Thursday, February 18, 2021

What matters most...

How much time do you spend trying to be right?

How much time do you spend asking for forgiveness?

If you’re like me, you spend a lot more time trying to be right and much less saying sorry… I think it is wonderful when we can be correct, and I think we should always do our best to have our facts straight.  However, I know my obsession with being right can easily turn into something unhealthy.  For example, when I find myself arguing with my two year old, it is never a good thing.  In that situation, there is no point in trying to prove who is more logical… I can state what needs to be said, but I also need to let go of my ego. :)

There are also times when I am flat out wrong.  Sometimes there are church members who let me know that I have made a mistake, or my wife will tell me that I have messed up.  Other times my kids can even catch me in an error.  These moments of reflection should be helpful.  These should be the times when I open my heart to bettering myself.  However, I often entrench myself against them, or I will blame someone else for the mistakes I’ve made. 

In our church we have entered into the season of Lent.  This season encourages us to go back and reflect on our lives, and open our hearts to the teachings of Jesus.  It is a time to admit that we do not have all the answers, but we also remember that this was never the most important thing to Jesus.  Christ wants us to see that we are loved.  We don’t need to trample our enemies.  We don’t need to destroy anyone who is different from us.  We need to open our hearts to love.  This means admitting that we are wrong and believing we can be forgiven.

In our sermon series, we are going to take a deeper look at the book of Galatians in the Bible.  This book was originally written as a letter to the church that existed in the ancient city of Galatia, and it offers us an incredible amount of hope.  However, we have to swallow our own ego at times to see it.  

Today I hope we can all hear the message that God is with us.  God loves us and cares for us just as we are.  If we can let this message into our lives, then I believe our need to tear others down will diminish.  Let us embrace God’s gifts today and share the light with the world!


Pastor Brian

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Can you see God?

What trials have you faced recently?

I spoke with a person this week who lost a family member to Covid-19.  It was a heartbreaking story of a tragic battle with the disease, and it ended with the death of a 35 year old.  I also spent some time with a young man who was just trying to find a job in these difficult days.  This individual has been experiencing homelessness, and it seems like everything has gone against him.  I have known this man for quite a while, and I have seen him work incredibly hard, but no matter what he tries, things always seem to fall apart.  I think we all face trials and failures in our lives, and at times it is easy to sink into a spiral of defeat.  I see this particularly when people face grief and hopelessness.  Even people with the greatest potential can lose heart.

This week we are concluding our sermon series on the Book of Esther.  This book is filled with so many trials and questions of faith, and I believe we can use it to reflect on our own lives.  Do we believe we have a calling?  Are we getting so caught up in the world around us that we forget to open our eyes to the love of God?  I really believe that the Book of Esther is all about learning how to see.  Is God here… or not?  

This sermon series has reminded me of another story about a brave woman in the Bible who found her calling.  Her name was Hagar, and she was a slave and a foreigner in the land of Israel.  She and her son had been forgotten by nearly every other human being alive.  However, Hagar has this powerful encounter with the God of Israel in Genesis chapter 16.  Even though she was Egyptian, the God of Israel sees her, calls her, and God gives her hope to keep on living.  In verse 13 she gives the God of Israel a new name:

“You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

It is an exceptional story to show up in the Old Testament.  God does not just see the people from the land of Israel, which is how every other nation understood their gods at the time.  Here is a God who sees us and teaches us how to see hope. 

Today I am praying for all people.  May we all realize that there is a God who cares for us and sees us.  We are loved.  Let us open our eyes and see it.


Brian Ward