Sunday, July 31, 2005

July 31st People Reflection

Sunday 7/31/2005

1 Corinthians 15.35-58-We will all be changed, so that we will never die again.

2 Kings 11-a child-a future king of Judah is protected

Micah 2-I will gather them, just as a shepherd brings sheep together, and there will be many

Matthew 14.13-21-you give them something to eat

John 3.22-30-He must increase, but I must decrease.

Psalm 2-Happy are all who take refuge in him

"When it’s too wet all the water comes right to the top"- Concrete- mixing concrete- for a ramp- When you first mix it and put it in the forms- it’s a mess- people need to walk around it- make sure you don’t step on it- your looking to the future- when it will become hard- when it will be used as a path to walk on – the concrete will change over a few hours- it will turn into something very different from how it started- I will change to- God is doing that all the time- changing me- taking me from death to life- there will be a time when this body of mine will go away- God will give me a new body that will never die again- just like that concrete- it will change into a new body – may not last forever but much longer- of course God can do great things- he can plan the future for a king- a child- a future king of Judah- a child saved – a child that gives the unbroken line from David to Jesus- all kings- just like that mushy concrete has a solid future- so does our life in Jesus- a solid future- but as I change- I begin to realize that what makes it all come together- hard as concrete- is how I must decrease and Jesus increase- cause I depend on Jesus not myself- and in this I am happy to take refuge in him—"When it’s too wet all the water comes right to the top."—yea God spoke yesterday- through a change in life that begins with some water and some stone- and becomes hard as a rock- a foundational rock in Jesus.

Prayer- Lord, you are my rock- and in my baptism you called me to be your child- to follow in your steps- to begin that path of change- to solidify my faith and hope and trust in you and you alone. Today I depend on you- my rock- send mewith that faith – to go- to have your compassion on a world that needs something to eat- for your food is food that will last forever- just like a rock. -- Amen

Saturday, July 30, 2005

July 30th People Reflection

Saturday 7/30/2005

1 Corinthians 15.1-34-Christ will bring life to all of us-but we must each wait our turn

2 Kings 10-God wiped out Baal in Israel through the ruthless acts of Jehu

Micah 1-Jerusalem will be invaded

Romans 9.1-5-from the Israelites comes the Messiah- who is over all

Colossians 3.1-4-Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth-Christ is my life

Psalm 37.1-11-Take delight in the LORD- trust in him

"Go to the receptionists window and tell them you are never coming back."—Dr. True told me to tell that to the people up front- released- healed- good to go- the doctor was sending me out- just like we are sent out each day- Christ was sent out- to bring us life- through his resurrection he gave all of us life- and if we but believe- and trust in Jesus saving act of grace- we too will get our turn- but we must each wait our turn- sometimes I wonder – our turns even come in ministry during my lifetime- I must wait for my turn- Jehu had his turn- God used him to wipe out the Baal worship in Israel- he had a huge job to do- a really tough job to do- many things happen that just don’t seem to make sense- they are the tough things- like Jerusalem being invaded- kingdoms falling- people that God loves going through pain and suffering- but when we turn from God- turn away from him on our own- God will judge- but he also gives time after loving time – chances to turn back to him- to repent and turn and follow him- if only we set our minds on things above – set my mind on Christ – the Messiah who is over all then I will begin to see it- I take delight in God- trust him and not my own failing ways – my own failing ways lead to destruction- but thanks be to God- I can leave that destructive life behind—I can go to the receptionists window and tell them I’m never coming back—thank you Lord for your forgiveness- for the life you give- for the ministry you lead me to and the gifts you graciously have blessed me with—thanks be to God!

Prayer- Lord, forgive me- forgive me when I turn away from you- forgive me when I try to solve it all on my own- forgive me when I jump line- teach me to wait- teach me to listen- teach me to jump and go when you tell me to go- I place all my trust in you- for you are God! – I take complete delight in you! -- Amen

Friday, July 29, 2005

July 29th People Reflection

Friday 7/29/2005

1 Corinthians 14.26-40-Keep worship orderly and clear to all

2 Kings 9-God sent Jehu to turn the Israelites away from Baal to God

Jonah 4-What right do you have to be angry?

Isaiah 55.1-5-everyone who thirsts, come to the waters

Acts 12.1-11-And the chains fell off his wrists

Psalm 124-Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth

"Is he staring at us?"—We saw an owl last night- actually two of them- on a late walk- I think the owl was looking at us- even though his body was turned sideways- his head would move way around and stare at us with those big eyes- the owl could see better than we could- with those big eyes- the owl – I’m sure could see us better than we could see him- it reminds me of the passage of the early church- they were easily mislead- by prophets and people claiming to have the word of God- some speaking in tongues that others couldn’t understand- but if they had the vision of the owl- they would be able to see through the darkness and focus on what was important- they would see how all their help is in God- our creator- our help is in Jesus our Savior- our help is in the Spirit – the giver of gifts- the chains of confusion and cloudy vision would fall away- the chains would release them from the petty angry arguments they were having over who to follow- these chains of sin would fall away – because in Jesus salvation- we are free from our prison cells- free to turn our lives from the Baal’s of our world to worship the only God- free to use the gifts the Spirit has blessed us with to minister in God’s kingdom – here and now—and free to come back over and over again to the waters thirsty for love and understanding –did God speak yesterday? – I think so- "Is he staring at us?"—Yea—staring at us and showing us how to see his glorious salvation through the darkness of this world.

Prayer- Lord, lead me this day- I will trust and follow you- cause I know you can see right through the darkness of my world and lead me to your life- you are staring at me- waiting for me to follow your lead- I see you now and am ready to trust and follow you—Let’s go! -- Amen

Thursday, July 28, 2005

July 28th People Reflection

Thursday 7/28/2005

1 Corinthians 14.1-25-Let God speak through you-clearly-so others can understand

2 Kings 8-Elisha could see the terrible things that would be done to the people of Israel

Jonah 3-Jonah told the Ninevites their city would be destroyed-they repented

Psalm 1435.8-9, 14-21-God is abounding in steadfast love

1 Corinthians 15.35-37, 42-44-what is sown in is a physical body-what is raised is a spiritual body

Isaiah 25.6-9-let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation

"God must really have an imagination."- Words at the Butler County Fair yesterday- as we look at all the different animals- even the differences in the same animals – like rabbits- you stop and think- about a God who created all this life- what fun he had- what imagination- what differences he made in each one- and God can speak through some sheep-some rabbits or anything- and if you listen for his voice- and think about his creative power – maybe just maybe- you can interpret those "tongues" that are being spoken by beasts- you see- they trust in God to take care of all their needs- even if there are terrible times on the horizon for them (poor Elisha-what if he could see like this for the cattle-into the future)—even if they will someday be on the buns of a McDonalds sandwich (this is getting a little rediculous!) – they still trust in God to care for all their needs- a God that is abounding in steadfast love—so why don’t I do the same?- God speaks through these animals with a ton of fun imagination a message for me- to trust- to have faith in God- and to rejoice and be glad in his salvation—so what about the hamburger or the chicken sandwich?—(this is really goofy!)- I can rest assured that what is sown is a physical body and what is raised is a spiritual body—did God speak yesterday? – yea- I think with a whole bunch of fun and imagination – trust only in him- he has it all worked out.

Prayer- Today Lord I turn to you- I depend on you- I love you- I worship you- and I realize that salvation is only in you – let us be glad and rejoice—Thanks be to God! --- Amen

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

July 27th People Reflection

Wednesday 7/27/2005

1 Corinthians 13-Love-Love never ends

2 Kings 7.3-20-God scares the Syrian troops away and Israel is rescued from death

Jonah 2-God is the one with the power to save me from deep in the world of the dead

Psalm 7-Let the assembly be gathered around God

Solomon 8.6-7-many waters cannot quench love

"It’s all in how good the battery is."—that’s what I heard yesterday when I was looking at the price difference between two different but very similar cordless drills. The drills look identical- the batteries were the same size- but the batteries were manufactured by different companies—the battery is the source of power for this drill- in the same way – love is my source of power- God gave his love through his Son- and that love never ends – 1 Corinthians 13 is my favorite chapter in the Bible when it comes to describing love – and even that description falls far short of God’s love- his love is so deep he lets some men with leprosy walk into an enemy camp and find it deserted- because God has decided to take care of them and all the Israelites- he scared the Syrian troops off—no human intervention was needed- God did it out of love for his people- in the same way – Jonah- who was disobedient- not doing what God had told him to do- God listens to Jonah’s prayer from the deep and rescues him—without a doubt – our response to this deep love is to gather together in praise and worship for a God that loves us so much- a fire of passion so fierce that even many waters cannot quench his love—love- my source of power—did God speak yesterday?- yea- "It’s all in how good the battery is"—and God’s battery – his love- provides enough power for an eternity or two – Thanks be to God!

