Fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Romans 12:2 MSG

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Shared Journey

So often in life we are tempted to go it alone. It seems it is easy to focus on me, myself, and I. When challenged, a voice within us says pull yourself up. When in the midst of darkness, our voice says try harder. When burdened with the weight of the world, and sinking in doubt, self-help thoughts flood our brains. And in the midst of it all, the lonelier and lonelier we get. God reminds us all along the way that we are not made to do life alone. 

Whose voice will we listen to? Our own? The self-help section of Barnes and Nobles or Amazon.com? The individualized drive-thru lane of another fast food restaurant? Or the God of all life?

Did Jesus do life alone? No. Jesus worked hard in developing a community of people that would lead transformed lives. They gathered as often as possible to deeply invest in one another. Those first disciples needed constant reminding of who and whose they were. It was in community that they thrived!

I am not sure who stated it, but it goes something like this, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” 

I experienced that life in the body of Our Savior’s last weekend through our Family Camp. A multi-generational and multi-ethnic grouping of people coming together – going away – to intentionally spend time with one another. It was time well spent in going deep on our discipleship journey – not alone – but together. We ate together – played together – opened the Scriptures together – talked about and with Jesus together – sang together – wrestled through tough questions together – and came home more alive because of it. We indeed are better together. More alive! More whole and well! Ever ready to take on the challenges that the world throws our way.

Everything that we do as the church is to equip us for life and service in God’s world. But it all starts in a community that is centered in Jesus. It’s why we come together to eat together! At table we experience the real life and love of fellowship in Jesus. All tables at Our Savior’s are tables of life and love. It’s why we do faith formation. Intentional times of being in community to grow and learn together. We don’t just throw Bibles out there and say enjoy reading it on your own. Why? Because Jesus is most experienced in and through the gathered Jesus community!

The temptation…isolate…try harder…wrestle in loneliness…fumble in darkness…do life alone. It does not work. 

To seize on the life that really is life…engage…work together…share our stories…be a vitalized part of the body…live in the light…do life together. This is what Jesus had in mind for us.

Families that eat together, play together, work together, serve together, worship together…are strengthened families. The same is true for the church and community. 

Come out…draw one another together as the church…be made strong again…and live…really live!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Equipped To Live

“Who do you say that I am?”  Jesus
Imagine today being asked this question by Jesus himself. What would your reply be?
“You are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”  Jesus
Could this same statement be said to you? How does that sit with you?
“If you want to become my follower, deny yourself and take up the cross.” Jesus
Have you been denying yourself? How so?
“What will it profit you to gain the whole world and forfeit your life?” Jesus
How much are you forfeiting in order to gain what is deemed important in our earthly culture?
These questions and our response to them are life defining questions. They are not easily answered. They are not to be taken lightly. As a matter of fact, any quick knee jerk response is insufficient for the gift that they offer to us. 
Jesus articulates that he is our everything – he is our Messiah – he is the Son that will undergo great suffering – he is the one to be killed – he is the one who will RISE – and it will be all for US! This is divine! Our human constructs could never even begin to attempt this kind of redemption for the world – only Jesus would – only Jesus.
And so knowing the gift that is poured out for the sake of the world, we are not to get in the way – but rather only on the way of the Jesus life. That is why these questions are presented to us. Jesus desires for us to grow into this life of discipleship. He knows, like Peter, we can’t just instantly get it – believe it – live it. We are however divinely invited to immerse ourselves into it. The ‘it’ is the faith life of a disciple of the living Christ. The ‘it’ is the struggle, the wrestling, the questioning, that comes when we follow to where it is that Jesus is leading us. 
That is exactly why we as Our Savior’s create and offer the opportunities for faith formation. Every week through a myriad of opportunities, we gather as faith community, to listen, to read, to reflect, to ask, to speak, to experience – all for the purpose of more fully living into the gift of real life that Jesus invites us into. Every kid and every adult, through the work of faithful parents, peers, mentors, and rabbis’, hear God’s story for them. 
God’s story shapes and grounds us. God’s story invites us into the questions. God’s story equips us to live – truly live! May we all fully immerse ourselves into God’s life shaping ministry.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

We Are Blessed To Be A Blessing

May the light at the core of your being illuminate the world.
Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and 
glorify your father in heaven.
                       Is the light of your life blessing others? Be Specific.
 
 
May you always be aware that you are loved beyond measure and may you be willing to love unconditionally in return.
           God loves you and you can’t do nothing about it.
                       How is God’s love for you being poured out as a blessing for others?
 
 
May you be reminded that we are all ONE. UBUNTU!
The South African Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes Ubuntu as: 
"It is the essence of being human. It speaks of the fact that my humanity is caught up and is inextricably bound up in yours. I am human because I belong. It speaks about wholeness, it speaks about compassion. A person with Ubuntu is welcoming, hospitable, warm and generous, willing to share. Such people are open and available to others, willing to be vulnerable, affirming of others, do not feel threatened that others are able and good, for they have a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that they belong in a greater whole. They know that they are diminished when others are humiliated, diminished when others are oppressed, diminished when others are treated as if they were less than who they are. The quality of Ubuntu gives people resilience, enabling them to survive and emerge still human despite all efforts to dehumanize them."
 
