26.6.14

Love the "you" you Hide

June 26, 2014

Scripture Reading:
Romans 6:1b-11

6:1b Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound?

6:2 By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?

6:3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

6:4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in the newness of life.

6:5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

6:6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.

6:7 For whoever has died is freed from sin.

6:8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

6:9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.

6:10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

6:11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.


Message:
As I read this scripture today, something seems new about it. I’ve read this scripture before… but in a different way. I use to read this scripture in a scolding way. The message I got from it was “aren’t you supposed to be dead from sin? Why are you still sinning then?! Try harder, and don’t sin”. However, today the scripture seems more comforting and loving. While this scripture is most certainly telling us not to sin, I also feeling it call us to accept forgiveness for past sins.

If the devil is there plotting against Christians, I think one of the prime tools he would use is guilt. When we feel like we are sinful and do not forgive ourselves, we can start to believe that we aren’t worthy of God’s grace. We can give up. I’ve seen too many people put themselves down because of things they’ve done in the past. Their guilt and regret holds them from seeing the beautiful and wonderful person that they are.

This past Sunday I was singing the hymn “Will You Come and Follow Me”. I know that I’ve sung this Hymn before, but never have the words impacted me as much as they did on Sunday. When we got to the fourth verse I found I was so moved by it that I couldn’t sing… “Will you love the ‘you’ you hide if I but call your name? will you quell the fear inside and never be the same? Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around, through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?”
 

Imagine how life changing it can be to embrace the wonderful and beautiful “you” that’s inside! There is so much more that you can do for the world when you recognize the fact that you are a child of God who is forgiven and free.  


Time of Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving each of us forgiveness. Let us go forth today into this world to share the love that You have given us with everyone we meet. Guide us with Your grace, and fill us with Your peace, in Jesus name we pray. Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer


Closing Hymn
Will You Come and Follow Me:
http://www.msgr.ca/msgr-7/come_and_follow_me%20THEME%20HYMN.htm

May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." Amen.

Go in peace, serve the Lord
Thanks be to God

29.5.14

Circles

May 29, 2014
Opening Hymns:
92 For the Beauty of the Earth
http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh092.sht

Scripture Reading:
John 14: 15-21
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.

18 “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”


Message:
I was listening to a Rabbi talking on Minnesota Public Radio. He was talking about how many people often see God as distant. He told us all to picture in our heads one giant circle with a lot of small circles underneath. Sometimes people can see God as our Father who is in Heaven looking down at us on earth. While that image still holds warmth and beauty to it, he challenged us to picture instead the same giant Circle with the smaller circle inside. In that image we are fully in God.

 
Personally I picture God’s relationship with us a little bit different… First, I can imagine God’s giant circle with the little circles intersecting at some points around the edge… we each have both Spirit and flesh, we have our sins and God’s forgiveness. I also imagine each of our circles containing small circles representing God, with God’s big circle above as well. He is the voice that comforts, and the voice that guides. He is there to listen to our questions and concerns… and He is even there when we don’t remember to call on him. 
 
How do you see your relationship with God? How does the way you view your relationship change the way you talk with God, and live out your life? In today’s scripture Jesus tells us that He is in the Father, we are in Jesus, and He is in us. It warms my heart when I imagine Jesus being within each of us. The thought urges me to do good in this world. As you reflect on today’s scripture let it help you feel ever closer to God.  

Time of Prayer
Dear Lord, thank You for drawing us close to You, and for drawing close to us. Let us remember that You are always with us. Thank You for the precious gift of Your Son Jesus. Christ has risen! Christ has risen indeed. Halleluiah!


The Lord’s Prayer


Closing Hymn
374 Standing on the Promises
http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh374.sht

May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." Amen.

Go in peace, serve the Lord
Thanks be to God

28.4.14

Grow on Your Journey

April 28, 2014
Opening Hymns:
341 I Sought the Lord
http://hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh341.sht

Scripture Reading:
Acts 2:14a, 36-41

2:14a: But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.

2:36 Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified."

2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?"

2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

2:39 For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him."

2:40 And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."

2:41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.


Message:
Imagine, 3,000 people being baptized in one day! 3,000 people being forgiven and being saved! As I ponder this amazing number, I also wonder how many people continued on their faith journey. How many of the 3,000 dedicated their lives to serving our Lord?


As we go through our lives things can come and go. We can become interested and dedicated to something, and the next year find interest in something else. My interests seem to fluctuate a lot. One year I’ll be striving to be better at chess, and the next year I’ll focus on learning Spanish. Our favorite TV shows, games, and activities can change. However, one thing that I don’t want to lose is my dedication to following Christ.

Our walk with Christ will and should change. We should learn and grow ever closer to Him. One thing that I fear for the 3,000 who were baptized is: will they grow in their walk with Christ, or will they let their interests change? Every Sunday new babies are being baptized. My hope for them is that they will continually know the love and forgiveness of Christ throughout life’s journey.

Time of Prayer
Lord, Help new Christians hold fast to Your love. Please let our dedication to You be something that grows stronger, and not something that fades away. Give us the strength to teach others about Your love, and remind fellow Christians of Your everlasting forgiveness. Thank You for giving us all that we have and all that we are. Let us use who we are to make the world a more beautiful place. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Closing Hymn

301 Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross
http://hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh301.sht

May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." Amen.

Go in peace, serve the Lord
Thanks be to God

20.4.14

Christ is Risen!