Prayer- Lord – you show me your love every day- may I love others with your love- may I have your compassion on those in need- and do something about it- may I reach out in your love to someone this day. Lead me and guide me and show me the way. -- Amen

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

July 26th People Reflection

Tuesday 7/26/2005

1 Corinthians 12-The Church-Spiritual Gifts-A body isn’t a body, unless there is more than one part.

2 Kings 6.1-7.2-God uses Elisha in unusual ways to show God’s power

Jonah 1-Jonah runs from God- but God rescues him- through three days in the tomb of a fish

Acts 11.27-12.3a-Christians send relief- yet are persecuted and killed

Genesis 28.10-22-Surely the LORD is in this place—and I did not know it!

Psalm 66-But truly God has listened

"The one in the back on the pulpit side."- Words of direction- Words of clarification. You see I was in the wrong place-looking at the wrong thing- making the wrong conclusions- I was on the wrong path—Sometimes I get screwed up – but then I think about some of today’s passages—the Church – the body of Christ- a body isn’t a body unless there is more than one part—so we depend on each other- to see things that aren’t clear at first- one part of the body lends some direction- some clarification- so that another part of the body can take some action- keep things on track- going in the right direction- then other parts – like in the stories of Elisha are needed to do some of God’s fantastic work- the miracles- the display of God’s power- and what about Jonah- sent to give a message to people he didn’t want to talk to- so he runs- but God leads him back in the direction Jonah doesn’t want to go- leads him back through death to life- through the tomb of the belly of a fish- lets Jonah think about it for a few days- Christians send relief to other parts of the body because times were rough- but then we hear how they were persecuted and even executed- Jacob in the realization as he runs away from Esau- that God was in the place of his dream- maybe even the place to heaven- who knows- all these people – all these parts of the body of Christ- misdirected- in the wrong place- "The one in the back on the pulpit side." – but God gives direction – God clears it up – God sends another part of the body of Christ – the Church- to lead us back – to correct our following – and to hear our cry when we are lost—did God speak yesterday? – yea—in some directions – "The one in the back on the pulpit side."—the direction is clear now- we have some work to do.

Prayer- Lead me today Lord- show me the path to take- show me that gate- that ladder that leads to heaven- if need be throw me in the belly of a fish and let me stew about it a few days- but lead me today- lead me from death to life in the awesome way that only you know how. --- Amen

Monday, July 25, 2005

July 25th People Reflection

Monday 7/25/2005

1 Corinthians 11.17-34-Worship is not a selfish experience-tell about Jesus death until he comes

2 Kings 5-Go wash and be cured

Obadiah-Then the kingdom will belong to the LORD.

Mark 10.35-45-Jesus came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Acts 12.1-2-The Church is persecuted-by violence

Psalm 32-Repent-God will forgive

"There’s too much wind for the balloons to go up this evening."- That’s what I was told last evening at Smith Park. Not a problem. We just sat and enjoyed a hot day in the park. But the main attraction was canceled- sometimes I wonder if in worship God gets that same notion- when I worship in my own selfish "windy" way—no main attraction at that- sometimes I wonder- when I go to worship and I want to hear God so bad- that I don’t even worship God- am I there for my own "windy" selfish reasons?- I think I need to change- go to worship to worship God for who he is and for all he has done- do the simple things and worship to please God- reminds me of Namaan- he wanted some fancy cure for himself from Elisha- it would help him feel important- but he was told to go wash in some crummy river- it wasn’t about Namaan – it was about God curing him- was Namaan "windy"—I think so- again in the OT – over and over – the people turned from God and in their own "windy" way the were lost- the kingdom belongs to God—not to me or anyone else- I guess that’s one reason why some disciples who wanted to sit on the left and right of Jesus lost focus on their "windy" selves—Jesus came not to be served but to serve- and the church is persecuted by the authorities- we sure have it all screwed up on our "windy" selves- it’s not a new problem- but it’s a recurring problem all of us should be ashamed of – it’s time I and all the rest of us repent- God will forgive- turn our worship and praise back to God the giver of life- did God speak yesterday—yea—and it’s not about me having too much wind—cause when I do—the main event is absent- I think God is the main event. – Forgive me!

Prayer-Lord-you are God- forgive me when I lose sight of this- forgive me when I try to place myself in your place- forgive me when I turn from you and try my own ways- for you are God- I praise and worship only you! -- Amen

Sunday, July 24, 2005

July 24th People Reflection

Sunday 7/24/2005

1 Corinthians 11.1-16-As far as the Lord is concerned, men and women need each other.

2 Kings 4-God works amazing miracles through Elisha

Amos 9-I, the LORD God, have spoken!

Matthew 13.31-33, 44-52-The kingdom of heaven-be trained-bring out that treasure to the world

Genesis 50.15-21-Even though harm was intended- God intended it for good

Psalm 118.13-29-Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD

Bishop Cal recognized the bus driver yesterday. The FaithTrekkers cheered—They need each other- just like men and women needed each other- these young adults, the Bishop and all the Counselors needed the Bus Driver. – And the Bus Driver needed them. I was there to pick Stephanie up from her week of service in Milwaukee and her trip to the national offices of the ELCA in Chicago. Their energy was high-even though the bus was over an hour late due to traffic and detours. As I listened to all the stories of the trip—I could tell that God had spoken- through these young adults and through the many people they came to serve- they are in training- they got to see the treasures of the kingdom of heaven- they were working in the kingdom of heaven- here in this time- they were able to experience what harm this world brings to people- to other situations that they were not familiar with- and they were also there to carry out what God had intended- that good come out of harm- you see- God can turn it all around- even in pain, poverty and hunger- God sent his Son to bring all that from death to life- from poverty to wealth- from hunger to satisfaction- and we are the people called to carry out his plan- and we are blessed to come in his name- yea- God works miracles through his chosen, peculiar people—God even works miracles through Bus Drivers – God works miracles through young adults offering their energy and time- God works miracle through me—did God speak yesterday? – yea—through a Bishop and some young adults- recognizing that God works through a special Bus Driver.

Prayer- Lord, use me this week-send me into your kingdom to work your miracles- to show the priceless gift of the kingdom of heaven to all I see- to all I speak with- use me this week- send me out as a Bus Driver- let me give transportation to a bus full of your chosen childern that you Word may be spread to the ends of your kingdom. --- Amen

Saturday, July 23, 2005

July 23rd People Reflection

Saturday 7/23/2005

1 Corinthians 10-always try to please others instead of myself, in the hope that many of them will be saved.

2 Kings 3-I serve the LORD All-Powerful—and he lives

Amos 8-You will hunger and thirst to hear my message

Romans 8.26-39-Who will separate us from the love of Christ?-nothing!

Ephesians 2.1-5-God out of great love made us alive in Christ-for by grace we have been saved

Psalm 4-You have put gladness in my heart

"Oh the effervescence!"—A buddy in the hospital bed in ICU—This was the words spoken about some apple juice. It made me think about that word effervescence-to manifest high spirits- that’s one meaning. And from the looks of it – in some strange way – I think that’s what was meant by that statement- "Oh the effervescence!"- did I ever hear and see God speak yesterday evening! – through a friend- ill- suffering- yet very much at peace- with God and the world- delighted at each nurse that came to attend- delighted in family and friends- delighted in memories- delighted in the present- there was my friend in the ICU hospital bed- ministering to me- showing me the delight of life- in the hospital bed in the ICU- how ironic- how amazing can it get- always trying to please others – always seeing that hope of salvation for every person in that hospital- he had served God in the past and continued to serve God in the present- a living example of life- of Jesus life in action – an example of the LORD All-Powerful active in his life- oh how it made me hunger for his message- for God’s message through my friend in the bed in the ICU- nothing will separate my friend from the love of Christ! – Nothing! – there he lay- an example of life dedicated to his Savior- there was my friend reveling in the great love alive in Christ- alive in himself- that firm realization that he is saved by grace- and a solid display of the gladness- the joy- the life- the love of God in his heart- "Oh the effervescence!"—did God speak yesterday?- without a doubt – through the life and love of a friend in the ICU and through his response to some apple juice.—Thanks be to God!

