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Tag Archives: fall

Change

It is September and time to get back into the routine of how things are during school. Routine?!?!?!

I’m sitting at my desk thinking about how we now have new staff members and things are not routine. Things are not happening the way they always have and that is not bad it is just different.

But isn’t it funny how we look for Fall to be that time when the hustle and bustle of Summer gives way to routine, and how nerve racking it can be to not have that routine.

We are joined this Fall by Patrick Kieper as our Youth & Family Minister and so things will be different. Patrick will bring new and exciting ideas for our youth and all of the congregation. His passion for ministry will hopefully ignite all of our lives and help us to grow deeper in our faith! But with this will come some different ways of seeing and doing things.

We are also joined in the office by Julie Cavil our new Office Manager. She brings a passion for helping others and using her talents to help us all be in the know and keep St. John’s moving forward. She will be a wonderful asset to our team. She will bring a new way of looking at and doing things.

All of this change might rock the boat a little, but I am reminded of the sign that hangs in my office, Change isn’t just something you get from a vending machine.

Change isn’t good or bad, it is just different. If we focus on where God is leading us, that is what it is about. Growing as disciples and following God where He leads us.

So get ready for the unroutine routine of Fall and settle in to deepen your faith!

 

 

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Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times. (John 13:36-38, NRSV)

Aren’t we all like Peter?

We are ready to lay down our lives for Jesus. We are ready to go the distance.

Isn’t it good that Jesus really knows us better than we know ourselves?

He knows how we will fall short, even when we have the best intentions, we will not quite measure up.

We are so close, yet oh so far away…

But thankfully God loves us even though we fall short.

So be like Peter. And try as hard as you can, knowing that God will pick you up when you fall.

 

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A Warning of Destruction of Jerusalem

The oracle concerning the valley of vision. What do you mean that you have gone up, all of you, to the housetops, you that are full of shoutings, tumultuous city, exultant town? Your slain are not slain by the sword, nor are they dead in battle. Your rulers have all fled together; they were captured without the use of a bow. All of you who were found were captured, though they had fled far away. Therefore I said: Look away from me, let me weep bitter tears; do not try to comfort me for the destruction of my beloved people. For the Lord God of hosts has a day of tumult and trampling and confusion in the valley of vision, a battering down of walls and a cry for help to the mountains. Elam bore the quiver with chariots and cavalry, and Kir uncovered the shield. Your choicest valleys were full of chariots, and the cavalry took their stand at the gates. He has taken away the covering of Judah. On that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest, and you saw that there were many breaches in the city of David, and you collected the waters of the lower pool. You counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or have regard for him who planned it long ago. In that day the Lord God of hosts called to weeping and mourning, to baldness and putting on sackcloth; but instead there was joy and festivity, killing oxen and slaughtering sheep, eating meat and drinking wine. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears: Surely this iniquity will not be forgiven you until you die, says the Lord God of hosts. (Isaiah 22:1-14, NRSV)

We didn’t do anything wrong.

It is someone else’s fault.

Why did the Lord let this happen?

We are good at throwing off blame, the only problem with that is, well one of the problems with that is, that if you always blame someone else, there is no room fro you to change anything about the situation. If you have nothing to do with it then anything you do will not change the situation.

God will not allow His people to blame others, or to live in lives that seem to be perfect.

I have a book on my shelf in my office called No Perfect People Allowed. It is a great book about a messed up church and that is us.

We need to allow God to work in and through our lives. Not to make us perfect, but to allow His perfect love to shine through us.

Don’t go down for the fall and destruction, but allow God to love you and shine through you.

 

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Self-righteous

Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you. I do not sit with the worthless, nor do I consort with hypocrites; I hate the company of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked. I wash my hands in innocence, and go around your altar, O Lord, singing aloud a song of thanksgiving, and telling all your wondrous deeds. O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell, and the place where your glory abides. Do not sweep me away with sinners, nor my life with the bloodthirsty, those in whose hands are evil devices, and whose right hands are full of bribes. But as for me, I walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me. My foot stands on level ground; in the great congregation I will bless the Lord. (Psalm 26, NRSV)

I have to be honest when I read this Psalm I am struck by the hypocrisy of it. It sounds like a Pharisee who knows he is in the right with God and others around him are wrong. It sounds like a self-righteous person telling God that they are in the right and God should know that. I do all the right things, so do not cast me away for I am a saint and do not belong with the sinners.

I cry out to you o Lord, help me to put my trust in you and not to know that I am right or a saint. But to trust in the fact that even when I stumble and fall your mercy still makes me right with you. Help me to show my faults so that the world may see your love for me and know that your love is all encompassing.

 

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watch out

170308I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness. Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents. And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:1-13, NRSV)

Do not desire evil and give not yourself into temptation.

Even when we think we are standing we could fall over. We are tested by things around us every day. We can endure when we hold fast to what God has given us and to His love. He walks with us through everything and guides our steps. Follow after God and give not into the temptations of the flesh, but hold to the glory that He gives us all.

God is faithful and He will not let us fall when we trust in Him and follow His lead.

 

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arrogance

160903Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor—let them be caught in the schemes they have devised. For the wicked boast of the desires of their heart, those greedy for gain curse and renounce the LORD. In the pride of their countenance the wicked say, “God will not seek it out”; all their thoughts are, “There is no God.” Their ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of their sight; as for their foes, they scoff at them. They think in their heart, “We shall not be moved; throughout all generations we shall not meet adversity.” Their mouths are filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under their tongues are mischief and iniquity. They sit in ambush in the villages; in hiding places they murder the innocent. Their eyes stealthily watch for the helpless; they lurk in secret like a lion in its covert; they lurk that they may seize the poor; they seize the poor and drag them off in their net. They stoop, they crouch, and the helpless fall by their might. They think in their heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.” Rise up, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; do not forget the oppressed. Why do the wicked renounce God, and say in their hearts, “You will not call us to account”? But you do see! Indeed you note trouble and grief, that you may take it into your hands; the helpless commit themselves to you; you have been the helper of the orphan. Break the arm of the wicked and evildoers; seek out their wickedness until you find none. The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations shall perish from his land. O LORD, you will hear the desire of the meek; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed, so that those from earth may strike terror no more. (Psalm 10)

Do not be so full of yourself that you think that there is no God.

God knows everything you do and you can not hide your actions or your motives from God.

No matter what it is, God knows.

So do not be arrogant. For arrogance leads to a fall.

 

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How many things do you need?

160717Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.  She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying.  But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.”  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things;  there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42, NRSV)

Have you ever been someplace doing all of the work, while someone else, who should have been helping was sitting and listening to what was happening?

Have you ever resented family members who didn’t help when there were chores to be done?

Jesus told Martha who was worried about getting all of the house work done, that it will be there later. And right now we need to be with me. Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen, a place that was not open to woman, but Jesus knew that is where Mary and Martha should be.

Martha wanted the work done, but her focus was off. Jesus said to focus on Him.

When we chose to focus on Jesus the rest of the will fall into place.

So how many things do you need?

Really only 1, just focus on Jesus.

 

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