Monday Meditation – July 23rd, 2018

“Train children in the way they should go; when they grow old, they won’t depart from it.”

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During worship on Sunday, Pastor Michael discussed the roles, responsibilities and qualifications of leaders in the church – including both clergy and lay leaders that serve the church and the community, bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to the world.

There’s also another kind of shepherd – the shepherd of the family. As parents we are called to be leaders of our children – helping them mature and grow in their contributions to society and to grow in their faith. Of all the roles we hold in our lives, it seems to me that being a parent is the most important.

And what is our example? Just as Jesus Christ is the example of a good shepherd of the church, Jesus is also the ultimate example of a parent, who loves us all with unconditional love, guiding us through the Holy Spirit to be the best we can be.

Monday Meditation – July 16th 2018

Ephesians 4:15

“Speak the truth in love”

A few weeks ago, I had probably the most difficult conversation in my work history spanning since I was 16 when I entered the workforce. I accompanied the department of child safety DCS to tell a mom that her son was being placed in foster care and was not coming home. 

While the reasons for the action were legitimate and their were genuine concerns for her parenting, my heart broke as I saw the tears streaming down her face when we talked. The kid’s mom has developmental delays so I came to interpret the “legalease” of what was happening. My heart sank as I went over the letter that she received and signed for. I wanted to make sure that she understood what took place but also have hope that this wasn’t forever. That moment that she and I spent together created a bond of trust. She knows that everything I do for her and her son is meant to bring them back together. 

Although that story continues,  it is an example of the brutal honesty that sometimes we have to offer others. It’s sad when we have to deliver difficult messages that cause pain for others. It is,however, our intent and our position that makes the difference.

God calls us all to be honest and caring even when it’s hard. Saying things out of spite is not only harmful to others but is harmful to ourselves as well. When we build each other up, we are building up the body of Christ.

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Monday Meditation – July 9th 2018

1 Corinthians 14:1-4

“14 Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy. For those who speak in a tongue do not speak to other people but to God; for nobody understands them, since they are speaking mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, those who prophesy speak to other people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. Those who speak in a tongue build up themselves, but those who prophesy build up the church.”

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This week, Pastor Michael spoke of the prophetic voices we find in the Church. From our Hebrew Scripture, we find Ezekiel’s experience of calling to speak truth to the people of Israel – to a “nation of rebels who have rebelled against me….the descendants are impudent (not showing respect) and stubborn…whether they hear or refuse to hear..they shall know that a prophet has been among them.” (Ezekiel 2:3-5)

We also see prophetic voices throughout the New Testament, from John who “will be called the prophet of the Most High” to the life of Jesus Christ who was rejected for His prophecy, people speak out regardless of whether or not they are received.

The same holds true in our personal lives. There are many times where we are called to speak our truth to others who may not be very welcoming of what we have to say. 

When I work with parents who are challenged by their child’s behaviors and are at the “end of their rope,” delivering a difficult message on additional efforts they must use to reconcile with their children is tough. Many times it is not received well.

What are the areas in your life where you need to speak the truth in love? I invite you to consider this as you go about your week, for we are all called in our ministries to speak out.

Monday Meditation – July 2nd 2018

“After the death of Moses the servant of God, God spoke to Joshua, Moses’ assistant: Moses my servant is dead. Get going. Cross this Jordan River, you and all the people. Cross to the country I’m giving to the People of Israel. I’m giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on—just as I promised Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon east to the Great River, the Euphrates River—all the Hittite country—and then west to the Great Sea. It’s all yours. All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” (Joshua 1:1-9)

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In this passage, God calls Joshua to a lead the Israelites into the promised land. God asks Joshua to:

  1. Cross the Jordan River with all the Israelites
  2. Give it all: heart and soul
  3. Carry out the Revelation that Moses had commanded
  4. Don’t get off track
  5. Don’t let my (God’s) word leave your mind. Focus on it day and night
  6. Don’t be timid; Don’t be discouraged

That’s quite a laundry list of commands that God gives Joshua as he prepares to lead God’s people to the land He had promised. That’s all well and good. However, God also promises many things to Moses and Israel. He says:

  1. I have given you every square inch of land you set your foot on
  2. It’s all yours
  3. No one will be able to hold out against you
  4. I’ll be with you.
  5. I won’t give up on you
  6. I won’t leave you
  7. I am with you every step you take

I think the same holds true for our faith walk. God calls us into new journeys and leads us down different paths. God calls us to give it all we got, to focus on God’s word and not be discouraged. However, God promises to be with us every step of the way, to never give up on us or leave us – to persevere! 

There is a newness in our church as we welcome Pastor Michael to lead us into the future as we seek to serve others in the 19 North Community and beyond. As God promised Joshua, God is with us every step of the way!