Prayer- Lord thank you for friends- thank you for your Word spoken through each and every one of them- open my ears- open my eyes- and open my mind to receive the joy of your Word- to feel your high spirits- to experience the joy only you can give- for you are God- you are my Savior- you are the awesome creator of life and in you I place all my life- use me this day to display your Word- to reflect on your love – and to see the effervescence of the saving grace of Jesus- it’s a message for the entire world to hear – feel- touch- taste- smell and live. --- Amen

Friday, July 22, 2005

July 22nd People Reflection

Friday 7/22/2005

1 Corinthians 9-Do God’s service –when you want to and when you don’t-it’s what God chooses

2 Kings 1-2- I will stay with you no matter what!-You must see me being taken away- Two tests

Amos 7-A plumb bob—measures Israel to God’s standards

John 20.1-18-As Mary stared into the place of death-her Teacher calls her by name

Psalm 126-The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.

"He’s sleeping"—A simple phrase- a friend in the hospital- we left deciding not to disturb him- He’s sleeping – makes me think to what sleep does- it revives the body- allows it to function fully- allows us to do the things we want to and even the things we don’t want to—God calls me to do many things- most of which he gives the joy of doing things that I find fun and enjoyable- but sometimes- usually for my own good- I have to do some things I really don’t want to do- I know to do them –because God makes it clear and calls me to the task- gives me what I need to do the job- no matter what- I really don’t need to worry if I will measure up- because God provides what is needed to do what I really don’t want to do –but what he wants me to do—I wonder if that is the way Mary felt when she went to that tomb- doesn’t sound like something she really wanted to do- did she really want to go and stare into the tomb of the dead?- probably not- I think she would have been much happier listening to Jesus teaching her- telling her about life and love and God—but she went anyway—and it was here- as she was staring at death – that Jesus calls her by name—her Teacher- she finally recognizes her Teacher and is given a wonderful revelation and gift of life- she is given the Gospel message through the life she hears being called in her own name—"Mary"—"Teacher"- life between two people- two words- the gospel message- Mary will proclaim boldly and faithfully to all- I am called by name – in baptism- called by God into life- called by God to proclaim the gospel- "Bill"- "Teacher"- and life freely given- following the Teacher- learning all life long of his wonderful gift of life- doing service joyfully to God- when it’s fun and when it’s not- it suddenly becomes fun through the mention and call of my name by the Teacher- "He’s sleeping"—yea God spoke yesterday- "He’s sleeping"—well not exactly- because behind all that – there is life- there is a God renewing- refreshing-restoring and calling him by name to leave that tomb – to hear his name called and to respond with a life filled with learning and service and love by the Teacher.

Prayer- Lord – call me today- in your call I respond with Teacher- teach me- lead me- guide me in your love- I hear my name- and it’s you who calls- I will boldly go out today telling of the life you have given- of the death you defeated and of the sin you have forgiven- you are God- you are my savior – you have done great things for me and in this I rejoice! -- Amen

Thursday, July 21, 2005

July 21st People Reflection

Thursday 7/21/2005

1 Corinthians 8-Be careful not to lead on unbeliever astray by my actions

1 Kings 22-God’s plan will turn out just like he wants

Amos 6-Don’t be haughty-it’s all about God not me

1 Kings 3.5-12-give me an understanding mind- to be able to discern good and evil

1 Peter 4.7-11-Above all, maintain constant love for on another, for love covers a multitude of sins.

Psalm 19.7-14-Clear me from hidden faults-O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

"Lord break that lamb so it will learn to follow."—A prayer of a friend about a lamb in preparation for a showing at the county fair—Oh how I feel like that lamb- How I feel I need to be broken- broken so that I don’t lead unbelievers astray with my action- broken so that I realize it’s not about me but all about God- broken so that I can see that I need understanding to discern good and evil- broken so that I can see the love God has given to me- the love God wants me to give others- that constant love maintained for each other- broken of my hidden faults- broken so I can learn to follow the Lord-my rock and my redeemer—Did God speak in a prayer yesterday?—No doubt about this one—every passage matches!

Prayer- Lord, break me today- I will follow- give me the understanding I need to discern good and evil and open my heart to your love and pour it out on all I meet this day. – Amen

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

July 20th People Reflection

Wednesday 7/20/2005

1 Corinthians 7.25-40-the Lord will come soon-many things we think matter – don’t

1 Kings 21-Ahab just has to have Naboth’s vineyard-Jezebel has Naboth killed deceptively

Amos 5-let justice and fairness flow like a river

Psalm 119.129-136-The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple

Romans 5.8-11-God proved his love for us

Psalm 85-Resore us again, O God of your salvation

"Aren’t you ever going to give up on that?" – A lady at my therapy session said this to me yesterday- A new exercise- a new challenge for me- and yea—maybe I was being a little anal with it—trying way to hard to get the numbers I needed- maybe I lost focus on what really mattered—but then again – maybe the exercise was set up to take advantage of my tendency to achieve the 30 straight throws—because in my attempts to finish the exercise- I was gaining strength in my calf muscle- without even realizing it- it’s nice to think though that Jesus is coming again- and even my calf muscle won’t mean a thing- he has the grand plan for justice and fairness- he has the grand plan for his love proven once and for all- he will restore us again- because it’s through Jesus I am saved- not my 30 perfect- nor anything else I do—but I also know that I give thanks and praise – here and now for what Jesus has done for me- I give my life to him- I am fully delighted to serve him in his kingdom here and now—so my attempts at 30 straight – maybe I’ll get there – maybe I won’t—but in serving Jesus in his kingdom- I’m going to have so much fun doing it – my focus will be on the life he has given and not on my failed attempts at perfection—did God speak yesterday?—I think so—and you know what—my life of love in Jesus is never ever going to be something I’m going to give up on—because it’s way too much fun—and Jesus made it that way!

Prayer- Lord—thank you for ministry- thank you for your patience with me—as I work harder and harder for you—I suddenly realize- it was never work to begin with- all this time you have showed me how to play in your kingdom—send me out day after day- to play for you- to run and jump for you- for in your release for sin and death – I am free to run and play—Thanks be to God—Wanna play? -- Amen

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

July 19th People Reflection

Tuesday 7/19/2005

1 Corinthians 7.1-24-God paid a great price for you

1 Kings 20-Ahab battles the Syrians and wins- but Ahab disobeyed God and didn’t kill Benhadad

Amos 4.4-13-Don’t reject God- He is the LORD God All-Powerful!

Acts 13.26-33a-to us this message of salvation has been sent

1 Corinthians 15.20-26-for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ

Psalm 77.12-20-yet your footprints were unseen

"Did you get my e-mail…send me a message so I can check mine." – Those were the words from more than one person yesterday at work. Over the weekend the e-mail server was changed- the software was updated and everyone had to run a program and diagnostics to make sure their e-mail was working again. But once that was done- everyone was checking to see if it really works- doubts- troubles- calls to the help line. All sorts of issues we create for ourselves- all sorts of people writing and repairing software- not perfect by any stretch of the imagination- but riddled with failure- with imperfection—not like Christ- if I was to depend on all my own strengths- to depend entirely on myself – I would certainly die- for as all die in Adam—but I know that all this imperfection in me exists- and I also know that God paid a great price for me – I must have faith and trust and hope in that great price- I must not disobey God’s Word- but listen to it- hear that message of salvation and pin everything on that- it won’t be me- I will be made alive in Christ – by what price Christ has paid for my imperfections- for my failures- for my sin – then I will respond to this awesome gift of God- follow him- listen to his call and go- but Christ is so amazing- as I follow in his footsteps- he will take me in his arms and lead me in such a way that a path of footsteps isn’t needed- because in this spiritual call I will be in him and in his church- no footsteps needed- did God speak yesterday—I think so- through testing of some e-mail communications- he sent a message- he replied back that all is well- his power is perfect- his power leads to life.