We are blessed to be a blessing! 
           How we doing at blessing each other and our world?
 
 
May we always remember that it is in giving that we receive….the greatest gift.
           What gifts are you daily receiving?
 
           What gifts are you daily giving?
 
 
May every doubt and fear be replaced by a deep and abiding trust as you behold evidence of God who is all around you.
           Name the greatness of this God who is all around us.
 
 
Let’s become a Church of hunters of blessings………actively seeking them out in every experience and person you encounter!
 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Power of Perseverance

The Power of Perseverance
P = ersist no matter what
When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
 
E = ndure discomfort
If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate. 
Thomas Watson Sr., founder of IBM
 
R =equest help from other people
           S.O.S – Together we can handle almost anything.
 
When a friend is in trouble, don’t annoy him by asking if there is 
anything that you can do. Think up something appropriate and do it. 
Edgar Watson Howe, novelist, journalist, editor
 
S = teadfastly hold on to your beliefs and values
You come to the planet with nothing and you leave with nothing, so 
you’d better do some good while you’re here
Alex Van Halen, member of the band Van Halen, inducted into the Rock 
and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007
 
E – nvision triumph
The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope 
for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from 
a distance but live right in it, under its roof. 
Barbara Kingsolver, author
 
V = ery consistently keep at it
It’s not that I’m so smart – it’s just that I stay with problems longer
Albert Einstein
 
E = mbrace adversity as your teacher
A broken spirit is more disabling than a broken body. 
Roger Crawford, the first athlete with four impaired limbs to compete in 
collegiate tennis
 
R = efuse to give up
You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be 
the best thing in the world for you. 
Walt Disney
 
E = njoy and celebrate every tiny bit of progress
If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound 
ourselves
Thomas Edison


Name 2 or 3 things you need to move forward with…….


Name two or three ways you will move forward……..


Remember: “Impossible” means “I’m possible.” -SARK, artist, author
 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Power of Attitude!!!

DREAMS – A single step each day…….. add them up you have a life!
 
PURPOSE – It’s a Heart Thing! A Steady Beat!
 
PASSION – A deep belief like a dog on a bone – you don’t let go!
 
LIGHT the FUSE – explosive growth
 
COURAGE – innate desire to overcome and the
                        willingness to do what it takes
 
GOALS – little by little the bird builds the nest (Haitian Proverb)
 
ATTITUDE - is yours worth catching? Or do you live with a manure
spreader mentality?
 
LAUGHTER – ability to not take yourself too serious while taking on
life with ultimate seriousness that this time really does matter!
 
EXPECT the BEST – will settle for nothing less. The will to
            MAKE IT HAPPEN!
 
RENEWAL – What does it take to motivate looking ahead versus staying stuck?
           
PEACE – God Grant Me the Serenity to Accept the Things I Cannot 
Change, the Courage to Change the Things I Can, and the Wisdom
to Know the Difference!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

THE DASH

THE DASH
  Making a Difference with Our Lives  

From the Beginning to the End of our lives……                         

What matters is the in-between times……the Dash                           
How you fill your days.  
What you do with the time you have.
What does the printed record recorded on Facebook tell of you?                                     Does it tell of what you are passionate about?  
Who you care for?  
All that God has done for you?  
Does it point to something greater than just now?  


Answer this…..               
If my life had this in it I would be rich?                 
What is it you want people to say about you when all is said and done? If there is a way for you to Outlive Your Life, what would that be?  
Think Legacy.  Inspiration.  Hopefulness.    

God has worked hard to get you here – it’s a special time in our world because of you – how do you most want to spend that time?                 

What is the DREAM you hold in your heart?  Write it down here.
              

Matthew 22:34-39
“The Greatest Commandment,” “You shall love the Lord Your God with ALL YOUR Heart, and with ALL YOUR Soul, and with ALL YOUR Mind.”  And, “You shall love you neighbor as yourself.”

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Encouragement - "The Push"

  “You never know when one kind act, or when one word of encouragement, can change a life forever.” Zig Ziglar  

The PUSH… some times we NEED IT.  Sometimes WE NEED TO GIVE IT.               
Don’t Settle for the Ordinary…                           

Anyone who hasn’t had a failure is an amateur.  

You’ve got too much to say that could make a difference in the lives of too many people.  You’ll be cheating yourself and many others if you don’t use the talent that God has given you.  

The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.        
Flora Whittemore  

Spend your time building others up because there are too many people in the demolition business today!  

Why would I let someone else control what I say and what I feel and what kind of day I’m going to have?  

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

There are days when it’s hard to put one foot in front of the other, but those are the days when disciples are created.  It’s about making the most of the minutes we are given.  

The Eagle drew courage from an innate wisdom.  The push was the greatest gift she had to offer.  And so one by one she pushed them and they FLEW!  

Who is pushing you?  

Who are you pushing?  

We are made to SOAR!