Monday, July 24, 2017

Christmas in July?

Yesterday, we celebrated Christmas in July in our congregation. Some people may wonder why we did. The answer is simple--God's abiding love came down at the birth of Jesus, but it is STILL here! God's abiding love should be evident in our lives every day, not just during the season of Advent and Christmas. Even one of the Names of Jesus (Emmanuel) means "God with us." God IS with us. yesterday, today and forever. In the good times and in the troubled times. God's love is with us--guiding us, helping us, healing us. One of the poems that has always meant so much to me is "Footprints in the Sand" by Mary Stevenson. One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there were one set of footprints. This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints. So I said to the Lord, "You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?" The Lord replied, "The times when you have seen only one set of footprints, is when I carried you." God's abiding love is with us always. Share it with someone today!

Monday, September 12, 2016

We all need to be committed!

When I was in the process of becoming ordained in the PC(USA), one of the steps was a move form the Inquirer stage to the Candidate stage. At this time people were allowed to ask you various questions to help them discern whether or not you were truly headed on the right path. The first Question came from my own church's minister. Dr. John knew of my previous ministry in a non-denominational church so he asked, "Knowing what you do about the heartaches and pain of ministry, why would you want to put yourself through this again?" My answer was simple, I didn't WANT to, but God had made it obvious to me that that is where He wanted me. I told the assembled people there that I tried doing many other things, but God wasn't through with me in a pastoral position, so I was simply giving up fighting God and following His leading. Sometimes I feel that I need to be "committed" for making that choice! Well, since I am currently NOT in an facility because of my mental health, I guess I am right where God wants me at this time. Commitment that I will be talking about for the next four weeks is a different type of commitment. As children of God we are called to various areas of commitment in our lives. What areas? Come out on Sunday and find out!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Live Happy!

Wouldn't be great if we could all live as happy as the dog in that picture! The good news is that we can. Our God wants us to live happy and successful lives. We are the ones who get in the way. Freedom that comes from God through Christ should make us the happiest people on the planet. Unfortunately, that is often NOT the case. have you been to a church service where it looked like everyone present had swallowed a dill pickle sideways? I have! The thing is, it shouldn't be this way. As children of God we should LOVE being in worship. We should LOVE singing His praises. And we should LOVE being in the company of fellow believers. Way tool often, this is not the the way it is. Instead, we see people who are there to fulfill an "obligation" to God. They come to church, not to worship, but to appease God by their presence. That is not what God wants or expects from us. What God wants and expects is for us to JOYFULLY come into His presence and TRULY worship Him. We talked in church yesterday about "living as Jesus lived." Jesus had a lot of responsibilities while He was on earth, but that didn't keep Him from enjoying God and the people He interacted with. I believe Jesus laughed loud and often. He enjoyed spending time with others (even children!) and with God. We, too, should enjoy spending time with people and with God. We were created that way. We were made to be in fellowship with others. How can I be sure? The Bible tells us we were created in God's own image. God, who is in community with Himself--Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So if we are created in God's image (and we are) and if God is in community (and God is) then we too should be in community AND LIKE IT! So, the next time you head out to church make sure you check you frown at the door and instead enter with a smile on your face and joy in your heart. You'll be amazed at the difference you will experience in worship that day!