Friday, June 29, 2012

June 29th Animation by Bill Lynch

The Robe
Read Mark 5:21-43

You know I  was a little damp that day. It happens when you are a robe out in a boat. You can't help but to take on the weather in one form or another. If it's dusty, I get dusty and dirty. Sometimes I'm damp from the weather and sometimes I'm damp from the sweat of the Savior wearing me. This day I was damp from being on the boat and damp from the sweat of the Savior and the crowd we were walking through.

A ruler of the synagogue came up to Jesus and told him about his daughter that was dying. This father wanted Jesus to lay his hands on his daughter and heal her. You could tell the man was worried about his daughter. Seems father's get this way especially about their daughters. A father's love for a daughter is a unique and caring love that brings forth deep love from the heart of the father.

So off I go with the Savior, flowing through the crowd and pressed by every side. I was rubbing against so many people that I was getting dirty just from the dust of not only the earth but the dust that had clung to the hands and robes of the many people around me.

Then Jesus proclaimed..."Who touched my robe?" Well, everyone was touching me at the time. What did Jesus mean by who? Who could tell? But one woman confessed that it was her. It was strange. When this woman touched me, I could feel a flow of power from my Savior... through me... to the woman. It was as if I was energized somehow.

The woman had been bleeding and wasn't able to be cured  to this day. She confessed to the Savior that she had touched his robe looking for healing. Jesus told her that her faith had made her well. She touched the Savior for healing, believing that she would be healed, and was healed. It was amazing for the woman and for me too.

Finally Jesus gets to the home of the daughter. The people at the home told Jesus that he was too late. The girls was dead. But the Savior told them that she was just sleeping. Now come on! Everyone knows the difference between sleeping and death, even an old robe like me can tell this difference. But Jesus chose to ignore these words and had everyone step outside. Well, I was there! After all Jesus wore me into that room. The Savior told the girl to get up and she got up! The Savior took her to the people and told them to give her something to eat. Just like that!

The events of this day fascinated me for years. I felt power flow through me and bring healing to the bleeding woman, I saw power flow from Jesus in the raising of the daughter. I'm only a dirty, dusty, muddy robe but Jesus used me to move his power through me. I think Jesus uses many more things than myself to convey God's power to people in need. I think Jesus has called all sorts of things, animals and yes, even people who have faith and some who don't to convey this healing, loving, living power of life to God's creation.

It's amazing to see and feel God active in this world today. You might say that God touching our lives is a miracle that happens all the time. Maybe we should all pause and look and see and be open to being the one to convey that power of God to those God gives to us each day. Wow! What a miracle life is... today... tomorrow... and forever. Thanks be to God!

Jesus, you step into this world and give life. You work miracles we don't see and miracles we choose to ignore. Open our eyes to witness the miracle of your power and grace before our eyes each and every day. And when needed use us to show the awesome power of your love... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, June 24, 2012

June 22nd Reflection by Bill Lynch

Happy Birthday!

It's my birthday today! A day 56 years ago that a new life was brought into this world. A new life born through the struggle and pain of childbirth. A new life that also would live the struggle between carnal desires and spiritual freedom. I was born before the rise of the sun around 4:00 a.m. The day had yet to begin.

The new summer season was fresh within a day. A season of full life. Nature at the height of it's glory and in full bloom. Green grass, flowers everywhere, why even the insects are hard at work during this time of the year. The time of vacations that relax and vacations that exercise the mind, body and soul. Summer is a time full of life and activity.

Summer is also a time when the heat cranks up and people come out and crime increases. Humans seem to be at their best and their worst during the summer season. Summer is a time of contrast. Good and evil side by side in the usual struggle. We become hungry yet don't feel like eating when it's too hot. Motorcyclists desire the danger of speed to feel open and powerful. Traffic accidents increase, yet leisurely walks with the dogs become habitual. Summer is a time of contrasts; sometimes contrasts in extremes.

Yes I was born 56 years ago this day before sunrise. By contrast 56 years later my Mom died on this day after sunset around 11:30 p.m. A day when faith was expressed in love. Christ expressed love in life through a personal relationship with each one of us. In relationship we learn of faith and love. Mom expressed, throughout her life, a relationship of faith and love. As 56 years ago Mom began to teach me the expression of faith and love through relationships with those God gives to me each day, she exhibited her own faith and love for the moment, this day, through relationships with Jesus and each person that crossed her path.

