Blog
Page 1 2 3   Entries 1-5 of 11
October 22, 2018, 8:52 AM

The God of Second, Third and Twelfth chances


Grace and peace to you from God, our creator, our redeemer and our sustainer. May the words on my lips and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to God.

I have the easiest of lessons today and the hardest of lessons today to share with you. God loves us. God forgives us. God really hopes we won't do it again. God will use us in the building up of the kingdom, either way. This means that God loves me. God forgives me. God really hopes I won't do it again. God will use me in the building up of the kingdom, either way. Therefore, God loves you. God forgives you. God really hopes you won't do it again. God will use you in the building up of the kingdom, either way.

But let us look at the lessons and see what they have to say about all of this. We often look at this Gospel lesson from the perspective of the tenant who is doing wrong by the landowner and that is not entirely wrong. The earth was made by God and then we are the stewards or those left in charge to care for the earth. There is a long history of prophets sent to tells us that we need to return to God, what is rightfully God's and the time is now. We can also look at the lesson that stewardship of the earth may well be given to another if we do not do it well. And while all of these are valid lessons there is another possibility.

What if the prophets of old are those servants sent before us, whom the tenants killed and beaten. Certainly even Jesus acknowledges that they have killed all the prophets who came before and why should we expect any less. We know that we are the adopted children of God. We are warned that we may be required to testify to our faith even under penalty of death. So, what if we are the child sent in the last to reclaim for God, God's rightful portion. Then the message is consistent with what we have read elsewhere that we are filling the shoes in some ways of those who have gone before us as the prophets. If this is true, then all of the things that we are doing to announce the king and for which we are getting beaten and abused and potentially killed, for all those things we need to give thanks that we were worthy to suffer as the prophets did before us. Now that is not exactly what we want to hear, but if you are suffering for your work to spread the good news it may well be comforting.

What if in the doing of God's work as God's servant we get it wrong and do that which we are not supposed to do. What if even after we know that we are God's servant, we go and do something absolutely horrible. What if we managed to both Commit murder and commit adultery in the same situation. What if we, in the process, used deceit to try and redeem the situation. Surely, we must be done for, in God's eyes. We have violated at least three of the commandments in the process. However, if you figure it out and repent you will still be OK. I say this because the promise to David was not removed.

Let us look at the story for a moment. A beautiful woman is on the roof taking the ritual cleansing bath and King David spots her and wants her to be his wife. OK, actually he was just lusting after her. So, he calls her over, and this is a classic case of misuse of power because it is hardly like she had the option to say “No” to the King. King David calls her over to his house and sleeps with her, thereby committing adultery, because she is married. So, double whammy of adultery and misuse of power, although in fairness to the text it never mentions the misuse of power.

OK, So David has broken one of the commandments by committing adultery. I think we can all recognize that God would likely forgive this, so long as there was repentance and a commitment not to do it again. You see though the story of abuse of power continues because King David uses his position to order that her husband be sent to the front line, where it is almost certain that he will die. You see there is one more twist to this story, Bathsheba is now pregnant with a child from David. So, whether to save his own reputation, which would be the story often, or whether he had fallen madly in love with Bathsheba and now wanted to ensure that he would have his child with him all the time, David sends Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba to the front lines and as expected, he is killed. Now David has committed Adultery, Abuse of Power, Murder and Lied. The rap sheet is adding up pretty quickly, certainly he is done and will be stripped of his title and God has no more use for him.

Actually, and this is the good part for us. There is one more twist in the story and one that is reasonably common throughout scripture. The twist in the story is that David,  admittedly after being called to account by the prophet Nathan, but David, sees his sin, sees what he has done wrong, admits what he had done wrong and sincerely intends not to do it again. David repents for the sins he has committed. And this is classic with God, I come to admit and repent for the sins I have committed and God chooses to continue the relationship with me and to continue to use me directly as a servant of God.

