September 30, 2017
So last weekend over 100 NFL players protested
the president over his protest over their, in his view, dishonoring the flag
and anthem. Those who were seen as dishonoring the flag and anthem were in turn
protesting what they considered the dishonoring of African-Americans by police.
In turn, I’m sure, the police considered themselves to be dishonored…. And the
cycle goes on. Add to this cycle, the labeling, the identity politics, the
generalities, the ratcheting up of tensions and anger, and you end up with the
polarization of our society over the past year (but, in truth, much, much
longer than that).
There are moments, events, in our lives that shape us, that define
us. In those moments God provides the opportunity for us to put thoughts or
words into practice and action. Such a moment came for me in the first months
2009 was the year of the vote. In August 2009, the ELCA churchwide
assembly voted on the sexuality statement which allowed a member of a same-sex
couple to be a pastor of a congregation. This decision sent shockwaves
throughout the ELCA and throughout our synod in particular.
falls on May 15 this year. The Holy Spirit falls upon the disciples and gives
them the strength and courage to tell how the Gospel of Jesus Christ changed
their lives. In that Spirit, I begin my testimony to the Good News in my life.
In 2007, Lynne
graduated from UIC with a masters in nursing. She then attained an
administrative job in Sterling. I was the pastor at Messiah, Aledo, at that
time. We had some decisions to make. We decided to purchase a home in Sterling.
We also decided that I would keep my call at Messiah through Kristen’s senior
RED CARPET TREATMENT
Palm Sunday, 2016
Red Carpet treatment. Perhaps you know what that is. But for
those of you who don’t, it happens when a celebrity, a dignitary or a leader
comes to town. It’s kind of like when a movie star such as
Leonardo DiCaprio comes to the theater on Oscar night in his
limousine. Someone opens the door for him. And as he exits the car, hundreds of
fans yell and scream his name. He smiles to the crowd. He waves his hand to the
crowd. A thousand flashes of light from cameras dowse the scene as he then
walks into the theater… on a red carpet.
MARCH 2016 - NO TURNING BACK
The plan had been in motion for nearly a year. Certain
conditions had to be met in order to proceed – phase of the moon, the tides,
the time of day, the weather. On the evening of June 4, a weather prediction
and a decision by one individual put the plan into motion. Once the decision
was made, there was no turning back. In the early morning of June 6, 1944,Operation Neptune(D-Day) was launched. A
year later the Nazi regime had come to an end.
June 6 did not go as planned in many ways.
THE LENTEN JOURNEY
BEGINS.The message is simple enough. “The time is fulfilled. The kingdom
of God is at hand. Repent. Believe in the Good News (Mark 1:14-15).”
The time is fulfilled.God did a lot of preparing for this
moment. A few thousand years’ worth of work behind the scenes. And now, during
your life time, all the experiences, all the people you’ve encountered, all the
knowledge gained. The random thoughts too. Everything is set and ready to go.
God’s ready to wake you up, shake you out of your comfort zone, and invite you
into His Life.
Receiving Compassion: The Story of the Good Samaritan
There's a story Jesus tells about a man who was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. A group of robbers attacked him, stripped him, and left him for dead. A priest walked passed him. So did another religious man. Now, there were reasons for them not helping the man, but this writing is not about those details. This writing focuses on the third man, what he did, and what his actions mean for you and me.
A third man, a Samaritan, walked toward the man.
A Day in the Life of Jesus the Christ
"Now is the time to get things done!" That's what Jesus seems to be saying and doing in the first months of his ministry. Right after he gets baptized by John (Mark 1:9), Jesus goes into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan (Mark 1:13). Forty days later he goes to Galilee, his home area, and begins to proclaim the "good news of the kingdom" (Mark 1:14).
On his way to Capernaum, a town on the north shores of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus chooses four men to be his disciples (Mark 1:16-20).
There's a story in the Scriptures about Jesus as a twelve year old. Her and his parents were in Jerusalem for Passover. When the family started back for Nazareth after the Passover, Jesus stayed behind. Mary and Joseph came back to Jerusalem and found Jesus at the temple.
During the most-likely heated discussion that ensued, Jesus questioned his parent: "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" The story ends with the family reunited, returning to Nazareth, and Jesus being obedient to his parents, and growing "in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" (Luke 2:51-52).