Our Ministry of Seeing

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When we stop, we can begin to see.

When we begin to see, we can begin to care.

When we begin to care, we can begin to act.

When we begin to act, we can find ourselves doing God’s work with our own hands.

To learn more, listen to this week’s message: “Our Ministry of Seeing”

Blessings!

Holy Un-Fairness

Prayer Page

I’ve always believed that life should be fair.

I believe that good things should happen to good people, and I believe that bad things should happen to bad people. I believe that people who get up in the morning and go to work should have enough money to enjoy their lives and to raise their kids. I, also, believe that people who treat others fairly don’t deserve to be stabbed in the back, or to be thrown to the sharks.

But life’s not always fair, is it…?

The violent killing of innocent people is unfair. It’s not fair when little boys and girls die during their heroic battle with cancer. It’s not fair when folks hurt other people and then get to just walk away as if nothing happened.

In this week’s message, “Holy Un-Fairness”, we look at the topic of “fairness” from a new and different perspective. And, asĀ  we explore the topic of “holy unfairness,” we discover that our relationships with God and with other people often only survive because people (and God) consciously decide that they’re NOT going to go give us exactly what we deserve. And, in response to that great truth, we say: “Praise God!”

If you’re moving through a tough time in your relationship with another person, this is a message for you. If you’re living your life with lingering guilt because you’ve made some mistakes along the way, listen up!

God calls His people to live lives that are clearly marked with a holy unfairness that points others toward the in-breaking of the “Reign of God.”

Blessings!

Your Beautiful Story

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You have a story to tell….

You’ve lived through times filled with blessings and joy, and you’ve lived through times of challenge and uncertainty. Your life could be described by telling a series of stories that are uniquely yours. And, more likely than not, you also have “stories of faith” that remind you of the times and places where you’ve met God along the way.

Have you ever thought about the fact that the story of your life – and your walk with God – is your most powerful tool in witnessing to others?

In this week’s message, “Your Beautiful Story”, we’re reminded that witnessing to the life-giving power of Jesus Christ is far more than regularly knocking on neighbors’ doors and telling people that they need to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior before they burn in the eternal fires of Hell.

Witnessing is about sharing stories about God taking us by the hand and leading us back to sobriety (if we’ve walked that journey). Witnessing is about telling others about how God’s given us the strength to forgive people who’ve hurt us. Witnessing is about telling others about the ways that God helped us to move through a time a grief – to navigate through a change in our marriage or family – or to face the loss of a parent, spouse, child, or baby. Witnessing is about learning to say to others in an authentic way: “I’ve been where you are right now – and I want you to know that God is going to bring you through this, just like He brought me through it.”

Blessings!

 

Remembering 9/11 – 15 Years Later

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Chaos descended at the Sheetz in my neighborhood this summer.

I remember the day when the men first arrived with jackhammers and started to break the cement. The gasoline pumps were quickly removed. Other men dug holes that could easily swallow my car, and buried new storage-tanks. Still other men connected long, blue pipes together in what looked, at least to me, like a confusing mess – while others ran electrical cables and installed a new circuit panel in the store’s office. And, right after the army of workers completed their task, a battalion of cement trucks arrived and everything that had been done was buried under a thick pad of concrete. New pumps were installed. Faithful customers returned. The parking lot’s as busy as it was before the whole thing began. It’s almost as if nothing happened!

We’ll be remembering the horrific events of 9/11 this weekend. It’s hard to believe that 15 years have already passed! I remember sitting in front of my television in stunned silence. I remember watching videos of the planes crashing into the sides of the Twin Towers over and over again. And then, we all witnessed a mighty crash – as the Towers crumbled under their own weight, dropped to the ground, and sent people running through the streets in an effort to escape the immense cloud of toxic dust.

Americans were stunned. It was almost as if evil had won the day. We were reminded that evil people can devise wicked schemes that end the lives of men and women – older people and younger people – parents and children – Christians and non-Christians alike. And yes, our innocence as both individuals and as a nation was shattered.

But soon, we also began to hear heroic stories about police officers and emergency crews. We watched firemen fighting flames and rescuing the people who could be saved. We saw large groups of dedicated workers beginning to sift through the rubble and we saw a single American flag waving in the wind. We came together as a nation. We learned what it means to rise above ideological and personal differences, and work as a Team.

Fred Rogers, the renowned television personality who dedicated his life to children, once said: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”

It’s not always easy to see the helpers. Helpers often dedicate their time and energy in ways that aren’t noticed by other people. It’s easy for us to forget about the helpers when tragedies like 9/11 happen because horrible events become so permanently burned into our minds that less-obvious things are quickly forgotten. When the battalion of cement trucks buried the twisted maze of blue pipes and electrical conduit, it was as if the hard work and dedication of the people who devoted their time and energy to the project at Sheetz didn’t matter anymore. People quickly forget. The work of helpers is soon forgotten. The “bad” can quickly swallow-up the “good.” But the doesn’t mean that the”good” didn’t happen!

As we remember the 15th Anniversary of 9/11 this weekend, let us recommit ourselves to the process of coming together as a nation. Let us honor those who lost their lives (in an unexpected act of violence) by spending some time in prayer – confessing the times in our own lives when harsh attitudes, and our own hate-filled words and actions, have affected the lives of other people. And let us never forget that, even in a world filled with violence and hatred, we can still make a difference by continuing to confront the evil and violence that we see in our world with love, and by becoming one of the helpers that God continues to use to make our nation and our world into a better place.

Blessings!

 

How Much Will It Cost Me?

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I always like to know how much things cost.

I expect gas stations to post their prices on a big sign that I can read while I’m driving. I expect restaurants to post their prices in their menu, and I expect hotels to clearly tell me how much it will cost me to stay overnight before I make a reservation.

But, sometimes, we can’t fully understand how much things will cost us, can we?

How can we ever estimate the emotional and financial “cost” of being a parent? How can two people fully imagine what the words “until death do us part” are going to mean over the course of 50 years of marriage? It’s not that easy, is it?

And yet, commitments bring rich blessings into our lives, too! We discover the richness of life as we invest in relationships with other people and in our relationship with God.

In this week’s message, “How Much Will It Cost Me?”, we listen to Christ’s call to “take up the Cross” and to follow Him. We can’t fully know how much it will cost us to be a disciple of Christ at the beginning of our journey. We can’t fully understand what our journey with Christ will teach us about life, about commitment, about loss, and about love.

But we do know that, when Christ calls us to follow Him on an “adventure of faith,” we will discover and learn things about ourselves. We’ll often be challenged to offer the very best that we have to give. We’re going to laugh. We’re going to cry. We’re going to see life from the top of the mountain. And we’re, sometimes, going to be weary to the bone.

The “cost of discipleship” can be immense, but the blessings that we receive as we journey from death into life are overwhelming, too!

Peace!