Monday Morning Meditation 10-25-21

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!” Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.  Psalm 122:1-2

Have you been to the “House of the Lord” lately?  I do not specifically mean have you been to live worship in the sanctuary, however, have you participated in worship (even online?).

Worship is important.  It is one of the most important things we do.  After all of our jobs are no longer valid, after all our extra-curricular activities are done, after all sports, games and anything else are in our history, we will be worshipping God (see Revelation 4).

One of the greatest gifts that we have received in this horrendous time of Covid is online worship.  While some churches had already done online, many of the smaller churches (like ours) were “forced” into it, and for that I am glad. I’ve wanted some form on online presence for years and we have it. 

Are you regularly participating in worship?  This question has nothing to do with showing up Sunday morning at 10:30, rather asks if you are watching the church’s service.  You should be. 

As you go through your busy week, take a moment to click onto our weekly service.  Participate in worship, be fed by God, give your attention and grow.

You will not be disappointed.

Peace,

Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 10-18-21

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Do you need rest?  Do you need someone to lean on?  I do.  It has been a busy Fall (can you believe its mid-October already?).  Our school students are deep in their studies as well as after school activities, weekends are packed, the stores are already putting out Christmas decorations, and Thanksgiving is around the corner.  Things are moving too fast.

On top of this are the many people having medical issues, tests, job stresses, family tensions and the rest.  We all need rest.

Fortunately, the Lord offers us that rest.  No, it may not be an extra night of sleep, but consider this; can you take 15 minutes today?  Just 15 minutes of silence, 15 minutes of meditation, 15 minutes of sitting in the Lord’s presence.  Get in a comfortable place, shut off the phone and other distractions, read this scripture slowly, breathing the words in and out and then ask Jesus to give you that rest. You will be amazed at how just 15 minutes can change your day.

Peace,

Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 10-11-21

1If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. Second Reading 1 Corinthians (13:1-3) 13:4-13

Recently I officiated a wedding and, as usual, read this passage.  Paul’s “Love Passage” is one of the most popular scriptures ever, and is read at many weddings.

But Paul did not write this for wedding ceremonies, rather to remind us all that servant love (Agape love) is the love Jesus had for us, and we should have for each other.  Servant love calls us to care for those in need.  Servant love calls us to be forgiving.  Servant love reminds us to not hold grudges.

Servant love is hard.  It is very hard.  But servant love is worth it, for it is the love of Christ.

And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Peace,

Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 9-27-21

It is a pretty typical Monday morning, getting up, getting breakfast made, making lunches, taking out the dog, loading up the car, getting everyone out the door to work and school.

Add to it a weekend with a funeral and a wedding, and a bunch of other things, I was stressed before I got out of bed.

Then I read the daily lectionary text.  If your day started like mine, definitely read this passage.

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you — you of little faith? 31Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

34“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:25-34

Need I add more?

May this day and this week be a blessing for you.

Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 9-13-21

Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of rushing rain.” So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; there he bowed himself down upon the earth and put his face between his knees. He said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” He went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” Then he said, “Go again seven times.” At the seventh time he said, “Look, a little cloud no bigger than a person’s hand is rising out of the sea.” Then he said, “Go say to Ahab, ‘Harness your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” In a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind; there was a heavy rain.  1 Kings 18:41-45

There was a great drought that caused famine across the land.  The people were concerned, the people were frightened, the people were upset.  Every day was filled with the struggle of the crisis, a lack of food, a lack of water, a lack of the daily needs of life.  The stress must have been unbearable – and that sounds familiar to us, doesn’t it?

Some turned to God in prayer, only to receive no answer (or at least not yet).  But then the prophet Elijah tells Ahab rain is on the way.  Ahab could see nothing, so Elijah tells him to look seven times when Ahab sees the tiny cloud, promising the much-needed rain.

Can you see the tiny cloud in your life?  Can you see that little positive image way off in the distance while you remain in the tensions of the day? If not, have you looked seven times? 

We are all still going through incredible struggles with the pandemic, with the tensions in our nation, with the ongoing political divisions, yet there is a cloud of hope in the distance.

Let’s all look “toward the sea” for the signs of God’s action.

Peace,

Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 8-16-21

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD. Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! Psalm 130 V 1-2

Do you feel that you are in the depths right now?  How about those around you?