My Mom displayed in her daily life with the Holy Spirit, this expression of faith and love. One of my favorite memories of Mom was seeing her read that Bible on the coffee table, by herself each day. This act displayed her relationship with God to me. This act demonstrated the importance of God active in the here and the now. What does God have to say for me at the beginning of this day? The question would intrigue me to daily reading of the Word for my lifetime also. Mom demonstrated the importance of relationships and the living of the moment.

We live life in this world of contrasts. We live in this world of plans and priority lists, yet we must always live this life in the moment in relationship with God and each other. It's not the plans that matter, it's the relationship of the moment that takes priority over everything else. This moment will only last a moment and then will be lost forever. It's this moment and relationship that matters in the now. Plans can always be made but not at the sacrifice of the moment and the relationship with God and one another.

Works and rites can become a stumbling block to the cross. If we focus continually on works, salvation ceases to be of grace. Works can bind up our spirit. By contrast grace frees our spirit to be in relationship with God in the moment. Jesus has freed us to live a life devoted to him, not through servant obedience for self justification, but through Jesus justification and the obedience of love forever. When Jesus frees us from the law we don't live lawlessly, but we live under Christ with charity and morality that gives up selfish control and comes to life in the sacrifice of our own will and way, to the will and way of God in Christ Jesus. It's no longer about our plans but about our life in the moment in love for God and one another. In Christ we live a life of relationship in the present because the past is done and the future is in God's hands. Our conduct is now controlled by the moment of Christ in our life. Our new freedom in Christ implies service to others.

It is here that we experience the presence of Christ. In the moment we sit at Jesus' feet. In the moment we discuss our sin at the well. In the moment we wash Jesus feet with our tears. In the moment we pour perfume on our Lord and Savior. In the moment we shed tears to Jesus' final words from the cross. In the moment we run from the tomb to shout glorious praise. We now live each moment in the presence of God. We live in the moment, knowing that the future has been lovingly cared for through the grace and love of Christ Jesus and knowing the comfort we have in the Spirit of God in and with and through all God's people.

We walk the day with the Spirit of God by our side. Walking in the moment with full trust for the future held in God's hands. For God has shown us a love beyond our human understanding. A love that is in the moment, before the moment, after the moment and forevermore. We are led by the Spirit through faith and love.

I recall as a small child, perhaps nine or ten, a moment that goes on in the Spirit that I had with Mom. Living on Sutphin Street in Middletown, at the kitchen table, Mom brought out a Bible, some paper, scissors and perhaps crayons, pens and pencils. The exact details blur a little but the act is what stands out in my mind. Mom read to me Galatians 5:22-24

Paul states:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."

And with these verses in mind we cut out the shapes of various fruit and named them love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control and strung them together as if from the same tree. As each fruit was created Mom would relate the spiritual meaning.

Love-God's love revealed in Christ- not a selfish love desiring control but a love that gives away control
Joy- Happiness in relationship with God and our love for God
Peace- A peace with God that affects our relationship with others
Patience- forbearance with one another in relationship
Kindness- Regard for human personality and human need
Goodness- character that is not fake but real as God created each of us to be ourselves yet softened with love
Faithfulness- Faithful devotion to God and one another
Gentleness- we submit to the will of God and to consideration in relationship to one another
Self-control - curbing the fleshly desires

All words of relationship first with God our Creator, Savior, Redeemer and Spirit and words of relationship with those that God gives to us that we may give ourselves as Jesus has taught us. We live in the moment, remembering the past and trusting the future to God.

It's with this passage that I recall my life with Mom. As Mom, this day... 56 years ago... brought new life to me... prior to sunrise... in a wonderful world that Jesus walked... that I clasp Mom's hands and look into her eyes with  a smile as wide as could be... that after sundown... Mom breathed her final breath with the hands of my sister and I... that I witness to you a life filled with the fruit of the Spirit... in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Happy Birthday Mom! 

What a wonderful gift you have given on this my birthday too. 

