“Grateful Living”

thanksgiving_cornucopia.jpgRejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Contentment-basking in and savoring the gracious gifts of God is easy. Contentment is foundational to a life of gratitude; if we are not content we cannot be grateful.

Contentment is our response to the grace that we have experienced through the Cross of Jesus Christ. We discover that contentment is a choice that we make. When we are content in Christ it allows us to rejoice, pray, and give thanks.

We all have heard the verse in Ephesians that says, “You have been saved by grace through faith and this is not our own doing it is a gift from God.” This verse is a foundation stone in our beliefs as Christians. It was a pivotal verse for the Reformation. Faith is a gift. So rejoice, pray and give thanks. Living and acting in the reality of our salvation and our relationship with God is a choice. Life is filled with choices, and many of those choices require faith for us.

Faith allows us to be grateful. Being grateful helps us to persevere. It lightens the burdens of those around us by giving them hope and encouragement. Rejoicing and prayer and giving thanks glorifies and honors God. It is a powerful witness. All part of grateful living.

God bless your homecomings and thanksgiving during this beautiful fall season.
Blessings,
Tim
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Sacramental Embodiment


shining  
The Pope has made quite a splash in his recent trip to America.  We love his practical wisdom, humility and charisma. His Jesuit background founded in the Abba Prayer, declares; one for all that all might live.  Jesus’ sufferings and reconciliation embrace us all.  Pope Francis embodies Christ for the world.  At the age of 78, he is a luminary.  The human form that the Spirit uses for the good of the world.  Do you need to be reminded the same is true about you?  Your body is where the Holy Spirit abides.  Your body is a temple.  The temple used to be where God was, now in Christ the temple is your bodies.  You are fed weekly with the Body of Christ so that you embody Christ in the world.   You are the righteousness of God.

As a sacramental embodiment you can no longer ignore the pain and suffering of others but are called to be God’s righteousness to people who need the gift of your presence (and God in you).  Please continue to let the Spirit in you shine into our world.   The world needs you, even though you may not acknowledge it openly.  You have the ability in you to do great things because you are unique.  You have family and friends that only you can touch with hope.

Together this fall, we join in Small Groups, Confirmation, SundaySchool, and Worship.  We gather together to strengthen and encourage each other for service to God in the world.  I’m encouraged by another Lay School of Ministry student from our congregation taking on the challenge of sacramental embodiment.  I am also encouraged by the council to begin a conversation with you on Stewardship.  Stewardship is giving from our abundance.  As God has given us, so we are to share with others.  Let’s let our spirit shine into the world together.

Blessings,  Tim

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Monday prayer advent 2

Holy God!

It is advent

The season of preparing and stillness and quiet and waiting.

Yet, we are all about the tree and the tinsel and the lights and the carols and the food and the lists and the shopping.

Then, of course, O God, we beat ourselves up!Should we trim the tree on Christmas Eve? (In between the carols and the services, and the cooking and the family and the travellers and all of the stuff)Should we turn our backs on all of the fripperies until Advent is done and Christmas begins?

Or, should we actually, be kind to ourselves?When we have a window of opportunity, to unpack the boxes, relive the memories, share the joy and open up to the hope.Dear. God!

Sometimes it feels to me like the world has gone madWe are charged with sharing your love, your message of peace and hope and Justice.Yet when we do speak out the world cringes.

Who is she to tell me?

Who is she who has an opinion?

Who is he that dares to speak up?

Don’t bring the church out into the streets… keep God in that building, away from the real world.

What does God know?

God of all – the watchers and the protesters, the black and brown and olive and white.

God of streets and hills and valleys and cities and villages, of wealthy nations and the poorest of the poor.

Help us….

Help us to remember you are God in each and every situation

Help us to know that whether the tree is up from Thanksgiving, or Christmas Eve makes no difference to you.

What matters is the heart

What can I give youPoor as I am?

What I have I give you

Give my heart

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Hope in Darkness

   

Christmas star 

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

 

Isaiah pronounces these words to a people who were torn up by their roots. The Babylonian Army marched into Jerusalem and dragged them into slavery. Confused by God’s action and overwhelmed by their loss, they cling to these words by their prophet. They cling to the hope… and they wait. They wait for this child who will transform their deep darkness into light. They are promised that His authority will create a peaceful commonwealth, where there will be justice and righteousness for all, and forever.

