Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 31st Hymn by Bill Lynch

Holy God, We Praise Your Name

Holy God, we praise your name; Lord of all, we
 bow before you. All on earth your scepter claim,
 all in heav'n above adore you, Infinite your
 vast domain, everlasting is your reign.

verse 1 - Text: source unknown; tr. Clarence A. Walworth, 1820-1900

Hymn text Bill Lynch

We honor the Trinity.
We praise you most Holy Three.

The Son presents us to the Father.
And in Spirit we know Mother.

The Son redeems and saves all
As we act upon our call.

We give you all thanks and glory that you have saved us, presented us in relationship to you and gather, called, gifted and enlightened us to take action in your name and in your way... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 30th Reflection by Bill Lynch

What is that? A goat on a ledge looking into a window in downtown Sidney? What kind of thing is that? Who thought that up? How did it get there? Why? I researched the web and couldn't find an answer. I suspect I have some relatives that could explain, but to me, this is a mystery.

Read Romans 8:12-17

The Spirit enables me to call on God. The Spirit enables me to call God my Father. Once I believe, the Spirit goes to work in me. Christ's grace brings me into relationship with the Father through Jesus and the Spirit comes to me, looks in on me, and directs, gifts me and calls me to action. When I cry to my Daddy, I am vulnerable, naked and come to Abba as his little child. I depend on Daddy for everything. In my spirit, I am exposed before God. I live a life as a reproduction of Jesus, in my place and in my time, God's Spirit looks in where I am and uses me.

So, am I the goat looking in or is the Spirit the goat watching over me? I don't know, but the mystery of the goat on the ledge leads me to think of how God cares for me inside the room or outside on the ledge. Thanks be to God!

Lord, bring me into relationship with Father, Son and Spirit that I too may care for another as you have cared and loved me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 29th Psalm of the Day

Read Psalm 29

Psalm of the Day
by Bill Lynch

Look at the show of awesome power!
Feel God's wind begin to blow.
It's slow and smooth then mighty and strong.
Peals of thunder and flashes of lightening
Such a sight to see!

God is powerful in his might.
See the limbs of trees bow down in his presence.
The reckless power of the wind moves forth
All nature hurries to cover in honor of God.
The trees of the mountains dance in joy.

God's might is awesome.
Tress uprooted and limbs are tossed.
God's display has been an awesome sight.
All nature sings glory to God.
Peace rules on the earth again.

Lord, you are powerful and mighty and awesome. Even in the midst of the storm we give you praise and glory. Nature looks to you and bows down. For as violent winds move through our lives, we know the peaceful breezes that you provide in healing and grace. Lead us with you Spirit this day that we may be with those who have experienced tragedy and pain from storms, to the peaceful breath of the Spirit blowing into all life... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28th Reflection by Bill Lynch

"What does that mean?"

Words said by a few people after reading a Facebook post from our daughter Stephanie. Non of us could figure out what the post had to do with the picture.

Read Isaiah 6:1-8

We have a big God. Really big. So big that the hem of his robe fills a temple. I suspect God is even bigger than this though. I suspect God fills everything.

What about those flying snakes? Six wings! Two to cover their faces, two to cover their feet and with two they flew. These guys were some servants of God, and good ones too! They praise God with awesome song and sing of his power and God's vast dominion. And at the praise, the foundation of all creation shakes.

As Isaiah takes in all of this, he proclaims that he is a sinful man. But God uses the sinful and forgives them and calls them and sends them in power to proclaim the message God has for all people. The penalty of sin is paid for by a substitute offered in the sinner's place.

Isaiah proclaims, "Send me!"

"What does that mean?" Wow! God chooses to forgive, call and send us. For sure... Send me!

Thanks be to God!

Lord, you are awesome and holy! Touch my heart with the coal of the fire of your substitute for my sin, Jesus Christ and send me, Lord, send me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 27th Story by Bill Lynch

"You're not finished yet."

"You're not finished yet." John said to his son, Pete. Really you're only about half-way there. "What do you mean?" said Pete.

"It's a little easier to explain with a story." said John.

The rabbits lived together outside the fence of a garden together. The young rabbits lived with the mother rabbit. Father rabbit had run off months ago. At first the mother did all the work, she cleaned, hunted food, fed the young rabbits and kept them safe from harm. This went on for about a month. Then she started taking the rabbits from the nest. The mother made sure the rabbits exercised and were able to cooperate with one another and not fight all the time over this little thing or that. Mother's next step was to show the rabbits where to look for food and what animals to be careful of that were looking for the same food. Then there were those animals that would prey on the rabbits themselves as food. She taught the youthful rabbits how to run away effectively and where to hide while the threat passed. The last resort was always to fight back, but this didn't work so well for rabbits because they really didn't have an effective means of self-defense.

With all of this knowledge in mind the youthful rabbits thought they had it all. But Mother told them that one thing was missing. One huge change had to take place before anything positive could take place beyond just living off of the land. This one thing wasn't something that they could see or be taught by Mother. They could only wait for it and trust it when they know it. Mother had left the youth all she had to teach them about this physical world. The youth needed to believe and trust in what Mother had taught them. They need to know that Mother was Truth. But they also now knew there was something more than Mother to receive.

