I Samuel 16.7 (CEB) But the LORD said to Samuel, "Have no regard for his appearance or stature, because I haven't selected him. God doesn't look at things like humans do. Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the LORD sees into the heart."
I got my first pair of glasses in the 7th grade. They were these plastic gray frames complete with soft case complete with a clip for easier transport. I don’t recall what the reason was for me to get my eyes checked; none-the-less, I couldn’t see and needed to find glasses to help me see. Seeing is a valuable thing and we go to great lengths to help our eyeballs function at their best.
Sight is a huge theme in our Bible as well. Having sight or not fills several stories in our scriptures. For instance, in the scripture reference above, it is about the choosing of the next king. People, it seems, chose based on what can be seen on the outside while God takes a more invasive approach looking to motivations and what makes someone up.
Time and time again, we have been guided to look at the neighbors locally and globally with the eyes of Christ. How might we look at our neighbors as Jesus did across the table at the institution of the Lord’s Supper and love them even if some will deny him or betray him. Or how we might look at our city with the eyes of Christ and find ways to share the Good News of Jesus with one another.
This will be our ongoing invitation this year: to find ways to see with Christ eyes looking at ourselves individually and include our collective selves in how the church functions. How might we look anew to this city with fresh eyes to the heart of our City of La Porte and be Christ’s body.
Grace and peace,
Genesis 1.27 (CEB) God created humanity in God's own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them.
Humanity is such a wondrous and beautiful thing. We are created in the image of God with certain genders, preferences, and passions. The things that we are good at or love to do is different with everyone. While I enjoy a bike ride and roller-coasters there are others in this world that would much prefer slow walks and tilt-a-whirls.
Humanity also has an exceptional way to look for differences before commonalities. Thankfully we are given a different way to engage in the world. Jesus’ love creates unity in the midst of diversity. God’s creativeness in making each one of us distinctive invites us to respond to one another as competitors or collaborators . We are drawn together by our mutual consent and claim that Jesus is Lord and together we build up kingdom for the common good. We are to share our resources, our time, and our talents together so that the one God who gifted us all will be represented in and through us.
Sunday we take another look at Paul's writing to the church in Corinth. Paul writing to a church that is looking for disunion reminds us and them that we belong to each other.
Hope to see you all there because we are not the same without you!
Grace and Peace,
Psalm 95.6-7 (The Message) So come, let us worship: bow before him, on your knees before God, who made us! Oh yes, he’s our God, and we’re the people he pastures, the flock he feeds.
A friend and minister once commented, “Do I have a personal relationship with Jesus? Maybe the better answer is not Yes; but No…” with the caveat, “I have a public one.”
This comment from my friend really got me to thinking. My faith in Jesus is deeply personal yet at the same time very public. My faith asks me to love people, I sometimes would rather not. My faith says to forgive another even when it feels so good to hold a grudge. My faith asks that I give away money to others. My faith might even say that I need to let go of a dream that I’ve been working on for a long time. This is the faith that we consent to while it is deeply personal as it is deeply public.
And that is not the only way that my private faith is public. My faith in Jesus asks me to live my faith every day in very public ways. My faith puts me in direct relationships with those that share my faith and in our common life that we learn, study, and discern the way of God for us all. It is also public in the sense that we are tied to one another. We are responsible to and for each other. It means that by myself, I do not get to decide the fate of the world or myself for that matter. Public faith means that I need others for this faith to be fully lived.
I guess that is why God created us different with different gifts, talents, passions, and interests. Because it is when we are together, worshiping, studying and living that the kingdom becomes more realized. And Sunday’s message will invite us to look at our spiritual gifts and how THE ONE God gifts us to be together. See you there!
Grace and peace,
Proverbs 22.1 (NRSV) A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.
Names are important and I remind myself and others often. It is in the sharing of our names with another that many a conversation has begun and relationship has been built. Sharing your name with another intrinsically removes any barrier between mass of humanity to this is “Steve” a person who has hopes and dreams like me.
As a parent, the naming of the kids was judiciously thought out. Cherie and I each had thoughts on the matter and we took care to try out names and combination of names so that first, middle, and last name flowed together. I asked that each name begin with a “B” and Cherie wanted to have a certain middle name. And as you know, we did come to a consensus even as we still relay some of the stories of what their names could have been.
God knows us thoroughly and deeply. God has named and claimed us as God’s sons and daughters. Through Jesus we are redeemed making us whole and complete. Our names bear that mark for we are created for good and glory.
Grace and peace,
Husband, father, minister, child of God, follower of Jesus Christ writing in the context of La Porte Community Church