Jesus in the Storm

We so often like to imagine that Jesus is off somewhere holy and pristine not getting mixed up in our messy lives. We like to imagine Him contained and not going all the places that we go. The reality is that where you go Jesus goes as well. Whether you are doing church things and serving or whether you are off carousing in ungodly ways there Jesus is. We often want Jesus when we want Him and we want Him to remain in a box or separate place to only see us in our cleaned up Sunday best. Jesus shows us to today his great love and willingness to show up in the midst of our lives.

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Overflowing Generosity

The Psalm today says, “Hallelujah! Happy are they who fear the Lord and have great delight in his commandments!Their descendants will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches will be in their house, and their righteousness will last forever. Light shines in the darkness for the upright; the righteous are merciful and full of compassion.” Our Psalm today encourages us to fear the Lord in a way of respect and realize that God will provide for our needs. The righteous trust that God has a good plan and will provide for them. The righteous look to the ways of the Lord and find it a good and trustworthy place to be. The righteous pass down their faith and generosity so that the generations of people will continue to be a light to those around. The righteous are to be merciful to those around them so that the love of Jesus might be seen in our actions and our lives and that we the Church would be known for our compassion. The righteous are to have compassion for others and not harden off their hearts to the needs of others.

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Good Shepherd

Why should we follow a Shepherd when we can make our own decisions?
When we follow the Shepherd he will show us how to live so that we can have calmer and more peaceful lives. Jesus longs to give us His sheep lives that reflect Him and bring His glory into the world. How might God want to stretch you and change you for His glory? How might God want to bring you closer to Him? Perhaps you can’t quite imagine being on the shoulders of Jesus. Perhaps you feel not ready or not good enough to be that close. I have a secret to share none of us are worthy enough but He delights in showing us mercy.

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Palm Sunday

It is in the nature of God to profoundly love us even though we are broken, lost, and often make bad decisions. It was profound love for you, me, and all of humanity that Jesus took upon the cross so many years ago so that we might know the way to the Father. Jesus’ gift of being willing to suffer so traumatically for all of us was meant to set us free from our brokenness and free from our addictions and free from our thoughts of worthlessness. Come and see that the Lord is good this Holy Week.

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Listening to the Lord

This past year or so has felt much like a long season of Lent. For many of us we have given up so many experiences, times with family and friends, activities we used to enjoy, or even just feeling like things are normal. It can be very tempting to focus on everything that is different and yet Fr. Chris and I truly feel like it is an invitation for all of us to draw closer to the living God who wants to speak to each of you and to provide a way for you. Abraham was faithful to God and God provided a way out of His situation. God provided a sacrificial ram that would take the place of Isaac.

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Shaped by the Great Teacher

Today lots of people in positions of power often do not realize the full impact of their words and actions. Today we can consume ideas and thoughts in the privacy of our homes or the privacy of our phone viewing. So it is easy to see how people can not realize the sheer quantity of people who are hearing their message. A number on the screen can not compare to human bodies in front of us. Rarely do we have to watch or listen to something in front of others. This is a profound difference in the way that humans have taken in information for all of time. With the invention of the internet and the invention of the cell phone we can quietly consume ideas without the input of others around us. So how do we live for Jesus and set down our ideas to the one who can shape us for good? Come listen with us.

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Decreasing in Order to Increase

It is my prayer for each and everyone of you that you might come before Jesus this week submitting your hearts, lives, and minds to His scrutiny and care. Let Jesus show you where you are missing the mark and need to repent and turn from your sins. Let Jesus show you where you need to be set free from unruly emotions that are not steeped in truth. Let Jesus show you faulty attitudes you have that need to come under the gracious submission of Jesus to be made more like him. And may you know the gracious love of the Father that calls us back and gives us another chance at life.

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Growing as a Saint

What does a Holy Spirit filled life look like? The beatitudes found in the gospel today point the way towards the characteristics of a Holy Spirit life. Jesus is not just giving advice but rather he is saying something different. These ‘blessings’, the ‘wonderful news’ that he’s announcing, are not saying ‘try hard to live like this.’ They are saying that people who already are like that will experience joy. What could it be like to live a life filled with the Holy Spirit? Could you life be more orderly, could it be more joyful, could you experience more peace in your situation?

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Anger and Forgiveness

To many people anger would be the only possible response to hard situations. It would seem just and right to retaliate against the man/woman who had caused so much suffering in a person’s life. Many people would think that he/she would feel more empowered to reject the person who hurt them and yet today we hear in our scriptures that true freedom exists with forgiveness. How can something that seems to be such an opposite of how we naturally feel and respond give us freedom? How come so many of us in this world feel such anger and rage on a daily basis?

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Walking on the Water

In the scriptures we find Jesus like so many parents who are weary from the work of just living life seeing the disciples and knowing they need help. He leaves the quietness of communion with the Father to enter the raging sea and to rescue or reassure them of his presence and care. The boat had gotten far from shore and despite the fact that they were professional fishermen they were unable to control the boat due to the high winds and blinding darkness. Jesus sees them floundering and comes to them walking on the water.
How does God want to come into your life and help stabilize you? How could the creator of the heavens and the Earth change your life for the good? He longs to love you, provide for you, and give you a life filled with single minded focus.

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