The world is certainly in the depths – rampant wildfires, blistering heat in areas known to be cooler, earthquakes, flooding and hurricanes.  And, we are still battling a pandemic.

The Psalmist certainly knows about the depths.  David often wrote Psalms during his darkest days.  He would write out the words of his heart and you can almost see his tears.  David and the other Psalmists wrote these honest thoughts as a prayer and a healing balm.  Even in his deepest pits, David retained hope in the Lord.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning (v 5-6).

Perhaps we should turn to the Psalms – read them, pray through them, lift them up as prayers to the Lord.  Perhaps we can turn to the Psalms as our prayers for this world and each other.

Peace,

Pastor Bill There will be no Monday Morning Meditation until I return from vacation in September. 

Monday Morning Meditation 8-9-21

Give ear to my words, O LORD; give heed to my sighing.
Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch. Psalm 5:1-3

Did you ever have one of “those” days?  Did you ever have a period in your life when you just felt down?  It happens to most of us.  Yes, I know, we are all supposed to be filled with joy yet things happen that can temporarily rob us of that joy.

Whether it was King David or another Psalmist, we know that people often felt this pain.  The Psalms are filled with joy and pain, with good and bad.  The Psalms remind us that we do sometimes feel the pain of life – and it is okay to bring it to God.

If you are in one of those times, take a trip through the Psalms and know someone else has also gone through the same – and that God is still with you.

Peace,

Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 8-2-21

 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Matthew 14:22-23

Where is your “mountain”?  Throughout the gospels, Jesus withdraws from the crowds and the disciples to pray, and He often goes up a mountain.

Have you ever prayed up a mountain?  There is something truly majestic, as you physically and mentally remove yourself from the trappings of the world.  They you gaze around and see so much of the beauty of the earth.

Perhaps your space is by water – the ocean or a lake – and the rhythm of the water flow becomes the rhythm of your breath.

For some it is in the woods, hearing each footstep on the fallen leaves and branches as you find a quiet spot.

We cannot always retreat up a mountain or any other place, but it is important to find ways to get away from the noise of life so we can spend the time with God. 

As you travel through this week, find a “mountain”, even if it is just a quiet corner in your home.  Spend some extra time with God, away from the news, away from the noise, away from all that distracts you.  You might just find yourself able to face whatever this week brings – and you face it with God.

Peace,

Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 7-26-21

6They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7When they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; 8so, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them. Acts 16:6-15

Have you ever had one of those experiences where you kept trying to go somewhere, only to be delayed.  Maybe you forgot something and had to go back into the house.  Perhaps you were just not moving as fast as you should have.  Or something else kept blocking you from getting out and doing what you had on your schedule. 

Suddenly the phone call comes, or the person knocks, or some other method of communication.  You are needed elsewhere and it is very important.

I cannot tell you how many times this has happened to me – both in the pastorate and personally.  I just cannot seem to get moving on the planned schedule when suddenly I’m called somewhere else.

Paul experienced this and it must have been frustrating for him.  After all, Jesus had called Paul to his ministry, and now Jesus is preventing him from traveling to Asia.  He goes to sleep and then has the vision, “come over to Macedonia and help us.”

Plans and schedules are very important – but it is also important to be open to the Holy Spirit for often the Spirit will send us where we truly need to be.

Have a peaceful and blessed week and remain open to the Spirit.

Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 7-12-21

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. Mark 1:35

Mark’s gospel is short, sweet and to the point.  35 verses in and Jesus has already been baptized, faced the devil’s temptations in the wilderness, began his ministry of teaching, preaching and healing, and began to call his disciples.

And now, Jesus heads into a quiet place to pray.  This will not be the only time we read this in the gospels.  Jesus’ regular routine was to preach, teach, heal and pray. 

This week I begin a four-day spiritual retreat of prayer and bible study.  One of my goals is to rekindle my daily prayer routine, not saying I was not praying daily, but to truly build it back up to where it should be. 

It is easy to slip out of the discipline, especially with the wild world we live in today, however that wild world is all the reason to pray more.

As you begin your week, find time to be alone with God.  Spend a little more time in prayer, even if it is only a few minutes more.  Then see how much more you can do.

Peace,

Pastor Bill