Hope and Fences
February 17, 2019
In the late 1800s a salesman from the East arrived at a frontier town somewhere on the Great Plains. As he was talking with the owner of the general store, a rancher came in. The owner excused himself to take care of the customer. The salesman could not help overhearing the conversation. It seems the rancher wanted credit for the things he needed.
"Are you doing any fencing this spring, Josh?" asked the storekeeper.
"Sure am, Will," said the rancher.
"Fencing in or fencing out?" inquired the storekeeper.
"Fencing in. Taking in another 360 acres across the creek," replied the rancher.
"Good to hear it. Josh. You got the credit. Just tell Harry out back what you need," answered the storekeeper.
The salesman couldn't make much sense of this. "I've seen all kinds of credit systems," he said, "but never one like that. How does it work?"
"Well," said the storekeeper, "it's like this. If a man's fencing out, that means he is running scared with what he's got. But if he's fencing in, he's growing and getting bigger. He's got hope. I always give credit to a man who's fencing in!"
Hope. What does it mean for a Christian to have hope? This week in worship we will explore the issue of hoping as a Christian. What does it mean our hearts are for hoping as disciples of Jesus Christ?
I hope you will join me this Sunday as we rediscover where our hope can be found and how we are to use it. See you in church Sunday!
Grace & Peace,
February 10, 2019
There was a public opinion poll done a few years ago to measure the public’s favorite activities. Two thousand people rated two hundred different activities according to their general pleasure level. It might surprise you to learn that “going to church” ranked quite high. It scored 8.5 on a 10-point scale.
Going to church tied with another favorite activity: “sleeping.” I know what some of you are thinking. The ideal activity would appear to be “sleeping in church.”
I have gotten plenty of kidding about how many people sleep through church services each week over my years as a pastor. We know that in a culture saturated with entertainment options, worship may seem a little boring to some.
However, pastors can not take all the blame. Worship was never meant to be a Broadway show or a spectator sport. In fact, worship operates like much of the world does: what we get out of it depends on what we bring to it. If we prepare our heart and mind through prayer, confession, and humility, then we will be ready to receive wisdom or inspiration from the message. If we focus on praising God and not on our worldly concerns, then we will experience joy and transcendence. If we do not get anything out of worship, then there is a good chance we did not come prepared to meet God and experience God’s presence.
This Sunday I will focus on what it is to engage our hearts for worship. I hope you will come prepared to worship as we gather this Sunday morning.
Grace & Peace,
Do You Know the Secret of Love?
February 3, 2019
In his book THE LITTLE PRINCE Antoine de Saint-Exupry wonderfully illustrates the connections between dedication, caring, and specialness.
The Little Prince comes to visit earth from a distant planet. On his home planet he has a special rose, which he leaves behind in order to explore the vast universe. In the course of his adventures on earth he encounters a field of roses and, for a moment, he doubts that his rose is indeed special since here are so many beautiful roses. But in time, he realizes the difference.
"You are not like my rose," he says finally to the earth roses. "As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world." And the roses were very much embarrassed. "You are beautiful, but you are empty," he goes on. "One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under a glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose."
. . . Then the Little Prince went back to say good-bye to his friend the fox and the fox said, "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye . . . It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important . . . Men have forgotten this truth."
This week we will be exploring what it means that our hearts are for loving as we enter into this month of love, February. I think our hearts being for loving has a great deal to do with our hearts being aligned with Jesus which guides our energy toward others. See you in church Sunday as we reignite our hearts for loving.
Grace & Peace,