Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Harvest !

We are approaching Easter. Lat's celebrate with new friends.

It’s still four months until harvest’?
I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields!
They are ripe for harvest.”
(John 4 vs. 35) 

            We are in the spring of the year and our fields are softening from the winter frost and it is getting close to planting time. Harvest will be in the fall. That is how the world works in my upper Midwest mentality. We till, plant, weed, water, prune and when we are lucky, we harvest. Along the way there is wind, rain, hail, heat and all the forces of nature that we have no control over. June and I had beautiful gardens for over twenty years and miss it a bit every spring.
            Jesus is not talking about a food harvest, his disciples are. Jesus is talking about making converts, telling the story, inviting people to worship. To that task there are no seasons. Hold on to that thought because there just may be times of harvest in our churches; times when we are more invitational than others.
            There are times when we are fairly open to inviting people to worship, Easter, Christmas, rally Sunday and many special events throughout the year. It is fairly easy and most of us feel comfortable inviting people to join us at those special times. However, there are 52 weeks a year and most of us hold on to our invitations to worship way too much. 
            We are all proud of our faith, our congregations, and our church and are willing to share on special occasions. We are asked to “…open your eyes and look at the fields!” Let’s ask a fiend to join us soon.

Open your eyes and look at the fields! 

Thought for Today: Many of us are members of declining Christian churches. Today let’s think about why.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and Father, our troubled world seems to often take control of our lives. Trouble seems to supersede your will. Today we give thanks that in our personal world we have a choice to follow you. We pray that we can choose to contribute to doing your will here on earth by following Jesus teachings.

Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Patick's Day

St Patrick's Day Speial!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then,
and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
(Galatians 5 vs. 1) 

            Growing up in Boston there was always a very large St Patrick’s Day parade and celebration. There were stories about a saint who drove the snakes out of Ireland, green beer and buttons that said everyone was Irish for today. It was great fun; mythical fun without a grain of truth to it!

            St Patrick was an Irish saint and lived from 387 to 461. He is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. Wow, I never heard that growing up. Wikipedia does not mention green beer or parades. He was a great man who converted a country. He allowed the Irish to become free of their demons (maybe snakes?) and experience the grace of Christ. We need to honor him for that today! 

Thought for Today: Today let us honor a person who spread our faith and the grace of Jesus to heathen population. Ok, let’s do it by drinking a toast with green beer! 

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord and Father, today we give thanks to Saint Patrick and the many saints of the first millennium. They brought the grace of Christ to the world and made our lives special. We pray that in some way we are guided to carry on their work.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Life Plan

My real simple message today is let's have a plan and work it with faith.

The plans of the diligent lead to profit
as surely as haste leads to poverty.
(Proverbs 21:5) 
            In the 40’s and 50’s there was a Boston announcer that used to say “A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.” Today we live in a fast paced society that seems to demand instant gratification.  In the business world everyone is looking for the proverbial “low hanging fruit”; the diet fads are advertising fast weight reduction; if a trip is more than 400 yards we drive to save time. We want what we want when we want it and often fail to be diligent, persistent and patient.
            In the 80’s at a sales meeting Ty Boyd did a presentation called “The Life Plan” in which he talked about making a plan for life like we do for business. He preached that we needed to set goals for life and keep our focus on attaining those goals.  We all start out with a plan, but many let it go and start reacting to life’s situations rather than implementing the plan.
            A strong factor in keeping a life plan in order is spirituality. Spirituality gives us the ability to focus on the good rather than reacting to the negative. Having the ability to forgive and to pray helps get through the tough days and keep our focus on the plan. In Paul’s message to the Romans he advised, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” We need that to be a part of our life plan.
Thought for Today: Today let us remember where we want to go. There will be both positive and negative distractions. Today let us focus on our spirituality in both celebration and under stress. Let us give thanks when things go as planned and pray when they do not.  
Prayer for Today: Dear Lord we are busy working our plan every day. Today we pray for success, positive memories and that our plan fits your plan.