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Showing posts from January, 2014

Blessed Are You

Dear Friends,

I want to extend a word of thanks for the opportunity to be away with our confirmation students on retreat last weekend.  No, the snow did not change our plans and in fact it made the weekend even more special.  Speaking of special, what an incredible group of junior highs we have, and I mean group in every sense.  Whether they were playing, learning, working, serving, or worshiping, they were almost always together as one group.  We are truly blessed to have this group here and now and I am certainly looking forward to many adventures with them as Senior Highs as well.  Our youth are not just the future of the church but a very important part of our present.
As we prepare for Bible Study tomorrow (Thursday) at noontime and worship this weekend, I wanted to give you a heads up on our assigned Gospel, Matthew 5:1-12, the Beatitudes and the beginning of the most famous sermon ever preached (The Sermon on the Mount).  Here are some questions to consider:
1. Who is the audi…

The Least Likely Are Called

Dear Friends,
Most of you, by the time you read this message will be dug out but still enduring the snow and deep freeze that will be with us for quite some time.  We plan to be at St. A's tomorrow (Thursday) for our weekly noontime Bible Study as we look at the texts for this upcoming Sunday and worship rarely if ever is stopped by the elements (come to think of it, since we don't really need a church building for worship, one could say it is never stopped!) so the Gospel will be proclaimed on Sunday as well.  This Sunday's Gospel reading is Matthew 4:12-23 and here are a few questions to think about as we approach this text:
1. Do you think that the fishermen are meeting Jesus for the first time?  Why or why not? 2. What do you think changes for the fishermen as a result of accepting Jesus' invitation and challenge? 3. What do you think Jesus means when he says, "Repent?" 4. What does it mean to fish for people?  Most of us are not fishermen.  Is there an image …

Lessons Learned From Baptism

Dear Friends,

This past Sunday we celebrated the Baptism of Our Lord.  The assigned Gospel reading for the day was Matthew 3:13-17.  For those of you who were in worship, you know that I looked at the idea of identity through the eyes of Les Miserables and Jean Valjean.   However, as I pondered this text, I was reminded of a couple of other valuable truths:
1. John the Baptist tries to talk Jesus out of what Jesus is trying to get him to do.  Well, as many of you know, it doesn't work and and when we persist it rarely turns out well!
2. God calls Jesus beloved before his ministry even begins, before Jesus has done much of anything!  It's not because of his great prayer life or power to heal or willingness to sacrifice.  No, it's because he is God's Son.  That's God for you.  That's God FOR YOU.
In the waters of baptism, God names you and claims you as His own.  Whether you were an infant, a youth, or an adult, whether you remember it or not, whether it was in …

Welcome to 2014

Dear Friends, As I struggle to remember to date things in my office and at home 2014 (and not 2013!), I also give thanks for so many of the blessings of 2013 and look forward to the promise of 2014.  You, the people of St. Andrew's, have so much to do with our blessings -  past, present, and future.  We are truly blessed!
2013 concluded in wondrous ways for our faith community.  Over three services on Christmas Eve, we had about 700 people praising our newborn king, including many new faces and returning ones who we hope to see more of in 2014.  A big thanks to all of you who volunteered so much of your time during the Advent and Christmas season.  Also, a huge word of thanks is extended for your financial support throughout the year and especially during the month of December where we experienced overwhelming generosity from several of our members.  The way you have opened your hands, your hearts, and your voices has brought more blessings to people in this …