Happy Birthday to you! 

Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 12th Psalm by Bill Lynch

Reference Psalm 130

Psalm of the Day
When I think of my sin,
Lord I can no longer stand.
I deserve your punishment.

So hear me as I call out to you.
Listen to my humble plea.
My life depends on you.

As I wait for you,
I look for your face.
Return to me the favor of your listening ear.

Forgive me and renew me.
Give me new life to live.
All hope rests with you.

Your forgiving love is awesome.
You forgive and make new.
Creation shouts for joy.

I give you thanks and glory,
For your intervention through time.
Each one a miracle.

You give hope and show love.
Walk with me this day as I love
You and all you give to me.

Lord, your love is astounding and gracious and merciful. Thank you for claiming me and calling me and using me in your service. Teach me your ways that I may follow you and love those you give to me day by day. --- Amen

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 11th Reflection by Bill Lynch

"So, which song did you like the best?"
Words said by my daughter Sarah,  yesterday evening after I had attended her music concert in Dayton.

When you stop and think about all the work that goes into a concert, you really appreciate the music. It's not only music that you hear, you also are receiving a piece of the choirs lives. Together with the director and all those who accompany the choir, you are listening to the result of hours of practice, learning, rehearsing and musical enjoyment that the group had prior to their performance in front of you. They are nervous, but delighted to perform in your presence. The musicians expose themselves to your judgment for a moment as they perform. But the audience is eager to be delighted and are always delighted as they consider the music and those who perform the gift of this piece of their lives in your presence.

Read 2 Corinthians 5:6-17

As Christians, we live our lives with the aim of pleasing God. God has given us renewed life through Jesus our Savior, and we give our lives in response to please God. In this pleasing of God, we take in as much as we can from God's Word active and alive today. We use the gifts God has given us to reflect God's glory and to proclaim Jesus' saving grace to all the world. Although we are nervous to perform in God's presence at times, we are delighted to perform and do God's will. We expose our talents to those we serve and to God. We give away our lives to God in our concerts of life.

2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold the new has come.

"So, which song did you like the best?"

Lord, as I hear and see your Word, may I learn how to please you and those you give to me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, June 10, 2012

June 10th Story by Bill Lynch

The Discovery

It was a discovery, no doubt. But it wasn't what she expected. As Carmen picked it up to examine it and read it she had no idea what she had found. There it was laying in the side yard, a simple little book of what looked like some stories. But as she read this dirty, moldy book she had found a new world began to open up. She began to see things in a different manner. She began to act differently. Carmen really still couldn't make out what kind of small book this was that she found. It seemed to be a mixture of history, story, poem and science fiction. The more she read this book the more the world opened before her eyes. The more she read the more this feeling deep inside began to grow. She couldn't help but to run to her friends and family and relate the words from this book to all of their lives each day.

It was a discovery, no doubt. A discovery that would lead Carmen into a great new kingdom. A small 2 inch by 3 inch book she found in the dirt of the side yard. It's like it dropped from heaven.

Lord, open to each one of us your kingdom that we may begin to understand how you came to this earth to save. Open to each one of us your kingdom that we may serve you and those you give to us in the love shown to us through Jesus Christ... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Saturday, June 09, 2012

June 9th Reflection by Bill Lynch

2nd Sunday After Pentecost
Mark 3:20-35 (NRSV)
Doing the work of God 

And the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, "He has gone out of his mind." And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons." And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.

"Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin" - for they had said, "He has an unclean spirit."

Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you." And he replied, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" And looking at those who sat around him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother." 

Jesus enters and house and faces opposition from all sides. He faces opposition from his family and the religious leaders of the day. Jesus' family outside was concerned for his well being. Family concerned for their own in that they feared that his religious manic character was beginning to overtake his actions.

There was opposition from within the house from the religious leaders. They hated Jesus. They hated what he was doing, what he was saying and the power that he had obtained from the common people. They even attributed Jesus' work to the work of Satan.

A great difference between these two oppositions that Jesus experienced this day. The family opposition was a caring, loving response yet misguided. But the opposition of the scribes was a denial of God's Spirit active through Jesus. One opposition could be forgiven, but the opposition of denial of the Holy Spirit is a blatant refusal to believe in Jesus. This opposition only leads to death. This sin against God leads to death.

