Monday, July 31, 2006

July 31st Daily Word and Visions from God

1 Corinthians 15.35-58- You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes--it's over. One signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again, At the same moment and in the same way, we'll all be changed.
2 Kings 11-Joash was seven years old when he became king.
Micah 2-I will be out in front leading them.
Numbers 27.12-23-You are the LORD God, and you know what is in everyone's heart.
I'm not sure what this is. A little playhouse perhaps-at the edge of a country road. Maybe not-You wouldn't put a playhouse by a country road. It had something stored in it. Perhaps some fertilizer or something for the front yard. It was beginning to be run down. Maybe they sold something from it or perhaps it was "For Sale" for some time. Anyway it was out front on display. King Joash was only seven years old when he became king. There seem to be many stories of God using "older" people but this time a "young" person is in the story. They went to great lengths to protect this young king. If he died the line would be broken to King David. Jesus descended from this same line as God had promised. So even though Joash was young and small, God used him too. God sets up people to lead at different times and places. God seems to do some peculiar strange things that just don't make sense at first. I must recognize who is leading, when I'm to lead, and when I'm to follow and always seek God's leaders. As life moves on in some miniature way, God will lead me right up to that day when I will hear that trumpet blast and things will really change-big time then. But until that day. I'll stick close by the road out front telling those who pass by of a wonderful Savior--Even if I do appear to be peculiar and a little out of place--Even if I am too young or too old--I'll tell that story to those who pass by on the country road of life.
Lord, I imagine Christians look a little peculiar and out of place in this world of people who pass by. Lead me to show them your way when someone asks what this Christianity thing up by the road is all about. I'll tell the story. -- Amen

Sunday, July 30, 2006

God Multiplies


7/30/2006 Sermon

Theme: God Multiplies

Prayer for Illumination:

Lord; let us hear your Word. Let us hear your Word loud and clear. Let us feel your presence here and now. Multiply your word and your love this day with all present. --- Amen

Psalm 145.10-19

2 Kings 4.42-44

Ephesians 3.14-21

John 6.1-21

Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


1. God is Plural

Did you listen to that reading from Psalm 145? Did you hear how many times the word "All" was used?

(Detergent "ALL" visual)

All you have made will praise you

All will know God’s mighty acts and the glorious splendor of His Kingdom

God is faithful to all his promises

God is loving to all he has made

God upholds all that fall

God lifts up all that are bowed down

The eyes of all look to God

God is righteous in all his ways

God is loving towards all

The Lord is near to all who call on him – all who call on him in truth

God seems to be a plural God here.

God cares for all people.

God loves all people.

It’s wonderful to think of God as a plural God

How great God is to all of us

And – how great God is to each of us

Yea- God is plural- he grants blessings beyond counting

Let’s look at how God was plural in the Ephesians reading

The whole family in heaven and earth derive their name from God

Christ dwells in hearts

We are rooted in the power of Christ with all the saints

We are filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

God can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine

God is wonderfully plural with all his blessings.

2. God Multiplies

God multiplies too! – Satan subtracts and divides but God multiplies!

In the reading from 2 Kings and the reading from John we witness how this Plural God of ours multiplies.

Only a small amount of food is needed. Only a start. A child brings an offering and Jesus multiplied that offering.

I remember a time years ago when my church was asking me to head up the Evangelism group.

I must have only been in my early twenties at the time.

A young pup. Scared to death of what this responsibility may entail.

I asked for some time to think about my decision. I prayed. I listened for the voice of God.

My answer came through and from a God that multiplies.

I went to the communion rail one Sunday –

this was during that time that I was contemplating God’s call to lead the committee—As I knelt and received the bread and the wine –

I spilled a drop of the wine on the communion rail- Looking at the drop I attempted to wipe it up with my hand-

with one swipe I noticed that instead of wiping up the one drop of wine- the one drop of wine became eight drops on the rail –

with this I knew that if the blood of Christ can multiply –

I must also multiply and lead that committee-

lead that committee to encourage others to spread the Word-

encourage others to tell the story of God active in their lives-

encourage others to reach beyond the walls of this building to God’s Kingdom.

God multiplied- And God always multiplies.

How has God multiplied in this place?

For me God has multiplied wonderfully at this church.

What a wonderful opportunity you have given me. To lead worship in this faithful community of believers.

God multiplies- with each sermon for me-

You see- I work – and for preparation of the Meditations –

I needed to reflect daily on the Word- to read- to study – to listen for the voice of God – what is the message God would have delivered? – each day for the past couple of months-

To you this is one sermon—To me this was a wonderful multiplication of blessings from God-

daily blessings listening to his Word- listening to his voice- listening to what God would have me say

God multiplies one sermon to you-- to daily blessings for me

God multiplies- Each week I speak of some wonderful friends that I have met at a Presbyterian church-

tell of the wonderful people here- tell friends of how God is present in this place- God multiplies my stories of love felt in this place

God multiplies blessings for me as I look from this vantage point at the very multiplication of God in you-

I see God in you – in your eyes- in your smiles- I see God active in your lives as I look from this spot.

I hear of God’s multiplication as we reflect on a picture collage in the Narthex-

as I hear you tell stories of people of this place- of God active in this place- God multiplies- God multiplies in this place without a doubt.

Look around- ponder- how God has multiplied in this place-

look at the spots where you have heard and seen God’s presence in this place and think of how many times his presence has been multiplied.

Did God multiply his presence – here? – here? – here? – perhaps in this pew?

One place for me has been here at this music machine-

As I was here I could look up and see God’s smile coming from your faces as I fumbled and played Christmas songs in July!

I took this position in this pew for some reason-

God multiplied his presence for me as we sang songs together.

Yes- and God’s presence multiplied here in the sharing of the peace- and here and here and here

And here as I confessed my sins to God –

I felt his presence multiplied with people past that may have stood in this same spot doing something similar- not sure.

God’s love multiplied- God’s forgiveness multiplied- Fellowship with God multiplied- God in this place multiplied throughout time and space.


Pick a place – here and now where you have felt God multiply his presence for you—

Go there- really go there if you wish

Are you willing to tell your story of why you felt God’s presence- God’s blessings – multiplied in that place?

Tell me of the collage in this place- the collage of God’s grace – God’s activity multiplied over and over….(share stories)

Thanks for sharing.

Not only do we have a gracious All loving plural God and a God who wonderfully multiplies his power and love and presence through out time –We have a God that fills us.

3. God Fills

(Pick up the mayonnaise jar and fill it with golf balls)

Is this jar full?

(Pick up a bag of pebbles and pour them into the jar)

(Shake the jar)

Is this jar full?

(Pick up a bag of sand and pour it into the jar)

Is this jar full?

I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life

The golf balls are the important blessings- your God, your family, your health, your friends, your favorite passions- the basic needs for life…

The pebbles are the other blessings that matter like your job, house and car

The sand is blessings multiplied in abundance

If you put the sand into the jar first. There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls…

The same goes for life- God fills you and takes care of your basic needs and blesses you with them…

Jesus took care and filled that multitude with food- a basic need and blessing from God

Jesus gave thanks to God and filled those present with God’s Word

Jesus multiplied those blessings and filled all the people with something left over

Our plural God- multiplied the blessings and fills the crowds

Pay attention to the things that are blessings in your life

See the golf balls- the blessings that REALLY matter.

And see God multiply the blessings in the sand of life

So what does the water represent?

(Pour the water into the jar….)

It just goes to show that no matter how full your life may seem…

You see—God fills us over and over- with blessings in life and with what may seem not to be so important- then he continues to fill us with the love of his baptismal waters of salvation.

God has filled you with his Baptismal water of life giving water—permeating your entire life and calling you by name as a child of God –



4. See the miracle

Can you see the miracle?

Just as Jesus fed the multitude with a little food—filled their lives with what was needed for the day

A small offering from you and I is brought forward and multiplied by God to feed the many- to reach the hearts of many we can’t even imagine throughout space and time. God is awesome in how he takes our offerings and multiplies- and increases the bounty to feed and feed and nourish others.

So he has fed us- in this place- fed ALL of us- multiplied the food of life

The food of love

The food of grace

And filled us throughout our lives

Giving us leftovers to boot

Twelve baskets of leftovers were collected that day


Satchels is one interpretation for the word baskets

There were twelve disciples present

A satchel in that day was used to carry enough food for one day

And our All loving God has multiplied the food of life and permeated us with enough food for one day to take into our worlds this week.


