Monday Morning Meditation 11-22-21

Psalm 62:1-2

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.

It is Monday of Thanksgiving week.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  I get up, make breakfast and start preparing for the meal.  We turn on the Thanksgiving Day parade and spend a quiet morning together. 

Whether it is just us or we have family over, it is a wonderful day.  Friday (black Friday according to the retailers), we purchase a tree from a local tree farm, and start to decorate for Christmas.  It again is a wonderful day of family life. 

Before any of this happens, however, is anything but peaceful.  As my wife and I are both clergy we each have multiple services to prepare before we can take time off and, of course, our daughter has homework to finish.  The days before a holiday can be quite hectic.

I’m sure things are similar for many of you, no matter what your occupation.  In today’s world, taking time off comes with a price, and that is unfortunate.

However, we can find those moments, and that is the point of Monday Morning Meditation – to take a moment before everything gets crazy and sit in silence before the Lord.

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.

I pray you have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration, and that you can give yourself a moment for your soul to wait in silence.

Peace,

Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 11-15-21

1Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD. Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! 3If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? 4But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered. 5I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; 6my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning. 7O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem. 8It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.

Are you in the depths?  In a way, we all are right now, with conditions constantly in flux, the holidays fast approaching, supply lines disrupted, prices rising, and the rest.  Honestly, you do not need me to remind you, do you?

This morning, listen to the Psalmist.  In the depths, he cries out to the Lord, his soul waits for the Lord.  And, he remembers the most important part – “For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.”

Steadfast love – a love that never changes (even if we mess up), a love that is consistent, constant and overwhelming.  You are loved.  Remember that.

As you enter into this new week remember these things.  Hope in the Lord, for God loves you and will redeem you.  Even if you are in the depths.

Peace,

Pastor Bill

Thank You

Our utmost thanks to all who have honorably served the United States military.

Thank you for sacrificing part of your life to defend our freedom.

Thank you to your families who shared your gifts with us as you served.

Thank you for all you have done for our nation, our communities and our lives.

May God bless you abundantly!

Monday Morning Meditation 11-8-21

Matthew 14:22-36

22Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”

28Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

34When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35After the people of that place recognized him, they sent word throughout the region and brought all who were sick to him, 36and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.

This passage always amazes me. Peter gets out of the boat.  He has the faith to try, but when the wind kicks up, he shows fear.  Sometimes I think Jesus got a little rough with Peter – out of all the apostles, at least Peter tried and of course he was afraid.  Have you ever been on rough waters when a storm kicked in? I do get what Jesus is saying – “I’m right here calling you to me – do not let anything stop you from coming to me, not even your fear.”

When was the last time you stepped out in faith and tried something different, difficult or even nearly impossible?  As you go through this week, keep your eyes open for those opportunities and step out in faith like Peter.  Maybe you will stumble, maybe you will succeed, maybe you will do both.  But you will not if you stay in the boat.

Peace,

Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 11-1-21

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:  “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

Revelation 7:9

In the greater church, November 1st is the Feast of All Saints, a day to remember all those who now reside with God (both those we know and those we are unaware of).  It is often a day to remember our departed loved ones.

In Mexican tradition, it is Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.  It is a day to honor those who have passed on and is celebrated with parades, food and special cookies called Sugar Skulls.  The celebrations are intended to remember that those who have passed are still among us (the biblical “Great Cloud of Witnesses”).

Other traditions around the world have similar beliefs (and most are around this time of year). 

There is something to these celebrations – death is not the answer, rather a gateway to the next life.  While it is always sad when a loved one dies, and we should mourn their loss, we also can celebrate their life and legacy, as well as their continuing influence on us.

So whether you celebrate with a Mexican sugar skull or not, take some time today to remember some loved ones.  Give God a prayer of thanksgiving for their continuing influence on your life and consider how you want to influence others.

Peace,

Pastor Bill

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