Monday, April 26, 2010

Live by Faith

I want to invite you to think about your life and where you live by faith. What I mean by living by faith is where do you believe God is working in your life. Many areas of our life are under our control. We make the decisions of what to do and go where we think we can get ourselves to go. We rely only on ourselves.
When we live by faith, we are going as far as we can go with ourselves and then trusting God will take us the rest of the way. We believe, by faith, that God will do more in our lives then we can do ourselves. And this is not wishful thinking or even hoping God will work, but it is more like expecting or knowing God will work.
What does this look like? Well, United Methodists have a membership pledge they make as they join the church and they renew those vows each time new members join. So I took the five pieces of that pledge and asked what it might look like to live by faith in those areas. The pledge says a United Methodist will be faithful in their prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.
Prayers - Is your prayer life a place of faith? You know praying is not about you and yet you feel called to be praying specifically for others.
Presence - Maybe just coming to worship is an act of faith for you right now. You are not really sure about this church thing, but you are living by faith that if you show up to church God might work in your life.
Gifts - Do you give faithfully to others? When you look at your checkbook is your faith represented there?
Service - Are you involved in a ministry that you believe God is working in?
Witness - Is your life as a whole an example of living faith? Or are you pretty much in control of everything allowing little room for God to work?
I have felt challenged in my life to be sure that I am giving my all, but also living by faith that God will do more than I ever could. I hope you will look for the ways you are already living by faith and praise God for his work there. Also, look for an area you might need to add some faith to what you are doing.
When we live by faith, God's light shines through us and God will do amazing things.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Skilled Team

In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus calls us to be the light of the world and compares us to a city on a hill. As I thought about a city on a hill I noticed Jesus did not call us to be a lighthouse on a hill here. A lighthouse gives off light and would not be able to hide on a hill. But a lighthouse is just one light, where a city is filled with many lights.
This reminded me that we are called to be the light of the world as a city, a community, a team. We are not called to shine alone, but with others. And I love being a part of a team because we can do so much more with a team than on our own.
A few weeks ago I went with a team over to Cedar Rapids to do some flood recovery work. There were 9 of us who went and I was the least skilled person there (which included an 8th grader). If the project had been left in my hands not much would have been accomplished. However, there was a role for me to play. I was the "gopher." I would go for this and that.
I ran to Lowe's and made sure everyone had what they needed so they could do their work. My role felt small at times, but I also know it was a needed role in the group. Because of my help the skilled guys could tear out a bad wall and build a new one. Our group worked together to put in new windows and prepare the home for siding. We got some good work done only because we each did our part, and together we did more than we could have alone.
Part of our Christian faith is letting our light shine with others. We cannot live the Christian life alone. We need to work together because each of us has a part to play in the marvelous plan God has for this world. This plan is too large for just one person, it will take all of us working together to be a city on hill that will shine God's light on the world. Don't forget that you are a part of this skilled team.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Experience

I missed blogging last week because I left for vacation, but I still want to focus on Easter. Of course, we celebrate Easter on that one special Sunday each year, but every Sunday is also supposed to be celebrated like "a little Easter." Easter is the celebration of the empty tomb and the risen Messiah, and that should be celebrated every day.
So, what does Easter mean to you? What does Jesus rising from the grave mean to you?
Easter reminds me that God overcomes all things. No matter the hurdle placed before God he can overcome it, even death. This gives me courage when facing obstacles because I know if God wants me to get over it God will make a way for it to happen. This does not mean I sit and wait for God to do everything, but I participate with God in getting over the obstacle.
Easter also reminds me of the great lengths God went through to prove his love for me. It took Jesus giving his life to forgive my sins and his resurrection to show his ability to offer that forgiveness. Sometimes it is hard to believe God would go through all of that for me, but it is true. It is true for you too.
Easter also reminds me that because Jesus is risen and alive he is present with me every day. I can have experiences with God because He is alive and active today. If I will just keep my eyes open God will be present with me in everything I do. I love seeing God work and experiencing his presence.
Without Easter our faith would not be the same. It is because of Jesus' resurrection from the dead that we can know God and his love and grace in our lives. What does Easter mean to you?