Pastor’s Pen
 

Finding Our Way Forward, Together

Democrats support entitlement reform? Republicans support tax increases? Not in a world that sacrifices common ground on an altar of exclusive ideologies. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are lines in the sand to be drawn, but be careful where you draw the lines, lest you make enemies out of friends.

 

Some people are more interested in being right than in doing the right thing, and doing the right thing means finding our way forward together. John Wesley once said, “We may not all think alike, but can we not all love alike?” It is the way we love, not how we think, that preserves our church and state.

 

Blessings,

 

Dennis
 

 



Choices, Parrots, and Town Gossips

Will Rogers once said, “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” Life is a series of choices we make every day – most are small – few are big. But whether big or small – make the kind of choices that gives others a chance to smile, not frown. There is no shame when we do good for others.
 
Jesus tells a story about a father who had two sons in Luke 15:11-32. This story is about choices. Read the story. Which choice caused you to frown? Which choice caused you to smile? Which choice would you rather see a parrot, and the town gossip spread around?
 
Blessings,
Pastor Dennis


Faith and Public Discourse

​Miroslav Volf and Ryan McAnnally-Linz book, Public Faith in Action, (2016) references the Swizz theologian Karl Barth (1886 – 1968) who says Christ is the center of two concentric circles. The smaller circle is the Christian community, the larger circle is the civil community. Christians, he said, need to be active in the civil circle so that the character and rule of Christ in our hearts might find an expression in way we govern our nation.

​But be warned; this is not about making the state submissive to the church, but making the character and rule of Christ implicit in both. Our biblical call is to act justly, practice mercy, and walk humbly with our God in public life as well as within religious community. (Micah 6:8) Perhaps Peter had this in mind when he wrote I Peter 2:17, “Show proper respect to everyone: Love believers, fear God, honor the king.”

Blessings,

Pastor Dennis

 

 

 



The “H” Word

Do you want to be happy or holy? Most people want to be happy in life, but some believe you can’t really be happy if you are trying to be holy because being holy means denying yourself of everything this world offers just to make yourself holy.

I don’t buy it. Being holy does not exclude you from enjoying a happy life, and disappointment and failure can easily rob you of your happiness. However, there is a joy that transcends all failure and disappointment; and such joy is only found only on the other side of being holy.

How? Read Philippians 4:12 – 13. Disappointment and failure cannot rob you of joy if you know one who strengthens you in all things.

Blessings,

Pastor Dennis


The Power of Words

The Power of Words

According to the internet, a study put out by the University of Arizona found that most people speak about 16,000 words a day. If you stop and think about it, 16,000 words in a 24-hour day means we speak about 667 words an hour, 12 words in one minute, 2 words every ten seconds. Wow!

 

Words are plentiful and powerful, but do we use words, to hinder or help, hurt or heal? In Colossians 4:6 God’s written Word says, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” These are good words to live by.

– Pastor Dennis



The power of self-forgivness

“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.
”John 20:19-23John 20:19-23 is a post resurrection story and the first giving of the Spirit. (Pentecost is the second.) What is amazing about this story is the job description of the apostles. The Holy Spirit is given with the commission to tell the people of the world that their sins are forgiven. God values forgiveness; in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus and now in the giving of God’s Spirit to humans. If God values forgiveness, then God is calling us to receive forgiveness as well as give forgiveness. The more we receive this divine gift, the more we can be a vessel to freely pass it on to others.
 
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
 
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
 
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life….The Prayer of St. Francis
 
The prayer of St. Francis seems to imply that there is the power of self-forgiveness embedded in the attempt to forgive others. I suppose that would be because the short comings we find so offensive in others are often the shortcomings we so readily see in ourselves. So, when you are challenged to forgive another and find it difficult, take a minute and examine how this horrible sinner before you remind you of yourself. You may find that you have two people to forgive and make peace.
 
Peace-out ya’ll….pastor amy