Today (Sunday) during worship, we asked the Spirit to be with us. Some people often think that asking the Spirit to join us in Church is akin to asking Nebraska fans to show up at a game. The reality is that each time we pray, read the Bible or gather together, we do need to take time to reflect and to ask the Spirit to be with us. The Spirit can open our hearts and minds to God’s message and direction for each of us.
This Sunday was important as it was a service of healing and reconciliation. Often we focus solely on the healing aspect as it pertains to physical ailment when in fact, healing applies to the spiritual parts of our lives, the emotional parts of our lives as well as our physical lives. Part of healing is attention to reconciliation: both with God but with others. It is a time to ask forgiveness but also to forgive.
I would encourage you to ask God to use the Spirit to guide you through times of healing and reconciliation. If you would like to learn more about healing and reconciliation, please give us a call at the church, message us here or email us.
Here are the questions I posed this Sunday to ponder for the rest of the week.
Here are the questions I asked everyone to consider the rest of this week.
Are we moving or simply meeting?
Are we making a measurable difference in our community or simply conducting weekly services?
Are we organized around a mission or are we organized around an antiquated ministry model inherited from a previous generation?
Are we allocating resources as if Jesus is the hope of the world or are the squeaky wheels of church culture driving our budgeting decisions?
Are we ekklesia or have we settled for kirche?
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It is not my place as Moderator of the Presbyterian Church USA to endorse a specific candidate for President or to speak out negatively about others. For me, this is an extremely challenging test of patience. Trying to be objective and open to understanding God’s will in new ways is a constant challenge in a position where I regularly encounter faithful people who understand their positions in direct opposition to others.
What I CAN say is that we all need to test our thoughts about such matters as politics based on our Christian values. The following is obvious, but may need to be affirmed one more time.
Being faithful followers means we don’t speak “hate” while we stand up for what we believe is “right”. It means we find ways to focus our energies on what might be best for others, rather than just for us.
The separation of church and state should not apply to our personal decision-making relative to politics and how we vote.
In fact, to choose to separate our beliefs into various categories where our living a Christ- like life has bearing on some matters but not on others is in effect turning our back on God.
Sadly, too many of us – be we conservative or liberal in our religious orientation – are choosing to translate God’s Word in ways that make it convenient for us to follow a pattern we like or affirm even if it is in direct opposition to Christ’s teachings.
Let’s remember that loving our neighbor is not an optional commandment. Next to loving God it is the most important directive we were given by Christ. Love. Where do we see it being manifested in our complex world of politics?
May each of us apply the very familiar words of 1st Corinthians 13 to our personal as well as our political lives.
“Love is patient. It is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but it rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. ”
My friends, this is the Word of the Lord. Are we bold enough, unselfish enough, faithful enough to demand this from our leaders? Can we apply these words to our own behavior? Or do we think God’s Word is irrelevant to our politics – that such words are out of touch with reality? If the latter, may God forgive us.