Prayer-Lord, I listen to you this day- I will follow you and be there as you pick me up- place me in your arms and take me where you would have me pasture- I know how you love me- I love you and love all your children too- place me with them- let your love shine through me to them- and when I stray- pick me up and take me home again- cause you are life- you are God All-Powerful! – send your message of salvation through me this day. -- Amen

Monday, July 18, 2005

July 18th People Reflection

Monday 7/18/2005

1 Corinthians 6-God paid a great price for you.

1 Kings 19-Don’t give up- feel God’s presence and calling and keep faith and trust in him

Amos 3.3-4.3-Can two people walk together without agreeing to meet?

Ruth 1.6-18-Cling to God- go where he goes-lodge where he lodges

Luke 15.1-7-Repent-it will bring great joy in heaven

Psalm 119.9-16-Seek God with your whole heart-meditate on his instruction-treasure his Word

The Bishop made a statement yesterday- a simple comment about his shirt- "I just grabbed a red shirt and it happened to have Wittenberg written on it."—I was wondering why red?- Something special about today?- It was the beginning of a Faith Trek journey to Milwaukee- Steph is participating in—they will do some service work- why red? – Red reminds me of blood- it also reminds me of fire- so I was looking around the sanctuary- there was the wine- there was a dove above the arch on the altar- there was the fire of the Holy Spirit- it all reminded me of what a great price God paid for me- especially in Jesus blood- but also how God will stay with me- he will walk with me through life- a walk that he has agreed to- a presence of faith and trust in the on-going gifts of the Spirit that God provides for all his ministry through me- a journey- maybe even a Faith Trek Journey of my own- through my life- I will cling to God and trust in God- I will go on my Trek with God where he goes- and lodge where he lodges- I will repent of my sin along the way and continue to turn and see his direction -–not my direction- I will seek God with my whole heart as I turn and see his shadow- I will meditate on his Words as he gives me the wisdom and knowledge I need- did I hear and see God speak yesterday—yea—through some words about a red shirt- about a journey- about a love so deep that some red blood was shed for all so that we will cling to God.

Prayer-Lord-today I cling to you- I will go wherever you wish me to go today- I will lodge wherever you wish for me to lodge this day- the journey of a new week has begun and I trust all to you- lead me- send me- guide me- and walk with me. -- Amen

Sunday, July 17, 2005

July 17th People Reflection

Sunday 7/17/2005

1 Corinthians 5-Our Passover Lamb is Christ, who has already been sacrificed.

1 Kings 18-Elijah demonstrates complete confidence in God- fully trusting God to act

Amos 2.1-3.2-I chose some of you to be prophets and others to be Nazirites—God chooses

Matthew 13.24-30, 36-43-Live and grow with the weeds- but rest assured in Jesus salvation-you will shine like the sun in the kingdom of God

Luke 7.36-50-Show great love—Christ paid a huge price for me!

Psalm 96-Sing to the LORD a new song-tell of his salvation from day to day

What’s the purpose of the life of a Christian? This was the topic of conversation yesterday over some coffee. Some words were to praise and worship God- others were to joyfully love and serve God in his kingdom because of Jesus saving act of grace. Our Passover Lamb is Christ- already sacrificed in our stead- I am the guilty one- but God sent his Son to take on my sin – to die for me- to release me from sin and death- so I am! – I am free to act in joy- I am free to praise and worship God boldly – as if I have no sin- because Jesus has set me free from that condemning power – I no longer concentrate on obeying laws- as if I could ever obey all the laws—but Jesus switches things- now I don’t have to concentrate on the law- I respond to the love of God- by doing this I will resist sin- I will recognize my sin and my need for God- I will joyfully hear God’s calling- feel God choosing me- grow and live with the weeds in complete confidence that in the end- Jesus saving grace will keep me separated from the weeds – will rescue me and will judge me as good seed- not because of me- but because I have faith, confidence, trust, hope and love of what Jesus did for me- Jesus paid a hug price for me- I’m way more the willing to show him great love and show great love for all he created- Oh how it all releases me to joyfully sing a new song and to run and tell of his salvation from day to day—did God speak yesterday- yea- over some coffee and a question to ponder from a book- in salvation I am free to live in Christ joyfully forgiven.

Prayer- Lord – thank you for forgiveness- I ask you to forgive my sins from day to day and feel the joy of your salvation- send me into your kingdom to show great love- thank you so much for the great love you have shown me- I’m ready to sing a new song and tell of your salvation from day to day. -- Amen

Saturday, July 16, 2005

July 16th People Reflection

Saturday 7/16/2005

1 Corinthians 4-The Lord is my judge. So don’t judge anyone until the Lord returns.

1 Kings 17-Elijah lives by a creek and a raven brings him bread and meat and he drinks from the creek

Amos 1-Amos raised sheep –God spoke to the nations through Amos

Romans 8.12-25-For in hope we were saved.-in hope God has something great in store for us!

Romans 7.14-25-but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin-Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Psalm 18.1-6, 16-19-the LORD is my deliverer-I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, so shall I be saved from my enemies

Back to therapy again yesterday—I asked the therapist – Brad- You think I can lose the boot?- He hesitated on any answer and said maybe it’s too soon—so I do all the exercises—and at the end he says- "Tell you what. On your way home, drop the boot off. Just be careful on uneven ground." – Oh how God spoke through Brad to me—yea – Brad had to stand back and take a look at me- while I went through all those exercises- he even came over while I was on the table and checked the strength in my leg- Brad had to make some judgement on me- was I ready for the next step?-I’m not done with therapy yet- but was I ready to take that boot off?- could I be trusted to know my limits?- could I trust Brad in his judgement?- sometimes I think God watches my actions in this same way- am I ready for the next step? – is God ready to trust me in my next step of ministry?- will I trust God to care for me in that next step- kinda like Elijah- Elijah had to trust God first- to go live by a creek- with nothing- but drink creek water and depend on a raven to fly in with bread and meat to live on- am I willing to trust God to care for me- to give me all I need- and when that runs out – to guide me in the next phase of ministry? – am I ready to take that boot off and move onto the next step? – sometimes I think God develops people in ministry this way- but there is that huge issue of trust- can God trust me? – will I trust God?- well- God trusted a poor guy who raised sheep for a living in Amos to deliver God’s Word to the people- I guess God can trust anyone to do his work in this world- So I gotta listen for God’s voice in many places- some unexpected- and I also gotta be willing to trust God and let him speak through me- it’s in that hope that I depend- in that hope that beyond the "boot" – God has something really special prepared for me- something I can’t even imagine- I must trust God- I have placed all my hope in God’s salvation of my sinful self- my sinful flesh- and thanks be to God—my salvation has been worked out- my sinful flesh has been saved through Jesus Christ- my deliverer- I will call upon Jesus- worthy to be praised – through Jesus I am saved from sin and my enemies—so did God speak yesterday? – you betcha—through Brad and a boot- through the message of continual healing – of continual trust- of continual hope in what God has already done for me in my salvation through Jesus—so – I think I’m ready to shed that boot- I trust God and place all my hope in the next phase of recovery and ministry and mystery that is in store – is the pain over? – nope—but there is hope—there is great hope in store – cause I know God has something really really special in store for me and all his children – I can’t wait!

Prayer- Lord I look forward to that day- when you return- when you make it all right again- when you fulfill your kingdom – when you show all of us that great special – whatever- you have in store for each one of us. Today I give you thanks for trust- I trust you with all my heart- with all my mind- Yea- I know I sin- I know I need your forgiveness- day after day- I ask you to forgive my sin- and I give you thanks that I am not tied down by sin- you have freed me from sin to live in your love and hope and faith – to not worry so much about my sin but to be joyfully active doing the ministry you call me to do in your world- to joyfully serve you in ways I can’t even imagine- in ways that change daily- you make ministry all easy and fun—but there is still that sin in this world- protect me this day from harm and danger and the evil traps set before me- keep me strong in faith- give me the strength to turn from temptation and revel in your awesome beauty and love—for today and everyday – I place all my trust and hope in your alone. -- Amen

Friday, July 15, 2005

July 15th People Reflection

Friday 7/15/2005

1 Corinthians 3-Others plant and water- but God gives growth and that’s what is important

1 Kings 15.33-16.34-A line of unfaithful, ungodly kings of Israel

Joel 3-God will punish the guilty and defend the innocent

Isaiah 44.6-8-You are my witnesses! Is there any god besides me?