As we fall to sin, Jesus reaches out to us in love to save and redeem us. May God work in our stubborn hearts to bring us to turn humbly and repent of our sin. May Jesus lead us back through the saving Holy Spirit.

Lord, forgive my sin. I turn to you this day for forgiveness of those sins I mention now... and for forgiveness of those sins of which I am not aware. Lead all your people together in community to our knees as we confess before you and one another. May our lives be pleasing to you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Friday, June 08, 2012

June 8th Reflection by Bill Lynch

The Rope

I don't have any idea what got into me that night. I was strong as ever. A man from heaven came down to this earth and wrapped me tightly around another man that fell from heaven. Now this man that fell had always been able to tear me apart into pieces when earthly men attempted to bind him. But this time was different. This man from heaven supplied to me the awesome strength to hold tight.

The man from heaven seemed to come to this earth for this very reason. To bind the one who fell and to give the earthly, a freedom they could never accomplish on their own. This man, this Savior, this God, from heaven gave me the strength to carry on.

There were times that I broke after this man from heaven, this Savior, this God, had left. But I always knew that I could turn to my Savior and depend on his power and strength to overcome. This Savior, this God, this man from heaven, gave me joy, hope and everlasting life.

Lord Jesus, you came to this world and bound evil, death and the devil. I give you thanks that you have saved all those you believe and have faith in you. Lead us this day in your will and your way that each one of us may be pleasing to you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Thursday, June 07, 2012

June 7th Hymn by Bill Lynch

"The Church's One Foundation"
Text: Samuel J. Stone, 1839-1900
Verse 1

The church's one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
she is his new creation by water and the word.
From heav'n he came and sought her to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died.

Text: Bill Lynch

We come to you, Lord Jesus, to hear your word this day.
We sit in awesome wonder, at all the words you say.
You make a new creation, a new life is unfurled.
We're filled with your own Spirit, to go into this world.

Lord, gather your people together in unity that we may all show the love you have shown to one another and take that same Spirit of love and grace to all you give to us... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

June 6th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Read 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1

Now there is a smile. Of course my opinion is biased. This is my grandson. A companion to me and someone willing to sit on my lap and listen to stories. Other times he is someone that gets me out of my chair to play and have fun and imagine like a youth.

Some activities with this young man are physical, some are mental and some are spiritual. He and his sister love to go to church. They march straight to the nursery and enjoy the company of those giving care and love.

It's this loving action that we see exploded to eternity in the love of God for each one of us. Jesus suffered and died so that we could wear a wide smile. God's love showing brightly and fully on our faces as we realize that there is so much more than this world. We have a kingdom beyond the physical and into the spiritual to live in. In the Son of God we believe and we speak. Thanks be to God!

Jesus, I can't help this smile on my face as I ponder your grace. --- Amen

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

June 5th Psalm by Bill Lynch


God, you know how it is.
You know me,
All that I think or do.

Here I am in my sin.
I cry to you.
I can't handle this on my own.

I turn to you and seek forgiveness.
Over my head and deep,
I plead that you hear my cry.

As I wait for your reply,
all hope is in you.
For you are my Savior.

It's all about you, Lord. I've discovered that my selfishness leads to sin. It's all about you. Show me the way and lead me this day. --- Amen

Monday, June 04, 2012

June 4th Reflection by Bill Lynch

"I didn't know you were into this big of a job." 

Words that my son, Bryan, said as he came over to give me a hand with my front door. There was some insect damage that had taken place around the side light of my front door. As I investigated further I located those pesky and destructive little termites just eating away at my door. The further I went the more I had to remove of the side light and door frame. It ended up that I removed the entire front door. In the next few days an exterminator showed to treat our home.

Termites are viscious creatures that work behind the scenes. The signs of their presence are subtle. They cause much damage inside and behind. In some ways I'm reminded of the passage from Genesis as the serpent persuaded Eve and Adam to eat the fruit of the tree that God did not want them to eat.

