Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Reformation and New Life

Earlier this week, I was at Home Depot picking up a few supplies.  While I was there, I wound up discussing an outdoor irrigation project with one of the people on staff.  She helped me find the part I needed, and that could have been the end of our interaction.  However, we got to talking about our families.  My wife and I just started fostering a little girl, and this employee had fostered kids in California for years.  She shared a tragic story of some of the very serious difficulties that her kids faced, but she also spoke of the life changing power of love.  We wound up spending a fair amount of time listening to each other and acknowledging each other’s story.  I realized I had walked into that store a little overwhelmed, but I walked away feeling refreshed and inspired.  I love hearing of the power we all have to change lives. 

This Sunday we will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  This is a day to remember the people who stood up to corruption and greed within the church.   However, this day should be more than just a history lesson.  Our God is constantly working to bring renewal, hope, and reformation every day.  Whenever a person is freed from abuse, hatred, or violence, I believe God’s Sprit is active.  Whenever someone realizes new life is available, God’s Spirit is there.  I hope we never discount the change that God’s Grace can bring.



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

What do you want?

“What do you want?”

That is a question we could dwell on our entire lives.  It is also the first question Jesus asks in the Gospel of John.  Jesus wants us to think about our desires.  What’s driving us?  What’s in our hearts?  Personally, I have found that I can be driven by some incredibly petty things.  I want a new phone.  I want to avoid waiting in lines.  I want my two year old child to find his shoes and get out the door… We all have desires, but Jesus wants us to think about our priorities.  When we look at our lives, should we be searching for something greater?

In today’s scripture passage, Jesus essentially asks some of the religious and political leaders of the time what was driving them.  These individuals had traded valuable gifts of leadership for mundane concerns.  Today I hope you can believe your life has value.  God believes you are capable of great things.  Do you believe this?  What would it mean to desire righteousness and justice instead of the latest gossip?  I hope we can believe God, and I hope we can live for something that really matters.



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Searching for Joy...

There is going to be joy and there is going to
be stress every day... What do you choose to
When you think of weddings, what comes to mind?  Personally, I have officiated at all kinds of different ceremonies.  Some people spend years preparing for their special day.  Other people are married in the blink of an eye.  Some people crave tradition, and others want to travel to exotic locations or dress up like Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  A few people want nothing more than to get married in their mom’s living room.  In the end, I have discovered that any wedding can be beautiful.  In fact, my wife and I were married outside in the rain, but that turned out to be perfect for us!  However, weddings can also be stressful.  I have seen people turn a joyous day into a day of anger and bitterness.  It can become a day where expectations fall short, and blame gets thrown around.  I think it comes down to a choice.  Do we want to see the joy and excitement, or the stress and anxiety? 

Today in our scripture passage, Jesus tells us a parable of a wedding feast.  In the story, every single person is invited, and God is said to delight in each person there.  However, most of the guests choose to ignore the joy that is right in front of them.  This is our choice every day.  Will we accept the bounty of creation, or will we become fixated on the anxieties of life.  I pray we choose to see the blessings!



Wednesday, October 4, 2017


It has been quite the week in Las Vegas.  Although no one in my family was present at the shooting, I know so many people were affected in different ways.  It is staggering to see those I know dealing with the tragic circumstances of these events. 

In Romans 8 we read:

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Image result for pray for las vegasAs tragic as these days have been, it is also amazing to see people coming in from all over the nation to help.  Doctors, nurses, counselors, and so many others are here to offer their services.  There are people waiting all day to give blood, and others are donating their money and other resources. 

It is true that one person has the power to bring so much evil.  However, I believe Christ is still with us.  I believe human beings are coming together to offer a love that even more powerful than the chaos.  Today, we pray for all those affected by the violence and hatred, and we lift up those who are offering love in the face of evil.