Romans 8.28-39-Nothing will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalm 30-Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

There was a leak repaired yesterday on an air conditioner at one of the plants at GE- We have to track all the refrigerant used for GE and the EPA- did any leak into the atmosphere? – what did we do about it? – so to the computer- yea- the leak was repaired- but some refrigerant was released to the atmosphere- we have to track it—what’s important is that we attempt to stop the leak- repair it – it reminds me of sin in some ways- we notice a sin and have to repent – have to go back and work on it-reach out to God for help and try to sin no more- maybe we will leak and sin again- but are we accepting God’s grace- and turning from our sins? – yea- I will fail again- I will leak again- but do I place all my trust in God who will forgive my sin- who will turn me in the correct direction? – I must- for if I don’t repent and trust in God’s grace- but believe I can repair myself – then I sin again- because then I must think I don’t need God’s salvation because I can take care of it on my own- think about that for a while- so if I think I’m without sin and can save myself – then I sin and am not without sin- so my trust and hope and faith in God’s salvation is a must- so the kings of Israel- many never got it- they tried over and over to go another way besides the one God- to worship other gods or themselves- I must trust in God- God will punish those who turn from him and leave him- I must trust in God! – There is no other god- NONE!- once I realize this I am assured that noting will separate me from God’s loving grace- Yea – I sin—but I have the assurance that God is there to help me through my sin- to set me on the right path and to lead and guide me- and thanks be to God- that I have a God that saves me through the blood, death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ- my Savior- it’s certainly not me that will save myself- but Jesus!

Prayer- Lord, thank you for the ultimate sacrifice for sin. It’s only through you that I am saved! -- Amen

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Re: July 14th People Reflection

I went to my mother's church for the mother daughter banquet in May. They had a guest speaker who was an author. Her latest book is entitled "Puppies in the Pulpit" and is a compilation of observations of the pet dog by the dog's owner (the author). Each chapter describes a certain personality trait of her dog. She then relates it to some aspect of God and His relationship to us. Bill, your reflection reminded me of this. If anyone is interested in reading the book, let me know.
----- Original Message -----
From: Bill Lynch
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 5:12 AM
Subject: July 14th People Reflection

Thursday 7/14/2005

1 Corinthians 2-Don’t try to prove anything by sounding wise-simply let God’s Spirit show his power

1 Kings 15.1-32- Asa’s heart was true to God

Joel 2.12-32-I will work wonders in the sky above and on the earth below. Then God will save everyone who faithfully worships him.

Psalm 86.11-17-Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth

1 John 3.1-3-God loves us so much – he made us his children

Psalm 128- Happy is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways

Yesterday I had to take our new puppy, Phoebe to the Vet- for shots- for her first check-up- finally the fleas were gone- she got some shots and yipped at those- but her presence in that Vet’s office was different- everyone had to hold her- I actually think everyone did- all the women behind the counter- the people waiting – maybe one of the Vet’s busy with other animals didn’t – but I’m pretty sure everyone else did- a new life- even if it is a dog- there is no wisdom in this new life- it’s just a puppy completely depending on everyone else for survival- but god’s power shines through this simple act of depending on others- the heart of this puppy is true to all who hold her- she trusts each person to take care of her- to protect her- to teach her- to love her and to make her a child- she is happy in an innocent way—I think maybe that’s how God wants me to be- depend on him to provide for all my needs- love him for everything and trust him when I feel the pain of a shot – that the shot will do good. Did God speak through some people yesterday? – yea- by their actions with a puppy and the spontaneous love shown to a new life- I guess we all have a new life today and everyday in Christ Jesus.

Prayer- Lord, thank you for the gift of a new life this day- may I treat it with joy and happiness and appreciation for what you have given me- for the people I will meet today – thank you- for the lives that will touch me today – thank you- for the lives I will touch today – thank you- for the love that will be shown today – thank you- for the food I will receive this day – thank you- for the shots I may get this day – thank you- your lead me everyday from death to life and continually heal me- thank you- but most of all thank you for the life, suffering, death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ- all needs are met each day – Thanks be to God! -- Amen

July 14th People Reflection

Thursday 7/14/2005

1 Corinthians 2-Don’t try to prove anything by sounding wise-simply let God’s Spirit show his power

1 Kings 15.1-32- Asa’s heart was true to God

Joel 2.12-32-I will work wonders in the sky above and on the earth below. Then God will save everyone who faithfully worships him.

Psalm 86.11-17-Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth

1 John 3.1-3-God loves us so much – he made us his children

Psalm 128- Happy is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways

Yesterday I had to take our new puppy, Phoebe to the Vet- for shots- for her first check-up- finally the fleas were gone- she got some shots and yipped at those- but her presence in that Vet’s office was different- everyone had to hold her- I actually think everyone did- all the women behind the counter- the people waiting – maybe one of the Vet’s busy with other animals didn’t – but I’m pretty sure everyone else did- a new life- even if it is a dog- there is no wisdom in this new life- it’s just a puppy completely depending on everyone else for survival- but god’s power shines through this simple act of depending on others- the heart of this puppy is true to all who hold her- she trusts each person to take care of her- to protect her- to teach her- to love her and to make her a child- she is happy in an innocent way—I think maybe that’s how God wants me to be- depend on him to provide for all my needs- love him for everything and trust him when I feel the pain of a shot – that the shot will do good. Did God speak through some people yesterday? – yea- by their actions with a puppy and the spontaneous love shown to a new life- I guess we all have a new life today and everyday in Christ Jesus.

Prayer- Lord, thank you for the gift of a new life this day- may I treat it with joy and happiness and appreciation for what you have given me- for the people I will meet today – thank you- for the lives that will touch me today – thank you- for the lives I will touch today – thank you- for the love that will be shown today – thank you- for the food I will receive this day – thank you- for the shots I may get this day – thank you- your lead me everyday from death to life and continually heal me- thank you- but most of all thank you for the life, suffering, death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ- all needs are met each day – Thanks be to God! -- Amen

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

July 13th People Reflection

Wednesday 7/13/2005

1 Corinthians 1.18-31-God chooses the foolish – brag about the Lord

1 Kings 14—Israel is not loyal to God- God punishes Kings and people who turn from him

Joel 2.1-11-God will lead a mighty army and rescue the faithful

Acts 10.1-16-All are saved through Christ Jesus!

Isaiah 61.1-11-God has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed

Psalm 38-But it is for you, O LORD, that I wait

"Under the Sea"—that song from the Walt Disney movie- played by a bell choir – the people in the audience blowing bubbles- the people in the audience making party noises—sounded more like wild animals to me though- God spoke yesterday in a whole bunch of people- "Under the Sea"- it makes me think of how God chooses the foolish- how foolish the whole thing must have appeared- especially if you were to arrive just at that point in the concert and see the audience blowing bubbles in the sanctuary of the church and making animal noises while a bell choir plays- but that’s part of our "fun" in Christ- just because all are saved through Christ Jesus- we are sent to bring good news to the oppressed- to let the sad and lonely whoop it up- blow some bubbles- act like animals and have a good time – to keep ourselves focused on Jesus saving grace in some foolish way- in some way that looks completely foolish to the wise – it’s a time to have some fun and not worry about how we look to the world- we don’t care- it’s about God not me and if God feels it’s ok for me to be foolish – than I think I’ll have a blast and be foolish for God—I’ll blow some bubbles- I’ll make a stupid noise- I’ll rejoice in a God so loving that he sent his Son to rescue me- to save me and to give me life—yesterday – "Under the Sea" – I can’t wait for the next time God gives me a chance to blow some bubbles and make animal noises- cause I can be foolish because of what God has done!

Prayer- Lord – show the times this day that I should let her loose- and be foolish and happy – I delight in your love and saving grace- let me be proud of you- let me rejoice in your power- let me feel the complete emotional abandon of your foolishness and joy—for today and every day you have blessed me with the joy of Christ. Thank you! -- Amen

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

July 12th People Reflection

Tuesday 7/12/2005

1 Corinthians 1.1-17-Stay united in Christ-Jesus is the center of faith

1 Kings 12.32-13.34-A false altar was set up to God in Bethel- God sends a prophet

Joel 1-Cry out to God when life gets tough

Acts 9.32-43-The power of Jesus gives life to Tabitha through Peter

Romans 6.15-23-but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalm 116-call on God as long as I live

When is Bruno coming in? – Bruno is a technician from France- Bruno will brings some hardware- some expertise and knowledge to repair a machine that no one else knows how to repair- Bruno is from France- Faith is being placed in Bruno—maybe way too much faith- I wonder if the Corinthians were struggling with a somewhat similar issue- too much faith placed in the messenger rather than the message- the center of faith must remain in Jesus- the altar in the OT reading- it must remain the one God wishes to have used- not something we set up – if I’m going to cry out for help in life- I don’t cry to Bruno or Luther or Mary or anyone but to God- that’s what Jesus death on that cross allowed for- the temple curtain was torn- the Holy of Holies opened to all people- we can cry to God now- God gave all people the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord- God saves- I cry to God for help and God is with me- maybe God will send Bruno – but I can’t be mistaken that God saves – not Bruno—did God speak yesterday in the voices of those waiting on Bruno—I think so—but I’ll put all my faith in God- and if God chooses to use Bruno- that’s fine with me- but I still know – it’s all about God.

