The Shepherd's Crook
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March 7, 2019, 8:44 AM

Lenten Devotion for Thursday, March 7


Psalm 91:1-2; 9-16

I think that by-and-large, Christians experience a little bodily and spiritual hesitation when we begin our yearly journey through Lent. Are we ready? Are we really up for this season of repentance and renewal? Wouldn’t it be easier to just sit it out this year?

It seems that when we open ourselves to God’s call in this way – something painful always rises to the surface. Reformer Martin Luther was familiar with this pattern and reminds us that the devil is a tricky creature who can’t stand our faithfulness to God. When we seek God and resist the lies of the world – we can expect those lies to fight back.

Psalm 91 – with its reminders of God’s faithfulness – provides comfort for us as we enter this season. So take heart my friends. Neither the lies of the world nor the painful truths we uncover can hurt us when the Lord is our refuge. “Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name” (Psalm 91:14). Peace out, Craig




March 6, 2019, 9:00 AM

Ash Wednesday


Devotion for Wednesday, March 6:

Will you attend a service of worship today to begin Lent with prayer and ashes?

Studies and Scripture both tell us that a dynamic, living faith thrives in community – and declines in isolation. In today’s increasingly fragmented and individualistic culture – coming together to confess our sins – pray for God’s mercy – and to commit ourselves again to the loving way of Jesus is a radically different construct.

As we start this journey into Lent together – let’s not forget this: It’s not going to church, receiving ashes, or any of the faithful things that we do in public or in private that put us right with God. Instead, it is God’s gracious Spirit at work within us. It is the Spirit Who leads us to pray and seek God. It is the Spirit Who calls us together into community and makes us the body of Christ – and it’s the Spirit Who is already at work among our neighbors – teaching us all how to love.

Peace out,

Craig




February 26, 2019, 7:56 AM

Ash Wednesday


March 6th is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Church’s season of Lent. To mark this day, we will have a service of Communion and the Imposition of Ashes at 12:00 Noon in our Fellowship Hall. Please come and bring your neighbors and friends to this service. All are welcome! A light lunch will be served.

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February 21, 2019, 9:45 AM

Thoughts about Lent


I started putting an Ash Wednesday service together and suddenly realized that I needed to prepare myself for this important time of the year – especially since I traditionally post devotions during Lent. After all, Ash Wednesday is the first week in March. I’ve decided on something pretty simple this year, and hope it helps all of you in some way.

Let’s begin our Lenten journey by saying something honest to God and reflecting on what we might “give up” or rearrange in order to create more space and passion for this most important relationship.

It doesn't take a lot of time to prepare for the beginning of Lent – it just takes desire and focus. God can do so much with that. We can give God more of a space to touch our hearts if we begin to establish some simple patterns. We could  wake up each morning – and for 30 or 45 seconds – stand by the edge of our beds, and just ask the Lord for the grace to let this day be one in which we long for the beginning of Lent. Maybe we need to ask for specific helps or graces to get ready to begin Lent. Whatever we try to say, the Lord can understand the Spirit trying to speak through our simple words. And each night in the days ahead – we can practice giving thanks to God before we go to bed. This simple pattern – in the morning and evening – can stir our spirits to look forward to and prepare for Lent – as a season of grace.

I look forward to taking this journey with you – and may our Lord bless us all as we move ahead together. Peace out,

Craig





February 11, 2019, 1:01 PM

A Random Thought


As I sat and pondered yet another loss of someone close to me this morning – I thought of Jacob from the Old Testament. Jacob’s life is quite a study. In Genesis 28 – it appears that Jacob’s story is coming to an end – but he discovers that he is just beginning another story. In the time of darkest prospects, God give Jacob the brightest promises. One moment Jacob fears to look ahead at all – and the next moment Jacob has everything in the world to look forward to. In his fear and loneliness, God comes to Jacob and promises to be with him. In this revelation, Jacob confesses: “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”

We stand today at an apparent ending of a story, at the coming to an ending of a life. Somehow we are always caught by surprise by the endings. We haven’t expected or planned for them. Like Jacob, we dread to look to a future that is no future. We too are fearful, apprehensive, and perhaps, more than a little bit angry.

Yet do we have any beginning in our situation? What bright promise do we have? Can the Lord be in this place of angst, fear, sadness, anger, and loneliness? Could it be that this place of dying "is none other than the house of God . . . the gate of heaven?"

God came to Jacob at a desperate time in his life in a desert place and promised to be with him. The presence of God was the assurance of the new beginning. Through Christ, God has also promised that He will be with us always (Matthew 28:20) – and that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38,39). We do have beginning and hope and future, though in this place we may not know it – but I pray that somehow, we will.


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