(Distribute the packages of fish crackers)

Go into your world with your satchel

Multiply our loving God this week

Tell of a wonderful place in Morning Sun where you have seen God

Our plural God who multiplies and fills each of us over and over and over with love and life

A God who multiplies blessings in this place through space and time

Morning Sun—the place of multiplication

Thanks be to God! -- Amen

July 30th Daily Word and Visions from God

1 Corinthians 15.1-34-Friends, let me go over the Message with you one final time...
this Message on which you took your stand and by which your life has been saved.
2 Kings 10-Do you realize that this very day you are participants in GOD's righteous workings?
Micah 1-Look, here he comes! GOD, from his place!
John 6.1-21-He kept coming closer to the boat, and they were terrified. But he said, "I am Jesus! Don't be afraid."
A crowd at the Dayton Air Show watching the skies intently. Watching the wonders of power. Watching with curiosity the creative blessings of engineering and manufacturing. Watching so intently some would climb their chairs. I think this may be what it will be like when Jesus arrives on the clouds. Crowds will watch the awesome power. Will watch Jesus coming closer and closer-- maybe terrified. But then again I think of how Jesus came into our world at his birth. It wasn't like that. It was subtle. It was behind the scenes yet somehow in front of the scenes. Jesus approached the boat on the lake. Sure; I would be terrified too of someone walking on water towards me. But Jesus told them-- Don't be afraid. Do I really believe I won't be terrified if Jesus returns from the sky? But I feel his comfort knowing that however Jesus chooses to return he comes closer and closer. Look, here he comes! Jesus, from his place! Jesus, from his place to mine. Jesus inviting me out to play in his Kingdom, here and now, making me a participant. Well, I may glance at the sky from time to time and look for Jesus. But for now, I'll know that there is work and play to do right here and now in his Kingdom. I'm sure Jesus will take care of his glorious return in some surprising way anyway. Without my input.
Lord Jesus, I look to the sky for your return--but for now I am overjoyed to play with you in your Kingdom. Would you mind going over with me that Message one more time. I love that story! Thanks be to God! -- Amen

Saturday, July 29, 2006

July 29th Daily Word and Visions from God

1 Corinthians 14.26-40-When we worship the right way, God doesn't stir us up into confusion; he brings us into harmony.
2 Kings 9-What's it to you whether things are right or wrong? Fall in behind me.
Jonah 4-I knew you were sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to turn your plans of punishment into a program of forgiveness!
Ephesians 3.14-21-I kneel in prayer to the Father. All beings in heaven and on earth receive their life from him.
Something man made with the blessings of God- something God made that is blessing man. A pole, some signs and a little bird house--made by man with the skills and materials God graciously provided. A tree- made by God to bless man with shade-oxygen-and life. When we worship God in the right way, God doesn't stir us up into confusion; he brings us into harmony. Just like this pole and tree they both are in harmony with God's blessings. And God blesses me also through his call and leadership. I will hear his call-understand his blessing and fall in behind the Shepherd. Blessed with a Shepherd of sheer grace and mercy. A Savior ready at the drop of a hat to take on my sins and take my punishment in a program of forgiveness. What greater blessing can I receive. I will kneel in prayer to my Father and give him all my thanks and praise and glory. I love you Lord!
Jesus, thank you for coming- thank you for bringing me into harmony with you- accept my thanks and praise this day as I fall in behind you and serve you in your Kingdom. -- Amen

Friday, July 28, 2006

July 28th Daily Word and Visions from God

1 Corinthians 14.1-25-Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it--because it does.
2 Kings 8-Jehoram died and was buried in the family grave in the City of David.
Jonah 3-God saw what they had done, that they had turned away from their evil lives.
Tobit 14.12b-15-and he blessed the Lord God forever and ever. Amen.
2 Kings 4.42-44-They ate and still had some left over.
A place for lunch in the park. To read, to listen to music, to take a nap and to hear the rain falling. And also a place of control. Control of a vehicle. A place of entertainment, of news, of updates, of music. God sets love in our lives to control me and you. God gives love to control what I do and how I act. Go after a life of love as if my life depends on in because it does. All my life. First a love of God then love for each other. With God's love I can die in his assurance of everlasting life. With God's love my life will change, will turn around from my self centered focus to a God centered focus. With God's love, his blessings will become obvious. I will see God in many ways for ever and ever. With God's love there will always be leftovers. Leftovers to be given in love to the world and Kingdom I live in. A place for lunch in the park to feed on God's love.
Jesus, feed me your love this day and I will gladly share and take all the leftovers out into my world. -- Amen

Thursday, July 27, 2006

July 27th Daily Word and Visions from God

1 Corinthians 13-Love never dies.
2 Kings 7.3-20- Let some men go and take five of the horses left behind.
Jonah 2-I was as far down as a body can go...Yet you pulled me up from the grave alive, O GOD, my God!
Tobit 14.11b-12a-and he received an honorable funeral
Psalm 145.10-18-Your kingdom will never end, and you will rule forever.
A "For Sale" sign. Call a number-talk to a person-buy some property. God's love isn't for sale though. Doesn't need to be. It never gets sold. It's always around. God's Love never dies. God's Love is Jesus. Always alive. But Jesus did die. Jesus died on that cross years ago. But not his Love. His Love never died. It lived right in and through death. God's love went to the enemies camp and lived. Allowed Love to plunder the enemy of death. Allowed Love and Life to live off of Death. And Jesus now lives - raised from the dead- forever. Then Jonah- as far down as you can go. -- Lower that whale shit even! -- But God's Love didn't die with Jonah. God's love pulled Jonah from the grave -- Alive! - O God, my God! And when the faithful die-- the Love of God lives on- at an honorable funeral we see death yet life lives on in Love. God's kingdom will never end. God's Love will never end either. God's Love need not be For Sale-- He gives it now and forever-- freely-- Now that's Grace!
Lord, let me freely give you Love to my world and the kingdom in which you place me this day. -- Amen

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

July 26th Daily Word and Visions from God

1 Corinthians 12-Each person is given something to do that shows who God is...
2 Kings 6.1-7.2-Listen! GOD's word!
Jonah 1-One day long ago, GOD's Word came to Jonah.
Tobit 4.8-11a-serve God faithfully and do what is pleasing in his sight.
Psalm 7.1-10-You, LORD God, are my protector.
A water heater in the house. Supplies hot water for showers and dishes and cleaning. It aids and comforts. It has a specific job. God has created me too for a specific job. Why doesn't this job seem as obvious as the job of this water heater? I think it may be obvious. But I also think God created people wonderfully. He created each person to be able to change into anything he chooses to change them into. So I must listen---listen to God's Word. Listen and follow-not run the other way-- I must listen and serve God faithfully- doing what pleases him. God is my wonderful protector and provided. My job may not always seem to be as obvious as the water heaters- but I have a gift of change which is so much more wonderful- I will listen- I will serve- What a joy!
Lord, I'm listening- I'm ready -- Amen

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

July 25th Daily Word and Visions from God

1 Corinthians 11.17-34-Better to be confronted by the Master now than to face a fiery confrontation later.
2 Kings 5-Father, if the prophet has asked you to do something hard and heroic, wouldn't you have done it? So why not this simple wash and be clean?
Obadiah-A remnant of the saved in Mount Zion will go into the mountains of Esau and rule justly and fairly, a rule that honors GOD's kingdom.
Tobit 14.4-7-...for I believe the word of God...for I know and believe that whatever God has said will be fulfilled and will come true; not a single word of the prophecies will fail.
Acts 11.27-12.3a-So they had Barnabas and Saul take their gifts to the church leaders in Jerusalem.
A drinking fountain in front of a pond. Water you can drink contrasted with water you shouldn't drink. The water you shouldn't drink brings life to plants and fish and animals. Brings a home to duck and geese. The water you can drink brings life and refreshment to those passing by in life's journey. I need water. I need water to live and I need God's water to live also. There is the confrontation I need too. I need God. God confronts me with a decision. Will I follow him and let him be God or will I go my own way. Will I depend on his Water of Life or will I trust my own way. In God's way is life. In my way is death and damnation. I choose God. I will be that remnant that returns to the mountain of God and honor him in his Kingdom. I believe the Word of God and I know that whatever God plans will be fulfilled. All of it. And in this I will be faithful to journey with friends to the heart of God. Journey with my friends to the base of that cross in glory--look up--clasp hands and praise and honor Jesus in all his glory. For only in and through his blood am I saved. It's really not all that hard and heroic- simple- just be washed in the Water and the Blood of the Lamb. - Thanks be to God!
Lord, I'm walking back to the fold at the base of that cross- lead me as I listen to your voice and follow you. -- Amen