So they waited. They carried out all of the things that Mother taught them to do and they survived. Then one of the youth gave new life. New life out of nowhere it seems. Sure she had a moment before with the brother of another group nearby but really didn't understand what this was all about. Now she was Mother. Mother to several new lives. Was this what she was waiting for? Was this what her Mother had taught her to wait for and receive? And then it dawned on her. Mother was talking about waiting on life. Life would come to you. Life would come to any of the rabbits directly or indirectly, yes even Pete. New life would be your responsibility nurture. New life would bring an excitement to you like you've never experience. This new life came of of thin air. A new life just blown into the rabbits presence is now a new life to be taught all about the physical aspects of life. And then wait... wait for the spiritual aspects of life. Spirit comes to bring new breath, new life, new cycles of teaching and loving and trusting and giving life for life. What an awesome experience. What an awesome day! Now this young mother understood. We are made creature and spirit by God. There is more to life than what we see. So much more...What a day!

Spirit come. Come to direct new life in and around me. Come and show me the Truth. Come and direct my steps in the steps of Jesus. Jesus has taught how to live with God and one another. Fill me with your Spirit that I may take specific and loving actions that please and honor you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Saturday, May 26, 2012

May 26th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Day of Pentecost
Acts 2:1-21 (NRSV)
Filled with the Spirit 

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power." All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" But others sneered and said, "They are filled with new wine."

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
'In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' 

What a radical change for all this day. The Gospel was heard and understood by all. The Tower of Babel has fallen and now all understand one another and hear God's Word clearly.

But look at Peter! Just months ago he had denied Jesus. Now it all comes together. Peter proclaims that now, without a doubt, Jesus is Lord and Savior for all people. The Spirit of God has come to the earth and is blowing the fire of life and action into all believers. We now go and proclaim with awesome power and strength that God has come in flesh and Spirit to us to give us new life.

What a radical change for all this day and forever. Thanks be to God!

Lord, lead me in the wildness of your life to live for you today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Where did I begin? I'm not sure? When I move all things move too. At least the things I touch move. My strength seems to vary from time to time. Sometimes I'm strong enough to move cars and uproot trees and at other times I can barely make a blade of grass bend.

I wonder most about my source of power. Sometimes I can begin a fire. Many times I sustain the fire. It seems without me the fire dwindles and dies.

I've seen this in the past too. One day I rushed into the house of some people gathered together in fear. I blew a power that was way beyond me into their lives. I finally witnessed my beginning. I witnessed the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came into the lives of these believers of Jesus and they came to life. In fact there were tongues of fire that sprang to life. The promise of Jesus was fulfilled in these disciples. The Holy Spirit blew into their lives and mine that day. I'll never forget it.

Spirit, blow strong into the lives of your people and light the fire of life that they may witness to all the world of your saving grace this day and forever. --- Amen

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24th Hymn by Bill Lynch

Holy Spirit, Truth Divine
Text: Samuel Longfellow, 1819-1892
verse 1

Holy Spirit, truth divine, dawn upon this soul of mine;
breath of God and inward light, wake my spirit, clear my sight.

Hymn of the Day
Text: Bill Lynch

Holy Spirit come in me, let me know your plan for me.
Take my life and make it yours, guide my steps and make them pure.

As I walk this earth with you, show me what to say and do.
You are God and I am man, lead me to the promised land.

Holy Spirit, I turn to you for all the gifts I need to follow in the plan you have for me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23rd Reflection by Bill Lynch

It doesn't do much in and of itself. In fact, this one has been through a hard working, dirty life. But if you apply some electricity to it you'll get a spark and an explosion.

It seems that the coming of the Holy Spirit to us is something like this. When we receive the Spirit into our lives we get an explosion of activity and life. We are gifted and empowered to go tell, witness and act out the values that Jesus demonstrated to us while he was present on this earth.

Sure, we still get dirty and wear out, but look at the joy the Spirit brings. We come to life and live! Thanks be to God!

Lord, send the Spirit into all your disciples that we may explode in life for you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22nd Psalm by Bill Lynch

Look at what you have made!
I look and see trees and hills as far as my eye can see.
And the variety of creation is amazing.
When I'm on the beach I listen to the waves.
The creatures of the sea are so different from those of the land.
Then I look down and see insects of all kinds.
I look up in the day and at night and the scene is so different.
Look at all that man has made of what you created.
I hear jet engines.
I see the x-ray and then the microscope.
What about electricity and all the uses.
Look how man has used the fuels of the earth?

And you know what?
All of this points to you!
My God, Creator, Redeemer, Spirit.
To you alone do I give all the glory.
I sing praises to you and give thanks.
Your glory lasts forever and ever.
All creation is yours.
I pray to you and learn of the Spirit.
Not only are you in all that I see
But you are in all through spirit.
You go beyond the creation that I see
And into spirit.

Breathe your Spirit into me Lord!
Live in me, I pray!
In flesh and in spirit; live.

Reference Psalm 104

Amazing God, how awesome are your works and how wonderful your Spirit. --- Amen

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21st Word by Bill Lynch

"So, how was your vacation?"

Some kind words said to me by many friends after I returned from vacation.

