Imposition of Ashes
A PRAYER FOR LENT Father God, help us never forget that Jesus knew his time was coming. The rest of us pass blissfully through life knowing we will die “someday.” Jesus knew the time was near, yet he continued to show love and faith. He continually put himself on the line, when most of us would have run away in fear. God, during this time of Lent, give us just one small taste of what it must have been like for him. Help us appreciate the great love your Son had for us — a love that kept him living for others, even when he knew he was going to die. Amen
What are most important things within your life?
In the Old Testament God rewarded Solomon because he asked for wisdom to rule the nation rather than money, a long life, or victory over his enemies. I always thought that to be an interesting story but as I consider life, I realize that there have been times when I have prayed for health, the finances to make ends meet or even more, and yes, in some shape or form victory over situations and even people who have opposed me.
I do believe that God does answer prayer; although not always in the affirmative. Sometimes we are better off without, or better off learning to deal with the conflicts within life. Life is often a matter of not getting what we want or being where we want to be, and often it is in the more or less uncomfortable places that we find wisdom –perhaps that which we really needed but didn’t ask for. We discover that God is with us even if we are down and out and struggling to just get along through the day.
What do you pray for? What about knowing Jesus better? Perhaps in our Christian walk this is where God is striving to lead us anyway. Jesus once said what does it profit a person to gain the whole world and yet loose his or her soul? We can reverse the thought. What does it cost a person to loose the whole world and yet gain one’s soul? God wants to give us that which is eternal and permanently ours –A life that will never be taken away.
Dear we pray for a deeper faith? At first we might consider this to be a dangerous prayer. What changes might it bring for you? What blessing might it bring?
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• Governance Board meeting tonight, Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 5:00 PM – Potluck Dinner; year-end projects and planning; all are welcome to participate.
• Sign-up sheet on table (next to kitchen) for the Egeler Benefit Dinner on Fri., Dec. 7 – 5-7 PM. Need volunteers to help set up, serve and clean up. Your help would be appreciated.
• Now that most of the snowbirds have left for warmer climates, we need volunteers to USHER. Please let Pete know as soon as possible!
• The Giving Tree is up! Mittens requests are for: Walmart, Target and Meijer “gift cards,” and Meijer and EZ Mart “gas cards.” These will be distributed to local families. Your donations will be appreciated. Deadline for giving: Dec. 16
I invite you to join me at 9:30 for a 30 minute Advent Devotional before church. I will be sharing with you from a video study “A Savior is Born” from Right Now Media during each Sunday morning of Advent in December. If you have your free account you can download the study guide and view any of the videos that you might miss. Since our time is limited we will not be using all the material and so you might also continue with the study on your own afterwards. If you need a free account to RightNow Media let me know. The church pays one price so that the benefit is free for all those associated with our church. I hope to see you there.
The workbook is also available below.
My past few sermons have been about the great fish stories of the Gospels: Jesus calling of Peter, Jesus paying a temple tax with a money spiting fish, and the feeding of the 5000 with two fish and five loaves.
This Sunday we are going to be finishing our stories as we hear about Peter in the boat. Jesus is risen and when Peter gets back to Galilee he goes fishing. He climbs in a fishing boat and fishes all night and catches nothing. In the morning the disciples encounter the risen Christ for the third time and Jesus calls and challenges Peter to live the greater life he intended for him. “Do you love me more than these?” “Then feed my lambs.” What happened to Peter, and why did he go fishing? Where did God intend for him to be?
What about us? What can Peter’s boat mean to us? Do we sometimes loose track of Jesus call to live the greater life? Does God ever give up on us? Come Sunday, and we will be thinking about some of these things.
Sometimes you see humorous pieces around car shops. In one shop there is a small sign that states if you have a complaint take a number. Below the sign is a small tag with “1” written upon it attached to a ring. The ring is attached to a pin and the pin is inserted into what looks like a hand grenade. So, who wants to complain? Really no one likes complaints; although, sometimes complaining is necessary and just. Any good business will help their customers find satisfaction. How does God deal with our complaints? Does heaven have a complaint department?
Comes this Sunday as we consider the Apostle Paul’s disposition with regard to many things he could have complaint about.
2 Corinthians 6:1-13 (NRSV)
The old notion is that a person must work to live. The more successful one is in their work, than the more comfortable they will live. Many people work for this greater life of wealth and comfort.
In contrast Jesus died so that all may live. Jesus never seemed to put to much stock in gaining material advantages, being wholly comfortable, or interpreting the importance of life by counting the number of possession one owns. Instead of being self serving he concerned himself with the lives of others.
Paul argues that all should live for him who died, and that this is true life -everlasting. The pattern we need follow in this life is to live more like Jesus. It is then that we find a life given and not earned. We are met by grace.
What life are you living for? How do these two notions meet and greet one another, or are they in conflict?
The saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” This is a very old English proverb. It recognizes that people create new solutions where there is need. Problems and the desire to overcome some particular obstacle may serve as a catalyst for the creation of new inventions and ideas. However, the process of inventing usually takes a whole focused effort. Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration.” Edison is known for the things he created, but each success was built upon a multitude of failures. His greatest genius may have been in his perseverance and being willing to deal with a problem from multiple perspectives.
I once read a book about developing a youth ministry within the local church. One of the points the author made was that our problem isn’t that we fail, but that we fail too slowly. The thought was that failure is often a part of the process of finding success. When something doesn’t work it simply needs to be recognized, abandoned or adapted, and then something different tried. Eventually, success is likely to be achieved. The only necessity is that a church does not give up.
Every church is confronted with the need to grow and change. I think there are always roads that lead to growth and life for churches, both large and small. The largest challenge is being willing to take the journey down roads that may be unknown or untried. I think most congregations prefer to be still and remain comfortable. However, it is not typical that being still will produce growth. We have to allow ourselves to be confronted with both the needs of life and the calling of God upon us. What new ideas, projects, and ministries is God calling us to? How should these needs and calling generate innovation within us? Are we willing to try and fail and keep trying?
The Bible speaks about loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Perhaps only as we so love and move; wholly engaged with the challenges we face, and focused upon finding a solution that God may truly bless us. What does it take to make a church grow?
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