There is a key here however that is important and that key is repentance. Repentance means not just seeing and acknowledging what we have done wrong but genuinely trying not to do it again. We all know the alcoholic or addict who says never again to get back in our good graces, but knowing the whole time that they fully intend to drink or use again. That is not repentance. We all know the politician who makes a public apology, which is meant to smooth things over, but fully intends to commit the same action again. That is not repentance. Repentance is more like the alcoholic or addict who is now sober and comes to make amends. They are truly sorry and genuinely intend never to do it again but need to acknowledge that truth as part of the process. So, it is with David, and with us when dealing with God. Once we come to see the sin we have committed, we need to acknowledge that we have done it and if possible seek to make it right, while making an honest effort not to do it again.

Now we are the prophets, the ones sent into the world with the gospel lesson to collect for God but we are also the ones who are being called to send in God's portion of the harvest and as the ones sent in to return to God what is rightly God's, though we will kill the first messenger and maim the second, more opportunities will be presented. God is a God of second (and third and fourth and twelfth) chances. Your opportunity to repent is here now today and then you can remember your baptism, which reconciled you to God. And then you can come to the table and receive the bread and cup of life, which bear the forgiveness of God for you this day.

So come to the font and come to the table, all of you and receive what God has promised, the forgiveness of all that separates you from God, even if you are the lying, adulterous, murderer but have genuinely repented of those things. Because, God loves us. God forgives us. God really hopes we won't do it again. God will use us in the building up of the kingdom, either way. This means that God loves me. God forgives me. God really hopes I won't do it again. God will use me in the building up of the kingdom, either way. Therefore, God loves you. God forgives you. God really hopes you won't do it again. God will use you in the building up of the kingdom, either way.




October 14, 2018, 12:00 AM

God in the Face of Unspeakable Tragedy


Good Morning, Grace and Peace to you from God and may the words on my lips and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in the sight of God.

Panama City & Mexico City is destruction close to home. I have friends who live there. There is a Lutheran Church there that was flooded and is missing large sections of the roof. Entire neighborhoods are flattened. I must admit my heart lifted a little when I found out my friend had a home still and that the power had come back on for her. Yet, there are still all those other people in the area who suffered the loss of their homes, which grieves me. And then there are the memories of homes flooded during hurricane Sandy for me. I must admit the first thing I thought when they talked about the flooding at the church was, “Give me a circular saw and a hammer so I can get rid of the wet sheet rock before it becomes moldy.” Sadly, these are things I know because I have seen this before and I already had learned about from time in North Carolina even before Sandy. For some here it will bring back memories of hurricane Andrew no doubt. But then there was Katrina and it seems like the list goes on and on and on.

We could get a little closer to home and talk about the loss of Pete and how hard it is to watch one from the community pass away and especially at such a young age. And then our hearts grieve for Helen and the rest of the family. No one should have to bury their child, it is something that we as human beings were not designed to do, and yet we know that many have done it. One of the great blessings of modernity for those of us who get to enjoy it is that infant mortality has been greatly reduced and that alone has raised the age of mortality by a lot. And yet there are areas of the world where that has not yet become a reality. And so this brings me to think also of all the parents who dealt with still birth and infant deaths but that brings me to remember the teenagers that I have buried, too many to name here. And that brings me to the friends my own age who I have lost, again too many to name here. And that brings me to the mothers and fathers I have had the privilege to walk with, people like Helen, who are burying their child, that act that we should never have to participate in.

Then there is the national and international news. How about that Journalist who went to the Embassy to get paperwork so that he could marry his fiance and it would appear, “never came out again.” There is the head of the Interpol, who went from his home in France back to his home country of China, and found himself arrested and brought up on charges, which sadly we tend to think might relate to his not being useful to “the Party.” And the list of those public figures suffering persecution, which we know now because of the internet and instant communication, that list goes on and on and on.

