A New Beginning

Day 1 Readings: Genesis 1:1-2:25, Matthew 1: 1-2:12, Psalm 1:1-6, Proverbs 1:1-6

Beginnings.  Happy New Year and the beginning of 2015.   What a good opportunity to join us for The Year of the Bible as we read through all 66 books throughout 2015.  And what better place to begin than the beginning.

Our story begins, “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.”

And our story has a new beginning as Matthew opens, An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah…  Genealogy is also the Greek word for ‘genesis’.  Better understood, in Christ we have a new beginning.  This new beginning is connected with God’s creation from the start, of bringing order out of chaos.

May we be challenged to enter into our full story over the next year and experience that God from the beginning has been working out God’s purpose.  A purpose of establishing and then re-establishing us in relationship.  As we begin this new year, I cannot think of any resolution more important of working on this relationship.  I look forward to walking through this journey with you over the next twelve months.

 

Happy New Year,

Pastor Rob

Year of the Bible

Resolutions:

Be it resolved, this is the year for perfection.  As I strive this year to be the perfect husband and father, the model of fitness and health, all while perfectly managing my finances.  The images of what perfection looks like surround us with a world selling the message, “If only you have this—then you will find perfection,” only leading to greater disappointment and a diminished self esteem.  If only leads to feeling inadequate and not good enough.

For this year’s resolution, I would like to challenge us to consider trying a different messenger.  Not the messenger that is flooding our airwaves trying to sell us something, but a messenger that we just experienced new again this Christmas season.  One who enters our lives to say that you are already good enough as you are, made in the image of God.  As we will explore again soon this upcoming Lenten season, good enough even to die (and rise) for.  This messenger comes to us through the Word.  Rather than self-help, may we turn to God and one another through community seeking an improved life through transformation in Christ.

I declare 2015 as our Year of the Bible.  For those that wish to join, we will be reading through all 66 books over the next year.  This will be a chronological reading that includes each day a reading from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalm, and Proverb.  The goal is to read this and share together.  Just as we make new resolutions for working out, or weight loss, I encourage grace if you  happen to miss a day of reading. This is okay.  Do not try to make up missed readings or the challenge can be overwhelming.  Just as you wouldn’t run double if you missed a day working out, pick it back up with a new day based on that day’s readings.

If you want to join in, but the four readings seem too much in our busy lives, consider following along with the Old Testament, or New Testament, and make this a two year plan.  We will begin a new blog on our website for the year 2015 that shares a reflection based upon each day.  I look forward to joining you on this journey for a new year.  Happy New Year and happy reading.

Shalom,

Pastor Rob

January 2015 newsletter

January 2015 reading thru the Bible schedule

Thoughts?

This article from Tony Jones asks the question, where have all of the Millennials gone?  Interested in your thoughts?  How are we called to respond?  Bye-Bye Millenials(by Tony Jones)

We Are God’s House

Hebrews 3: 1-11

…if.  While love is unconditional, to live into church as a verb has the conditional “if”.  “If we hold firm the confidence and pride that belong to hope.  Hope is something outside of ourselves.  As is church.  My favorite theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer–one who lived understanding that church is not an institution to protect–stated “The church is only the church when it exists for others.”  So therefore, we are God’s house when the conditional ‘if’ holds the condition on welcoming the other.  Hope!

Made Perfect through Sufferings

Hebrews 2:1-10

The pioneer is made perfect, how? I want to be careful how we understand suffering.  One of the blessings of serving as a pastor is the amazing situations where we find God places us.  From hospital rooms, times of loss, and real struggle–theological education did not prepare us with the right words or the correct prayer.  In times of human suffering, we find the best word is often that which is unspoken and to be present.  To share God’s presence.

Was it necessary for Jesus to suffer to be made perfect?  I don’t know the answer to this.  But I do know that it matters that he was human, and to be human is to suffer.  Somehow I get that this is perfect.

The Scarcity of Trusting in God’s Abundance

John 6:1-14

In today’s lectionary reading, I can’t stop thinking about the trailer I saw yesterday for the documentary A Place at the Table.  At the same time we participate in a land of abundance, how can it be that so many are hungry?  What is our call as people of faith to address hunger?  As people of faith, we proclaim weekly the abundance of God’s love for all of creation.  In today’s reading, Philip was living into a world that saw scarcity-that there is not enough.  Scarcity leads us to hold on tighter to what is ours.  But Jesus shows another way.  That in faith, there is enough.  In giving of ourselves, in losing ourselves, we find ourselves.

How may we think about our neighbor and live trusting in God’s abundance.  Our problem is not scarcity of food, but a problem of distribution.  Instead of protecting our place at the table, I pray that we may be living into the story of loaves and fishes by continually making a place at the table for everyone and making sure that all are fed.

“Be Still and Know that I am God”

A reminder today–a day I have all the excuses in the world to not read Scripture–and it is because of these excuses that I pause and read Psalm 46.

Psalm 46:

Not exactly sure what ‘Selah’ means, but today I think I get it.  I need it.  We need it.

Last week, a friend of mine posted his thanks for the shelter that God had blessed his family with during this polar vortex.  I too am thankful for the shelter, but believe this is so much more than a material blessing.  When I hear theology that thanks God for a home, a car,…stuff, then the inverse then must be asked.  If God blesses some, then what about those without a home? Or with inadequate shelter? Ask these questions in light of the Matthew 5: 3-10, or Luke 6: 20-26?

We all weather storms.  When you hear everyone’s story, underneath it all is a story of suffering.  This is the shelter we have in God.  That in the storms, the polar vortexes, in life–may we find God is there.  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.  May God be in the midst of all our cities.  May we be still (and know).  Selah

Meet in the Middle

We celebrated our second week of Meet in the Middle yesterday.  There is something special happening with the blessing of children and the amazing gifts shared with our volunteers.  This is what meeting in the middle is all about–and church happened.  It happens with the joy around the table carving pumpkins together.  Then we all meet around the table with over fifty, young and old, breaking bread together.

This is just the middle of the evening.  We then share together with our youth and the best group of leaders.  So proud of our young people that are digging deeper, asking good questions, and hungry to know God better.

Come and meet in the middle with us on Wednesday nights.