Friday, September 30, 2016

Let's rekindle the fire to a fierce blaze!

2 Timothy 1:1-14
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. 6 For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7 for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. 8 Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, 12 and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. 13 Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

So, what's the fire in you that needs to be kindled? What gift of God do you have that needs to be tended to?

Sometimes I don't think we ever stop to think of what God wants us to do. We get so wrapped up in grace that we forget purpose. We forget that we do have work to do. We tend to leave out the work because we know that the work does not gain salvation. So, why worry about it? Why work at all?

In this passage, Paul urges Timothy and us also, to reflect on our home. Our home as in our upbringing and our home in the Church. Some of us were raised by relatives with deep Christian roots. Some of us became Christians by some other means. Some of us are still searching for Jesus our Savior standing right by our side. We all have a source of home on earth and a home in the Church.

So what? What did God call and gift us to do? For some this is an easy question to answer. I think, for most, we don't have a clue. We don't take the time to pray or even think about it. We go along in life as if life has no purpose other that to survive as comfortable as we can.

In this passage, Timothy, and we, are called to think about our call and our gifts. We are called to stop and rekindle the fire of our call and to do something about it. We are called to action. God saved us not through our works but through his grace through Jesus who calls us and gives us a purpose.

It's not for our own calling and purpose... it's for Jesus' purpose and calling. Our purpose and calling come through Jesus.

So what about grace? What about faith? We were given the grace of God through Jesus before the ages began and revealed through Jesus.

Let that light your fire of action and love! Let that put the pause in your life to pray, to listen, to respond!

It's time the fire be set ablaze in the Church. It's time to let the Holy Spirit burn with love for God and love for one another... ALL the "others"...

Thanks be to God!


Lord, I don't need any more faith that what I have. I do want more of you. Kindle your fire of purpose and of call, to action in me, that I may bring you glory... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Is Enough Enough?

Luke 17:5-10

5 The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" 6 The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, "Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you. 7 "Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, "Come here at once and take your place at the table'? 8 Would you not rather say to him, "Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink'? 9 Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, "We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!' "


How much faith do I need? Is enough enough? If I need more, how do I get more?

It seems here that even a tiny bit of faith can do things beyond what I could ever imagine. But, who wants to plant trees in the sea?

Do I ever give a servant a break? After a hard day of work, do I burden then with more work and then tell them they'll get a break when they are done taking care of me? Am I the servant or the master? And if I'm the master; who do I think I am?

Does the slave get a thank you? The slave did the job expected... no thanks! Worthless slave!

More questions and mystery with this short passage than I can handle!

It seems that this passage is about quantity of things. Is enough enough?

Well, it depends. I can't do enough to make my keep. I can't do enough to repay God for all that God has done for me. What I do do is so much smaller than the mustard seed that it would be an embarrassing offering.

This reminds me of Cain and Abel. Cain came with gifts and Abel came with gifts to offer to God. Cain came in the pretense that he was born first and offered his gift to God knowing that he was the firstborn and thus chosen by God to be number 1 by his birth. No faith needed for Cain. Cain believed his gift would be pleasing to God because his gift was from the firstborn son of Adam and Eve. Abel came with his gifts having faith that God would accept his gift because he knew God was a good and loving God. Abel came humble before God with his gift.

God saw a little bit of faith with Abel. God saw a smugness with Cain. God liked Abel's gift because it was given in faith. (That's my twist on God's reaction... you'll have to find out from God if it's right or not... so will I)

With this reasoning... I can only think that Jesus is telling his disciples that just a tiny bit of faith is more than they can handle. And on top of that... Jesus is giving them and us this tiny bit of faith. Faith to be used. Faith to be put into action. Faith that is enough to plant that tree into the sea... but let's do something better with our faith than  that.

How about we free the slave? How about we thank the Master! How about we work with the slave in thanks to the Master for all he has done? How about we be the slave, the servant, the disciple and do what God has called us to do? How about we feed the hungry, go to the sick, visit the imprisoned, help the homeless find a home? How about we love one another and stop all the fighting and the hatred? How about we turn to our enemy and offer peace?

I begin with questions and end with questions. Begin with impossible questions to answer and end with questions that, with a little bit of faith, move us to respond with action through faith in God.

Just think... with only our little bitty tiny speck of faith in God... God responds with a faith in us that we can't even begin to quantify.

Isn't that why we respond?

It's about God... not about us!

Thanks be to God!



Lord, use me and increase my faith; today, tomorrow and forever. --- Amen