Celebrations of others; just to let them know” Colossians 1:1-14

“for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints”

Colossians 1:4

  God created us to be a community, and the community to be a reflection of the grace and joy given to all who believe. Have you ever felt like a hamster on a wheel; a whole lot of work but getting nowhere? The greatest challenge sometimes is trying to hear God in the midst of our busy lives; things need to get done, errands need to be run, calendars are so full we worry that something might be missed. Consider for a moment what you do on a daily basis; each component of the day takes your time and focus. It may feel like very little is being accomplished until someone comes by and says, “wow, job well done!” Interesting that the Letters of St. Paul in the Bible begin with thanksgiving for the people he is addressing. St. Paul thanks God for their lives and for their witness of faith. Even the one letter (Galatians) that was a bit more “in your face” began with thanking God for the grace given to them. God speaks through the witness of others. We are reminded of God’s grace when someone takes the time to affirm the presence of God in our lives. If nobody tells us, we will never know the difference we are making to the world around us. So maybe it is our calling, each of us, to celebrate what others are doing, to let them know they are valued, loved, and accepted. When we celebrate others, God is speaking through us to them. Nobody is an island, nobody is worthless, nobody is not loved by God. Maybe a big part of being a Christian is affirming the life of another, to celebrate the joy they offer, even though they cannot see the joy themselves. In I Corinthians 8, Paul writes, “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (8:1) Maybe we have some building to do, maybe a bit of celebrating the lives of those around us. The greatest calling you have is to be a benefit to somebody else, to build them up and affirm who they are as a child of God. We have a whole lot of celebrating to do! You are blessed beyond measure with so many gifts; let others know they are blessed as well and see the difference that will make to the world. Celebrating others is truly a blessing and a calling from God we all possess. Thank you Jesus for the privilege of celebrating the lives of others.

 Pastor Tom

The Spirit in You John 4:1-15

“The water that I give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”

John 4:14

  Nobody has a passive role on the journey of faith; faith by its very nature is based on the assumption that we are a part of something far greater and far more powerful than we could ever imagine. There has never been a time when the church needs to be the church more than now, and “we are it.” You, me, everyone who professes Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior have within us the “living water” of Christ which equips and enables us to reach beyond ourselves and actually make a difference in the lives of another. Funny thing about the Holy Spirit, it does not trickle, it “gushes” through the faithful to witness to the world the joy of believing, giving hope to the hopeless, comfort to the restless, and peace where peace has become a distant memory. There is a song that is ringing in my ears the past several days that will not relent, “get all excited, go tell everybody that Jesus Christ is King.” Get all excited, feel the presence of God within you that has been with you from the time you were conceived. It may be a new day but you have been given a timeless gift. Get all excited and feel the Spirit of God in you that has the power to transform the world. Get all excited about being part of the church whose foundation is Christ, who was sent not “to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17) God’s intention for you is to share the grace, mercy, peace, and joy that you have been given, not to condemn but to affirm the eternal presence of God, alive and well in the world. Get all excited about the living Word that is Jesus Christ our Lord. Your witness and your presence is critical to the ongoing ministry of Jesus Christ. The church is not a social club nor is it a one hour a week worship center; it is a living, breathing, eternal body that has called you, especially you, to share the joy that only God can offer. You are needed, whoever you are, to share this Good News that is available to all people. No matter what the world may think of you, or you think of yourself, our Lord Jesus Christ has called you by name, because “you are precious in [God’s] sight, and honored.” (Isaiah 43:4) Nobody is unwanted and nobody is unneeded; you have been called because you have been blessed with “living water.” You are loved and needed right now, especially in times such as these. Get all excited, go tell everybody; “come and see the man who told me everything I have ever done,” (John 4:29) and still loves me and will always “even to the end of the age.” Pray this prayer in addition to your daily prayers: Thank you Jesus for accepting me, especially me, this day to share your Word. Thank you Jesus, for the privilege of serving your church. O Lord, that you would bless me a lot, expand my ministry, lay your Holy Spirit upon me, and keep me from doing evil. O Lord, bless your church (where you have called me to serve) a lot, expand its ministry, laid your Holy Spirit upon it, and keep it from doing evil. O Lord, bless my family a lot, expand their ministry, lay your Holy Spirit upon them, and keep them from doing evil.” Amen (based on the Prayer of Jabez, I Chronicles 4:10)

 Pastor Tom

Be Careful Luke 12:13-21

“And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, and be merry.”

Luke 12:19

  We are a bunch that likes to accumulate stuff to the extent that the storage facility industry is absolutely booming. We need basements to store stuff, garages to store stuff, sheds to store stuff, and barns to store stuff because one just never knows when we may need something that has been stashed away perhaps for decades. We also use our soul to store stuff; far off future plans and emotions set aside for future perfect moments. Planning is good, dreams are fine, unless they get in the way of what God has given today. God asks a profound statement to the one whose life is being transitioned to a heavenly address; “and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” (Luke 12:20) So what would happen if absorption in tomorrow deprives the living and celebrating of God’s blessings received today? As we try to locate storage for our stuff and room in our soul of what may come in the future, what would happen if in the process we failed to live the life God has offered to us now? We all have stuff but if the physical and emotional stuff that we set aside for some unknown future time gets in the way of sharing and celebrating God’s blessings received today, we squander the “riches” we have received this very moment. We can do nothing about the past and the future will contain gifts not yet received, yet today we can live with the abundance of God’s grace shared with us with an eye certainly on the future but not overwhelmed by what the future may or may not hold. “Take care,” Jesus says, not to let your stuff get in the way of the glory God has prepared for you to celebrate today. You are loved, blessed, and called to live today, especially today as the most important day of your life. Thank you Jesus for the blessing of this day and help us to focus on the gifts we have from you to enjoy and share. Amen

 Pastor Tom