A Time for All Things

January 4, 2015
Opening Hymns:

Forward Through the Ages  http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh555.sh

Scripture Reading:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.

Dear Lord, as we study Your word, and focus our hearts on You, let Your light shine on us. Let us draw closer to You. Let us feel Your love surrounding us. Amen.

2014 has come and gone, and the year 2015 has greeted us. The New Year has often been a time to reflect on our past year, and look forward to the next year. Many people make New Year’s Resolutions, and look forward to the changes that can be made in the year to come.

The scripture reading for today has helped me reflect on different ways I can strengthen and grow in my relationship with God. None of us are perfect, we have all fallen short of what God asks of us. I know that I am no different, but that means that we can each strive to grow, and improve from one day to the next. There will always be room to make a new, New Year’s resolution. 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 is a scripture that both gives me a sense of peace and despair. It calls us to accept things as they happen in their time. There is a time for us to laugh and a time to morn. I love this passage, and always have, but often find myself not accepting it as it becomes a reality in my life. I don’t want to have the time to hate, or the time to morn. It can be so hard when it’s someone’s time to die! Accepting things when they are out of our control is a challenge.

I remember as a child wishing I was older with more privaleges… and in recent years have found myself yearning to be younger once more. Sometimes when we reject the season that we are in, it prevents us from enjoying the beauty that is around us in the here and now. This scripture helps us find peace in the things that only God can control. We cannot choose when to reap from our gardens, but must wait for the season.

As I look forward to the new year that awaits me, I’m striving to be better at accepting the things that are out of my control… and to recognize the things that I can change. I strongly believe that in every season of our lives, both good and bad, that God is always with us. Guiding us, watching over us, and leading us. We can’t always change what is going on in our lives, but we can always hold out our hand to God who will give us the strength to get through everything.

Time of Prayer
Dear Lord, let us call on You when we are in the tough seasons of our lives. Let us rejoice in You when our hearts are filled with joy, and let us cry to You when we experience loss. Guide us, protect us, love us, and lead us. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Closing Hymn
A Time for All Things:

To everything there is a season, there is a time for all good things; A time to plant and a time to reap, a time to lose, a time to keep; A time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, a time to dance. To everything there is a season; there is a time for all good things. A time to follow, a time to lead, a time to speak and a time to heed; A time to sleep, a time to wake, a time to give and a time to take. For all the blessings of our God, are given us that we might have A time to live and a time to share, a time to love and a time to care. A time for all good things.


·         If you do not know the melody, please listen to this beautiful recording of this touching song.

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


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.

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:

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



May 29, 2014
Opening Hymns:
92 For the Beauty of the Earth

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.”

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

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


Grow on Your Journey

April 28, 2014
Opening Hymns:
341 I Sought the Lord

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.

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

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


Christ is Risen!

April 20, 2014
Opening Hymns:
302 Christ the Lord is Risen Today

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."

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

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


Give Glory to God

April 15, 2014
Opening Hymns:
127 Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah

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."

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

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


A True Story

April 14, 2014
Opening Hymns:
397 I Need Thee Every Hour

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.

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

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