Crossroads

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At a crossroads – which way do I go?
Do I go left?
Do I go right?
I don’t know, for the unknown scares me.
The indecision is almost paralyzing.
The choices are overwhelming.
The pros and cons are confusing.
Nothing is making sense.
I can’t make this decision.
Help me!
Help me!
Is God testing me saying, “Trust Me“?
Is Satan tempting me saying, “Trust yourself“?
I don’t know.
Do I go left?
Do I go right?
Do I stay?
Maybe that’s it, but now I am even more confused.
Help me!
Help me!
I won’t be at peace until I know what to do.
Almighty God, help me.
I am Yours.

Building the Kingdom

If you look carefully at this picture of rocks, you will notice some unnatural formations. They are pillars of rocks that people have artistically created. I saw these recently and wanted to capture the moment so I could admire these man/woman made structures. Why, because the next time I come through, I doubt they will be there.

Mark 13:1–2 (ESV) ~ And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

The fact of the matter is this — those small stone pillars will not last. Someone or something WILL knock them down. They may last for a while, but eventually they will come down. The same with any man-made kingdom of this world. No matter how beautiful, strong, respected, adorned or solid, it will not last. Only that which is built by God will last, and last forever it will.

Church buildings are only that, buildings — they are not the Church. The Church is built by God through faith in Jesus Christ and held together, not by mortar, but by the Holy Spirit. When we begin to worship and admire and build buildings, over and above God, then we are doomed to be thrown down with the rest of the stones.

So…

Whose kingdom is getting your attention: your kingdom or His Kingdom?
What kingdom are you fixated on building: your kingdom or His Kingdom?
In what kingdom do you want to reside: your kingdom or His Kingdom?

To God be the glory through Christ Jesus our Lord!

The Name

The following is part of the Great Thanksgiving for Holy Communion today, Pentecost Sunday. It picks up on themes from the sermon for today…

It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to You, oh God, for through the name that is above all names, Jesus, You made a name for us through faith by the Holy Spirit. You have revealed the truth of who You are and have sealed our names in the Book of Life. You have given us peace and intimacy with You and have promised us a seat at Your table. Oh God, our Father, You are worthy of all worship, and so with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven we join in singing Your unending praise…

Making a Name

Today is Pentecost Sunday, the day we celebrate and recognize the giving of the Holy Spirit 50 days after Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead. This is also the birth of the Church as the Spirit would send those first missionaries out to share the Good News of Jesus Christ; proclaiming a peace that surpasses all understanding. This is a day about God making a name for us; a name sealed forever in the Book of Life.

Below, is the opening paragraph to the sermon I will be preaching this morning. If you want to watch the rest, I invite you to visit our church website (link on the right hand side of this page) or go to YouTube and search for “Living Word Lutheran Church, Puyallup, WA). The sermon should be posted later today or early in the week. The sermon text is based in Acts 2:1-21, but I will be starting in Genesis 11:1-9 as I reference the Tower of Babel.

To God be the glory!!!

John 14:27, Jesus says, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. And this fear thing is what people in this world are trying to deal with. They do this through many means, but mainly, through making a name for themselves. Through unity of purpose and thought; through being connected to a group or community of people, many hope to find intimacy, but what they find is a tower that has fallen into a heap of rumble. The only true peace and intimacy that will last, not just through this life, but for all eternity, is what we have with God through Jesus Christ as Paul tells us in Romans 5. It is a peace and intimacy, a purpose and belonging that is only made known through the Helper, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is that moment and manifestation for the believer.

Prayer of Discernment

Guide us in the way we should go,
That Your plans we may not forego.
Open our eyes that we may see,
That from Your will we may not flee.

Our ways are not Your ways, oh Lord.
So form our hearts in one accord.
May Your glory be what we seek,
For through You we will not be week.

The Mountain

Living in a beautiful valley in Western Washington, Mt Rainier (or as locals call her, “The Mountain”) seemingly stands guard over us like a sentinel. The beauty of this mountain, though, seems to hide the fact that our old girl is an active volcano. It’s beauty is intoxicating and never gets old. Maybe that is why we sometimes forget her potential explosive side. Whatever the case, it’s this masterpiece of creation, shrouded in mystery, that has inspired the following…

Majestic in beauty,
Masked in mystery,
Seemingly docile,
But you are oh so not.
Taken for granted as people live unawares.
Enjoyed and photographed,
People standing in awe.
Your presence so imposing,
Your potential almost ignored,
You stand over our valley,
Seemingly on guard.
I know that you are there,
Yet I never tire of the scene,
Your radiance is ever changing,
Always taking my breath away.
I could stare at you for hours,
And never get bored,
Your artistic beauty is always there,
Your splendor pointing me to God the Creator.
You seem larger than life,
But I know that is not true,
For God Almighty is bigger still,
Whose majesty is unmatched.
And so I stare and stare and stare some more,
Gazing at you,
You are so beautiful,
Reminding me that God my Father is more.

To Follow God

The congregation that I serve has been renting space for 10 years but today we looked at a potential building to buy. There are a lot of questions to be answered yet, but hopes are running very high with people. Selfishly, I/we want this building, but God is in control, and so we need to pray; listening and obeying. The following poem was birthed out of this praying…

To follow God is never easy
To follow God can make you queasy
But to keep your eyes on Him alone
Is to have your vision fully honed.

So trust and trust and trust even more
And God will present an open door
So don’t create your own self-made path
For you won’t enjoy the aftermath