Before Jesus ascended, he spoke to his disciples and told them about the coming of the Holy Spirit (reference John 16). I wonder if the disciples even could understand? I don't think we today begin to understand. But we trust in God and do see, feel and experience the Holy Spirit in our lives daily. Many people feel the presence of Jesus in their lives. We believe in the Word as revealed in the Bible. We witness life, healing and all the miracles of God daily also. I think, most of the time, we choose to ignore or discount miracles of God active in our lives as normal. Why do wounds heal? Why does vegetation grow? Not, how, but why. Why at all?

We also see the evil in this world also. We ourselves, lie, cheat, kill and deny and betray God. So what was Jesus saying? Jesus was telling us that we must live on in this world. He was with the disciples and they didn't need this message while he was still with them, but now he was ascending. When he ascends, his disciples will have to depend on the Holy Spirit to lead and guide. Jesus was flesh and blood, but now we have the Spirit.

We ourselves are flesh and blood and spirit. God in Jesus is flesh and spirit. It's going to be different. We physically see Jesus no more. We now have the Spirit that glorifies Jesus and the Father. And finally, Jesus has given us everything. We are created flesh and spirit and all that Jesus came to this earth for has been revealed to us.

But, there is more. The Spirit will speak truth and guide us throughout this life and into eternal life in spirit and then into our new bodies.

"So, how was your vacation?" Wonderful in the flesh and now in spirit.

Lord, I give you thanks for coming to this earth in flesh and in Spirit. I believe and can't wait for what is to come... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 20th Story by Bill Lynch

The Illusion

Was it only an illusion? Tom was confused by his thoughts over the past few days. It seems like time flies by and then you must return from the mountain top. But this time it just seemed like an illusion. Did he really hike to the top of that mountain and sit for several hours in thought? Or was that just a dream?

There was more to it than just that though. There was a conversation this time with someone else. Someone that showed him all of the world spread at his feet. The scene went on forever it seemed, from mountain peak to mountain peak and over a beautiful river. Tom came to believe that in this conversation there was so much more to life. There was relationship, love, truth, knowledge and life that goes on and on.

Tom was told on this mountain top that a Guide would be sent to give direction. A guide that would provide the words Tom would need in the future. But who was this guy? He seemed so real at one time but now seemed as if an illusion. Tom know he was real, but now that Tom has returned from the mountain top, he only has this vague illusion to remember.

What kind of Guide was this guy talking about? A guide or a teacher or what? And how long was he to wait for more direction. Who says he needed any direction anyway? The guy says in a little while he won't see him and then in a little while he will. A bit of a confusing illusion to ponder. But ponder Tom will.

Lord, I believe... I wait... I know of more than just an illusion... I know of what's real and what's an illusion. Be with those who are confused and need help to know the difference. Guide the minds and the hands of all nurses and doctors that can give the help and nurture that you have gifted them with in order to help those in need. Send your Holy Spirit into the lives of all involved and strengthen each one of us as we wait in faith for your call. --- Amen

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 19th Gospel Reflection by Bill Lynch

Seventh Sunday of Easter
John 17:6-19 (NRSV)
Christ's prayer for his disciples 

"I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.
The name of God is now openly used in Jesus. Once a name not to be uttered aloud has now become a name to be proclaimed and shouted from roof-top to roof-top, from mountain to mountain. The name of Jesus is our way of life and salvation and is to be proclaimed to all God gives to us each day.

The Word of God is given to us in knowledge and faith. Jesus came into this world and has taught his disciples. We gladly sit at his feet and hear the Word. We come in prayer and devotion day after day and read the Word of the Bible and see the glory of Jesus shining brightly from Old Testament through New Testament. We gather in church to hear the Word spoken and see the Word made alive in the Sacraments. Jesus teaches his disciples through all time.

Jesus prays for his disciples. Jesus loves and cares for all creation but especially for those who have come to believe and have faith in him and have become his disciples. Jesus understands the struggles of this world and what we endure for his name. So Jesus prays for his disciples with the love and care of a mother or father for their children.

Jesus gives us the gift of faith and Jesus is the gift. In the disciples belief, Jesus gives faith. We can trust in Jesus and his Word. All he teaches and says to us is truth and life. Jesus lived to give and shows this giving in the giving of his own life on the cross. The suffering and the death to be destroyed by his resurrection. This is the gift of life Jesus gives to us in the promise that his disciples too will be resurrected to live as one with Jesus.

Jesus prays for us as we are in the world and need his prayers. As his disciples we are not given a free pass through this world. We are to live in this world and proclaim to all this wonderful gift of life Jesus has come to give all people. We live in a world of sin, death and evil. We are subject to the wickedness of the devil and his empty promises, but we also understand that Jesus gives us the endurance we will need to spread his graceful message to all those who present themselves and all those of whom we present ourselves to in this life. We can tell of the life Jesus has come to give.

Jesus prays for our unity. Unity as the Father, Son and Spirit have unity and are One. As disciples we are to live in unity with one another. We are Jesus' own and belong to him. We are here to announce new life in Jesus that only God can give. In this unity, we can rejoice together and be strengthened and encourage one another as we live our lives in the midst of sin and evil. We love one another with the love that Jesus has shown to us. Our unity is a wonderful respite in the midst of our journey through this earthly life.

