Wednesday, November 9, 2016

November 9, 2016 - ... along the Way

Good morning!   Last night we learned that we have a new president-elect.   I am sure it was quite a shock to many, some have received the news with joy and wonderment, others with sadness and disbelief.   So what should we think as God's people walking together ... along the Way?

Throughout this entire presidential election year, I have maintained 3 truths that should give us confidence no matter which way the election would end.

1) God is in control.  

In Psalm 146, we read, "Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.   When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.  Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God."

God is eternal, human beings are not.  Earthly kingdoms may rise and fall, but God is the ruler yet.
We can put our trust and confidence in Almighty God.   He alone is fully trustworthy, and He will do what is best.

2) In the US, we do not elect a king.

As an American citizen, I place a lot of confidence in the US Constitution.  The wisdom of a balance of power between the Judicial, Executive, and Legislative branches, creates a system whereby a tyrant cannot take control.  Presidents can voice their opinions, offer plans, and develop budgets, but they are not given unilateral control to do whatever they please.   We are still a government ... "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

3) We will get the president we deserve.  

Because God is in control we will get the president we deserve.   As a people, we are free to choose our leaders through the electoral process.   Yet, as a people, we are also fallen.   We do not always know what is best for us, and often when we get what we think we want in the end it is not what we had thought it would be.

For example, in the Jewish scriptures, we see that Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, was the king  God's people deserved.   He was cruel, and God's people suffered under his rule.   Nevertheless, God was still in control.  Eventually, God changed Nebuchadnezzar's heart, so that near the end of his life he proclaimed about the LORD, the Most High, "His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation."

In spite of what we deserve, God is good, and He gives good things to those who fear Him.  We can be confident in light of the election results that God is in control, the US does not elect kings, and although we will get the president we deserve, God is good.

May the hope found in Jesus our true King, who alone has received all power and authority from God, offer us confidence to move forward in peace, as we journey together ... along the Way.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

May 5, 2016 - Along the Way ...

As proclaimed by President Obama, today is the National Day of Prayer.  But what does that mean?

Prayer is an expression of our dependence on God, our Creator.   Today, we acknowledge His hand of care and protection over our nation and this world.  Today we give thanks for all God has done, is doing, and will continue to do.  Today, we humbly bow and ask God to heal our land in every possible meaning of that term.

The church that I serve has a document called, "Our World Belongs to God".   It is a contemporary testimony of our faith and trust and hope that God is ultimately in control, and because God is good we are assured that God has good plans for this, His (not our) world.

There is a song that I have been singing over the past month or so.  It has become my heart song as I have traveled, lived, move, and found God at work along the Way.  The song is true, and can be sung anywhere; in any city, in any nation, among all people.  The song is a prayer, expressing our hope and faith that God has greater things in store for this world; greater things than we can now fathom or even imagine.

The song is "God of this City" by Bluetree.  The song was written by a band from Ireland in a city in Thailand, which testifies to its universal application.

Here are the lyrics - it begins with praise and moves to petition - as we look to God as our greatest and really our only hope.

"You're the God of this city.
You're the King of these people.
You're the Lord of this nation.
You are.

You're the light in this darkness,
You're the hope to the hopeless,
You're the peace to the restless,
You are.

There is no one like our God.
There is no one like our God.

Greater things have yet to come,
and greater things are still to be done in this city."

So on this National Day of Prayer, I invite everyone to make this our prayer together.  We really do need God.  He is our creator, the redeemer of all things, and He is only hope.   So let us make this our prayer not just today, but always, as we journey together in hope ... along the Way!

"Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, 
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea and everything in them -
the LORD, who remains faithful forever."
(Psalm 146:5-6)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

April 19, 2016 - along the Way ...

Hello.  I know it has been a while since I have written.  I was busy finishing a Clinical Pastoral Education unit at the Presbyterian Hospital here in Albuquerque.  It was a great experience.   And along the Way, God opened my eyes to the greatest gift we have to offer our family, friends, and neighbors: prayer.

Prayer is the greatest gift we have to offer because in prayer we rely on God to do things we can only dream.  God is able to heal.  God is able to forgive.  God is able to restore and completely transform lives, our communities, and even our city.

So today I want to bring our attention to Jeremiah 29:4-7.

This is a letter God wrote and shared via the prophet Jeremiah with His people.   It is God's marching orders for His people in exile in Babylon awaiting deliverance.  And for us who follow the Way (who is Jesus), it is marching orders as we wait for Jesus to return and make all things new.

Look at the list of activities that God blesses.

Build houses ... settle down ... plant gardens and eat what they produce ... marry ... have sons and daughters ... find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage ... that they too may have sons and daughters ...

This is the stuff of life.   This is life together.  This is why we work.  It is why we pray.  We work to live, not the other way around.   And God is saying that this is all good!

Then come the marching orders ...

"seek the peace and prosperity of the city" ...
"Pray to the LORD for it"...
"because if it prospers, you too will prosper."

So our marching orders are simple: seek peace and prosperity (for all) and pray to the LORD.

Simple, but how often do we do it?

Well, I would like to give us a chance to pray about these things.  For those in our area, Chelwood Church is sponsoring the first of many "Neighborhood Prayer Walks" this Wednesday evening, April 20 at 6pm.  

We are going to reflect on Jeremiah 29:4-7, as we walk through our neighborhood being mindful of what we see, hear, and smell; listening to God as He shares His dreams for this community.   If you would like to join us, meet near the front entrance and we will go from there.

These are our marching orders, and we will obey as together we journey along the Way ...