Wednesday, December 23, 2009


My friends, thank you all for the encouragement and well wishes this holiday season. I hope you all have a beautiful Christmas celebrating what's truly important this time of year. As you gather with family and friends to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ my hope is that in all the excitement and hubbub of this time you will remember that there are those in your communities who do not have anyone to celebrate this time with. My hope is that you will find a way to make at least one of them feel special, loved and wanted. Remember, Christmas is about the love that God has for His creation. It's a sign of God's grace in the birth of the Savior. For God has taken the first step toward reconciliation with humanity in the birth of the Christ. May the peace of God rest upon you this Christmas season. Amen.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Psalm 96:1-13

I think that people these days are not really able to conceive of just how big our God truly is. Maybe we have forgotten. Maybe we have never known. Maybe we get so full of ourselves that the question isn’t of God anymore, but “How could there be anything bigger than myself?” This is classic sinful human behavior. Taking the world and all that is in it, and making it about myself. All of the good, all of the evil, all of the pleasure that life contains and the disappointments become about me. Self-focus. Sin. But you see, God is big. Not matter what we might believe about God, this world, or ourselves, God is still giant. The creator whom the world should, “Worship..and tremble before..” is the creator of all things. If you want to remember just how big the creator of this world truly is, then I want you to do this. On a nice clear night, step outside, and look up at the splendor of our galaxy. Remind yourself that our galaxy is just one of billions of galaxies in the universe. Remember that God created all of this one way or another. See just how small and frail we really are and yet among all of this bold intense creation God still desires to be in relationship with you…Step outside and remember just how big our God is…

Gracious, Almighty most powerful God. Thank you for making me special. Amen

Monday, December 21, 2009

Luke 1:39-55

An anticipation of Grace entering into the world is what the season of Advent is all about. The birth of our Lord Jesus signifies the coming redemption of humankind. The righteous grace of God has been released upon the whole of creation. I often joke that my Christmas eve sermons always end up being a Lenten sermon because the whole reason for the coming of Christ Jesus is to redeem humankind. To save creation from sin and death. To make us whole. To make right our broken lives, and especially to make right the broken relationship that we have with God.

Gracious God, thank you for becoming like us. Amen

Friday, December 11, 2009

1 John 4:7-11

1 John 4:7-11

4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.

An old song comes to mind when I read this passage. I remember my father trying to teach my confirmation class this song, and it has made such an impression on me because I kept getting the words all switched around, and I probably will in this devotional as well. It goes something like this:
“Beloved let us love on another, For love is of God, and everyone who loveth God is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not..(clap clap clap) knoweth not God for God is love, beloved let us love one another, first John 4, 7 and 8.”
Whew!! Tongue twister there (we can thank King James for that!). I actually had to call my father to get the words straight. The point here? As disciples of Jesus Christ we are called to LOVE ONE ANOTHER. God’s call is that we take the time to uplift and encourage each other. To help each other. To feed each other, both spiritually and physically. My friends, there are many people out there in the world around us who need to experience the love of God. They can experience that love through you. When we practice love, the love of God shines through and infects those around us. As you go through your day today, give it a try. The homeless person on the street? Smile at him/her. Your coworker who’s having a tough time with life? Listen. Encourage. Uplift. Love.

Gracious and redeeming God, thank you for your ever sustaining love. Help me to love others as you command. Amen

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Isaiah 12:2

Isaiah 12:2

12:2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the LORD GOD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.

This is one of those verses that I like to call a “Power Verse”. What exactly is a “Power Verse”? You might be asking. Well, a Power Verse is any portion of scripture that speaks to you in any given moment. Is this a theological term? Not by any means. This is a simple term which I made up for those verses that strike me as deeply profound in the moment. For scriptures such as this one.  Often are the times that I have to remind myself to trust in God. To trust in God’s will for my life. To trust in the calling that God has placed upon me and to not be afraid. I turn to verses such as this one in Isaiah to reinforce the faith which I cling to. To remember that even Isaiah, a mighty prophet of God, had moments of doubt and uncertainty and fear. And he held onto and grew stronger in his faith in God. And so shall I. And so shall you.

Mighty, magnificent God, help me to always trust in you. Amen

Mighty, magnificent God, help me to always trust in you. Amen.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Philippians 4:4-7

Philippians 4:4-7

4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I once knew a young seminary graduate who would worry constantly. He would worry about his call. He would worry about where he would get the money to live off of. He would worry about where he would be sent to live. He would worry about whether his car would start in the morning or not. He was a worrier. In a recent conversation that I had with him I asked him how he was doing with all of the uncertainty of life that he was dealing with at the moment. His answer to me was, “Ah, I’m not worried about it.” This took me by surprise because It was so unlike him. I asked him where the change came from and he mentioned this passage that we have before us today. Verse 6 and 7, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” When we take the time to let God work within our lives, and work within our hearts, and we ask God to provide and protect us, that active relationship with God helps us to understand and actually believe that God will indeed do these things. Because God will indeed take care of, protect, provide for us. Throughout your day ask God to be a part of it and try to see where God is working in your life this day. I think you may be surprised.

Holy God, thank you for your promises. Amen

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Philippians 1:3-11

Being in community and fellowship with other believers is very special and powerful. There is nothing better than knowing that you always have a place where you belong. You always have people holding you in prayer before the Almighty. St. Paul knew that for the church to survive and thrive the people had to hold each other up, and hold each other accountable. I can’t imagine what life would be like without knowing that there are those out there in the world that I can count on to pray for me. To give me encouragement as I share the Gospel of Christ Jesus, and vice versa. We are the Kingdom of God here in this place. Let’s encourage one another, love one another, pray for one another as we live out the Gospel.

Gracious God, thank you for the gift of community. Amen

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Luke 3:1-6

Luke 3:2-6

What a powerful piece of scripture. The writer of Luke offers a beautiful poetic rendering of the power behind the words and ministry of John the Baptist. Come down to the river and be washed clean. Be made righteous in the eyes of God. This message echoes throughout the corridors of time. “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” It speaks of renewal, of a righting of wrongs, of the imperfect being transformed into the perfect vision of God. It is a command to us to be ready. For the coming of the Lord shall be mighty indeed.

Gracious and Mighty King, Master of everything. We are willing. We are waiting. We will rejoice in your presence. Amen

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Baruch 5:1-9

Baruch 5:1-9

When I think of advent and the Christmas season, it's difficult for me to get past the fact that there are people in my community , people in your communities who will be celebrating the coming of our Lord with pangs of hunger in their bellies. Anticipating the arrival of their Lord as they anticipate the arrival of their next meal. God promises to provide us all our needs. Promises to walk with us in our afflictions. Promises to love and care for us because we are His children. So we are called by God to take off our garments of sorrow and affliction and rejoice that our God is a loving, merciful, gracious God who utmost desire Is to be in relationship with us. And that all our needs, be they clothing, our next meal, or something else will indeed be provided us, because we are loved.

Gracious Almighty Lord, help me to trust in you this day. Amen