Jesus keeps and guards us and prays that we have the joy he has. What a wonderful gift we have been given. Jesus has given us a joy made complete in Jesus' life. A joy that brings the broadest, widest smile and the biggest belly laugh of all. Jesus brings joy into our lives and refreshes us with FUN!

Jesus has given us his Word. This is the whole message and action of Jesus. Again we know of our giving God in the Word given to us, through Jesus, the Bible and through the Holy Spirit active in the lives of the disciples yesterday and today.

We are not given an escape route, rather we are given preservation in the journey. There will be a day when our journey on this earth ends. But until that day we live wildly in the hope and honor of living for Jesus and announcing to all the world through the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to us that there is a way to life. A way in Jesus that all can come to.

We are made holy, are set apart because we have been given the truth and are made holy in the Truth. The Truth that Jesus saves! Thanks be to God!

Jesus, I need your prayers and I need the fun you give. As your disciples journey through this life, keep us strong, unified in the Truth and joyful for the tough journey each of us have been given as we proclaim your saving grace to all the world... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Friday, May 18, 2012

May 18th Reflection by Bill Lynch

The Straw

So there I was the short straw of the bunch. Is it better to blend in with all of the other straws or to be unique? I'm not sure. I suppose it depends on the reason. Sometimes if I'm the one picked there is a happy reaction from the crowd and disappointment by the one person that chose me. In the other situation there is joy and laughter from the one person that chooses me and disappointment from the rest of the crowd.

The only thing that I can see that is good about all of this is that I am chosen. I am unique. I bring emotion no matter what and a mixture of emotion at that. Most of the time I am tossed aside once the decision has been made. But most of the time I am talked about for some time. Usually the lifetime of those involved in the decision.

I remember hearing of a story similar to mine. This story was about casting lots. A decision to replace someone was being made. This was a decision between two good people. One was to replace a disciple of Jesus that no longer was with the group. There was no way for me to understand which lot was good or bad. Both of these men were qualified. So one was chosen. I think the idea was that the person chosen by casting lots was led by the Spirit to be chosen. It seems in this case they both were chosen by the Spirit in this way. The two men just would move on to different jobs in the Church.

In any case they were both selected to be servants of Christ and servants of one another. Jesus has chosen each person and through the gifts of the Holy Spirit we are called and sent into the world to tell the story of Christ and to love other's as Jesus loved us.

Seems to me like this casting of lots was a win for all involved. I guess the short straw is a win for all too. A decision is made and acts are carried out. Only if we could make sure that all the acts carried out were as honorable and trustworthy as the acts Jesus would have carried out.

Lord, as I act out today, may my actions be pleasing to you. --- Amen

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 17th Hymn of the Day

With High Delight Let Us Unite

Verse 3 - Text Georg Vetter, 1536-1599; tr. Martin H. Franzmann, 1907-1976, alt.

Let praises ring; give thanks, and bring to
Christ our Lord adoration. His honor speed by
word and deed to ev'ry land, ev'ry nation. So
shall his love give us above, from misery and
death set free, all joy and full consolation.

Hymn of The Day
Bill Lynch

We come together from all walks.
We gather here from all directions.
We come here in hope, faith and love.
We raise our voices, sing our songs,
Unite our breaths to God above,
And sing our praises to the King
For God has come to redeem us.

As I pause this day, hear my song of praise and glory for all you have done on heaven and earth. You are King of what we can see and what we can't see. We honor you and give you eternal glory and honor our King... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16th Photo Reflection by Bill Lynch


What were we looking for? What did my new found buddy Nelson turn to see? This was one of the pictures Sue took of me and Nelson. Nelson was the dog of the owner of a Crafts Strip Mall I was visiting while on vacation with Sue. Nelson was a free roamer and had access to the entire site. One of the owners told me that sometimes Nelson just sits in his shop's doorway. Well, some people are afraid of dogs. I'm not sure who could be afraid of Nelson though. He was old and gentle and loving. But the shop owner would gently move Nelson from the doorway so that customers would feel welcome to come in. If you ask me Nelson was the best thing that could happen to this mall to welcome people. We even saw Nelson in the parking lot greeting new people as they pulled in to shop.

Jesus came to this earth to welcome all people back to a renewed life. We all fail in sin, but Jesus came right out into the parking lot to welcome us into a relationship with himself and all people. A relationship of care and love and a relationship built on trust, hope and faith.

In our failures, perhaps some are afraid to meet Jesus, but Jesus takes us beyond that fear and shows us his graceful love in that he died for us to save us from sin. There are some that won't accept this gift and some that will deny any and all of it, but for those who do accept the love of God through Jesus, a life changing relationship will begin. Thanks be to God!

Lord, teach me to be like Nelson, humble, trustworthy, friendly and inviting to all people. Teach me to live the values that you would have me live... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15th Psalm by Bill Lynch

Psalm 47 (NRSV)
God has gone up with a shout
Clap your hands, all you peoples;
shout to God with loud songs of joy.
For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome,
a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

God has gone up with a shout,
the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the king of all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm.

God is king over the nations;
God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
he is highly exalted.