Governments seem to think they are never going to be accountable for their actions and enough of them seem to get away with it that maybe they are largely right. And how sad that makes me and how deeply that grieves me, which also leads me to the question of those in this country who think that their privilege will make them immune, sometimes because they think they are too valuable to the country to actually suffer the consequences of their actions. And that reminds me of the discussion in El Salvador that the difference between us and them was that we lived under the rule of law and that people actually thought in the United States that if they did something they would be held accountable, but in El Salvador if you had enough money the law was always on your side. And so my heart is deeply grieved as I look around our country at what is happening and what is not happening, but particularly at the simple meanness toward those who are not part of “my group”, because I have been able to dehumanize them and deal with them as a group not as individual people and thus generalize and thus not engage or challenge my own view point or compromise with anyone, which might make me appear weak.

And then we have the audacity to wonder, why we are anxious for our future and afraid of the present. And that anxious and afraid moves us into our amygdala, that little part of the brain that has two responses, fight or flight and so we treat our neighbor as an existential threat because they might be part of the group of bad people trying to ruin us. Instead of Debbie who helped me rotate the tires on my car or Tom who lent me a cup of sugar, whether or not we agreed politically. And I think of this and grieve for the loss of a time when things seemed kinder and gentler.

P.S. The internet has helped make possible the dehumanization of the person who lives in the house next door because I no longer go out in the yard and talk over the fence to hear the latest gossip and so while gossip is bad, it is better than not knowing who lives in the house next door and being suspicious of those who live immediately around us. And I grieve for the combativeness and I grieve for the loss of community and I grieve for the loss of civility and thus I get overwhelmed and so I freeze. When I freeze I stop doing anything productive, and instead spend my time worrying when the tiger is going to eat me.

My friends, there is an answer to all of this and it is very simple. The answer is God. In our text today we heard about all that God had done for the Hebrew people and the text concluded with “and therefore as for me and my house we will serve God.” My friend who is in Panama City who I know serves God, I commended to God's care. The Church destroyed, I pray that God will use this as an opportunity to rebuild the body that resides inside it stronger than ever. Helen and the other parents who have lost their children, if they have a strong relationship with God, they are not happy about what happened, they are deeply grieved and they keep moving forward and doing mostly OK. I, having buried far too many teenagers and young adults, I can keep going because I know, love and trust God. The friends I have lost, especially the ones to poverty, suicide and addiction, leave me deeply saddened but not paralyzed, because of my relationship with God.

The world news that is deeply troubling and which I can do very little about, I can leave in the hands of God, because I trust the long arc of history to God and I trust that God will show me how to do my little bit to help. The problems in our country could leave me paralyzed or they can be the impetus to do something good, like get to know my neighbor, and because I have the directive from Jesus to love and serve my neighbor, I start by getting to know my neighbor and learning what they love and why they think things need to be done in a particular way, which by the way may then lead to finding the common ground. And I do this because of my relationship with Jesus. I do this not by my own strength, but by the strength of the Holy Spirit, which leads me, guides me and supports me.

I don't want you to think for a minute that I think everything is OK. I don't want you to think for a minute that I plan to do nothing. I don't want you to think for a minute that I plan to bury my head in the sand. No, I have found a way to have a good cry because of all the pain and suffering and then to dry my tears and ask the question, “Is there is anything I can productively do to make the world a little better today?” That, my friends, is possible because of my relationship with Jesus and because I know the body of Christ, (the Church) walks with me. Yes, because I am here and I know you and you also have a relationship with Jesus and thus are part of the body, because of that I keep going. And so, not that we are not sad, and not that we are not deeply grieved, and not that we don't need a good cry many days but we get to have all of that and have the strength to do what little part we can, because of God's love and care for us and because of our relationship with God. And therefore we are changing the hymn of the day and invite you to rise and sing together “Give Me Jesus.” #770




October 7, 2018, 12:00 AM

The Egalitarian Body of Christ


 

Grace and peace to you from God, our creator, our redeemer and our sustainer. May the words in my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to God.

We gather this morning to worship and in the midst of this worship to baptize another child. We are bringing this child into the body of Christ, making her a sister with us in the work of the kingdom. This is a wonderful break in the week. The is a moment we can all gather and agree. This is the time when we put down the politics to do something even more important.