Monday, July 24, 2006

July 24th Daily Word and Visions from God

1 Corinthians 11.1-16-But the head on a woman's body clearly outshines in beauty...
2 Kings 4- Just go ahead and do it. GOD says there's plenty.
Amos 9-I'll repair the holes in the roof, replace the broken windows, fix it up like new.
Tobit 14.2-3-...continually blessing God and acknowledging God's majesty.
1 Kings 19.9-18-...the LORD asked, "Elijah, why are you here?"
A store in Metamora Indiana. Words and Images. God is all about Words and Images. Word that becomes flesh and dwells among us. Images that point us to that Word. Beauty in our world through his Word and Images. The beauty of a woman. Creation of God. The beauty of his earth -- creation of God. The beauty of images all around --creation of God. And God cares for all of the images we see around us through his Word. Through Jesus we are given all we need. We shall not want. I am Soul- I am soul that has a body therefore -- as a soul I shall not want. The Word made flesh is all I need. As I body I will want. But as a soul- I shall not want. And in this God fixes everything. Fixes my sin. Saves me from death. Cleans me up and patches the holes and fixes the windows in me and makes me like new. In joy for the Word- I continually bless God and acknowledge his majesty. Why am I here? To praise, honor and serve God in his Kingdom. And in this praise I can spread it around all day long. Words and Images---Thanks be to God!
Lord, lead me by your Word- let all the images I see this day point to your glory and majesty. You are God! -- Amen

Sunday, July 23, 2006

July 23rd Daily Word and Visions from God

1 Corinthians 10-They all ate and drank identical food and drink, meals provided daily by God.
2 Kings 3-What do you and I have in common?
Amos 8-My Master GOD showed me this vision...
Mark 6.30-34, 53-56-Let's go to a place where we can be alone and get some rest.
A sunrise on Sunday morning. Rings of light emitting from the sun to warm the earth. Jesus is like this too. Rings of light to warm my soul. To give me life and light. Every day-identical - day after day. That's what we all have in common. The Son of God comes to each one of us. Will we follow? Will we see the vision God has for each one of us in life? Will we serve in his plan and not try to force our own? I will! I will journey with my Shepherd into his Kingdom and play as he calls me to play and serve and love. I will rest on green hills with Jesus and unite with that flock of all time. Thanks be to God for his Son.
Lord, fill me with your Light and Life. I will serve you this day. -- Amen

Saturday, July 22, 2006

July 22nd Daily Word and Visions from God

1 Corinthians 9-I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line, I'm giving it everything I've got.
2 Kings 1-2-Not on your life! I'm not letting you out of my sight! And so the two of them went their way together.
Amos 7-Then GOD took me off the farm and said, "Go preach to my people Israel." So listen to GOD's Word.
Ephesians 2.11-22-But Christ offered his life's blood as a sacrifice and brought you near God.
Standing guard and waiting to come to the rescue when needed. Will this hydrant perform when called upon? Not sure. They have to be tested from time to time. Make sure the valve will open and closed as designed. It even needs some lubrication now and then. But primarily it is designed to perform on a moments notice. And when it performs it must give everything it has. I want to perform for Christ in this same way. Give it everything I've got. Run as hard as I can in joy for all Christ has done for me. It's an honor to run the race for Christ. It's an honor to be called off the farm or anywhere else to perform for Christ. Jesus gave his blood as sacrifice for my sin, for my life and I love him with all I have. Jesus honors me by coming near me and I love him for this. I'm not letting him out of my sight. I want to walk hand in hand with him through life. I will listen to his voice and his word and be ready. Be ready for his call to action. Then run like I've never run before for him in glory.
Lord, I love you---enough said -- Amen

Listen to the Shepherd's Voice

Sermon 7/23/2006

Theme: Listen to the Shepherd’s Voice

Prayer for Illumination

Lord; come to us this day. Let us hear your voice. Let us know your call. Let us feel your presence in our lives. And let us follow you. May these words lead us to the Master and Teacher who is the Son of God. – Amen

Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Psalm-Psalm 23

1st Reading-Jeremiah 23.1-6

2nd Reading-Ephesians 2.11-22

Gospel-Mark 6.30-34, 54-56

Psalm 23

The 23rd Psalm. One of many favorites of all time. But what is it about this Psalm that appeals to such a large percentage of Christians throughout all time?

The early church sang Psalm 23 as the baptized person emerged from the font and proceeded into the newly illumined church for Eucharist.

Today many a funeral has the 23rd Psalm read. This Psalm is like a walk through life with our Shepherd taking care of all of our needs. This Psalm is like a prayer of worship to God before a sermon that our Pastor would tell us of a Lord whose name is Christ and make him known to us. That during this sermon I would be attentive to listen to the words of the message as I am led to this Master and Teacher who is the Son of God.

So let’s take that journey here and now through Psalm 23. Feel Jesus’ presence; Once again hear him walking close by. Walking once again as we heard him walk in that Garden years ago. Walking with you and me through life. Our Shepherd. Our Lord – Our Savior.

The practice of Eastern shepherds was to have various flocks sheltering together in a common fold. The shepherd of a particular flock would approach the fold, come to the gate and call.

Groups of two or three sheep would know his voice and turn and follow the shepherd.

The shepherd knew each one of his sheep.

In the church we must remember that we need to exist in the fold of the sheep. If we think we as sheep can go it on our own—we deceive ourselves.

Jesus calls the flock- the flock – even though he knows each one of us- he calls us as a flock to follow him. In this we see that Christ must remain the head of the church. There is strength in membership of the flock.


Jesus has called us – we hear our Shepherd’s voice. I am called through the gift of my baptism. I am called by Jesus as a Child of God. I am called unique. I am called peculiar in a wonderful way. But all the same, I am called. You are called. And we begin to move towards Jesus voice. In pairs- maybe two or three. We join together in our walk towards our Shepherds voice. We get up and walk. And we find a Lord who is a wonderful Shepherd taking care of all our wants and needs.

"I shall not want." – come on – I will want! – But who is I?

If I think of myself as a body—I will without a doubt want! – Who here hasn’t been hungry or thirsty – need rest – the body has needs and wants. As a body – as human flesh – I will want.

Let’s look at this from a different perspective though- Who is I? – How about – Do I have a Soul?—No! – I have no soul! – I have no soul! – This is a surprising and bold statement to make. An early preacher made this point years ago. I have no soul--- I am a soul and I have a body. This is the change in perspective of thinking here on "Who is I?"

I am a soul that has a body.

So when I think of myself as "Soul" – I can see that with this perspective – with Christ as my Shepherd – "I shall not want." – With Christ there is nothing- absolutely nothing else I will ever need- In Christ I shall not want. Thanks be to God.

Listen to the Shepherds Voice- "I shall not want."


My Shepherd makes me lie down. He makes me. No request here. Christ makes me lie down. Just as in our reading from Mark. Jesus knows when we need rest. And he will make us lie down. He will make it happen. In command we see renewal and restoration. God throughout all time has told of us this need. Even in and through the creation story and the Ten Commandments. A rest happens. A Sabbath of renewal takes place. And as Sheep – Jesus our Shepherd makes us rest.

Listen to the Shepherds Voice. "He makes me lie down."


So at the beginning we hear his voice. Rise and slowly join together – one to two, two to three and more to follow our call together as Chosen children of God. Following our Shepherd who takes care of all our wants and makes us rest in life. Then he restores us. He restores our soul. That different perspective. I am soul – which happens to have a body. Rest-

Remember the times of rest- real rest—Life is like this – we start on a journey – then God gives us rest- rest in green pastures.

Green- green becomes green with Light and Water- Green – those refreshing baptismal waters of life- that warmth and Light of the Son our Savior- Jesus who provides that everliving water of life- that continual renewal in our baptism – day after day we relive our baptism and feel the water of life entering our souls- each morning giving thanks for those baptismal waters that restore us- combine those waters with the warmth of the Son – the Light of the world- the Word that became flesh and dwelt amongst us- God’s Water- God’s Light in a Savior for each of us and for all of us. Green with Life- Light and Water. Showers as well as sunshine-

But rest and restoration is not an end. He restores my soul- there is that soul again- I am soul that has a body--- in the restoration we see our life as movement—not stagnation- we move on by the lead of our Shepherd—after restoration the journey is not haphazard- it leads somewhere- there is spiritual gain to by found in all that God permits to happen to us.

Listen to the Shepherds Voice. "He restores my soul."


He guides me in paths of righteousness.

Purpose in my life- I have been restored now it’s time to get up and go. Begin the journey God has called me to through my baptism. Seek to discover the gain God has for my soul. This path will not always be easy. Jesus my Shepherd will guide me but that doesn’t mean this will be a cakewalk. The path may be hard. The path may be narrow. I may have to squeeze through a gate or two. I can expect to feel some pain.