Psalm by Bill Lynch
Sing loudly birds of the air
Rejoice all creatures walking
Clap and sing you waves of the sea

Jet engines roar with praise
Locomotives move with power
Generators bring to life bright lights

God is our Father
Jesus our King
Spirit our Sustainer

Churches gather and worship God
Assemblies speak God's Word Clearly
Christ has brought salvation to all

No doubt about it you are awesome, Triune God! Hear the world's shout of praise, honor and glory. Your faithful reach out to touch you and you embrace us. All glory is yours alone... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14th Word Heard by Bill Lynch

"Do you want steak or hamburger?"

Words said by Sue when we arrived at the cabin after a long trip. We were just going to spend the evening and cook out on the deck that exhibits an awesome view of the mountains. We were just like two birds in the trees perched up high.

Sue decided it would be steak. I was perfectily happy with either choice.

So what do these words have to do with anything?

1 John 5:12a --- Whoever has the Son has life...

We have arrived into this wonderful created world of God. Especially from the vantage point that Sue and I have from this deck, we stand in awe of what God has created. In the silence I sit and pray and listen to the sounds of the created. I smell the fresh air and enjoy the beauty of flowers, butterflies, squirrels, deer and even a bear now and then as we travel through the park. God's creation is an awesome sight!

But wait there's more! "Do you want steak or hamburger?" When we begin to see this creation and then realize that Jesus came from above to save us from sin, death and the devil; we realize that there is more.

Jesus lived and died for us that we could realize that there is so much more than just this world and this beautiful creation we live in. There is life in him. Real life. Life beyond what I now can see and witness to with my eyes. Life that I can witness to through the eyes of Jesus. Eternal life in God.

Yes this is a beautiful creation, but Jesus came to give us more. More than even the steak. We look forward to this life we live, knowing that there is more. We live in this world and witness in this world to a life that is even greater than this. All through the hope and faith that God has placed in us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Thanks be to God!

Lord, I give you thanks for the richness of this life. I celebrate the life you have given to me and those around me. Send us all to proclaim the joy of faith we have in you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May 13th Story by Bill Lynch

The Tree

As I watched Steve gather the materials and tools, I wondered just what he was up to. He pulled together some rebar that was tossed aside as scrap from a construction site. Tom the contractor in charge was gracious enough to grant a few requests from Steve for some material that had been left over. It was about seven pieces of rebar only about three to four feet in length, of various sizes. Then Tom gave Steve about ten feet or so of barbed wire.

So Steve gathered the material together along with some weld rods and his wleder and a set of torches to braze and cut with. Steve carefully lay each piece of rebar side by side and began to heat one piece at a time and strategically bend and mold each one to the particular curve he was trying to achieve. He welded the pieces together at the base and every couple of inches up for about one foot. Then he cut smaller pieces of rebar from the tops and began to weld those pieces to the main trunk. Steve was forming some kind of tree I could now tell. He then carefully cut and formed the barbed wire into several leaves and brazed them onto the branches of the tree. Steve had created a wonderful piece of art from left over steel.

I asked Steve what he was thinking when he formulated the idea to make this tree. What he told me was just as fascinating as the tree itself. Steve told me that he liked the use of what was left over. He especially was looking for something that was already formed from earthly materials. Something that already had the hands of a creator involved. Not only and human creator who would combine the materials to make the steel but also a divine Creator that had formed the materials in the first place.

Steve now felt he had something in hand that was from above in God the Creator and also from this earthly creator of the steel itself. Steve was now going to create something himself from these very materials. In some way, Steve said that God the Creator was in him and he was in the Creator.

Steve was a man of deep faith. Steve was a baptized child of God and believed that Jesus came into this world, lived, died, resurrected and ascended to the Father. Steve believed in the resurrection and the return of Christ. Steve loved his faith and the love that God had given him to give to all those God chose to send his way and those Steve met in his own life.

So as Steve continued to tell me the story of the tree, he believed that this tree of his that came together and displayed the Creator and the created. It displayed the life of the creation and the danger of sin in the leaves. You see, some of the leaves were barbed and other of the leaves Steve had removed the barbs and were smooth. Steve told me that the world is like this. We live in a world of barbed leaves that can hurt and cut. Leaves that are kind of like the thorned crown that Jesus wore at his crucifixion. Then there were leaves that brought love and life. Leaves not to be feared but to be cherished. From these leaves Steve had hung some ornaments in the form of various fruit. So the tree exhibited leaves with fruit and stark bare leaves with barbs.

As Steve continued his story he told me that this is what it's like to be a Child of God. We are all on a tree of life, some of us believe, have faith and bear fruit. Some of us don't believe and bear barbs. God is in all of us from creation, but some of us, with fruit are not born of this world alone but are born of God also. The fruit that these leaves bear is of the heavenly Father and comes from above.

We learn from this tree that God is in all of us, but for those who believe and live in faith are also born from above. Jesus came from above to this earth and returned. Jesus is our God who gives us life. As we live our lives on this world we witness to those leaves with barbs that if they only believe and have faith, one day their barbs will drop and they will bear the heavenly fruit from above.

Steve's three foot tree was so much more that rebar, weld, braze and some barbed wire. Steves tree was a tree of life. Thanks be to God!

Jesus, as you are in God and God is in you, may I be in you and you in me. May I bear that heavenly fruit that you have chosen for me to bear that all the world may see the salvation you have to give... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 12th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Sixth Sunday of Easter
John 15:9-17 (NRSV)

Christ, the friend and lover

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
Even though the mystery confounds us, Jesus has shown us his purpose in coming into this world and into our lives. Jesus has made it all so obvious. At one time we could not begin to understand what God was up to. At one time all of us were condemned to hell. But then God changed it all.

