Thursday, May 17, 2018

Moved by the Spirit

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
-John 14:26

Do you believe the Holy Spirit is calling you? 

A few years ago, I was the youth director at a small church in Minneapolis, MN.  I absolutely loved that community, but the job was a bit of a stretch for me in many ways.  I did not grow up with gang violence, drug abuse, or poverty, but many of the kids I worked with dealt with these problems every day.  Personally, I felt called by the Spirit to reach out.  I wanted to be a savior.  I wanted to break the cycle of oppression these kids lived in.  I had my plans, but the Spirit always seemed to be blowing the other way!  I remember driving to crisis situations and getting laughed at.  There were times I tried to break up fights, but everyone got mad at me.  I tried to help people run errands, but I often wound up picking up strangers and telling them they could not smoke weed in my car. I spent hours on the road, but I’m not sure I ever really helped anyone get to their destination… J
Life was pretty chaotic, but I know God’s Spirit was working!  In spite of all my naiveté, I built some incredible relationships during my time there.  I never became a savior… I couldn’t stop the violence, illness, or foreclosures, but I had plenty of time to talk, laugh, share meals, and love some people who needed love.  In the end, the Spirit didn’t have to use my plans to do some truly amazing things. 

Today, I hope you can think about what the Spirit is up to in your life.  Remember, God does amazing things, but God may be calling you in small ways too.  Even the smallest acts of love can bless the world in powerful ways!



Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Living with Faith

“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
-Matthew 6:27

What do you worry about?  In this passage, Jesus proclaimed that fear and anxiety could destroy lives.  We are called to be a people of faith.  However, faith is not escapism.  Faith should not cause us to bury our heads in the sand or run away from our problems.  My issue is that I tend to worry about the things I cannot change, and I want to avoid the problems I could actually do something about. 

For example, I am less than four months away from welcoming a new child into my family.  This is certainly something to be excited about, but it is also something that requires a lot of preparation.  When my wife mentions everything we have to buy and do to get ready, I am often tempted to say, “Don’t worry!  This will all work itself out!”  However, I am slowly learning that that is not always a helpful response… J  On the other hand, I will spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about failures or mistakes I’ve made years ago!  This does not turn out to be a great combination!

Jesus told his early followers they had the power to change the world.  We all have gifts worth sharing, and there is no amount of fear or failure that should cause us to doubt this.  At times, this means letting go of the things we have no control over.  Other times, I have to recognize that I have gifts that should be used!  Today, I pray that you would have the faith that carries you though every obstacle!



Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Faith to get Through

“I don’t know how we’re ever going to get through this…”

That was a comment I made to my wife earlier this week.  We were in the middle of the second week of our child refusing to sleep or even stay in his room at night.  I felt like we had tried everything, and the problem was only getting worse.  He suddenly hated going to bed, and he was waking up all through the night.

Now, I know this is just part of being a parent.  However, I love to convince myself that I should be control.  I want to be the person who has all the answers, but I know nobody really has this whole thing figured out.  Personally, I think that is why we all need faith.  We are all going run into moments that we can’t control.  Now, in the grand scheme of things, this sleeping issue is not a big deal.  Other people are certainly dealing with much worse.  However, this one little issue was driving me nuts!

The Bible tells us that we will have setbacks…  We will have failures, and there will be times we make a mess of things.  However, we are told to keep our eyes on the bigger picture.  We can have faith that God is in control.  If I lose sight of that, I know even smallest of things have this ability to creep under my skin and affect me in major ways.

Now, in the case of my 3 year old, everything turned out fine.  Although we had a week or two of chaos, our son did eventually start sleeping again.  I’m not sure if my efforts along the way were more helpful or harmful, but it did pass.  At least for now…  New issues are going to come along, and in the future, the solution may not come as easily.  There will come a time when I can’t just pick my child up and put him in his room when he does something I don’t like… J However, we are told to believe God is creating something beautiful, and we are each a part of that creation.  Failure and chaos will always be a part of life, but when that passes, God’s Love will remain.  Nothing can separate us from God, and there is nothing we can do to stop the power of love.

Is there anything leaving you feeling out of control today?  Is there anything making you feel overwhelmed?  Whatever these things are, big or small, they can have a huge impact on our happiness and the way we interact with others.  Today, I hope you can believe God is making something beautiful in your life.  We don’t always see this exactly when we want to, but your life is special!  God is working in you!


Pastor Brian