Prayer- Lord – I call on you day after day- you save me in so many ways- you provide for me- you pull me out of situations- sometimes you leave me in the thick of the mess – but you still save- you still love and you still bless me with gifts beyond belief- today I give you thanks and praise for the gifts you give me and others- for your action in my life and for salvation- Thanks be to God! -- Amen

Monday, July 11, 2005

July 11th People Reflection

Monday 7/11/2005

Mark 16-Jesus is risen!

1 Kings 12.1-31-The people rebel-Israel splits- Israel-Judah with different kings and idols in Israel

Hosea 14-return to the LORD and say, "Please forgive our sins."-"I will heal you and love you without limit."

Acts 9.19b-31-Paul changed radically- he proclaimed- "Jesus is the Son of God"

Revelation 22.12-13, 20-Jesus is coming soon

Psalm 6-the LORD accepts my prayer

"Isn’t she so cute."—A puppy from a farm yesterday- it’s young life in a horse trailer- a puppy- flea bitten and full of worms- hasn’t seen a vet yet- "Isn’t she so cute." – Makes me wonder- when Jesus was hanging on that cross- did he see past my fleas and worms and love me this much- so much that he would die for me- so much that he would accept all my silly prayers – so much that he would promise to come again and take me to a wonderful place- a place where the vet would declare me clean- free from fleas and worms- a place where I would stink like a farm animal but have that sweet smell of perfume—Paul changed radically- from and evil persecuter of Christians- to the biggest proponent of Jesus at the Son of God—can I change from a flea bitten – worm filled new Christian – to a sweet smelling – love filled Child of God?- I suppose that’s what Jesus saw from that cross- I suppose that’s what Jesus had in mind when he rose again – I suppose it is possible after all that I a flea bitten -worm filled –born in stench human – could be a Child of God- what hope-faith and love I can have in Jesus- did God speak yesterday? – yea- through the voices of some caring children for a small puppy- flea bitten and filled with worms—Thanks be to God!

Prayer- Lord- you see my fleas and worms and love me anyway- you clean me up- you heal me and save me and make me into something I could never imagine- use me this day- send me out this day- I will proclaim your saving grace- I will tell the story of how you rescued me from death and sin and the grave and praise and honor you all day long. You are my Savior! -- Amen

Sunday, July 10, 2005

July 10th People Reflection

Sunday 7/10/2005

Mark 15.21-47-Jesus dies on a cross-not saving himself- but saving the world from death and sin

1 Kings 11-Solomon disobeyed God and worshipped the gods of his wives too

Hosea 13-I am the only God you know, the only one who can save.

Matthew 13.1-9, 18-23-The seed on different types of ground or soil-Jesus told many things in parables

1 Peter 2.4-6, 9-Come to him, a living stone

Psalm 84-How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!

While out car shopping-The car salesman said that the little Neon was a good deal. Yea right! – they all are a good deal when he can make some money- when he can gain some advantage- all the car salesman say they have good deals- it’s all the same that way- they all want to save me some money- they want to help me in some way- as long as they gain in the deal too—but that’s not how it was with Jesus death on the cross- he could have come down from that cross- he could have saved himself- it would have been a glorious miracle to have a legion of angels come forth and save Jesus from the cross—but unlike the car salesman – Jesus wasn’t interested in his own gain- he wasn’t interested in making anything from this – he was interested in all of the rest of us- Jesus was truly interested in saving the world something- saving all of us from sin and death – it was without a doubt a good deal for all the rest of the world- but not a good deal for Jesus- Jesus sacrificed himself in my place- he didn’t have to- he didn’t need to- but he did- how great a love is that!? – Solomon couldn’t even resist making his wives happy – and he built shrines for them to worship their gods- instead of worshipping the only God—Solomon in his later years turned away from God and his kingdom split- I can’t look at the world and see God in worldly terms- God is God- he must be the only God I know- the only God who can save- I must face this- the car salesman-myself- or anyone else can not save me- I must fall on that good soil of God’s grace and depend only on him for salvation- believe in his loving, saving grace and grow – grow with the solid foundation of what God has done for me- none of it is about me- I must not think of saving myself- or believing anyone but Christ can save me either—only then can I see the hope- the vision- the joy of a dwelling place so lovely – so wonderful – that maybe- just maybe- God will choose to dwell with me—so did God speak through that salesman yesterday? – well yea- but the good deal isn’t in the Neon—not even close- the good deal is in a God who chose to stay on that cross for all people- to take away death and sin- and to free all of us to a life of love, service and hope in the one and only good deal of God.

Prayer- Lord, you are the best deal ever- I thank you- I honor you – I praise you for all the blessings you have given me- and above all – I am eternally thankful for your decision to hang on that cross and die for me and all my friends- to stay up there to the bitter end- what a deal! – what an honor to worship you I have- hear my praise in song and prayer and words this day as I worship you- the one and only God of the Universe! -- Amen

Saturday, July 09, 2005

July 9th People Reflection

Saturday 7/9/2005

Mark 15.1-20-Nail him to a cross- set Barabbas free

1 Kings 10-Israel was rich under Solomon

Hosea 11.12-12.14-So return to your God. Patiently trust him, and show love and justice.

Romans 8.1-11-Set my mind on things of the Spirit- it brings life and peace

Luke 15.3-10-There will be joy in heaven over one sinner who repents

Psalm 20- but our pride in is the name of the LORD our God

You ever try to pick up marbles with your feet and put them in a plastic cup?—Well yesterday – that was one of the exercises I had to do in therapy for my leg—and it was hard! – I tried and tried and tried- kept getting a marble – pick it up a couple of inches – drop it – over and over and over- never getting close to the cup- asked the therapist if this was some kind of mental torture—so God speaks a message through this guy next to me—he was watching the whole time—he says—"If those therapists would look away for a minute; I would do that for you real quick." – It reminded me of Jesus- how he was willing to take on my punishment for sin – to be nailed to a cross to set me free- Barabbas was set free in Jesus stead- but hey – were talking marbles and toes here- not even close to sin and a cross- but still- this guy understood what I was going through- he had been through it himself- he understood—Jesus understands too—and I’m sure I can pick some marbles up with my toes and put them in a cup—but my foot is swollen- it doesn’t work like it should—so now what—so I think on about how Jesus changed everything- yea- he died for my sin- but I still sin! – what’s with that? – why?- I don’t want to! – I want to pick those marbles up and put them in the cup—but I can’t—and then I finally get one in the cup—I let out a whoop – and the people around me clap for me! – so now I feel like a big shot- like I can do it on my own—I can not sin on my own? – hold on a minute- my salvation isn’t something I can earn on my own- even if I pick up all those marbles and put them in the cup- that doesn’t mean I’m healed- I can’t do this on my own- wait a minute- now I’m focusing on how good I am – how many marbles I can get in the cup- but how did I get that first marble in the cup anyway? – It was a gft from God- you see Jesus died on the cross to free me from my sin- just like this guy next to me was willing to take on the marble exercise—he didn’t have to though—once I realize I’m free from sin- once I realize I’m free from having to think it’s all me me me who will accomplish putting all the marbles in the cup—once I realize all this- then I’m also free to change my focus—I don’t focus on me—I focus on the gifts God has given me through Christ Jesus- I can forget about the sin and do the service and work and calling God has called me to do—I can forget about getting all the marbles in the cup and focus on the gift of each marble and the joy each one brings when it falls into the cup- you see- now I can put the marbles in the cup – not because I’m so great and talented- but because God has given me the freedom to keep on trying- time after time- it’s no longer frustrating- it’s now a joy – to pick up a marble and drop it a thousand times – because it’s not about how many marbles I get in the cup- it’s about how I serve and love a God so great that in the end—that God I love will get all those marbles in the cup for me! – I am now as rich as Solomon because I have learned to set my mind on things of the Spirit – not on the marbles of this world- I have learned to repent of my sin and hear the angels rejoice in heaven- I have learned that my pride is not in me – but in the name of Jesus—did I hear God speak yesterday? – Yea—through a man next to me willing to take my marbles and put them in the cup for me—a man that changed my focus on the marble exercise and on my life—Thanks be to God!

