Tuesday Thoughts

Tuesday Thoughts

 

  • I have been thinking since October 18, 2011 — I just have not been posting them.
  • The holiday’s (Thanksgiving and Christmas) were great!  During those times I was able to spend time with family and friends.  Every year when we make our whirlwind trip to New England, I remember the importance of family and friends in my life.
  • We had a pretty low key New Year’s.  Logan was at Vanderkamp.  So we rented movies and ate Chinese food.
  • I continue to work out with No Mercy Fitness.  I have lost about 20 pounds working out with them.  I am thankful for their encouragement and dedication to my health.
  • When you Google “Lutheran Pastor” my picture is front and center.  I guess I am the picture perfect Lutheran Pastor.
  • I am falling in love with ifttt

Focus on Great Ideas

As a society we are always searching for the next great idea.  It doesn’t matter if it is the next great vacume cleaner or a new way to change the oil of your car – someone is sitting in a room right now trying to think what the next great idea is going to be.

When I was younger I wanted to be an inventor-  I wanted to be the one with the great idea, I wanted to change the world with a new gadget or processor that would make life easier and more enjoyable.

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Where Have You Seen God?

It is a question that I ask my congregation every week at the beginning of our worship service.  The question becomes a moment when people can share experiences that have happened throughout the week or weeks in which they have seen God active in their lives.

After asking this question for over a year and a half, Bethlehem, a small worshipping community with about 30 in attendance each week, is at the point were just about every week there are multiple stories, experiences, moments, joys and sometimes sorrows that are shared. Some of these are short, just a brief sentence.  Some are long drawn out stories that took place over weeks or months.  Some are personal experiences.  Some are references to things seen or read about online or in the local news.  Some are full of emotions, with the teller and many listeners on the verge of tears.  Some are full of laughter.  And yet each story is a way that a person has experienced God.

I have been asked to share with you, the Lutheran Grilled Cheese community, how this tradition and spiritual practice has developed, how Bethlehem and myself have struggled with this question and how this question “Where have you seen God?” has changed our faith lives.  And I hope to challenge you and guide you as you take on this practice of asking yourself to identify where God is working in your lives over the next few months.

But first is all starts with asking the question: Where have you seen God?

My 3 Words for 2012

After reading Chris Brogan’s post last year on three words replacing the traditional New Year’s Resolutions I was hooked.  I picked Acceleration, Mindfulness, and Learning as my three words.  I feel like they served me well throughout the year.

2012 3 words

This year I have three words which are going to take my life and my family to the next level.  Over the next three days I want to share them with you and more about what they are going to mean for me this year.  I totally agree with Chris when he says “Resolutions are often too vague, or too directed towards one goal. It might be “quit smoking” or “lose 20 pounds” or “get hired.” These are all fine aspirations, but I challenge you to dig deeper, to find three words that could be used as lighthouses to guide you through stormy seas, that can be used as flags on the battlefield of your challenges, words that will bolster you and give you a direction that goes beyond the goals you might attach as a result of these words.”  

So I have dug deep and I have prayed about and pondered what my three words will be for 2012.  I will also take some action steps to properly executing and keeping focus on my words.  I hope to have month-long goals but some might be longer and others shorter.

My 3 Words for 2012 are:

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Are you Ready for Epiphany?

Are you ready for Epiphany?  Do you know the story of the wise men’s visit to Jesus?

I gave a quiz to my adult Bible study last month about the Christmas story to “test” their knowledge of the actual Biblical account of Jesus’ birth.  One of the questions asked was “how many magi (wise men) visited Jesus?”  Almost everyone said “three.”  However, there is no indication in scripture of how many wise men actually visited Jesus.  Also to the surprise of many of them, the wise men (however many there were) did not come to visit Jesus the night he was born.  Their visit could have happened anywhere between one week and two years  after Jesus’ birth.

Regardless of how many wise men came or when they actually came, what I have been thinking about this Epiphany is my journey with Jesus.  The question I have been asking myself is, how do I see the light and how am I following it?

I love the season of Epiphany because of its focus on light.   The star that the wise men follow symbolizes a new light in the world – Jesus Christ.  They journey for days, weeks or even months to follow that light until they come upon the Christ Child.

I feel fortunate because since before I can remember my journey of faith has been an “easy” one.  There have been times in my life when I have questioned what I believed.  But I don’t ever remember questioning the existence of God – but my basic theological beliefs. I have been a “church going” person my whole life.  I went to church while I was in college and I was very active in a religious group on campus.

Even during my “darkest” times I always found myself running to God instead of away from God.

Now I am not perfect, I have done my share of yelling at God and wondering where God was during certain parts of my life.  But overall I know that I am where I am today because of my faith.

However, no everyone’s faith journey is the same.  I know many people who question the existence of God, or know that God’s exists but they do not know how that fits into their lives.

On our journey in life we need to be reminded that we ALL are God’s children who need to follow the light of Christ.  God is calling us to come to the light.   Just as Jerusalem was to be the light on a hill for all nations to see God’s glory, we need to come toward this “light” so that we too may be transformed by life in God’s presence.

So as you go on your journey in 2012 remember that Christ is the light.  Think about how the light of Christ is guiding you this year and during this time of your life.  If you have any questions about who God is for you and how God will relate to you in your life please let us know.