Wednesday, July 15, 2015

To The Ends Of The Earth

Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

I love to travel. The thrill of seeing new places and experiencing new cultures is thrilling. If it weren't for time, money, and well... family, I would probably spend more time away from home then at home.

But life gets in the way and I must settle for staying in my bubble. Or so I thought...

I never thought when I was growing up that I would be able to see places all over the world from a computer in my home. I never thought that I'd be "working" with clergy all over the world to help people in mission, share ideas about worship, or discuss theological ideas.

I may not have traveled to the ends of the earth. But now we all have access to most parts of the earth. And when we do something locally, not only can we share the idea, we can also share in other ways as well.

All of our economy, political systems, and spiritual institutions are connected in beautiful and intricate ways that we can't always sort out. Sometimes it frustrates us that there are so many layers to this complex world but the beauty of this is that when we do something out of our love for God, those benefits can be felt globally.

Of course I'd still like to make it to India, Australia, Rome, Greece etc etc But my calling to be a witness to the ends of the earth can be done in ways now that it couldn't before. I can support international ministries, pray for missionaries by name, and share the witness of Christians in other countries with our congregation. I also know that being a good steward of the earth, natural resources, and financial resources can have effects around the globe.

The power of the Holy Spirit is working in ways we never thought possible. All we need to do is join in!



Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Loving our Neighbors

Romans 13:10
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

When I started in ministry one of the first things I did was take CPR and first aid. Not a Bible class. Not a preaching class. But CPR and first aid. I was scared that someone would need my help physically and I would be standing around praying for them.

My Bible and preaching classes came later, but immediately I began helping people with their physical needs. 

Thankfully I've never had to give anyone CPR but I have had to give someone the heimlich, remove splinters, stop bleeding, and take someone to the hospital. 

I've also fed people who are hungry, made sure they had clothes, and tried to find people shelter for the night.

First aid goes beyond bandaids. And love goes beyond prayer.

When we radically love our neighbor, we sometimes get dirty. We sometimes let our guard down. We sometimes go against our thoughts and go with our heart.

Love fulfills the law because God first loved us. So reach out and spread that love today. You don't have to go far. Everyone has a need or a dream. May your first aid be helping to meet those needs or make their dream possible.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Worship

Psalm 117:1-2


Praise the Lord, all you nations!
    Extol him, all you peoples!
For great is his steadfast love toward us,
    and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!

I still remember being in the church one day when I was three years old. I'm not sure why I was there but I remember being alone in the sanctuary for some purpose and walking out the back door. On the wall was a picture of Jesus praying. I paused for just a second. Or maybe it was longer. And my three year old brain processed that this man was something special. This man was God. And this place was holy. I'm not sure why that memory is so strong for me but it shapes my thoughts about God and has given me encouragement to worship in a wide variety of places.

We often think of worship as going somewhere to pray, sing, and learn about God. And while those are some of the basics, worship is so much more.

Henri Nouwen states that:


Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude. Such a perspective puts God in view in all of life, not just in the moments we set aside for worship or spiritual disciplines. Not just in the moments when life seems easy.


Worship is exercise for the soul. It works both individually and communally. 

Individually we can connect with our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer so that we can praise Him and thank Him for all the blessings in our lives. In our world today we are often bombarded with negative news that we often forget that good things are happening all around us. God invites us into those little miracles in big ways when we worship Him.

But we also worship God with others as well. We are not alone. By being together with other believers, we can see the intersections of the Holy Spirit and see the direction that God is moving us toward in order to transform the world.

Worship is essential to our mission. You wouldn't run a marathon without training first. Worship prepares us, challenges us, and encourages us to be the disciples we are called to be.


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