Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Day And Night Experience

I love stained glass windows in sanctuaries. They tell a story of our faith in God. It is a wonderful experience to view on a bright and sunny day. Standing in the center of the sanctuary you can see the glow and sparkle and the sun streams through the window. What glory to just stand there and take it all in. There is another revelation on those nights when the lights are on inside and you are standing outside. There is a warm glow that has a beauty all it’s own, perhaps even better.

Christian’s are a lot like stained glass windows. We shine and sparkle in the light of day when everyone is watching. Our true beauty is discovered in the darkest part of life when the light of Christ comes shining out of us.

It is an easy thing to be a Christian when the going is easy. We can be all smiles when we are getting our way. The test of faith comes when the storm clouds are over us and troubles toss us on life’s seas. We are like the disciples on the Sea of Galiee fearful in the darkness until we let Jesus calm the storm. Our true beauty and faith shows through in the worst of times as well as the best we let Jesus abide in our hearts.

Are you a window of beauty for others when darkness is covering you? Do you let the light of Christ shine from with in you? What story of faith does your window to the world tell? Take some time to really look at stained glass windows and their story in the daytime and then drive by at night when the light shines from within. I think you will be impressed with the difference. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Christian Equality

Galations 3:26-29 For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.”

Paul wrote to the Christian Churches in Galatia that there is in the Body of Christ, which is the church, equality between members. We are all one as no soul is more precious than another to God. Sadly some people have not always followed this teaching of equality in the church. In the Christian Church we do seek this equality in ministry in the name of Jesus. All of us are one in Jesus the Christ regardless of the color of our skin or our gender. We are all equally sinners in need of forgiveness and grace.

We seek equal commitment from every member and friend of the congregation. We seek an equal partnership in ministry. We seek equal sacrifice of our time, our talent, and our treasurer.

            Some might say, “I can’t give as much as to the church as another does.”  That is not the equality that we seek when we ask you to decide how much you will give to God through the Christian Church. God has already answered that question about equality in giving through the tithe. It is not a set dollar amount but a set percent of income. The tithe is 10% no matter how much you earn and is therefore equal.

            Like many children I was taught by my mother about stewardship. When my allowance was a dollar she would tell me that ten cents belonged to God, ten cents belonged to my savings bank and eighty cents belonged in my pocket. I could do anything I wanted with the eighty cents. That is still a great budget strategy today no matter how large or small our income. 10% for God, 10% for savings and 80% is mine to do with as I need.

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Laura's Why

            Why do we do things the way we do? “What is our ministry?” “Why are we still here?” Where are we going?” And “What does God want us to do now?” These are all very good questions and ones that we should revisit from time to time to make sure we are on the right track.

My youngest daughter reminded me that when she was a child that she had asked me the question, “Why are we [humans] here?” 

Now there is a question that philosophers have been arguing about for thousands of years. I have always tried to answer my daughter’s questions with honest answers framed in language I felt they could understand at their age level. I remember Laura asking that question though she often asked questions far beyond her years. What amazed me is that she remembers and remembers the answer I gave her.

She said on her blog site, “I asked my father when I was a child- "Why are we here?" I have never found a better answer than the one he gave me. He told me that we are here to love. That God loves us and that we have a duty to love each other as God loves us. When you ask, What would God have me do? You'd better be thinking "What would Love have me do?" at the same time.”

In its most basic form that is still the answer all the questions we have been asking. We are here to Love GOD and Love others. That is our purpose, our mission, and our message. When we learn to do love right everything else will also be done right.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Evil Illness

There is an evil illness in our society of people who are wasting their time in self-pity and complaint about what's wrong. They often go out of their way to share their feelings with everyone else. It is one thing to evaluate the mistakes of the past in order to profit from them, and quite another to dwell on them to the point of wasting our lives in misery. Chronic complainers fall into a whirlpool of, “O woe is me,” that tends to suck everyone in.  If we are to get beyond this situation we must learn from the mistakes of the past, and then put them aside so that we may press on to the greater achievements of the future.

How can we learn from our mistakes and grow from the experience?
1. List on paper what went wrong.
2. Seek forgiveness where needed.
3. Ask:
A. What have I learned?
B. How can this be done differently?
C. What is a positive attitude toward this issue?
4. Pray for guidance as you make decisions and respond to those around you.

Greet each new day as a gift from God, in which we can look with a fresh new optimism at the possibilities that God has provided for us. Christians have been given the vision of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to greet each new opportunity with God's plan for us in mind. When God has given you a new day take the time to look at the positive side in every event. Will you take this new day God has given you and make the most of it? In every person you meet there is an opportunity to share your faith and to share the abundance of love that God has poured out upon you.

Each new event is an occasion for you to put the teachings of Jesus to work in your life. What would Jesus do in this situation? In the 12th chapter of the Gospel according to Luke, Jesus teaches us not to worry about trivial matters but instead to strive for the Kingdom of God. The choice is yours - to make wasted complaints or to make things happen for the good. What will you do with each new day God has given you?