Prayer- Lord keep my focus on you – you have freed me from the burden of sin- to love you- to worship you – to praise you and to love and have compassion on all those people you set before me day after day- you have taken the marbles of my sin and slam dunked them in that cup- thank you for releasing me from this torture—now as I daily deal with sin- I repent – I turn to you for forgivenes—send me into the world to take those marbles and put them in that cup- with the joy and freedom only you can give- what a great game – what a great joy it is to serve you and to love you and all people. Thanks be to God! -- Amen

Friday, July 08, 2005

July 8th People Reflection

Friday 7/8/2005

Mark 14.32-72-Jesus prays-he feels as if he is dying-he is betrayed-arrested-denied-spit upon

1 Kings 9-God answers Solomon’s prayer-Solomon rebuilds cities

Hosea 11.1-11-God loves his people like a parent loves wandering children-radical forgiving love

Isaiah 55.6-13-as God’s water gives growth and life – so does his Word

Psalm 18.30-36-God provides all I need

My friend Mark was given "The Clear Thinker Award" yesterday- one of those awards you are nominated to receive by fellow workers—Mark isn’t into awards much- he is humble- we were talking about this award- what does it mean?- what do you do to receive it?- he really didn’t know- neither did I- we couldn’t really site any specific example of clear thinking- Well- I think in today’s passages- especially in Jesus prayer- some thinking cleared up- Jesus felt like he was dying- so he prayed- he prayed for the pain to be removed- but he also prayed that God’s will be done- his thinking cleared- even though it wasn’t what Jesus as a man would wish- he could see a vision of what God had planned for all people- Jesus knew it would be hard- but he must suffer and die—but there is hope after that- there was also the resurrection – clear thinking- not just thinking about dying- but thinking cleared up through resurrection- through salvation of all humanity who choose to accept God’s grace and believe- God also answered Solomon’s prayer- God told Solomon –yea I’ll dwell with my people in the temple- but let’s be clear- if you turn away and worship other God’s- you will be punished- I will leave that temple – it’s up to you to return to me then- first I will dwell with you- but you gotta stick with me and trust me and love me and worship only me- clear thinking- In Hosea- God told the people how much he will love them – more than any human love- a radical forgiving love- God clears it all up- clear thinking- and then over again and again- god gives life and love and all that is needed- clear thinking- did God speak yesterday?- yes- and every day – God is the source and only clear thinking- tap into and listen to God’s Word- the source of "Clear Thinking" – never know- maybe some other person will see God in you and "The Clear Thinker Award:"

Prayer- Lord – let me hear your Word this day- clear my mind and let my focus be on your voice- on your sight- on your smell- on your touch- on your taste- clear all my senses to receive only you- come into my life this day – and "clear" my thinking- grant me your peace, your patience, your love, your strength, your witness- grant me your resolve to take your message to the world I live in and to have compassion for all those I meet this day. --- Amen

Thursday, July 07, 2005

July 7th People Reflection

Thursday 7/7/2005

Mark 14.1-31-The plot to kill Jesus starts- the Passover preparations and meal

1 Kings 8-The ark is placed in the temple and Solomon prays for God to answer prayer

Hosea 9.17-10.15-Worship me the LORD, and I will send my saving power down like rain.

Psalm 65.1-13-the river of God is full of water

Matthew 9.35-38-Jesus saw the crowds and had compassion on them

Psalm 131-hope in the LORD from this time on and forevermore

"There’s a pocket of blood in the center."—that’s what the Therapist said about my calf muscle tear-I know- sounds gross- did to me too- but then I started to thinking today about those words- the passover- all about sacrifice- the meal- the bread – the wine- the body – the blood- "a pocket of blood in the center"—that’s what I want with Jesus- that through the pain of my sin and injury- a "pocket of blood" may remain- just long enough for me to realize what Jesus did for me- and "in the center" – that’s where the ark was placed- "in the center" of the temple- I hope that Jesus would remain "in the center" of my being- or maybe even I would be in his being- part of the body of Christ- I believe in God’s saving power – that salvation that comes from the river of God – that rains down from heaven- it’s a salvation that I can place all my hope in from now on- forevermore- yea- "There’s a pocket of blood in the center."—that "pocket of blood" that has compassion on me and all people- that "pocket of blood" that give hope forevermore- Thanks be to God!

Prayer- Lord, today – be with me – dwell with me- be at the center of my life- give me the hope and salvation I need- for in you alone am I saved- give me your compassion this day- as I move about- let me love your people- let me tell of your love for them- let me tell them of your sacrifice- of the blood you shed- of the life you gave- and of the life you give- today – be my pocket of life giving blood in the center of my being. -- Amen

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

July 6th People Reflection

Wednesday 7/6/2005

Mark 13.14-37-Jesus will return again- I won’t know when- be faithful

1 Kings 7-The temple is lavishly furnished

Hosea 9.1-16-If you turn from God- he will punish

1 Samuel 12.1-25-Serve God and obey him- only God will rescue

Ephesians 4.11-16-Build up the body of Christ

Psalm 144-the LORD my rock

"Eat only food that God gave us"- Advice I asked for yesterday- good advice in many more ways than one. When I think about the passages God gave me today- I think of food God gives me- each day- food to ponder- food to feed my soul- food to direct my physical being to action- food to prepare me for Jesus return- I know he will return again- I don’t know when – but if I eat only the food God gives me – I will be faithful- I will be ready- If I let this food fuel into action – I will be faithful- I will be ready- this fuel will feed my temple- the temple God is creating in me day after day-building my temple with only the food God gives me- this food will furnish the temple of my soul with lavish furnishings- dedicated to God- special and unique- Eat only food God gave us- God’s food will keep my focus on him so that I will never turn from God- I will continue to eat the food God gives me allowing me to serve and obey him- Eat only the food God gave us—yea that way the body of Christ will be built up – not only in myself – but with my friends in Christ- I will build that body on a rock- It will be muscle for action- muscle for love- Eat only the food God gave us- yea- God spoke yesterday to me- about more than just food for the body – but food for the soul and for the church.

Prayer- Lord- feed me your daily bread this day- nourish me and send me into the world with joy-laughter-dancing and compassionate love for all you have created. Give me the food for my body and my heart that I may remain in you. Forgive me when I error and lead me to that glorious food only you can provide. -- Amen

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

July 5th - People Reflection

Tuesday 7/5/2005

Mark 13.1-13-It will be rough at times- but keep on being faithful right to the end, you will be saved

1 Kings 6-The temple is described and built as planned

Hosea 8-Don’t forget God- he created me

1 Samuel 11.1-15-The LORD brings deliverance

Matthew 9.9-13-I desire mercy not sacrifice

Psalm 25-Trust God

"Just lay it on the board."—That’s what I heard yesterday – advice for playing corn hole- a picnic-party game – and outdoor game—there is a hole on that board – where if you make it in the hole you receive more points- but the advice was – just lay it on the board-as if the points in the hole will take care of themselves if you "Just lay it on the board." – Maybe that’s all God expects of us too- just to lay it on the board- let him take care of the extra points in the hole when need be- just be faithful to the end and "lay it on the board—When Solomon was building the temple- that didn’t automatically mean God would dwell in that temple- but Solomon had to have faith in God’s promise to his father David- that God would dwell in this temple- so Solomon just had to "Lay it on the board"- go ahead and build the temple- God would decide if he would score the points in the hole and dwell in that temple- so just build it as planned- God brings the deliverance and he desires mercy not sacrifice- so "Just lay it on the board"- don’t go for the sacrifice of putting it in the hole every time- "Just lay it on the board" and have mercy on others – because God created each one of us special and for a unique purpose in his kingdom- so don’t worry about making it in the hole- God will take care of that – "Just lay it on the board." –God will take care of the rest.