We are being led back to the main flock. That flock of saints in glory. Those souls who have taken this journey. Or a journey unique to their lives that led them by the Savior back to the fold. Back to the host of saints in heaven where we will once again gather in glory. But for now- for you- for I – we follow the lead We trust in our guide and follow in faith.

Listen to the Shepherd’s Voice. "He guides me in paths of righteousness for his names sake."


"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death"---

Notice how we were refreshed by the still waters – before the hardest part of our journey- then while in the dark there is illumination- the Light of Christ. Even though we walk through the shadow of death- journey into the dark corners of life- we have our Light- our Shepherd as our guide. Walking there once again as always -–at our side.

Do you hear his walk? Do you hear him walking in the Garden? That Tree of Life- Can you hear the walk? – He is walking with you in the darkness of your life—hear the walk- feel Christ with you by your side- with you from the beginning and even now.

Listen to the Shepherd’s Voice. "Even though you will walk in the darkness I need not fear because Jesus is there with me to guide and protect me.


Jesus there to protect and comfort me. Comfort me with his rod and his staff. I can’t defeat evil on my own. Christ defeats evil on the cross for me. He has defeated evil with his rod and I must depend on this and this alone. I can't depend on my own strength. Only through Jesus -–and he will use his rod and staff on me also- to lead me- to guide me- to discipline me as a loving Shepherd will always do to his sheep. That’s comfort! – Yea I may be disciplined- I will know my sin – but in the knowing of my sin- Jesus will guide me and redirect my path.

Listen to the Shepherd’s Voice- your rod and your staff—they comfort me.


We’re going back to the fold where a table is prepared. A table spread before me. A communion table along the way in the dark valley. That table where we can take in the body and blood of Christ. Remember once again the price Jesus paid for us. Even in the dark valley. Jesus our Shepherd leads us back to this table – time and time again to remind us of what a price he paid for each one of us- and for all of us together as his Church – Jesus is our Shepherd preparing that table now and in the future and showing us the price he paid for our lives.

Listen to the Shepherd’s Voice-He prepares a table before you in the presence of your enemies.


He anoints my head with oil. Remember that baptism? He anoints you too! – Anoints our heads with oil. Treats us so kindly. Loves us so much. A deep deep love that we can’t understand. A love that anoints us even though we don’t deserve it. Feel the Love of the Shepherd in your life. Feel his deep love and be so gracious for it. Give him thanks day after day all your life.

Listen to the Shepherd’s Voice- He anoints your head with oil.



And my cup overflows. What a wonderful Shepherd. As we walk through the valley we begin to come out. We get closer and closer to the fold – to that wonderful flock of saints in heaven and we see that in this journey – this tough and painful journey – this calling in Christ – that our cup overflows-

Now that’s Grace—a cup that overflows- that love of Christ freely given that overflows our cup- that blood at the table- beyond belief- overflowing the cup- more than we ever need- may our cups overflow with the love of Christ that his love will overflow in us to be given to the world we live in. – May Christ’s love overflow in us and spill out into each one of our worlds. Spill to every person we meet this week that they too may know and see Christ –active in our life – Christ – real and alive in and through us.

Listen to the Shepherd’s Voice- my cup of love overflows


Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life- Our journey continues- Called- baptized- fed with the body and blood- the bread and the wine- given his love to overflowing – we now see the goodness and love God has freely given to us through our Savior. Wow! – I will follow!

Listen to the Shepherd’s Voice- Goodness and Love will follow you all the days of your life.


Then there it is – and even here it is. – Now we know – now we see- that through this journey – through this walk with the Shepherd- all along- we have already begun the journey of eternal life- We being baptized –saved- followers of the Shepherd have already begun the gracious gift of eternal life- it’s already started- right here and now we have eternal life through our Shepherd- And we already dwell with the fold- We just didn’t know it all this time- we are living our eternal life through the grace of God and right now are dwelling with God – dwelling with and in God and in his temple- We have walked to the heart of God – and in this walk we find along the way that we were already with our Shepherd.

Listen to the Shepherd’s Voice- You will dwell in and with God- in his house forever.


Listen to the Shepherd’s Voice.

Feel Jesus walking by your side in life.

Feel his presence.

Touch his cloak. It’s real!

Hear his voice and follow his lead.

Don’t be fooled by any other voice- follow the Shepherd’s Voice.

Listen to the Shepherd’s Voice!


Friday, July 21, 2006

July 21st Daily Word and Visions from God

1 Corinthians 8-If you hurt your friend, you hurt Christ.
1 Kings 22- Just then someone, without aiming, shot an arrow randomly into the crowd and hit the king of Israel in the chink of his armor.
Amos 6-Woe to those who live only for today, indifferent to the fate of others!
Tobit 13.8-14.1-A bright light will shine to all the ends of the earth...
Jeremiah 23.1-6-The name of this king will be "The LORD Gives Justice."
A pet. Someone who takes care of a pet. Feeds and gives all that's needed to live. Love and care and food and water. Exercise. A friend and provider. Wouldn't hurt her pet. Like Christ, I don't feel the hurt from him. Always comfort. Sometimes discipline but always in love. So if I am hurt by a friend or I hurt a friend, I need to think about how Christ would care and love me. Treat my friend with the same love and compassion. That's a tall order sometimes. Sometimes people without meaning to, shoot an arrow into a crowd. I'm hit and wounded and bleed to death and die. Wounded by an arrow shot into a crowd. Now the arrow was shot to kill. But not necessarily to kill the one that is wounded. So don't shoot the arrow in the first place. Replace the anger and hate that causes me to shoot the arrow with love and compassion. Another tall order! Woe to those who only live for today, indifferent to the fate of others! You never know who that arrow may hit. Who your arrow my kill. But in the love and compassion of Christ I can see the bright love of salvation shining throughout all ages. And through the bright love of Christ that arrow falls short of the target and the Lord of Justice rules and saves me. The love of Christ feeds me, and provides for all I need. It's tough when you are hit by that hateful arrow- and it's tough when you shoot that arrow yourself. But look to the light. Look to the light and change.
Lord, show me the light of love and compassion you have for all your creatures. Teach me this day. Give me a caring compassionate and loving heart towards all I meet. -- Amen

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Cry out to God-Touch Him-Give yourself and Dance in the Morning

