“I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion of the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
In the midst of change and fear we Christians are confident that God isn’t finished with us yet. The older I get the more I am able to see how God works in the life of the church and in individuals over time. So often we experience low points where we are tempted to despair, but then God works to bring healing and new life in unexpected ways. Our confidence in a bright future comes from our faith. This season of Advent is all about the expectation of Jesus’ return even as we remember the fulfillment of God’s promise to provide a messiah in the first place. We have confidence that God will continue His work among us and bring us all to that promised day of Jesus return and the new heaven and the new earth. So, whatever hardship we endure we know that we will get through it because God has promised us that our tomorrow is bright!
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.” Revelation 21:3
Happy Thanksgiving and blessed Advent! The holidays are here! I hope you had a great time eating and drinking with family and friends. I hope you felt grateful and returned thanks to God for all that He has given you. I know I am grateful for each of you. I’m grateful to get out of my room and back out in the world after my covid isolation. Thank you for the cards and kind words.
This Sunday we enter into Advent and our new sermon series, Dwell With Us. When the senior staff and I were developing the theme several months ago we didn’t know what the state of the pandemic would be when we got to Advent. I had this image in my mind of a raging storm outside and a family of faith riding it out together. As we looked through scripture, this phrase “God’s dwelling place is now among the people” jumped out at us. For us it’s a prayer to God and a petition to one another. “Dwell with us?” or “Dwell with us!”
As a prayer we ask God to weather the storm with us. Knowing that if God is present the dangers that lurk around cannot overcome us. As a petition to one another it is an invitation to remember our unity in the face of those threats that otherwise might tear us from one another. It’s a simple phrase, ‘Dwell with us’, that evokes a quiet waiting and just being together. I’m reminded of a Winne the Pooh cartoon where Piglet sidles up to Pooh and calls him by name. Pooh responds ‘yes, Piglet?’ to which Piglet says, “nothing, I just wanted to be sure of you.” Dwell with us is a call to one another to just be there so we can take comfort from one another’s presence. There’s nothing to do, but being together is important nonetheless.
The storm of the pandemic is still raging around us, but we are united and strong in our faith. We’ve lost some core members recently and we grieve together. We come together again during the holidays to do old things in new ways. But we do it together. So, let me invite you to dwell with us this Advent and Christmas. Be with your church family. Sings the songs of faith. Pray the prayers and trust that God dwells with us too.
“Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.” -Revelation 1: 4 & 5
This is likely one of my favorite greetings addressed to the readers, to a community, in the bible. The notion that Jesus was, is, and is to come gives me comfort that anything we are facing, Jesus has already faced, that he is with us and will be for those who are still to come. Nothing provides the certainty that Jesus does, his kingdom is of both earth and heaven and reigns with grace and truth.
Christ the King Sunday is upon us, the church year is coming to an end, and we are preparing for the world to turn. It’s my hope that as we reflect on this past year we can find the ways and places that our faith has been strengthened through Jesus. That going into this new year we are filled with hope for all that is to come, but especially for a Savior who is, who was, and who is to come. Where will you witness to Christ in the new year? How will our community grow together as we enter into a new season of hope? Come, dwell with us, as we await the coming of a King.
“For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44
Every year I preach a stewardship sermon prior to our annual pledge drive or ingathering of commitments. And everyone seems to recognize that it needs to be done, although it’s not something we look forward to. I remember one year someone shaking my hand on the way out of worship and saying something like “nice money sermon.” Honestly, I probably should preach about money more often than I do. Jesus certainly talked about it a lot more than we do in worship. We should talk more about it because our money is so connected to our hearts. Touch your wallet or your purse and pay attention to the feelings that wash over you. Gratitude, fear, joy, insecurity, pride, shame etc. Everything we do with our money is spiritual for better or worse. Jesus sees our hearts and the truth just as he did with the widow. We’ll talk more on Sunday about our wallets and our hearts. Bring both.
Space Foundation Discovery Center Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Meet at the church at 9:00 a.m., depart 9:15 a.m.; Cost: $7.50 Our lunch stop will be at Marigold Café & Bakery. Please choose your entrée during sign-up. Please sign up here https://bit.ly/3aakbpw or call the church at 719.632.8836 to sign up. Deadline for sign-up is TODAY Monday, November 8, 2021.
Here are some photos from the last outing the OWL’s went on to Weidner Field in October.
Each year we recognize the first of November as All Saints Day. We remember the beloved’s that have died and now make their home with Jesus. The pain of losing a loved one is fresh and raw for many, and for others it is an ache that remembers the past yet takes comfort in the resurrection promise received. Take some time this week and remember all the saints that have had an impact on you, those who were forebears of your faith.
Here I share with you a few verses from For All the Saints, text written by William W. How, a most appropriate hymn for this week:
For all the saints, who from their labors rest, who thee by faith before the world confessed, thy name, O Jesus, be forever bless’d. Alleluia, alleluia!
But lo! There breaks a yet more glorious day; the saints triumphant rise in bright array, as God to glory calls them all away. Alleluia, alleluia!
From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast, through gates of pearl streams in the countless host, all praising Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Alleluia, alleluia!