As we get ready for this baptism we have the opportunity to be reminded of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. In our texts this morning we had the ten commandments and we had Jesus talking about what it takes to get to heaven. Jesus for his part says that we must exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees and the  Scribes. Being more righteous than the Pharisees and Scribes, if it meant following every religious rule would be very difficult. Remember the rich young man who came to Jesus, who said I have done all of these things what else must I do. Jesus response to him was to sell it all and follow Jesus. Jesus' answer was not about how money is evil but about where the young mans heart was on the journey to follow God.

Lets talk about the Scribes and the Pharisees for just a moment. Paul, our beloved Paul, who wrote most of the letter at the end of the bible and to whose ministry most of the book of Acts is devoted , this same Paul was before his conversion one of the Pharisees and so would have been really well taught and versed on Jewish law. He would have followed all 613 laws to the jot and tittle. Paul like the rich man above would have followed every one of these laws and yet he declared after his conversion that none could be saved simply by works of the law. In other words, none were going to heaven on the merits of their actions alone. Paul points us in another direction. Paul says that it is our faith that will get us into heaven, not all of the things we have done correctly.

What therefore is the remedy, if it is not right action, that makes us right with God. I want to quote two things for you, first is in the Gospel text we read today which lets us know that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law. In other words the only way to fulfill all the commandments of the law is to have faith in Jesus and in the saving power of his life and death and resurrection. And what is the first step to this but what Jesus commands at the end of this Gospel where it says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Mat 28:19-20 We are here this morning to accomplish the remedy. We are here this morning to baptize this child in keeping with the command of Jesus, thus fulfilling for this child all righteousness. There is nothing this child could have done more than being another beautiful example of the grace of God.

This does not mean we are not to try and do the right things. No I would never claim we should do nothing but instead only that being right with God does not require anything other than consent on our part. It is our faith, like it was Abraham's faith that makes us right in the eyes of God. It is the faith of this little child that makes this child right in the eyes of God. It is the baptism that forever connects this child to the body of Christ. All of this accomplished for us and for this child, by the grace of God. All of us on equal footing. This child is no more or less a child of God after baptism than you or I are a child of God because of our baptism. We are all equal in this space. We are all children of the living God. We are all saved by Grace through Faith for God. We are all going to heaven for the same reason.

I think that in this, that we are all equally members of the body of Christ, simply by our baptism. None are greater and none are lesser. None are going to heaven first because the did all the right things and none are going to heaven last because they did all the wrong things. No, in this space we are all equal. If you are rich you come to the table to be fed. If you are poor you come to the table to be fed. If you are strong you come to the table to be fed and in the very same way as if your were weak. This is one of the few places where it does into matter your social, societal status. We all come to the table on the same terms, we are all called to do the same thing, we are all given the same gift and the same commandments. We are all children of the living God, joined to the body through our baptism.

This space where we all come on equal terms and get along as brothers and sisters through Christ is a place where the church has something to offer the world. Outside of these walls we are told that we need to grab for everything we can figure out and inside of these walls we are told to make sure all have what they need. What might the world look like if we truly fought for a nation where all had what they need, how would it change our laws and our legal system. Outside of these walls, we are told that we are not good enough, if we don't have the right car, house, clothes, credit card or political position and inside these wall we are told that it does not matter the car, the house, the clothes, the financial position or the political position, if you are baptized, you are part of the body of Christ. What might the nation look like if all were treated with respect and dignity simply because they were recognized to be a fellow human beings of intrinsic worth.

Call me crazy but as I watch the political and social jockeying for position, as I watch people trying to have the right car and clothes and struggling financially to do it, as I watch the simple meanness involved in our politics and even more the callous not caring what others are saying if it does not serve my ends, if it does not put me in a better position, if it does not make me feel good. As I watch these things, my heart breaks for those who are hurt because some other people want to preserve their privileged position, because some want to make sure there bubble is not burst, because some don't see all as equally valid, or valuable. As I watch this and I consider this morning I think, the church has something to offer the world, and by the church I mean you in the world. As I look at that baptismal font where there is not a question of male or female, rich or poor, straight or gay, educated or not, addicted or not, perfect hair and clothing or slightly frumpy. As I look at that baptismal font, I see a place where your social position and social reality don't matter, what matters is that you want to be a child of the living God. As I see this, I see an example for the world to follow that would lead to the peace and justice that we are called to work for. As I look at the table where the Lord offers us nourishment for the journey and all are called to come and be fed (ALL are called to be fed), I see an example that the world needs if it is ever to achieve the peace and justice central to our calling as Christians.