Cry out to God-Touch Him- Give yourself and Dance in the Morning
July 16, 2006
Psalm 30
Lamentations 3:22-33
2 Corinthians 8:1-9, 13-14
Mark 5:21-34
Lord, use me this day to shout your Word in all places. ? Amen
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Have you ever experienced silence? I mean total silence. Let?s try?.
(be silent for 30 seconds)
OK- Did you hear silence? ? What did you hear? (ask for responses)
The only time I have come close to total silence was when I was on a hike in the Smokies. I had gone far up into the mountains and sat on a log to pray. I stopped and noticed that all the birds had stopped singing. I listened and listened and couldn?t hear a thing but my own breathing. Then a jet flew overhead and broke that form of silence. But even with this I did not experience silence. Our Psalmist for today is speaking of this type of silence. A silence that takes us close to death- Silent oblivion.
Oblivion- being totally forgotten ? and here we talk about silent oblivion. I think this must have felt like the farthest place from God.
And then we cry. So far from God we cry. What profit is there in my death? Why do I feel so far from God? I need you Lord, so badly! If I die will my dust praise you?
Life is tough sometimes. Look at our hospitals. Look at all the suffering surrounding you this day. Read the newspapers about war- about murder- about death ? about destruction- unemployment ? rape- -- any number of issues.
(show yesterday?s paper- examples- real examples)
We cry to God?why? Why does it have to be this way ? and sometimes we hear silence. Sometimes we can?t hear God. We listen and only hear silence. I think sometimes God falls silent for a very good reason. In Revelation chapter 8 there is mention of silence in heaven for about half an hour. We just experienced 30 seconds?and it really wasn?t silent.
God hears our cry-no doubt ? but sometimes the response is silence- In our cry God will respond- but for now there is silence.
It seems that whenever God falls silent- something big is about to happen- something really big.
Just think of a couple examples- The still small voice of God to Elijah
And my favorite example hearkens back to the song Silent Night- Something big about to happen- things are quiet now ? but just wait?just wait.
But how do I tend to respond to this silence- this oblivion from God? I like so many others reach out- reach out to God- ask the questions- plead my case- reach out to God ? look in his Word- search and search and search ? continue to listen- if only I could touch the edge of his cloak I would be healed---if only- if only!
But I can?t reach him- He is just beyond me reach- I stretch trying to reach him and then something happens.
My Savior draws near- my Savior comes to me- my Savior crosses my path.
You see ? I couldn?t reach him with my own effort. Never could- never will. I can only reach my Savior due to his presence and choosing to come close to me. It?s wonderful. Jesus chooses to come close to us. We can?t reach him- but he lovingly reaches us.
And then?.
And then it happens ? the touch- I touch his cloak ? I hear his voice- I read his Word- The silence is broken- the touch is felt. Healing is coming. Things are changing. Something big is taking place in me. Something big is taking place all around me. That touch!
In Mark ? Jesus was touched by a woman that suffered from bleeding. In Jewish law- this woman?s touch would render Jesus "unclean". And Jesus aware that power had gone out from him questioned who touched his clothes. Imagine the fear this woman had felt. She felt healing yet Jesus wanted to know who touched him. The woman had been living a life declared "unclean" by Jewish law. She had touched Jesus and been healed. But now had she made Jesus unclean too? I don?t think so. So in this touch. This touch of a Savior drawing near enough for the woman to reach out and finally make contact- She is healed.
And in this touch you too can be healed- you too can feel the healing taking place instantly.
This touch of Jesus ? this healing saving touch of my Savior - I am healed- God breaks open the heavens and reaches down- God comes down to us- to save us- to be touched by the filthy- to be touched by the unclean-? God invades our sinful- filthy bloody lives with forgiveness and salvation. You see ? it?s God?s touch in our lives that heals us - we must humble ourselves in God?s presence and feel the touch?feel it deep- deep in the heart of our soul- because God?s touch is from deep within his soul to us- to you to me.
So there it is ? that touch- from the healing power of his Word- the Word made flesh- the Word that dwells among us- the Word that comes close enough for each one of us to be able to reach out and touch- the Word in a Savior Jesus Christ
You see- God will always be close enough for me to reach out and touch- God breaks the silence with something big- God makes something big take place just when I need it- just after the silence that caused me to reach out- in that silence I reach out to God then he is close- so close- close enough that if I have faith in him- healing will occur. If I believe in Jesus healing power with all I have ? I know- I just know it! ? Jesus will heal- Healing that all of us need. Healing that we need from our sinful selves and this sinful world we live in. Healing that brings a joyful freedom.
Jesus told the woman that her faith had made her well?now go! ? Go! ? what a wonderful thing to say- Jesus felt his power go out to this unclean woman- Jesus didn?t become unclean too- his very cleanness instead cleaned the woman- healed the woman ? and freed her from this Jewish law- Instead of Jesus becoming unclean- the woman became clean.
Oh how my Savior turns it all around. Even the Law- My Savior turns it all around. In this faith- In this Savior we are free- we are clean we are given a new command ? Go! ? Go in peace!
In this healing I can only respond with giving. Giving myself completely to my Savior. Giving myself first to the Lord. That?s the giving the churches in Macedonia experienced. They gave themselves first to the Lord- Jesus gave up all his riches and became poor, so that you could become rich- So give beyond your means- beg to give and share in ministry- giving that simply flows out of the purposes of God working in your life. Give God?s love and light to each other. Give that touch of God to your neighbor when they need it most. Share the peace of God in that touch- Think back to how we just shared the peace and give that touch ? that comfort- that love- that healing to each other. Give beyond your means- because you are a redeemed child of God- Give it ? and give it freely.
The grace of God is freely given, undeserved favor and forgiveness that God offers through Christ to those who will accept it in faith- it is always to be bestowed- never a human achievement- through what you endure- discover the reality of God?s love and power- it is when faith exact hardship or sacrifice that a hidden treasure is revealed in God?s grace. Give it freely in your world ? today and all week long. From that cry of silent oblivion to this joyful giving we rejoice.

We rejoice and we dance. Now that we have felt the touch- now that we have felt the healing- now that we have felt the forgiveness ? now that we have given ourselves- let?s dance- let?s dance with each other all week long- let?s dance this day the dance of life ? because out of mourning our Savior has allowed us to touch him we have been brought up- restored and joyful dancing comes in the morning of our new lives-
Can?t keep silent now?no way! ? We can?t keep quiet about God- and we can?t thank him enough!
Sometimes you have to reach your lowest point- silent oblivion and cry out to God- Reach out and touch his cloak-Believe with all you have- Give yourself up- And there will be dancing in the morning.
Thanks be to God! ?
Now let?s listen in that silence once again. ? There it is! ? I hear it now! ? I hear life- I hear love- I hear my Savior.
Now let?s share that peace- that love of God- that touch once again- like you all do so well- each and every one. Let?s dance in the joy of the morning!
The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Out of the depths I cry--Will I also cry the Gospel from the ends of the earth?

Out of the depths I cry
Will I also cry the Gospel from the ends of the earth?
June 25, 2006
Psalm 61.1-5, 8
Genesis 3.9-15
2 Corinthians 4.13-18
Mark 3.20-35

Lord, use my lips, use my voice, and use my mind, to provide your Word this day. ? Amen
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
2-Cigar story
Have you ever been caught doing something wrong?
I asked this question to my family. It?s funny how we could all reflect on a time we were caught. Maybe even confess a thing or two that one of us didn?t even know about now. Think about a time that you were caught. Put yourself back in that story. Get a feel for that time and what emotions you were going through.
Two young brothers gathered together on a summer morning years ago when life was simple and summers were easy. The older of the two boys, maybe about twelve or thirteen years old finds a discarded cigar butt in the gutter in front of the house. He dares his younger brother who is about five years old to smoke the cigar butt. The boy begins to think.
You see the younger of the two brothers had been secretly smoking a cigarette or two with the Tate boys from across the street. They would hide in the bushes and sneak a smoke now and then. The older brother, Jimmy, never approved of his younger brother smoking. But today, Jimmy thought it would be fun to toy with his brother.
The younger brother takes the dare. Smokes the cigar butt and feels big about it. Until?
Later in the day the Father asks the younger brother, Billy, if he had smoked a cigar earlier in the day. Caught! Billy confessed that he had; but told his Dad that Jimmy made him do it. Jimmy dared him to smoke the cigar. None of that mattered. I was punished.

Well, that?s a true story and I was guilty at the young age of five. I figured for sure that Jim had set me up and ratted me out to Dad to be cruel. But years later, Jim has no memory of the event. Maybe he didn?t tell Dad. Maybe my feeling that Jim set me up was just my own excuse for my wrongful actions.
Does this story sound familiar?
Not too far from a man- a woman- a snake- and our Creator.

3-Hearing God walk
When Adam was caught, he heard God walking in the garden. Have you ever heard someone walking?
Most of the time we don?t pay a bit attention to the sound of someone walking. But when we are hiding in fear of being found?you can hear the walk.
How about a time when you were playing hide and seek. You were hiding. The person who was "it" is approaching your hiding place. You hear the walk. And it sounds really loud. Louder and louder?closer and closer?till you can?t stand it anymore and you have to run like a bolt of lightening towards base.
I can imagine that was how Adam felt when he heard God walking in the garden towards him. I can imagine how Adam wanted to bolt and run.
4-Hearing God speak
And God called to Adam?"Where are you?" ? Come on! God knew just where Adam was!
This call of God in the word "cry" comes from the Hebrew verb kaw-raw? which means to cry or utter a loud sound.
Adam hears God?s voice and Adam knows that he has sinned. Adam?s mind goes into high gear. He needs to shed his guilt. He needs to point the blame elsewhere. He needs an excuse.
But really there is none.
5-my cry of sin
In the reading from Psalm 61 the Psalmist cries to God. Things are reversed now. First God cried out to Adam. Now the cry goes up to God. The Psalmists cry comes from another Hebrew word rinnaw, which is a ringing cry. A cry is a lament that comes from the end of the earth, where the earth ends and the underworld begins, where life ends and death begins. And in this cry there is a correlation between suffering and spiritual insight. Between loneliness and fear. The place where one feels utterly alone.
And I can imagine that Adam felt like the Psalmist at this point. Utterly alone. Caught in his sin. No decent excuse to be had. He took the dare and smoked the cigar. Adam caught!

6-Naked stick man
(Draw the stick man on a poster board)
Adam felt like this man here.
A new pastor moved into town and went out one Saturday to visit his parishioners. All went well until he came to one house. It was obvious that someone was home, but no one came to the door even after he had knocked several times. Finally, he took out his card, wrote on the back "Revelation 3:20" and stuck it in the door.
The next day, as he was counting the offering, he found his card in the collection plate. Below his message was a notation "Genesis 3:10."

Revelation 3:20 reads: Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.

Genesis 3:10 reads: He said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."
Now I just created this "stick" man. Does he know that he is naked? How does he even know what naked means? If I haven?t created clothing for him how does he even know the difference?
Now that Adam and Bill have been exposed to sin. They know the difference between good and evil. It was so much better when we only knew good. But things have changed now. I have sinned and I know what naked before God feels like. Guilt ? Shame- Deception- Blame.
Naked "stick" men.
7-Hearing God walk
Yet even today ? in my sin- I can hear God walk. God walks to me in Spirit- God walks to me in flesh ? God comes to me in Jesus my Savior. In my sin, I can hear God walk. Day after day I can hear him walking beside me. But this walk doesn?t seem to scare and frighten me. This walk brings comfort.
Jesus walked with people on this earth years ago. He walked and came to us to heal us. To relieve us from our sin and evil ways. He walked and still does walk with each one of us here today throughout life.
Yea- I still am naked before my Savior- but Jesus is with me in the guilt ? Jesus stays with me in the shame- Jesus has compassion for my pain and releases me to live in his grace.

8-Hearing God's grace
And in his grace I hear the voice of God singing loud and clear. I know you have sinned. But I love you anyway. I give my life for you and forgive your sin. I come to you to offer you life and salvation, love and joy, peace and harmony.
9-Confronting my sin
You see Jesus was good at confrontation. Just as he confronted the Religious Authorities accusing him of having an evil spirit. Just as he confronted family who thought he was mad. Jesus in the same way confronts my sin. And I must confront my sin also. I must smell the stench of that cigar. I must confess to God what I have done. I must own up to my sin. I must humble myself and put all my trust and hope and faith in the salvation that God has to freely offer through Jesus.
10-Feeling God's grace
And it?s in God?s grace that I feel my nakedness. I feel the depth of his love. I feel the pain Jesus had to suffer for my transgressions. I feel the love he has offered. But I cannot understand it. I cannot by my own understanding or effort believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to him. You see?He came to me! God walks to me and walks with me. But I do know that the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and kept me in true faith. In the same way he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it united with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church day after day he fully forgives my sins and the sins of all believers. On the last day he will raise me and all the dead and give me and all believers in Christ eternal life. This is most certainly true. ? There is some Luther- but more so there is some Savior Jesus Christ!
11-Responding in Love
Wow! I can only respond to that unfathomable love with joy and thanksgiving. Service and love. And as the Psalmist reply was---
So I will always sing praises to your name, as I pay my vows day after day.
12-Living God's promise
I think that Jesus was there that day too with Adam in the garden. There was another tree in that garden that day ? a different tree from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ? that "other" tree mention in Genesis 3.22 the tree of life?
Yep there is Jesus! ? The tree of life ? The tree in God?s garden.
And in this tree of life is the Word for today.
And in the presence of this "Tree of Life" ? in the presence of our Savoir Jesus Christ we are free to live God?s promise of forgiveness- free to live and serve in his Kingdom. Day after day.
Out of the depths I cry
I will also cry the Gospel from the ends of the earth!

I would like to play for you now my favorite hymn
There in God?s garden stands the Tree of Wisdom, whose leaves hold forth the healing of the nations: Tree of all knowledge, Tree of all compassion, Tree of all beauty.
Its name is Jesus, name that says, "Our Savior!" There on its branches see the scars of suff?ring: see where the tendrils of our human self-hood feed on its life blood.
Thorns not his own are tangled in its foliage; our greed has starved it, our despite has choked it. Yet, look! It lives! Its grief has not destroyed it nor fire consumed it.
See how its branches reach to us in welcome; hear what the Voice says, "Come to me, ye weary! Give me your sickness, give me all your sorrow, I will give blessing.
This is my ending, this my resurrection; into your hands, Lord, I commit my spirit. This have I searched for; now I can possess it. This ground is holy.
All heav?n is singing, "Thanks to Christ whose Passion offers in mercy healing, strength, and pardon. Peoples and nations, take it, take it freely!" Amen! My Master!

Take it, take it freely!" Amen! My Master!

July 20th Daily Word and Visions from God

1 Corinthians 7.25-40-This world as you see it is on its way out.
1 Kings 21- When Jezebel got word that Naboth had been stoned to death, she told Ahab, "Go for it, Ahab..."
Amos 5-So seek GOD and live!
Tobit 13.3-7-acknowledge him at the top of your voice.
Psalm 23-You treat me to a feast, while my enemies watch.
A crane lifting air conditioning units from the ground to the roof. Extensions and weights use to counterbalance the weight and skilled lifts by an operator and rigging crew. Reaching far into the air and over the roof to skillfully place the load in a specific spot. This is the world as I saw it on this day. Views from the ground. Views from the roof. A hot and long day. God's world none the less. A beautiful world in vision, in heat, in breezes, in the work of some men. But this world is on its way out. God has other plans for me than placing air conditioning on roofs. God has a plan for his Kingdom and his world and it involves me. But it won't involve those who plot and plan to keep their places in this world. Who work on themselves, and their own selfish plans. My plans aren't God's plans. So I must watch and listen and make sure that my actions are actions taken with God as the Master Planner and never place my plans in front of his. Jezebel and King Ahab were planning to get a vineyard in just this way. Their plans. Not God's plans. No! I must listen and seek God and live. Acknowledge God, not myself or anyone else, and live. And in this, in this, I will see God take care of my enemies for me. I won't have to deal with all that because God promises a feast. Oh what a final feast that will be...all according to God's plans.
Lord, let me put my plans aside and follow yours. -- Amen

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

July 19th Daily Word and Visions from God

1 Corinthians 7.1-24-The really important thing is obeying God's call, following his commands.
1 Kings 20- Then GOD stepped in and spoke...
Amos 4.4-13-But you never got thirsty for me.
Tobit 13.1-2-and there is nothing that can escape his hand.
Numbers 16.36-50-Those men died because of their sin...
A pot of coffee. Freshly brewed. Time to stop. Time for prayer and devotions. Time to be alert. Time to listen to God speak. In his Word and through others. The really important thing is obeying God's call, following his commands. A pot of coffee in the morning and at evening both lead into this conversation. In my room and with my wife and both cases with God present. God steps in and speaks. And we get thirsty. Thirsty for the voice and call of God in our lives. Nothing passes by God unnoticed. And in this we are forgiven. Forgiven and we die to our sin. Thanks be to God. A pot of coffee that leads to God.
Lord, lead me this day- I'm listening- I'm following you- I'm praying in your love for all your people. ---Amen

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

July 18th Daily Word and Visions from God

1 Corinthians 6-Wouldn't it be far better to just take it, to let yourselves be wronged and forget it?
1 Kings 19-A quiet voice asked, "So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?"
Amos 3.3-4.3-Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren't going to the same place?
Numbers 16.20-35-But the two men bowed down and prayed...
A place of multiple communication. Even communication devices out and behind this picture. Telephone, e-mail, computer files, internet, blogs, radio, books, and on and on... But the most significant form of communication that takes place here is prayer. Prayer and conversation with God. Prayer through reflection on his Word. Prayer through reflection and supplication on behalf of friends. Prayer and supplication on behalf of those who are wronged by me and who wrong me in intention. Prayers of thanksgiving. Prayers of praise. Prayers in silence. Prayers in hearing that quiet voice. Prayers of two people. Prayers and visions of the family of God hand in hand going to the same place. Let us pray...
Lord, I give you thanks for the day. I give you thanks for new life today. You are God. King of all. All creation sings your praise. You, I worship. You, I adore. You, I love. As I breathe in life this day, fill me with your Spirit. Forgive me the wrongs I have committed towards you and your people. Renew me and restore me to your presence. Provide for all I need this day. Give me your work, give me your joy. I want to serve you out of love. I want to do what you would have me do. I give my life to you. Use me as you see fit. I listen for your voice and will follow. And I give you everlasting thanks and praise for your Son Jesus Christ and all your provisions. Yes, you are God my God! -- Amen

Monday, July 17, 2006

July 17th Daily Word and Visions from God

1 Corinthians 5-You can't just go along with this, treating it as acceptable behavior.
1 Kings 18-Oh yes a cloud! But very small, no bigger than someone's hand, rising out of the sea.
Amos 2.1-3.2-Out of all families on earth, I picked you.
Tobit 12.11-22-So now get up from the ground and acknowledge God.
Numbers 16.1-19-You know the God of Israel has chosen you...
The road was closed to church Sunday. The church at a sharp turn in the road. You have to go a different route to get to church. Not along this main path. No, it doesn't seem to be acceptable but if you are persistent your path to church will still exist. Go around for now, that road will reopen some other time. Go around to that steeple rising out of the middle of the trees. Go around and see and hear the Word of God. Go around and feel God's presence in the journey. Sometimes the journey with and to God is not simple. Sometimes God leads us down a different path. A less traveled path. But go! Go as God leads us and draws us to him. To his glory. To that steeple that points to the awesome glory of God. Get off the ground and acknowledge God even if it is a little more difficult. Because God has chosen you. God wants you to touch him and be healed. God is always with you. So just go!
Lord, I see you coming near. Near enough for me to reach out and touch. I will touch and I will go as you have commanded. Even if the road is a little difficult.-- Amen

Sunday, July 16, 2006

July 16th Daily Word and Visions from God

1 Corinthians 4-So what's the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need. You already have more access to God than you can handle.
1 Kings 17-Then GOD spoke to him: "Get up and go..."
Amos 1-The message of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa, that he received on behalf of Israel. It came to him in visions...
Tobit 12.6-10-Bless God and acknowledge him in the presence of all the living for the good things he has done for you.
Mark 6.14-29-At once her ordered a guard to cut off John's head there in prison.
You ever wonder what it must be like to be the basketball hoop. People stare at you and throw things at you. You are helpless to block the things they throw. Then the people get all excited when what they throw at you passes through you. They fight over getting close to you. The really big tall guys just love to beat on you and hang from you and swing like monkeys from you. They compete to be in your presence. Then once they have used you they run away to as far away as you can see to one of your brothers at the other end of the world and do the same to him. As a basketball hoop, I'm totally dependent on my creator. The only thing I get new from time to time is a new skirt now and then. But I guess it's not all that bad. I get attention about half of the time and when they are through passing this big round thing through me everyone around cheers for me. So for this I give God, my creator, all the honor and glory. Sometimes I like to talk to those guys running at me. When that round thing is a little off the mark, I won't let it pass through. But I'll bounce that round thing off of myself in all sorts of ways and watch them all scramble in different directions so they can try again. I gotta let a lot of stuff bounce off of me. If I took all the times that round thing was thrown at me to heart, as an attack against me, I wouldn't be able to go on with my life. So I let it bounce off. But the times that round thing goes through me. It's really so easy and nice. Nothing to it. And that round thing makes a real nice "swish" noise when it passes through my skirt. I think God gives those times to me too. Times when it's real easy. Swish - then they cheer and run away. God gives nice gifts all the time. The more of those good times God gives me the louder the crowd cheers too. They really like me on those days. Then I have these visions. Sometimes they are great. A guy stands in front of me. Looks at me real real hard. Concentrates and everyone is lined up looking at the guy then me. He throws the round thing and everyone looks like they are going to attack me! And they do if I bounce the round thing back. But if the round thing goes "swish" through my skirt, they all jump back and either run down to the other end to my brother or line up again. Sometimes those visions scare me! But the best part is at the end. They are so happy that they decide to cut my skirt off of me and wave it in the air. It's a celebration I just don't get. A little embarrassing being naked in front of all those cheering people. But really kind of erotic too!
Lord, use me this day in life. Pass through me. Display me naked to the world in your glory and praise. Help me as you bounce around and on and through me and lead me to your glorious life in this world of play. You are God and all the glory is yours! Thanks be to God for the victory you have won! -- Amen

Saturday, July 15, 2006

July 15th Daily Word and Visions from God

1 Corinthians 3-Be God's fool--that's the path to true wisdom.
1 Kings 15.33-16.34-I took you from nothing-- a complete nobody-- and set you up as the leader of my people Israel...
Joel 3-But I'm going to reverse your crime.
Ephesians 1.3-14-Then when the time is right, God will do all that he has planned, and Christ will bring together everything in heaven and on earth. God always does what he plans, and that's why he had Christ choose us.
A wrist band from a Promise Keepers event in Columbus resting on the Word of God. The wrist band says "Unleashed" - Realizing the raw power of your heart. Realizing and unleashing that power of the cross etched in and through my heart. The power of Christ active and alive in and through me. Unleashed into the world through me because of the grace of God. God's fool-unleashed. God who takes me from nothing, a complete nobody, and loves me like no other. Loves me and makes me special. Gives me all I need. Reverses the crimes I commit and forgives my sin. Then at just the right time he unleashes his power through and in me to do all that he has planned. My heart completely and fully unleashed when I joyfully and willingly serve others in love in his name. Thanks be to God!
Lord, use me to do your will- what ever you have planned- anything and everything- I'm ready -- Amen

Friday, July 14, 2006

July 14th Daily Word and Visions from God

July 14th Daily Word and Visions from God
1 Corinthians 2-God's Spirit and God's power did it, which make it clear that your life of faith is a response to God's power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.
1 Kings 15.1-32-he followed in the footsteps of his father...
Joel 2.12-32-Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to GOD, your God.
Tobit 12.1-5-For he has led me back to you safely...
Amos 7.7-15-But the LORD told me to leave my herds and preach to the people of Israel.

A pair of shoes. Retired for the day. Waiting for the next day and a call to duty. A call to protect the feet. To aid in travel. Just some work boots. Nothing fancy. God brings his message to me like this too. It's through God's Spirit and power that I hear and see a clear life of faith. It's a response to God's power that I make. I don't respond to some fancy footwork of some theologian. Most of the time I see and hear God in the day to day activity of people and nature and God active all around. I may see God in a memory of a parent. I may see God in the footsteps of my earthly father. Hear and learn from a story in his past. In this walk of life I hear God calling me to change. To come back to him. To be with him, day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute. God will lead me all lifelong safely. Lead me in some simple work boots. And maybe, just maybe, call me to leave my herd and do something for him. I think as I wear these work boots each day, I'll listen for God's call to action. I'm sure he will lead me through the day.

Lord, lead me this day as these work boots follow in the footsteps of your sandals. -- Amen

Thursday, July 13, 2006

July 13th Daily Word and Visions from God

July 13th Daily Word and Visions from God
1 Corinthians 1.18-31-If you're going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.
1 Kings 14-...what he said and did, is all written in "The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah"
Joel 2.1-11-Who can possibly survive this?
Psalm 85.8-13-Love and loyalty will come together...

A lit candle. Red melted wax. The light of the flame. Hot enough to melt the wax. The wax a fuel for the flame. Red of blood-light of Christ-the wax of life melting away in the presence of the heat of light. Like the candle so would sound be- announcing God- the Light announces God and sound would be a trumpet announcing his glory. Like the Light and the Trumpet, the Bible records writings of God active in the lives of people. All sorts of people. God humbling himself and loving people. But I stray- I wander from the Light- I try to avoid the heat- Who can possibly survive this? - I can survive this only through the red blood- the heat of the flame - and the life of Jesus- his sacrifice for my sin- releases me from death- And in this I will survive. The grace of Christ allows my salvation. Nothing that I can do will allow my salvation. Only the love and loyalty of Christ. The flame in the center of the red candle.

Lord, it's all about you- I love you and praise you and will glorify you all my life. -- Amen

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

July 12th Daily Word and Visions from God

July 12th Daily Word and Visions from God
1 Corinthians 1.1-17-All God's gifts are right in front of you as your wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale.
1 Kings 12.32-13.34-a holy man came from Judah by GOD's command and preached...
Joel 1-Don't let this message die out.
Tobit 11.15b-18-So Tobit went in rejoicing and praising God at the top of his voice.
Numbers 13.1-3, 21-Choose a leader from each tribe and send them...

A blurred vision of a church in the midst of this world. Blurred through the water and windshield of noon rain on the car. Blurred with the tint of the windshield. But still the same a church in the world. In our world of electricity, cars, and hustle and bustle of lunch time at an office building. A church in the midst of the world today. Covered in the summer rains of God's Grace. Covered in the waters of our Baptism. Water and the Word together in this vision of a church in the middle of the day, in the middle of the noon rush, in the middle of a summer rain shower, in the middle of life. Jesus breaks into my world and moves into the middle of it too. Jesus, God's gift of Life, right in from on me. As I wait for Jesus to return for the great Finale, I open my blurry eyes and realize that here he is, with me here and now. As I look I see a holy man giving a message all around me and in me. Jesus working on me from the inside out. Working on me and leading me to proclaim the message of Love and Grace to all generations so that he never dies out-- never, ever. This work is wonderful. This is a wonderful choosing of me by God. It makes me want to praise him at the top of my voice. In the midst of the summer shower. In the midst of the hectic intersection. In the midst of the church right through and in the midst of my baptismal font. Thanks be to God for being in the midst of Life!

Lord, lead and guide me this day- right in the midst of things. --- Amen

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

July 11th Daily Word and Visions from God

July 11th Daily Word and Visions from God
Mark 16-Later he appeared, but in a different form, to two of them walking in the countryside.
1 Kings 12.1-31-Give me three days to think it over then come back.
Hosea 14-Everything you need is to be found in me.
Tobit 11.5-15a-I see you my son, the light of my eyes!
Numbers 12.1-16-I, the LORD, speak to prophets in visions and dreams.