God sent Jesus into this world to love us, die for us and save us from that eternal condemnation. We are now, through faith and belief, children of God. God has given us a new life. God has chosen us! Yes, we are God's friends.

Our joy is complete and everlasting. Joy that overcomes the hardships of life. Joy that sustains us through illness, mourning, depression, injury, hunger, and anything else that may come our way in life. We have a joy that gives us a spirit of life and love and purpose. We have a joy in relationship with God and one another. We have the love of Jesus.

And in this joy we go out to bear fruit. We give love to all. Not just that "church lady" love either. Love that is sincere and honest and open. Love that at times sounds critical but is in the caring of another. Love that is genuine we give to one another. Thanks be to God!

Jesus, thanks for all you have done for this world and for me. Be with me this day as I venture out in the love you have taught to me, that I may demonstrate and bear the fruit of love to all the world... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Friday, May 11, 2012

May 11th Reflection by Bill Lynch


As the rain falls from the sky the forest comes alive with a grand noise. A noise as if a huge stream is flowing nearby. Droplets from the sky taking a grand ride from heaven to earth to hit the leaves, the vegetation, the rivers, the life that exists on this earth.

Upon the droplet of waters landing on whatever surface, an announcement is made. A wonderful splash of joy and refreshed life. Take the sound of each droplet and multiply that by perhaps thousands our millions and the earth has come to life.

As the heavens empty of life-giving water another sound from the earth begins. It is animals coming to life. Having graciously kept quiet while the honored droplets of rain nourished the earth, there begins a celebration of joy. A celebration of joy in what God has given to all the earth... life and refreshment.

Next, I begin to notice a slow process of clouds or vapor rising from the earth as if they offer back to God in joy the water that was given to this earth. Another celebration of relationship between the created and the creator.

When I pause to think about it, isn't this what God has done for me? God sent the Son into this world to refresh, renew, save and give us life out of death and decay. In response I sing for joy with all those who love God in a chorus of praise and thanksgiving.

Refreshed by the Son, I come to life and begin to move into the world, renewed and strengthened through Jesus life, death, resurrection and ascension. The Holy Spirit permeates my entire being and the whole Church. We offer the love God has given to God and one another.

The rain has taught me something this morning. The Son is about to shine. Let us rejoice and be glad. Thanks be to God!

May your Son bring healing to all the people and the Spirit permeate all of our lives with love for you and one another as we go into this world today to give ourselves to you and to those you give to us... today... tomorrow... and forever.  --- Amen

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May 10th Hymn of the Day by Bill Lynch

Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain
2nd Verse
Text: John of Damascus, c. 696-c. 754; tr. John Mason Neale, 1818-1866, alt.

'Tis the spring of souls today: Christ has burst his prison,
and from three days' sleep in death as a sun has risen.
All the winter of our sins, long and dark, is flying
from the Light to whom we give laud and praise undying.

Hymn of the Day
Christ has risen on this day and is with us always.
As you reach to touch our face, in your eyes we will gaze.
Jesus is our risen Lord who brought life to this world.
We are given life anew. We see the living pearl!

So we gather now in awe, and celebrate new life.
We sing praises to our King. Jesus is the midwife.
Into all the world we run, for we have touched the Son.
Now we witness to the world, with a new life begun.

Jesus, as we pause to think of your resurrection, we give your thanks for new life. In our excitement we go out into this world to sing of your praise, to give you all honor, glory and praise... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

May 9th Psalm of the Day by Bill Lynch

Based on Psalm 98

Psalm by Bill Lynch

World-wide Salvation
Look and see what God has done
Jesus has been sent to the world
In love God has saved all people
Young, old, rich and poor
Sick, healthy... all the people
From north to south and east to west
Jesus our sacrifice has come to save

Rejoice and gather together
Shout aloud ceaseless thanksgiving
Christ our King is Lord of all
Let your spirit be glad at what has happened
Heaven and earth come together as one
The instruments pour forth a wonderful sound
All together in celebration of God

All things are made new
See how the people are new with life
The trees and flowers open up in beauty
Dogs bark and cows moo in new life
All know of Jesus resurrection and life
All things sparkle in newness
The old act young and the sick dance
For Christ has made all things new

Sing and Praise God
Hear Choirs of Angels sing praise to God
Sing a new song to our risen King
Choirs in churches raise the roof
Congregations praise God in strong voice
The waters pour forth to grant new life
All people sing songs of glory and honor
To Christ our saving risen King

God, you give all creation so much reason to pause and sing praises. We gather together with all the redeemed and celebrate what you have done. As you have made all things new, hear our praise and songs of joy... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

May 8th Reflection by Bill Lynch

1 John 5:1-3
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome...

These are my grandchildren Kaiya and Bubbs playing with a friend in Fort Hood Texas. Playing comes natural with children; it's something they love to do. They can't wait to jump on a toy and play with a friend. Playing makes their day and gives them exercise, permits the use of imagination and thinking and is just plain ol fun!