April 20, 2014
Opening Hymns:
302 Christ the Lord is Risen Today
http://hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh302.sht

Scripture Reading:
Matthew 28:1-10
28:1 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.

28:2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.

28:3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.

28:4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.

28:5 But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.

28:6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.

28:7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.' This is my message for you."

28:8 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

28:9 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.

28:10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."


Message:
Imagine this scene, grief and terror turn to joy! Christ has risen, and the victory is God’s. “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis somewhat resembles the Easter story. When I was in high school I was able to be Lucy in that play. I remember the sorrow my character went through as they found out that Aslan had been killed in order to save Edmond. And the astonishment and joy that they had when Aslan came back to rescue them just in time.


Today we get to celebrate with the women and the disciples, the joy of Jesus’ resurrection. We get to sing joyfully, and exclaim that Christ has conquered death! We get to stand in awe and wonder as we reflect on God’s mercy, love, and victory. We get to be saved as well, just as the four children were saved in Narnia. Christ is risen, Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Time of Prayer
Dear Lord, thank You for rescuing us from our sins, and saving us from death. Thank You for giving us this day to remember Jesus’ victory over the grave, and victory over our sins. Let us remember this day throughout the year so that we may share this joy with everyone we meet. Amen


The Lord’s Prayer


Closing Hymn
327 Crown Him with Many Crowns
http://hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh327.sht

May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." Amen.

Go in peace, serve the Lord
Thanks be to God

15.4.14

Give Glory to God

April 15, 2014
Opening Hymns:
127 Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah
http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh127.sht

Scripture Reading:

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 1:18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1:19 For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart."

1:20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.

1:22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom,

1:23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,

1:24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1:25 For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.

1:26 Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.

1:27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;

1:28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are,

1:29 so that no one might boast in the presence of God.

1:30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,

1:31 in order that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."


Message:
Sometimes, it can be good to have confidence in ourselves. It’s wonderful to speak with authority, and be a leader to those who need guidance. However, we must be cautious of who we give the glory to. Do we uplift ourselves, longing for people to admire us? Or, do we give the glory to God? Ponder the last verse of today’s scripture reading. Now, try to think of one thing that you’ve done on your own without God’s help.


God has created us, and all of creation. He has helped us when we’ve fallen, and forgiven us when we’ve sinned. Everything I’ve done in my life would have been impossible without God. Sometimes I can feel myself becoming proud of my own work. It can be humbling to remember that none of it would have been possible without our Savior and Lord. This reminds me that each day we are given a gift from God. Each day we have a new chance to share God’s love with others, and boast in what the Lord has done. What is God calling you to do today?

Time of Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us life, forgiveness, and love. Let us use the gifts You’ve given us on this day to serve and do Your will. Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer


Closing Hymn
165 Hallelujah What a Savior
http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh165.sht

May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." Amen.

Go in peace, serve the Lord
Thanks be to God

14.4.14

A True Story

April 14, 2014
Opening Hymns:
397 I Need Thee Every Hour
http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh397.sht

Scripture Reading:
Isaiah 42:1-9

42:1 Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.

42:2 He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street;

42:3 a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.

42:4 He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching.

42:5 Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it:

42:6 I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations,

42:7 to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

42:8 I am the LORD, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols.

42:9 See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.


Message:
Sometimes when we read the bible it can seem like just a story. It can be hard to imagine the blind being able to see, and the dead being brought back to life. It almost makes me shiver when I realize that this has actually happened! Harder still to truly realize that Jesus died for us, so that we can be forgiven.

This story can seem like a fairy tale. Sometimes it seems too good to be true. The real world isn’t always full of happy endings. Too often the harshness of the world can drown out the beauty of it. But this story is even happier than any Disney movie I can think of. It is more beautiful than our imaginations could create. And it is more real than we could ever imagine. Christ came to this world just as Isaiah had predicted. He taught us, and saved us. We are forgiven, and that is not a fairytale.  

Time of Prayer
Dear Lord, thank You for Your loving forgiveness of our sins. Thank You for creating us to be a part of Your family. Let us rest our trust on You when we are overwhelmed with the hard things in this life. And help us remember Your story of truth, love, and kindness. Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer


Closing Hymn
378 Amazing Grace
http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh378.sht

May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." Amen.

Go in peace, serve the Lord
Thanks be to God

Everlasting Love

April 14, 2014
Opening Hymns:
374 Standing on the Promises
http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh374.sht

Scripture Reading:
Philippians 2:5-11

2:5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

2:6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,

2:7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form,

2:8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death-- even death on a cross.

2:9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,

2:10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

2:11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


Message:
How can such corruption turn into something so beautiful? How can a dark betrayal lead to a life giving forgiveness? Only from the love of God, and the obedience and forgiveness of Jesus. Putting Jesus to death on the cross was a way to show who was in power. It was a move that gave comfort to the Romans and those who served the Romans… they saw Jesus as a threat. Jesus’ trial was far from fair. He was sinless, and was killed by the sinners he came to save.

Yet God was able to show the world a different kind of power. One of kindness, humility, and love. Jesus shows us that love is powerful enough to save us from our sins. He shows us that there is an everlasting life that can conquer death!


Time of Prayer
Dear Lord, You have set us free from sin. Thank you for Your everlasting love and forgiveness. Thank you for showing us that true power comes from love, and not hate. Amen


The Lord’s Prayer


Closing Hymn
427 Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life
http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh427.sht

May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." Amen.

Go in peace, serve the Lord
Thanks be to God