Friday, January 29, 2010

Every Hour

"Some people can stay longer in an hour than others can in a week."
~ Wm. Dean Howells

When I read this, I realized once again to stop, look and listen. To let my eyes really see the world around me, its sights, sounds and smells ... to look at people whom I love, to really see them, the little lines around the eyes and the mouth, the depth of their eyes, the timbre of their voice. And to pay attention even to myself - m values and my hopes, yes, and even my fears and my tears, too - where do they come from and how do they work, and how deep and swift, in every life I meet, run the rivers of God's love.

God is found upon many, many, paths, God be praised, but not every path leads to God. Greed and cruelty lead only to dust.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

To the Person Who Brought Three Neighbors

To the person who brought three neighbors to church this past Sunday, hats off!!!

Because that’s what it’s all about!

Ask yourself: “If I’ve been a member of Covenant for more than 20 years, who invited me the first time? And if I sought out the church on my own, who made the effort to connect with me?”

Many of you will be able to answer either or both of these questions with real names of real people who connected with you and gave you “the invitation.”

It’s as simple as inviting our neighbors, friends and family-members to come with us to church. We just have to do it, and not expect “someone else” to do it. It’s not the pastor or the elders, it’s not the deacons or some committee – it’s all of us who need to be “sending out those invitations.”

And then really follow up - sit with them, go out for lunch with them afterward, talk about God and faith, if it seems right, and keep on inviting them, sitting with them, and praying for them. Stay with it!

To the person who brought three neighbors to worship, three cheers for you and then some! Keep up the good work. You are an inspiration!

Covenant on the Corner, get busy sending out those invitations!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Human Instinct

It is our instinct to want comfort without a commitment to Christ ... to have peace of mind without compassion for others ... in other words, we want Christ for ourselves, and that, of course, never works. Christ denies these petitions of ours. To change, it takes a miracle, awareness and desire.

The awareness begins in a place like this, where we consider the whole counsel of God, not just the benefits we desire, but the blessings of God, which are always transformative.

Desire begins, like someone in AA, who's sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. We begin to desire something more than the self, and so begins a search.

Miracle is simply the love of God at work - the desire for the blessings of God, to see God's face, to have all of Christ, is a petition God honors, and God enters into the deep places of mind and heart, to begin a transformation.

Nothing quick, of course. For that would be mostly unprofitable for us. It took a long time for us to build our world without Christ; it'll take time to disassemble it and rebuild it with Christ. Every day, like a refurbishing of an old home, every nail pulled, every wall torn down, is one more step toward a new home. The dismantling is as important as the rebuilding.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Power of Faith

Dear Genesis,

The first word from the angels to the shepherds in the dark hills: "Fear not."

I can't think of anything more important for us in these recent days when "terrorist hysteria" is growing as a result of the young man who attempted to blow up his plane.

David Brooks, New York Times, has written a fine piece on "The God that Fails" ... (click HERE to read).

Roosevelt, as the outset of WW2 said to Congress and to the nation, "The Only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Fear IS mighty important to God, because God knows what fear does to us. From an overly-anxious parent telling a child they'll be kidnapped and killed if they talk to a stranger to a politician garnering votes, fear is a powerful tool, but one that always ends badly! Children grow up anxious and unsure of themselves to a nation easily manipulated by the worst kinds of self-interest.

Faith is crucial to the way we live our lives. The Bible says it well: "Perfect love (completely centered in Christ) casts out all fear" - 1 John 4:18. I fear that many of our leaders are not above using fear to further their own unsavory ends. 

Faith speaks to these days ... tomorrow's message, "Firm Foundation" ... to stand on Christ, in a world where everything else easily turns to jello.

May we all stand firmly with Christ our Lord!

Blessings ...