It’s about digestion

I apologize for the grossnicity of this but I have come to the conclusion that we are not fed by what we poop out. We are fed by what we digest.

I recently met with my pastor Rory Lewellyn and we were talking about some struggles I was having. He said that he thought part of my problem was I wasn’t assimilating the word that I was reading. To Paraphrase, I wasn’t digesting the word.

It wasn’t too long after that that God gave me a picture of what Rory was talking about. It was big pile of red poop. On my daily walk I came across a big pile of red poo. Not red with blood, red from whatever the pooper had eaten. Upon closer inspection (not too close) I could see fruit pits, like from cherries.

I read in the book of James this morning. Here is what I read: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:22-27

Read the word, then Assimilate, digest, act on, allow it to change, guide and direct me.

Is the study of God’s word having an effect on me? Is my life changing? Am I doing the basics of caring for those in need around me? Am I guarding my tongue?

Is the word of God in me coloring my life? Or just coloring my “poo”?

Hmmm.

Let it snow (as soon as my leaves are raked)

We have a very creative granddaughter. Her name is Molly. She takes piano lessons from her grandma Mary. When Molly was 7 she wrote a little song, just a chorus, about the joy of the first snow. When grandma Mary was putting together her music for her Christmas album she decided to add some verses to Molly’s chorus and then record it. I think it is a delightful song because it captures the childhood joy and anticipation in what can become a drag and a drudgery to adults – snow. The song is called “a white sheet of snow”.

Please click on the link and listen for free. Mary’s album is available to purchase from several different outlets but this morning, just click the link and listen and remember the joy of a wintertime snow. Molly and Mary perform the vocals.

1Timothy 2

“2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

There are no conditions on this urging. It doesn’t say, if he is a good guy, if you like him, if he is treating you well, if you agree with their policies. None of that. Just “pray, intercede and give thanks” for our kings and those in authority. I’ve mentioned my prayer list before. There are no politicians on it. That can’t stay that way. Who needs Jesus’ help more than our leaders?

“5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.”

The reason for Paul to peach and teach. The reason for me type on my phone at at 4:45 in the morning. Jesus loves us, and he died to forgive all of our errors, all our mistakes. Jesus loves me, peter, now you say it, Jesus loves me, ______. It’s true. Jesus loves you.

Next Paul requests that women dress modestly.

Then he says something difficult to understand. “11 A woman[a] should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[b] she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women[c] will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”

The denomination I attend was founded by a woman, Aimee Semple McPherson. Our denomination ordains women. We don’t take this passage literally, we assume it was a cultural thing. It’s there so I quoted it. Don’t let what could be controversial side track the main message.

Jesus loves us and died for us. Male or female, tell the world about Jesus.

(Originally posted 11/09/19)

Living in Matthew 29

Living the Matthew 29 life. The book of Matthew ends at chapter 28. So now we are all living in Matthew 29, the next chapter.

“And thenHe ascended into heaven from whence he shall come to judge the Quick and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.”

I quote from memory, part of the apostles creed. (It was my favorite, the Nicene creed was longer ). Growing up in a liturgical Lutheran church we recited a creed every week. Our statement of faith always included our ascended savior.

3 of the 4 Gospels have a commissioning by Jesus before his ascension. Matthew’s goes like this: “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:16-20

Mark and Luke tell us that Jesus ascended into heaven. In Acts Luke says “They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Acts 1:10-11

Editorially I will add that the angels were implying “didn’t our master and your master just give you a job to do? Will you now get moving on that job?”

Here we are, His church, His people, and we still have the same job to do. We are to make disciples of all nations. When we think about sharing the story of Jesus with the entire world it is overwhelming. Let’s just start with one. A neighbor or a co-worker. That too can be scary. It scares me. But what is the alternative for these people we know who don’t know Jesus? The alternative is that they will enter eternity not hearing about the God who loves them, who suffered and died to save them and now lives forever to intercede for them.

We live in the next chapter, we live in the era of being The commissioned. We live in Matthew 29. How are we doing on sharing our story, the story of being redeemed, bought back from slavery by a loving God?

Here is a Facebook challenge, share your redemption story with one person this week.

(P.S. It occurs to me that not everyone has a redemption story. If you are reading this and you don’t have a story to tell about how Jesus forgvave all of your sins and became your Lord and master you can begin the story today. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that he rose from the dead, you will be saved”)

Let’s Celebrate what God has done

My wife released a Christmas album last year. Her title track tells the story, “the whole year long”. We believe that celebrating the birth of Jesus doesn’t have to be confined to December 25th. God’s love for us shines everyday and everyday can be a celebration of gratitude that God sent his son to us, that God remembered our plight and remembered his promise to come and save us. Please click on the link to get to YouTube then take 3 minutes to listen and celebrate with us.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxv12ZmKhD0

 

Inconvenient Truth

An inconvenient truth. That is what Jesus’ resurrection was to the Jewish leaders. They got the story, the whole story from the guards but chose to invent a lie to maintain the status quo.

Matthew 28 tells us the story.

“While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

Matthew 28:11-15

They did the wrong thing. They lied and bribed to cover the truth about Jesus.

The question always comes back to us though, what do we believe about Jesus? Who is he? What do his life and death mean for us? Did he really rise from the dead? Where is he now?

The apostle Peter said this to the Jewish leaders after healing a man born lame.

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Acts 4:12

The inconvenient truth is there is no body in Jesus’ tomb because God raised him from the dead. The truth is inconvenient only for those who don’t believe that Jesus came to die for us sinners and to be raised back to life on the third day.

What do you believe about Jesus?

(Originally posted 11/07/17)

God with us

God did something new. It was around 2000 years ago but what he did changed history, changed the future for mankind. What did he do? He visited us. God visited earth, not as a tourist, not as a deity as such, but as a man. God became man and dwelt among us.

Mary recorded this song on her album. It starts out with 4 of our grand-kids singing “Away in a manger”. That is where God started his visitation.  The creator of everything that exists came to visit, and his first appearance was in a barn and he slept in a feed trough. He didn’t start out in a palace among the elite and privileged, he started out in a common place, among common folks, like us. Mary is joined later in the song by our son Aaron Loeffelbein.

Jesus is God with us.