So, in closing, we come to the font and then to the table to be fed and nourished for the journey ahead. We come to the font and table to be sent into the world an example for all to see. We come to font and table, a space of true equality, experiencing what is possible, so that hopefully we can mirror that in a world that is fractured and fragile. We are called to be those who work on behalf of the widow, the orphan and the least of these. Come be fed, Go be an example for all the world to see.  Amen.

 




September 23, 2018, 12:00 AM

Persecuted like a Prophet


Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you... I am not feeling like being persecuted today, maybe tomorrow will be different. Oh and about the utterance of all kinds of evil against me falsely... that also is something I can do without. And, have you ever thought about a passage like the one that says, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven” and thought, “but I want it now.” and little consolation is it that “they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” I don't want to take comfort in knowing that they have been persecuting people like me since the beginning of time and what kind of people are those but people who simple tell the truth, people who do the right thing, people who try to be kind. Why I ask you do they persecute the prophets? Why does the world prosecute the truth tellers? Why does the world work so hard against those who simply want to be kind?

In my experience it is really very simple. In my experience those who tell the truth and I am not talking about those who harshly tell everyone every detail, but instead those who refuse to speak lies and embellish and make things more than they are. Those people who tell the truth bring a kind of judgment on those who don't. Yes, simply in you being who you are and in the fact that we (ever since eating a piece of fruit in a garden all those thousands of years ago) have the knowledge of good and evil or if you prefer because we have the ability to discern right from wrong, people who are not truth tellers experience a kind of judgment on their actions when they are around people who are truth tellers.

Likewise, I think that those who are kind and gentle are truly challenging to a world which values strength, courage and tends toward brash. I have witnessed on a number of occasions when I chose not to react to someone who is behaving aggressively, especially when that aggression is designed to move me to a different belief or action, I have experienced them becoming more aggressive as they try harder and harder and harder to get me to become like they are. And then, if you hold your ground, they get to a point where they have blown themselves out, they may turn and walk away or they may suddenly become calm and have the ability to speak and work through the problem to a mutually acceptable solution. First however, they have to try and get you to become like they are and that means puffing up and becoming more aggressive, because if you become aggressive in return, you validate their way of being and who does not want their way of being validated.

We were not put on this earth to validate the other person. We, as Christians, are told not to conform to this world. We as Christians are asked to behave and act according to the teachings of Jesus, whether or not those around us choose to do the same.

We have an example of this in our first lesson today. Joseph, whose brothers were so jealous that they sold him into slavery, now finds himself in Egypt. Joseph remains loyal to God and the ways of God and even those around him understand that he is blessed. So, he ends up as overseer of much of the household, he was a trusted servant. He was apparently also a rather handsome servant we come to find out and Pharaoh's wife fancied a roll in the hay with him.

Pharaoh's wife we read came on to him pretty directly. Joseph being a person of honor and integrity said no, because he was a person of  integrity and lived by the rules God had laid out for his people. Joseph did the right thing by the person he was serving, even as slave in the house. God honored that in Joseph. God honored his right behavior and Joseph stuck to his guns. Eventually, the wife traps him. We are not given all the details but my imagination says she was coming on to him and he realized that this would not end well if he stayed in the room. It really did not matter whether he slept with her or not, if he stayed in the room it was a problem, so he left with “all due haste.” In his haste to leave she apparently had her hands on his clothes and so the garment got left behind.

