Jesus calls us to live each day by faith.  We are called to trust in who God is, but we are also called to believe in all of God’s people.  The Bible tells us each person is called.  Will we choose to believe in this promise?  Or, will we believe we already have the world figured out?

Let’s believe God is here… in the midst of each person we meet!