Once the sin was committed Adam and Eve felt their nakedness and hid from God. As the termites did their dirty deed to my house, once exposed I was upset that I had neglected this spot that I knew was their months prior. Sin works into our lives and eats away at our inner selves. I know that I can't treat this on my own and must turn to God for salvation. As I live in this world of sin, I continue to suffer the consequences of my action, but I also know of a Savior who lived and died for my sin. I turn to Jesus to save me from the eternal damage I deserve and witness the love of God active through the Holy Spirit in the lives of myself and so many other believers.

Lord, I have sinned.  Forgive me and protect me and save me from sin and evil. Send now your holy angel to watch over me so that the evil foe may have no power over me. I place all hope in Jesus act of grace in this world for your people. Lead me in your will and your way that I may work and live to your delight... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, June 03, 2012

June 3rd Story by Bill Lynch

Something More

That evening was a dark and cloudy night, not even the light of the moon peeked through the clouds. The man was slowly and deliberately moving through the yard. He took quick bursts of steps and then paused. He was dressed in all black with a black pull over face mask. Only on occasion could you see the white of his teeth as he took in quick and short breaths of air.

Then he slowly and carefully approached the back door of the house and picked the lock. You could tell that this man was experienced in his trade of work. As he stepped into the house he checked for any movement. Nothing heard or seen he went directly to the den of the house and into the middle desk drawer. He had found what he was looking for this evening.

Out of the night burst the owner of the house. A loud crash occurred as the two men struggled with one another. Each man was trying to gain control of the other. The masked man knew that if he wasn't able to restrain and tie up the owner that his mission would be a failure. But the owner of this house had something more than just physical strength working in his favor. The owner was not about to be restrained, at least not now. So the man in black broke free and escaped into the night. Escaped to attempt his mission at another time and in another situation. Escaped to attempt his mission on someone else that may not have such saving help.

Jesus, I give you all praise and thanks that you have come into my life to save, protect and watch over me in this world of unknown situations. Be with all your children in times of need, through the struggles of life and sin as we walk in your will and your way. --- Amen

Saturday, June 02, 2012

June 2nd Reflection by Bill Lynch

The Holy Trinity
John 3:1-17 (NRSV)
Entering the reign of God 

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God." Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

"Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

"Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 

Nicodemus saw God. He saw God in Jesus. He came to seek and question and learn. Nicodemus knew there was something new about Jesus.

Jesus spoke of something different for Nicodemus. This rebirth wasn't just a baptism. This wasn't just an earthly thought. This rebirth was more about the kingdom of God. This rebirth was from above. A rebirth from the spiritual kingdom. Jesus was speaking of seeing the kingdom and entering the kingdom. Nicodemus was in fact starting the "seeing" in Jesus and through the growth of faith would come to believe in Jesus. Nicodemus was beginning the entry into the kingdom of God through Jesus.

But this isn't so easy to understand. It takes something more than just brain waves to capture this talk of Jesus. The source is what give us the rebirth. The source is God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. It's not something that Nicodemus can control as a human. It's something under the control of the Holy Spirit. God's love is shown in Jesus. We can see and understand. God's love is shown in the Holy Spirit. Through this love we come to have faith and believe and are reborn.

Nicodemus was struggling as I struggle with this thought. But the life of Jesus brings clarity to the Holy Spirit and this new birth. Thanks be to God!

As I walk in the flesh, Lord, bring me to understand the Spirit and this rebirth through faith and belief. --- Amen

Friday, June 01, 2012

June 1st Reflection by Bill Lynch

I was old at the time. Disease and age was taking it's toll on my body. It was hard to get up in the morning. Even to move took effort. All things were just more difficult and pain had become my constant companion. I knew for sure what it was like to be alive and at times I didn't care for it. That was all about flesh though.

There was something else going on though. It was almost like the opposite of what I felt in body. There was this growth in mind and spirit. From somewhere deep within I was discovering a new beginning and a new growth. It started small and continued to grow. I felt like a new plant just poking it's head through the soil. It felt as if I was just beginning to discover the sun and it's warmth. I now could hear the birds and the sounds all around and they were no longer muffled by the dirt above.

That's what it was like... as my body decayed... my spirit grew. All through the gracious love of the Savior and my God who chose to love and care for me.

Lord, give me new growth in spirit for you as I live my life in the flesh this day. --- Amen