That's the way it is with God too. When we believe that Jesus is God and are God's children ourselves, we can't help but to desire to want to play in the Kingdom. We yearn to learn from Jesus. We want to use what the Spirit has given us with one another and we want to obey God's commands because we love God. This desire to obey God out of love is not a burden at all... it's playtime. It's something natural and a part of our day that gives us exercise and protects us. Love of God and one another causes obedience to God's will and God's commandments.

Lord, this day I look forward to learning more of your will and your commandments in my life as I play through the love you have graciously given to all through Jesus Christ. --- Amen

Monday, May 07, 2012

May 7th Word by Bill Lynch

Acts 10:44 (New Revised Standard)
 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word.

"I can't sweep that up!"

Words said by my wife, Sue, as we cleaned the garage yesterday. What was it? It was the dried carcass and the bones of a long dead mouse out of the garage. Was it the same mouse that chewed the wires in her car's engine that would let the car start? I'm not sure, but Sue was not going to sweep this thing up no matter what. Eventually my son, Bryan swept it up somewhere along the line as we continued to clean and organize.

So what does this have to do with the scripture verse? It reminded me of how it must be if I don't listen to the Word. The Holy Spirit brings life, growth and an abundance of gifts to me as I listen to the Word of God. I am called through this Spirit to a life in God. I am called to serve, forgive and to love. I am called and my faith is deepened.

Without the Holy Spirit my life would be as dead as this mouse. I would be no more than a carcass and some bones. But instead, through the hearing of the Word and the grace of God, I have new life. Full new life. Thanks be to God!

Lord, you have shown me your love. You have prepared me to love those you give to me. In the fullness of new life I go this day to love and serve all those you give to me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, May 06, 2012

May 6th Story by Bill Lynch

The Love of the Father

His name was Abbot. He was a thick man, a man that was stalwart, an honest man that all admired and looked up to. It was that time of year when all the "helicopters" flew from the trees. Even though Abbot was a strong man, he ran for joy, collecting the seeds as they fell. He carried his granddaughter in his arms, both reaching high, catching each seed as it fell and laughing together. Abbot loved this time of year. He collected a few of the "helicopters" and peeled out the seeds, placed them in a bag with peat moss and put the bag in the refrigerator.

About ninety days later Abbot pulled the bag from the refrigerator. Together with his granddaughter, Carmen, they prepared a small pot with potting soil and planted the seeds. They watered the pot daily and waited and watched. It was as if these seeds had to enter the harsh cold and live for a while and then give up their life to be buried. The seeds had a glorious entry into this world with a wonderful display of flight to the earth only to live a tough life and die in the soil. But Abbot loved the seeds, the earth and life. Abbot was preparing a miraculous event.

With nothing but a pot of dirt, Abbot kept the soil moist and placed the pot in the sun. Abbot cared for these seeds carefully watering them and nurturing them for three months, keeping them in the warmth of the sun, always around the comfortable range of the 70 degree mark. Abbot showed Carmen love and care.

Then it happened, a sprout began to show and a tree began to grow. Abbot and Carmen named the tree Abigail. They loved this tree so much that Abbot and Carmen gracefully took the tree out of the pot and picked just the right place for Abigail and planted her there.

Abbot and Carmen would watch this tree for years to come. They observed the life that this tree would show to all the world. They even collected the sap from the tree in the early spring to enjoy the maple syrup that they would make. Abigail, became a tree of life and love and happiness. Abigail was a celebration of life through the death of a seed. Abigail showed all the world the joy of the Father.

Father, we see your joy, we feed upon the Spirit of Love you have given to us. May the life we live reflect your joy and love for all creation as we love you and all those you give to us... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Saturday, May 05, 2012

May 5th Gospel Reflection by Bill Lynch

John 15:1-8 (NRSV)
Christ the vine 

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. 

Jesus is genuine - I AM. Jesus is God and we are the branches that feed from him. The Father is the one who cares for the vine. Each one of us has been called to bear fruit. But how?

A branch that does not bear fruit is useless. A branch that bears fruit is pruned and cared for by the Father. God cares for us and loves us deeply. God wants us to live and bear fruit.

Jesus is telling the disciples they have been pruned and made clean. They have walked with Jesus, lived with Jesus and been taught by Jesus. The disciples have been pruned. The dead and useless branches have been cut away and they are made clean. As Christians we too follow Jesus, are taught by Jesus through the Holy Spirit and have been made clean through belief, faith and the Sacraments.

The branch is fed sap from the vine. As branches we must realize where our sustenance comes from. We are fed by God through the Holy Spirit and given live. We live because Jesus lives. We are alive because Jesus lives eternally. The branch is fully dependent upon the vine.

If we stay with God and live in God we will desire to do God's will. It's just a natural response when we see the life we have graciously been given. We will bear fruit and glorify God and we will be God's disciples. We have been given a chance to live through what Jesus has done for us and all people. We live because of Jesus and are cared for by the Father and grow through that wonderful food of the Spirit. Thanks be to God!