A loyal friend. One who is always there. Never feel any judgment. One who comes when she thinks I'm dead. When I return from a trip; I suspect Sadie thinks I have died. But she greets me with the joy of life and happiness and love. When I meet the resurrected Jesus, I feel like this. My joy and love for the living Savior overflow. I can't help myself. Sometimes three days can feel like an eternity. I thought for sure he was dead. But now here he is alive and well. Walking, in a different form, with the two of us. Everything I need is in Jesus, the light of my eyes. When I see my risen Savior, I can really see once again. The scales fall from my eyes and the visions and dreams are abundant. Thanks be to God for the risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

Lord, thanks for your presence this day- shine your light brightly this day. -- Amen

Monday, July 10, 2006

July 10th Daily Word and Visions from God

July 10th Daily Word and Visions from God
Mark 15.21-47-People passing along the road jeered...
1 Kings 11-The two of them were on that remote stretch of road.
Hosea 13-I'm still your GOD...
Tobit 11.1b-4-And the dog went along behind them.
Numbers 9.15-23, 10.29-36-And the cloud always stayed with them.

A fast food joint. A stop along the way to quickly pick up some food. At Jesus' crucifixion people were passing by. I wonder if they stopped to really think along their way. Were they in a hurry? Did they know the impact of what was taking place. I suspect not. I get this way too. In a hurry. Want the food now so I can move on to the next task. Move on in some hurry to something else. And as I hurry, I forget that cloud that is with me. Forget about God's presence. Do I stop and give thanks for my food? Sometimes not. Did those people stop and give thanks for the body and blood of Christ along the road where they jeered? I think not. But I must stop. I must stop and take notice of my Savior. He IS God! God always with us. Even in a hurry. Jesus is God with me even on the remote roads where I meet a friend. Jesus is God with me as my dogs walk behind me. I must stop and see and hear and give thanks for God's presence. Even as I hurry along the road to the fast food joint. Stop and see God!

Lord, slow me down today-may I see you, hear you and know your presence. Thanks for the journey through your Kingdom. -- Amen

Sunday, July 09, 2006

July 9th Daily Word and Visions from God

July 9th Daily Word and Visions from God
Mark 15.1-20-So what do I do with this man you call King of the Jews?
1 Kings 10-The Queen of Sheba heard about Solomon and his connection with the Name of GOD.
Hosea 11.12-12.14-What are you waiting for? Return to your God! Commit yourself in love, in justice! Wait for your God, and don't give up on him-- ever!
Tobit 10.7b-11.1a-May we all prosper together all the days of our lives.
Mark 6.1-13-How can he do all this? Where did he get such wisdom and power to work these miracles?

Ceasar's Creek, a man-made lake, but now a peaceful and fun place for recreation. It has been recreation too. God re-creating. Not that it wasn't right to begin with- but now a place to go and restore myself. God gives these times and makes me take them. Let's me see Jesus all around once again. That's who I call the King of the Jews. My Savior and my Re-Creator. He re-creates me from the sinful man I am to a new person in him. To serve him in his Kingdom. Re-created to be known and connected with his name as a called Child of God-- as a Christian. Re-created through the waters of my baptism and called to a life with God. May we all prosper together. Prosper together in the Kingdom of God. How can Jesus do all this? I don't know, but he does. And I will thank God for the opportunity to be re-created in him.

Lord, re-create me this day and send me out in your holy name. -- Amen

Saturday, July 08, 2006

July 8th Daily Word and Visions from God

July 8th Daily Word and Visions from God

Mark 14.32-72-Sit here while I pray.
1 Kings 9-I've listened to and received all your prayers, your ever-so-passionate prayers.
Hosea 11.1-11-The people will end up following GOD.
Tobit 10.1-7a-Be quiet and stop worrying?
2 Corinthians 12.2-10-My kindness is all you need.

A temporary place to eat. A campsite. Also a place to pray. To feed on God's Word. A place to sit and pray in the silence and the wonderful noise of nature. Conversations with God can take place anywhere and anytime. It's comforting to hear his voice and know that you will follow. To be quiet and stop worrying. And to feed on God's kindness. It's all I need.

Lord, thank you for times to rest and pray. I will follow you. You are all I need. -- Amen

Friday, July 07, 2006

July 7th Daily Word and Visions from God

July 7th Daily Word and Visions from God
Mark 14.1-31-He will show you a spacious second-story room, swept and ready.
1 Kings 8-Give what each deserves, for you know each life from the inside (you're the only one with such "inside knowledge:!) so that they'll live before you in life-long reverent and believing obedience on this land you gave our ancestors.
Hosea 9.17-10.15-It's time to till the ready earth, it's time to dig in with GOD, Until he arrives with righteousness ripe for harvest.
Ezekiel 2.1-5-...I want you to stand up and listen.

A mail box. A place that communication arrives to a home. Much of it impersonal and just junk. But the best of which is a personal note from a friend or family. A welcome place with a few flowers and an address as a name tag. Jesus has such a special place prepared for us. A place to communicate with me. A place in the upper room. Swept clean and ready for communication and love with friends and with Jesus. An upper room where the Spirit resides and the Body and Blood of Life are freely given. An upper room that works from the inside out where God knows all about me and fulfills all my needs. An upper room where I can dig in with God. An upper room where he arrives for the harvest. An upper room where I stand up and listen or kneel down and pray. A place that communication arrives to a home. But here all the junk mail is absent and only the love of God resides. Thanks be to God for the upper room.

Lord, welcome to my upper room. Come stay a while. --- Amen

Thursday, July 06, 2006

July 6th Daily Word and Visions from God

July 6th Daily Word and Visions from God

Mark 13.14-37-Stay at your post. Keep watch.
1 Kings 7-Solomon was also responsible for all the furniture and accessories in The Temple of GOD...
Hosea 9.1-16-Time's up.
Tobit 8.19-9.6-So they began to make preparations.
Psalm 123-Please have mercy, LORD!

A bowl and a mixer. A typical kitchen item or an accessory to the kitchen. It is at it's post and waiting to be put to use. Put to use blending ingredients to be baked into a new creation. Ingredients that will be combined separately into something new. Like Christians...we wait. We wait in all the hope and glory God has given us. We wait as individuals but we also wait as the combined group of the Church. Wait for time to be up. But not only wait. We work together to show the world God's creative and saving glory. As individuals but more importantly we wait as the Church. We make preparations for Christ's return. And as we wait we beg God to have and show mercy to us. Ingredients waiting. Ingredients mixed together in the Church to the creative glory of God.

Lord, mix the gifts you have given me with others to your glory this day. -- Amen

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

July 5th Daily Word and Visions from God

July 5th Daily Word and Visions from God
Mark 13.1-13-Stay with it--that's what is required.
1 Kings 6-About this Temple you are building--what's important is that you live the way I've set out for you and do what I tell you, following my instructions carefully and obediently.
Hosea 8-Blow the trumpet! Sound the alarm!
Tobit 7.16-8.18-Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors, and blessed is your name in all generations forever.
Ecclesiastes 9.11-18-So I decided that wisdom is better than strength...

A place to rest. To curl up and take a nap. A place to get comfortable and warm. Then after refreshment. After restoration it's time to get up and stay with it. Blow the trumpet and sound the alarm! Time to get up and go for God. That's what God requires. God grants the rest and restoration we need and then life in him goes on. We continue to build the temple. We continue to do what God instructs us to do with our lives. And this has been going on for generations. God has blessed us with his calling and gifts all through time. And in this blessing God grants the wisdom and strength we need to carry on his work for his purpose.

Lord, use me this day and thanks for the time to restore. -- Amen

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

July 4th Daily Word and Visions from God

July 4th Daily Word and Visions from God
Mark 12.28-44-You're almost there, right on the border of God's kingdom.
1 Kings 4-5-God gave Solomon wisdom-- the deepest of understanding and the largest of hearts.
Hosea 7.3-16-I'm the one who gave them good minds and healthy bodies...
Tobit 7.8b-15-And may the God of heaven prosper your journey with his peace.
Ecclesiastes 8.14-9.10-We may be wise, but no matter how much we try or how much we claim to know, we cannot understand it all.

A place of study. A place of prayer and devotion. A place to pay bills. A place to learn. A place where I am close to God. A place to see God's creation. Sometimes a place of chaos. Sometimes a place to fret and worry. Sometimes a place to cry. But still a place. Sometimes a place right on the border of God's kingdom. Sometimes a place to discover a good mind and healthy body. A place in heaven where I can prosper and journey in peace. A place to be wise. And a place to discover I cannot understand it all. A place to see mystery. A place to see Christ. A place to hear God. A place where God creates life out of chaos. A place. A Life.

Jesus, welcome to my place.... Amen