Next we see that Joseph finds himself in jail. He is never given opportunity to defend himself. Pharaoh's wife seems to suffer no ill consequences for her actions. And again is that not all to often the truth, when you suffer for being a person of truth and integrity, the other does not suffer any consequence. You suffer some negative, often less than jail but either way you do the right thing and someone else traps you, thus you suffer a consequence that is not truly just and they suffer no consequence at all. So, Joseph finds himself in jail and sets about doing what he always does, being a person of integrity and honor, doing what he knows is right, and this gives him favor in the sight of God and thus he prospers within that environment.

I want to be really clear here because this is not the truth we want, but in my experience, it is often how things work. A faithful person, who maintains their honor and integrity throughout the situation, does well within the situation. It may not however get us removed from the situation. Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, Joseph set about to do the right things, it did not make him any the less a slave, no he is still a slave instead of the free man he was. Within the environment of slavery Joseph thrived as much as a slave can. Then in a moment of, the world against Joseph, even as he tries to do the right thing, he ends up in jail. We read nothing to indicate that he got out of jail, no he is in jail and within that environment he flourished. Within the environment he found himself he did right, he maintained honor and integrity and that did not remove him to a new better place but instead it made the place he found himself in a better place.

We are told in our gospel lesson that we may well do like Joseph and say and do the right things but not be honored for it. We may we be a person of truth and integrity and find ourselves persecuted. We will do the right things because they are the right things and that may not move us to a new estate. We may not suddenly find that we are being moved from the situation that we don't want to be in. We may continue to find ourselves needing to work within the situation we really want leave. We may continue to find ourselves in a place, which we associate with persecution, but within that environment we will find ourselves flourishing. I read this morning the account of the man who bought the London Bridge and moved it to Arizona. He took a piece of desert and a small lake and worked with it to make it something anazing. Now it sees millions of tourists every year. He certainly had a flock of naysayers who thought this was a kooky idea but he made it work. I am sure that early on Einstein had people around him say there is no way that energy or light if you prefer and matter are related and yet we know now they are. The church persecuted many of the early scientists like Galileo, Copernicus and Darwin, who we now know were right but they were not doing what those around them wanted them to do, they were doing what was right and the world had to start by trying to drag them back to where they, the world, were.

So, no I don't want to be persecuted and reviled but if that is the price I pay for sticking to what I know is right then so be it. If it gets me reduced to a lower estate, I know that God will help me to flourish within that state. It is some comfort to know that through the course of history, being a person of honor, and integrity, being a person who sticks to what is right, has been a persecuted position. So, while I may not want to, I will take solace in knowing that I am right with God. And thus I want to encourage you to continue in the right even when it is difficult. I want you to encourage you to make the most of the situation you are in, whether God moves you to a different one or not. I want to encourage you like the Gospel writer would, to keep up the good fight, knowing that God will bless you for it.




September 16, 2018, 12:00 AM

What is God calling you to do?


How far are you willing to go in serving God? Would you walk away from the family home? Would you walk away from a good job? Would you sell it all to finance the journey? What are the limits you would place upon the requests of God? At what point would you simply say, “No God I am not willing to do that.” At what point would you not be able to believe that it was God's plan because it is just too far outside your comfort zone.

As I look at the story of Abram, God was asking him to do something pretty drastic. God asked the 75 year old Abram to leave his ancestral home and “Go to one he will be shown.” This is a big ask on the part of God. Not only is Abram being asked to leave his ancestral home at 75 but he is also not being told where he is going. So, are we willing to follow if we think God is calling but not giving us all the details.

Let me tell you in a very general way that my experience is. The more faith you have, the more challenging the ask is from God. You were willing to quit the job and go without visible means of support, thank you and I have a new opportunity for you. You were willing to go to the middle of nowhere, as a city person, I have a new opportunity for you. You were willing to sell it all to finance the mission journey of a life time and that allowed you to do what you always thought you wanted to and you love what you are doing, lets take you in a new direction.

Abram we read today packed up all his things and then he and Lot and their families and all that they had left Haran. And what by the way must Sarai have been saying this whole time. Was Sarai cheering on Abram say, “How great it is that God has chosen you to for this honor.” or Was Sarai saying, “Of all the hair brain schemes you have ever dreamed up this is definitely the kookiest.” And then Lot decides that this is a great idea and decides to join his uncle on the journey. Hey Mom and Dad, Uncle Abram is going to see the world and so I think I am going to join him.