Father, I give you thanks that you choose to love me so much. You are willing to do the hard thing as a Father and prune death and sin from my life. Make me clean that I may grow and feed from the sap of the Holy Spirit through the vine of Jesus and bear fruit to your glory... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Friday, May 04, 2012

May 4th Reflection by Bill Lynch

The Leaves Outside my Window

Revelation 22:1-2 (New Revised Standard)

1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

As I look out my window, I see the leaves of a tree gently blowing in the breeze. The sight brings a calmness to me. It's relaxing and comforting to watch on this warm evening in May. But just a couple of hours ago, I witnessed these same leaves taking a beating from the rain, wind and hail that passed through.

Sometimes God speaks through these leaves. Times when the storms come and  times when there is peace and calm. As I think about the leaves I have seen in the past, I think of times when the leaves are tender and new. Then I think of times when they are hardy and strong in the midst of summer. As fall approaches they turn wonderful colors and blaze in glory one last time before they fall to the ground at the end of their season of life.

God cares for and provides a cycle of life for these leaves I see. If I were a leaf, I could rest assured that no matter what, live or die, I would be cared for by my Creator. Through the cold and in the heat, I would know that I am wonderfully beautiful in my own way, just as God intended for me to be. If I fell to my death too early, God would see to it that I provided nourishment for the tree from which I came. If I lived a full life, once again I would provide nourishment for that same tree or another tree or plant nearby.

I can relate to the leaves gently blowing in the breeze outside of my window. I know that God loves me so much that Jesus came to this earth, lived, died, rose and ascended in love for all creation and life as my God and Savior. Those leaves tell of the love of God. Those leaves speak to me...about love...about life...and about purpose. Thanks be to God!

Lord, you came to this earth for me and for those around me. You demonstrated a love that surpasses death. You make a cycle of life for all people. Teach us to live the life you would have us live. Teach us to serve as your would serve. Teach to see the beauty in each other that we may love one another as you have loved us. And know our deep and passionate love for you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Thursday, May 03, 2012

May 3rd Hymn of the Day by Bill Lynch

Hymn of the Day
Christ is Alive! Let Christians Sing 
Text: Brian A. Wren

Christ is alive! Let Christians sing.
The cross stands empty to the sky.
Let streets and homes with praises ring.
Love, drowned in death, shall never die.

Text: Bill Lynch

Imagine standing by the tomb
And Jesus coming up to you.
Imagine the joy that you now feel
to see your Savior face to face.

You run and tell all those you know.
With all you praise the Lord of life
And sing of  love that never dies
And praise our God of earth and sky.

Jesus, we come to you this day full of life and love. A love that goes beyond space and time. A love that reaches beyond this physical world to our most inner being. We have a love for you that can't be explained. We give you all the glory, honor, and praise for showing us this kind of love in that you came to us and saved us from sin and death. You came to grant life. We humbly give you all thanks as we pause to ponder your love for your creation. --- Amen

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

May 2nd Photo Reflection by Bill Lynch

1 John 9: God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.

How do we know love? And what is real love? Is it how we feel about money or chocolate or food? Is love about our sexual emotions? Or is love about how we feel towards close family or friends?

I can enjoy the sight of this flower. I can see the rose bush in the background that produces a few roses now and then. Sometimes I care for these creations of God and sometimes I ignore them. Bugs are chewing on the rose leaves. The beautiful flower grows with the weeds. But I still love to see the sight of these flowers. They are real and I can touch and smell them. They show life and death and pain.

God has given us a different love. God's love is a kind of love that is not seen anywhere with us and love that is not seen everywhere with us. We know God's love because of what was done for us. God's love was made manifest or made real when God sent Jesus, God's only son into this world. The purpose for God sending Jesus was to give us life.

A Love that brings life through the love of God in Christ Jesus. Think about how great this love is. Don't take it for granted because we mention it so much. Really pause and reflect on all that happened when God sent Jesus into this world out of the love he has for us and all creation. God love you and me, bugs, weeds, and beautiful flowers all. Thanks be to God!

Lord, stop me some time today, perhaps now or later, that I may deeply see the beauty of life and the awesome love you have for me and my neighbor. --- Amen

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

May 1st Psalm by Bill Lynch

A Psalm of Praise based on
Psalm 22:25-31

Praise of God's Salvation
Eternal Father, forgiving Son, ever-present Spirit
You are God and you alone
Your love is beyond my imagination
For you sent your Son into this world
Flesh and bone you came to us
You walked with us and felt our pain
You suffered and died for our sin
Ever-present Spirit you are with us always
You alone are God and greatly to be praised
Salvation is the love you give

Invitation to join in the meal
All are invited to live
All are called to partake of the bread and the wine
All given through your body and blood
Miraculous feast of all time
You show your gift of love
You teach us to be humble servants
You show us all your love
Given into our open hands
Received into our parched throats
We humbly take in your love

Eternal life
Eternal life you come to bring
Life that begins with you and never ends
Renewal and salvation from sin and death
You graciously give the gifts we need
You call us to action in your own way
We rejoice to serve and play our part
In all the love you give to all
We look to the day that all will unite
Heaven and earth in continuous praise
Eternally praising our God and King

God's nature is known to all
Your nature is known to all
Your power and might to save
Your love is displayed for all to see
For God has come to save us all
Lord, grow our faith as we believe
That we may love you above all
And love each other as you have shown
To serve the sick and poor on earth
And unite with all the heavenly host
And praise our saving God alone

Lord, be with all your people this day that we may come to see your glory in salvation and praise you alone for this awesome gift... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen