Eager Longing

Text: Romans 8:18-25

Theme: Hope

What is it you long for today?

Paul's writing in Romans guides us through human reality (suffering) into divine revelation (God's work). In this year 2020, certainly these words speak loud and true. One does not have to look far to understand the presence of suffering:
-global pandemic
-racial injustice
-economic hardships
-abuse of mother nature
-isolation and loneliness
-anxiety over the future

These are but a few examples of ways in which I have seen, or experienced, suffering recently. You could add your own to the list, but the point remains; individually and collectively, suffering is a part of our human experience. Paul acknowledges this, and we, too, must acknowledge this as a part of our lived reality.

Good news in this is that God does not forsake, nor abandon, that which God has created. God continues to usher in hope, in in the midst of suffering. God has sent the Son, Jesus Christ, so that the world may know God's l…

God Is...

Text: Psalm 145:8-14

There are many ways we can describe God. We use language that we understand (for me, it happens to be English) to describe a God that is beyond any string of words. This psalm provides language that describes both who God is, and how God works in the world. This language is not all encompassing, nor it is perfect. But this language gives us more than a glimse of who God is.

The Psalm today is rooted in who God is- one who offers grace and mercy. One who is slow to anger, and loves abudandtly and reliably! God is good, and acts with compassion. God is faithful, and God holds up those are falling and brings up those who are bowed down.

In these few verses of this particular psalm, a lot about God is revealed. The hinge upon this all swings is that God is relational. God reaches out, to you and to me, through Jesus Christ on the cross. God reaches out, to you and to me, through the Holy Spirit, who continues to bind us to faith, unite us in God's prom…

Baptized Life

Text: Romans 6:1-11

Theme: Life from death


I don't remember the day I was baptized; this is good and well, as I was only 34 days old! I do know who was there, standing around the font with me. I do know that the promises made in my baptism continue to this day... and tomorrow... and into eternity. I have had the privilege of sponsoring some very special people to me in their baptism. I have had the honor or baptizing some very special young people in two different congregations. Baptism continues to be a communal celebration within the body of Christ.

In this Roman's text, Paul starts with sin and moves to grace. Paul starts with death and moves to life. Paul starts with us and moves to baptism into Christ Jesus. The theme in this writing is starting with the human condition, which leads always to God's promises. We, you and me, are humans in this world, trying to figure out how this world works, and more importantly, how God is active in this world. The two th…

Laborer's for Christ

Text: Matthew 9:35-38

Theme: Compassion

When you see a large crowd of people, what comes to mind?

I imagine, in this gospel text from Matthew, Jesus being overwhelmed by the crowds of people. Jesus had become high in demand. Jesus had gathered quite a following; the preaching, teaching, and healing was a sight to behold. These deeds of power, and words of authority, caught the attention of lots of people. Word spread, as more people followed, more people were invited to follow. Life changed, for those who experienced healing and those who observed it.

Today, we see crowds of people gather for a variety of reasons. Music events, sporting events, parades, and marches see large groups of people in one area. Gathering with others for a common purpose brings people, energy, and movements together. With the onset of Covid-19, crowds and gatherings in large groups have happened far less frequently.

The compassion Jesus has for the crowds leads to interaction with others that prov…

The World... Today

Text: Romans 15:13

Theme: Hope

How have you responded to the news lately? Have you paid attention to what is going on locally? Nationally? Internationally?

This weekend, I have spent more time watching the news and following the news online, than I have in a long time. In most images, I see people with anger, exhaustion, and frustration. I pray for them, and a weary world in which hope seems to be fleeting. As members of the body of Christ, we are called to usher in hope and love, given to us by an unconditional-loving God, to be shared with the world.

Today, this hope looks beyond words of "thoughts and prayers," although that is a good initial response. While we cannot pray, by name, for every individual, community, and country that needs prayed for, but we will pray to God for healing for the family and friends of Ahmaud Arbery who was killed while running in Georgia. We will pray to God for healing for the family and friends of George Floyd, who was killed wh…

You Are...

Text: Acts 1:6-11

Theme: Identity


Who are you?
How might you answer that question to a stranger?
How might you answer that question to a loved one?

In the Acts text for today, we hear of Jesus' final encounter with his disciples before he ascends to heaven. Thursday was Ascension Day; a festival in the season of Easter where we remember that Jesus ascends to the Father, and the Holy Spirit is promised upon Jesus' followers. I find the turning point in this text to be verse 8, where dialogue ends, and the the instruction is given; you will bemy witnesses... Jesus makes it quite clear that the work of bringing the good news of Christ does not end, but continues through these disciples.

Like the disciples, in order to know who we are becoming, we first ought to know who we are. Which brings us back to the question; who are you? In God's magnificent creation, each living thing is created with a unique identity-- there is NO ONE else like YOU in the world. There are…

New Creation

Theme: New Creation

Text: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Here in Southern Illinois, we are cruising through spring and anticipating the heat of summer. School is out for summer (yay for teachers, kids, and parents of homeschool kids). Recently, I have noticed the increasing amount of time our family has spent watching the birds eat at the bird feeder; we sit, watch, scream whisper to "come" without scaring the birds. What is even more stark, is the growth of the trees, the grass, and the container garden plants that are growing.

This spring has been like no other spring in my lifetime. We have spent far more time at home than ever before, and our calendar has had fewer appointments than ever before. Our family has slowed down-- in this stillness we have made more meals together, eater dinner as a family every night, and spent time appreciaing the beauty of God's creation.

This focus text today is 2 Corinthians 5:17. You, and me, are a part of a new creation-- yesterda…