There was no phone system to keep in touch with those you left. There was no postal system to send a letter home. Other than if someone passed by, who happened to be going where you needed to send a message, there were no messages going back and forth. No, I am leaving means, I expect not to talk with Dad and Mom and whomever else is living in my ancestral home. That could be overwhelming and leave you paralyzed and deciding that, “Maybe it wasn't God but a bad piece of meat last night at supper.“

I will tell you some other things that might make one feel overwhelmed and like there is no way that God is calling me to work on that: typhoons that kill 30 people, hurricanes that kill twelve people, and political gridlock in a country of 325 million people. Add to that if you feel the political system is rigged or that if you left your job for a few days to go help a hurricane victim,  you might not have a job when you get back. What about none of your neighbors gets up on Sunday morning to go to church and you have been hearing the ridicule of those who do go to church in the community, maybe not even directly, so you ask, “Is God really asking me to attend weekly?” I will remind you that church attendance may be the simplest way today to start fulfilling the gospel command that we are to go into all the world with the good news.

There are many problems in the world and any number of them that seem likely candidates for things that God would be asking us to do. Some because we are to care for our neighbor and we know that really means every human being. Some because they count among the groups of people we were asked to care for as Christians like widows, orphans, incarcerated persons, or the sick. Some because we know that God left us to be stewards of this globe and so anything that amounts to caring for the earth is God's work. Some maybe for no more reason than they seem to be within the scope of problems listed as places God works in the bible. There are many problems in the world for which it seems likely God is calling someone to do something and thus are likely candidates for things to which God might be calling us. What about the smaller more mundane things that God might call us to do? How do we sort between the call of God and a bad piece of meat.

Let me tell you the story of Bridges to Community, a non profit building houses in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. A couple of pastors had connections in Nicaragua and wanted to do some good and so went down to build a house. That led to another house. When they were back in the US, they told the story of being down their and building the house. A few other people said that was really cool and wanted to be included in the work and so pretty quickly it got beyond a couple of people building houses in Nicaragua. They have now built over  900 homes in Nicaragua, plus the homes they are building or repairing in the Dominican Republic, plus the school rooms, school kitchens, churches, public health facilities, micro loans for farmers, latrines, and, and, and. And knowing one of the original pastors, I feel confident telling you that they never set out to do anything this big, at the outset they intended to build a couple of houses every year in a community near Masaya in Nicaragua, where they had contacts. So, sometimes we need to stop looking at the whole of the problem and simply look for the little piece of good that we can do.

Yes problems can be overwhelming if we think that we need to solve the whole thing. The reality is that we need to be open to letting God direct us and usually it will start small like, build one house, change one mind, do one thing and then tell the story. Use the story of the work that you did to show how God called you to it and what positive impact it had in the community. If someone says, “That is awesome, how can I help?” bring them along and do it again. You might be surprised how much gets done. Sometimes you find out that a whole floor can be torn out and replaced, other times you know that one homeless person did not suffer hunger today and on occasion without intending to you create a 501c3 that builds 70+ homes every year.

So, what is the big overwhelming problem that God is calling you to work on now at this juncture in your life. Or maybe the better question is what one small thing is God calling you to do today? What call did God put on your life, which simply seems like it is just to much. Is God calling you out of your comfort zone? Good, God believes you are ready to grow. Is God calling you to something that you can not conceive of how you can do it? Good, God is ready to show you that God can when you can't. Is God calling you to what seems like an inconsequential action? Good, because inconsequential actions done hundreds or thousands of times change the world. God is calling you and I am suggesting that if like Abram you will listen and follow, God will do amazing things through you.


Page 1 2 3   Entries 1-5 of 11
Contents © 2018 Grace Lutheran Church and Learning Center | Church Website Provided by mychurchwebsite.net | Privacy Policy