Prayer- father- I come to you this day – with a thankful heart-you don’t expect perfection out of me- you just want me to "lay it on the board"—send me this day – to lay it out for you – I give myself- my time and all the gifts you have given to me- and lay them before you – lay them on the board- use me this day as you see fit- I lay it all on the board to you. -- Amen

Monday, July 04, 2005

July 4th People Reflection

Monday 7/4/2005

Mark 12.28-44-Love others- give yourself to God

1 Kings 4-5-Israel prospered under Solomon- the building of the temple begins

Hosea 7.3-16-Be faithful to God- don’t turn away from him

1 Samuel 10.17-27-God will choose who leads

Hebrews 11.8-10, 13-16-Have faith and vision of a future land

Psalm 63-My soul clings to you

Good morning! – A simple greeting I heard yesterday- many times over- share among people at church – Peace of the Lord – many times – shared among people at church- greeting and concern and joy for those recovering- greeting and compassion for those enduring some trial- a group of people brought together each Sunday to worship God- a God we all have in common- a love we all have in common- a God we can give oursleves to – a God that lives with us when we prosper and when we are in the midst of trial- a God that gives us a vision of a future land- a God that we can cling to when in the midst of lives storms- a God who won’t turn away from us – a God who chooses the leaders we need when we need them most – A God of love- did God speak through people yesterday? – yea- through some Greeters- both formal and informal.

Prayer- Lord- let me greet this new day – Good morning to you! – Good morning and let your love shine brightly this day- you have blessed me with much and I give you thanks- especially this day I thank you for the land you have given me to live in- to travel in- to wonder at your creation- and the government of freedom—Good morning!- Let you love shine through this day in greeting --- Amen

Sunday, July 03, 2005

July3rd People Reflection

Sunday 7/3/2005

Mark 12.1-27-God sent his Son out of love to this vineyard- I will worship him – He is God of the living

1 Kings 3-Solomon ask’s for wisdom- Solomon woke up-realized God had spoken to him and gave wisdom

Hosea 6.1-7.2-Be faithful and know God

Matthew 11.16-19, 25-30-I serve God-don’t expect God to dance for me- I dance for God

Luke 10.38-42-Don’t be distracted by tasks- focus on Jesus

Psalm 119-129-136-The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.

"Is God trying to tell me something by this light?"- My Uncle Dick – at my nephew’s wedding yesterday – he asked me this question- you see- he was sitting in the pew behind me- through one small piece of clear stained glass the sun shone brightly through- right onto Uncle Dick and Uncle Dick alone- like he was lit up with a spot light- it made him uncomfortable- he even said this would be this first wedding he attended where he got a sunburn!- Well – maybe God sent that sunlight to Dick- a symbol of his love- just as in the parable the son was sent to the people- God sent his Son to us- to die for us- to rescue us from our sins- to put the spotlight on us- cause since we are now free from sin- we are also in the spotlight to act for God- to hear his call and do his will- to feel the warmth of the Son – to go into the world warmed with his wisdom- just like Solomon used the wisdom God gave him as a judge—also for us to dance for God- I can’t expect God to dance for me – to do all the things I think he should do- God is God- it’s time I feel the heat of the sun and do God’s will- out of joy- out of love for the warmth he has already given my- I must keep my focus on Jesus- listen to those words unfold to simple me and move- get up and move- Did God speak through people yesterday? – yea – through Uncle Dick- in the spotlight of God- feeling the heat- feeling the sunburn at a wedding- it’s time to move- it’s time to respond to that gracious love of God!

Prayer- Lord Jesus- thank you for coming down- thank you for the warmth of the son- thank you for uncles that feel your warmth – thank you for laughter at weddings- thank you for saving me and all people- today I will worship you – today I will praise you – today I will feel your warmth and respond in joy to the heat you send to me- I will go out into your vineyard and do your will – send me now. -- Amen

Saturday, July 02, 2005

July 2nd People Reflection

Saturday 7/2/2005

Mark 11.15-33-Jesus wants the temple to be a place of worship- faith can move mountains

1 Kings 2-Solomon goes about having people killed who opposed his kingdom

Hosea 5.5-15-Be faithful to God

Romans 7.15-25a-I am so confused- but Jesus rescues me from my sinful confusion

Acts 27.14-26-Even in the storms-God sends an angel to keep me safe

Psalm 107.23-32-God will save you in the storms

So we get back home yesterday- and I think God spoke to me through the very odd squeal of a dog- Sadie- I have to wonder- Just before we left for vacation- the oldest dog we had – Kelsey- needed to be put down- her legs were so bad she could no longer even get up – sometimes for days at a time- so the younger dog – Sadie- saw Kelsey leave and never return- she mourned to the point of being physically ill the next day—then three of us do the same on vacation- go out the door – and to Sadie – never to return- I’m sure Sadie mourned for us- Sarah took care of her and kept telling us how she wouldn’t eat and was always so happy for some company- so yesterday Sue comes in the door- before I get in I hear the squeal from Sadie- a sound I have never heard before- then I get in – the squeal again and the same when Steph comes in the door- Sadie was so happy to see our return she couldn’t contain the emotion- I wonder if Paul squealed like that when he realized that even though he was so confused with sin- Jesus took all that away- we are free from sin- so squeal about it! – Even in the storms of life- God rescues us – God saves us- so squeal about it! – when Solomon almost didn’t get the kingdom of Israel – but later did- did he squeal about it?- Jesus wants us to be faithful to God- faithful to the point that in our faith he gives us power to do mighty things for him – for him in his kingdom- Jesus died on the cross for my sin- he saved me from death and eternal damnation- and someday Jesus will return in glory to raise the dead and set up that final kingdom where we will reign with all the saints in glory forever—so yesterday- in her own way- I think Sadie saw a resurrection of life she thought was dead—and I too will see a resurrection of life- I will see Jesus return—I think I’ll squeal when that time comes.

Prayer- Father- you have given me so much to squeal about- you bless me day after day with way more than I deserve- even in my confusion of sin- you forgive me- I ask that you forgive my sin – restore me- send me- show me the way you want me to go today- for with you in my life – I will squeal in delight – day after day- and on your return- I promise to let out a squeal of praise that will bring glory and honor to you. -- Amen

Friday, July 01, 2005

July 1st People Reflection

Friday 7/1/2005
Mark 11.1-14-Jesus triumphant ride into Jerusalem
1 Kings 1-Solomon is made King of Israel
Hosea 4.11b-5.4-Turn back to God
Zechariah 9.9-12-Lo your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious
is he, and riding on a donkey
Romans 13.1-7-Respect God and those he puts in positions of authority
Psalm 34-Bless God at all times- praise him forever

That sun set high in the sky tonight?A man walking a dog, while I was
sitting on a chair on top of a mountain ? watching the sun set into
the mountains?The sun almost got to the top of a mountain in the
distance when it went behind a cloud- and the man with his dog
comment ? ?That sun set high in the sky tonight.??Yea?it makes me
think of Jesus triumphant ride into Jerusalem ? even Solomon- his ride
as king of Israel- was sort of a fluke- His brother had pretty much
already set himself up as king and then Bathsheba found out what took
place and told King David that he had promised the kingship to
Solomon. So what does that have to do with a sunset that wasn?t quite
right- the sunset was still glorious- the clouds reflected the light
of the sun from behind- no it wasn?t quite the triumphant setting it
was supposed to be but maybe again it was?Jesus was riding into
Jerusalem and people were expecting him to rule as a powerful
political king?he died on a cross and was King forevermore over all
things ? not only political- sometimes I expect the perfect sunset to
occur- I expect Jesus to behave in a particular way- but I get
something different- but that difference is not what I want but what
God says I need-so too I need to turn from my sin- maybe not what I
want ? but what God says I need- so too I bless God and praise him
forever- because God is so much wiser that I can ever imagine- he will
provide for all my needs- even the ones I don?t even know I need- so
maybe that sunset high last night was what God felt I needed- not the
perfect sunset I had already had in mind ? but a sunset high in the
sky ? I think for last evening-I will praise God for a Son setting in
my life ? high in the sky?and give God all the praise and honor for
his triumphant entry into my life this day?maybe not what I expected-
but even better- because it?s what God knows I needed.

Prayer- Lord be with me today- enter into my life and throughout the
day reign in me as you wish- lead me ? let me serve you as King of my
life and give my life to you in joyful service- and at the end of the
day ? when the sun sets ? I will know that you have provided for all
my needs- saved me from sin-death and the devil and will provide the
rest I need for a bright new day to serve and love you ? my king and
authority. -- Amen