Romans 14.17 (RSV)
For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit;
I was talking with a couple recently and through our conversation we discovered that we knew the same person, Rusty. We reflected on how we knew him. While I knew him in his our days at Brite Divinity School; they met him in a church in San Antonio. On this earth, we find connections in such wonderful and truly refreshing ways and sometimes very surprising ways.
Our lives are intertwined in so many different ways. Sometimes, we are connected through simply sharing of food and other resources. And just like with Rusty, our lives are interconnected. As the saying goes, “No man is an island; entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.”
Our connections, shaped by the faith we share in Jesus Christ, will have us be responsible in some ways towards each other and the earth. We are accountable to make sure that people have something to eat and that it is grown in sustainable ways. We love and care for one another in ways that bring about wholeness and peace.
Sunday, we will be asking ourselves this question: “what needs to be let go in order for us as individuals and us as LPCC so that God’s Kingdom will be more fully realized? What things do we do right now that highlights God’s love and kingdom-ly ways?”
As it is in heaven so may it be on earth!
Grace and peace,
Excerpt from Acts 11:1-18 (NRSV)
“What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” (vs. 9)
Over the past several weeks we have been reading and hearing about the formation of the early church in Acts. As the church was figuring its way, one of the major questions it needed to ask itself was “Who is the church for?” Because up to this point it seemed to be meant only for Jews. However, Peter was given a different idea by God, and it came to him in a very powerful dream. Peter was shown animals that he thought were off limits for Jews, and God says, “they all good. Go, kill, and eat.” What unfolds becomes a table that is big enough for all-Gentile or Jew.
Every generation of the church has had to wrestle with this question as well “Who is the church for?” So the vision for Peter becomes our vision in our place and time and in our own unique way. We are to reach out with God’s love to all and be part of church and have the courage to include all people.
And like life the answering of this question for the church is a work in progress—God is not done with us yet! We will take some comfort in knowing that it even took Peter three times before he got it as well.
Sunday, we look to Peter, an early leader in the formation of the church. What he thought was off limits becomes instead part of God’s plan for salvation for us all. And the question on my mind is this: When have you been criticized for how you choose to live out your faith?
Grace and peace,
Romans 12: 9-10 (RSV)
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor.
Moderation is an important practice is some instances. For example food: too much and we will have some health concerns from our overeating or lack of diversification. Our choices will eventually affect our weight, heart functioning, and/or blood chemistry, and any one by itself will complicate our overall well-being.
Moderation in other places is not needed. Case in point: is there ever a time when we love too much? And by that I mean love in the way of Jesus. A love that is patient, caring, honest, and forgiving. As challenging as it is to love sometimes, we can never love too much because it is part of how we live the abundant life that Jesus shows us. Life that is defined by contentment. As Paul would attest, “…for I have learned how to be content in any circumstance,” shown through love rather than defining life by what we have or wish to obtain.
This Sunday, we are going to be talking about being “alive” even as disorder and possibly chaos circles around us. Our “faithing” moves us to find our life in the resurrected Jesus and not in anything else. It is active, and it is alive!
Grace and peace,
Romans 5.3-5 (The Message)
There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.
I have become more and more convinced that experience, first-hand accounts, have a unique power to change us tremendously. It can alter our thinking, our perceptions, our roles, and how we move forward interacting with the world and one another. While it is certainly true that we can learn in other ways (and I would never discount that truth), for me experience is a game-changer because it moves me from generalities to specifics.
I met “Charles” a few years ago. He happened to walk into the church one Monday. I had my usual to-do list sitting on my desk, and I was busy check-marking each item as done when a knock on my door got my attention. Charles asked if I had a moment, and I said “sure” and invited him to sit. I rounded my desk and sat in a chair opposite him and asked, “So what brings you here today?” What I initially thought of as an interruption from “someone” became Charles who was just trying to figure things out and needed to talk with someone. My experience moved him from a stranger in my mind to a partner in living faithfully in all life’s circumstances.
Our “faithing” not only includes our witness but also our experiences. Sunday, we will be “faithing” again noticing how experiences matter!
Grace and peace,
Husband, father, minister, child of God, follower of Jesus Christ writing in the context of La Porte Community Church