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Showing posts from February, 2016

By Faith

Dear Friends,

Last evening at our Mid Week Lenten Worship, Pastor Stickley reminded us of a few key things about faith:
1. Faith is a gift.  It is not by our own understanding or strength that we come to believe (Some of you can dust off Luther's Small Catechism and read the Third Article of the Apostle's Creed for more on this) but rather because Christ comes to us by grace.
2. You can lose faith.  It's not that anything has changed about God and his promises.  Just in some seasons of our lives it seems harder to see and trust.  
3. While faith is a gift, acting out of faith takes a little more effort.  It often involves difficult decisions, risk taking, and journeying outside of our comfort zones to places where we never imagined we would go.  However, this is often where the greatest growth is found.
In our assigned Gospel lesson for this weekend, Jesus begins to set his face toward Jerusalem.  He knows how difficult this will be.  And yet he knows that it is the right…

Tests and Trials

Dear Friends,

This Sunday our Lenten journey takes us out into the wilderness where Jesus is tested to the very core of his humanity.  The wilderness and all of its challenges can take many forms in our lives.
There is the wilderness of culture tempting us to be unsatisfied with our looks, our possessions, our relationships, and ultimately ourselves.  There is the wilderness of the workplace challenging us with deadlines, difficult people, and far too many hours away from family and friends.  There is the wilderness of relationships as we struggle with loneliness and try to find someone to fill that void or dare to wonder if there really is a partner for life.
There are other tests and trials that come from bullies at school, small children, aging parents, or just sheer busyness that keeps us from reflecting on what is truly worthwhile in our lives.  What is drawing you away from what you know gives life?  Is it worth it?
As we gather here at St. Andrew's, whether it is on Wednes…

Lent Begins

Dear Friends,     At the heart of the Christian faith is the death and resurrection of Christ.  On one side of this event and it's remembrance are the 40 days of Lent (not including Sundays), a time of preparation for the celebration of our Lord's passage from death to life.  On the other side are the 50 days of Easter, a time of proclaiming and rejoicing in our redemption.  Right in the middle of it all is Holy Week including Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, days in which our attention is riveted on Christ's death and resurrection.  The entire 90 days is best seen as a whole viewed from two sides, from the cross and the empty tomb, each incomplete without the other.  Listed below is a schedule of Lenten observances in the weeks ahead:  Ash Wednesday Worship – This Wednesday February 10
Noon Time Devotion – A brief service of scripture, reflection, confession, and imposition of ashes.  This is an opportunity for spiritual prep…

Mountaintops and Valleys

Dear Friends,  This upcoming Sunday, churches throughout the world who follow the assigned readings and festivals of the Church Year will be celebrating Transfiguration Sunday, the final Sunday before the Lenten season begins.  On this day, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up  to a mountaintop to pray.   There they will experience an awesome vision they will never forget.  We need mountaintop experiences of our own, places to pray, and sources of strength for the valleys ahead.  We will also be following Jesus through the valleys during the season of Lent.  Our daily journey with Jesus will take us to:

 - quiet places of prayer  - opportunities to feed the hungry  - nights in lonely gardens and angry storms  - the joy and peace of more mountaintop moments  - instructions to care for ourselves and those around us  - reminders that we are never alone but always in the power of the Spirit  - assurance that Jesus meets us exactly where we are but never leaves us th…