 

This promise is spoken to people in every age, especially those living under oppression or in dark depression. It is spoken to the hungry and ill, the imprisoned and the forgotten. The mantle of authority on His shoulders is now shared with us. That mantle of authority will continue to grow wherever justice and righteousness is done, born on the shoulders of the Prince of Peace.

 

Our peaceable commonwealth is always working toward a greater understanding of justice and righteousness for all. I am proud to serve with you as together we inform and educate our community in the divine impact and its continued benefit for our children and families.

 

Thank you for proudly bearing the mantle. Thank you for selflessly serving our community. Thank you for your many accomplishments and know that I am always proud to speak of your commitment.

As you share the joy of Christmas, may you and your families rest secure this season in the arms of the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, (the) Prince of Peace”.

 

Merry Christmas!

Pastor Tim

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“Dual Fuel”

 

        When I was teenager growing up in Randolph Mn, our family home was heated by duel fuel. Our furnace had a wood box connected to it so that we could burn wood or fuel oil. In order to supply the wood box, I spent a lot of time in my late teens with a chain saw and wood splitting maul. Dad was always on the lookout for trees fallen around the area and was quick to volunteer my services for removal. I would get dropped off with the saw a small can of gas and bar oil, and away I’d go.

           The part I really liked about the work of cutting and splitting wood was burning it. In the morning I would open up the wood box remove the ashes and set new wood for the daily burn. Often times the coals from the night before were all that was required if the draft to the chimney was set right and the fire door left open just a crack.   Sometimes it had to be started from scratch; under the logs we’d stuff newspaper and light it, or make kindling and light it. Lighting a fire from kindling is a very intimate relationship. It requires deep breaths and just the right amount of air to make the kindling catch. Once the fire caught and began to heat the house, there was a sense of wellbeing every morning in the long winters.

          But it was nice to have dual fuel, because sometimes the wood pile got a little low. And sometimes the fire went out early in the morning hours and the fuel oil furnace would kick in, and sometimes in the evening the fire setting wouldn’t catch and we wouldn’t find out until morning. How nice it is to have a backup system in place.

Wood and oil provided the dual fuel to keep the home fires burning when I was a boy, and Word and Sacrament are my dual fuel in my walk with God today. The Word either convicts or encourages, but the Sacrament allows draws me intimately to the creator of my next breath.  

Live in the joy of a God who cares about you and loves you!

Pastor Tim

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Beneath the Cross of Jesus

PurpleDrapedCross_iStock_000003144922XSmall_webOur Lenten mid-week services are in full swing with our emphasis on the cross. The theme is based on this classic hymn, Beneath the Cross of Jesus. Listen to this closing line from the second verse “And from my contrite heart with tears, two wonders I confess; the wonders of thy glorious love and my unworthiness.” These two “wonders” are sin and grace. As we realize our sin we can more fully embrace God’s amazing grace.   By participating in the Lenten journey we prepare ourselves more fully for Easter.   This mixture of sin and grace or confession and forgiveness is a powerful emotional connection to the cross of Christ. When was the last time you connected in a profound way to Jesus?

In Luke 7:32-50, Jesus is at the house of a Pharisee named Simon. foot washingAs Jesus and Simon are eating supper a women enters and begins washing Jesus feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair. She is a sinner and Simon condemns her. But Jesus forgives her all her sins. She experienced the profound mixture of sin and grace and it transformed her life. She was outside the religious community but granted forgiveness by the son of God. Jesus saw her contrite heart and blessed her with his gracious love. Sin and grace beneath the cross of Jesus.  We worship an awesome God who loves us just as we are.  

 

Happy Easter,

Tim

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“Camo Campaign”

This time of year camouflage sales at Gander Mountain goes through the roof. Pants, shirts, hats, gloves, boots, jackets and coats, sweats and pajamas just about anything you can imagine comes in camo. We love camo; Why? Because camo reminds us of hunting and we are right in the middle of the hunting season in Northern Minnesota. So with hunting on our minds it’s time again for our annual Wild Game Feed.

We are busy putting together another excellent event. The food, the 4-wheeler, the bow, tote, and gun; along with all the silent auction items should make this year’s event the biggest yet.

We could use some help in the kitchen, with the silent auction, and 4-wheeler sales; other than that things are progressing nicely. Help spread the word of this fun community event. Invite a friend and tell them to wear camo and I’ll see you there!

Blessings,

Pastor Tim

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