Reformation Day

“Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. *Here I stand for I can do no other.* God help me. Amen.”

Martin Luther

Compassion and Prayer

“Compassion lies at the heart of our prayer for our fellow human beings. When I pray for the world, I become the world; when I pray for the endless needs of the millions, my soul expands and wants to embrace them all and bring them into the presence of God. But in the midst of that experience I realize that compassion is not mine but God’s gift to me. I cannot embrace the world, but God can. I cannot pray, but God can pray in me. When God became as we are, that is, when God allowed all of us to enter into his intimate life, it became possible for us to share in his infinite compassion.

In praying for others, I lose myself and become the other, only to be found by the divine love that holds the whole of humanity in a compassionate embrace.”

Henri Nouwen

Sunday Night Thoughts

The last Sunday of October has arrived. We have had a beautiful fall so far. In fact, as far as I remember, today was one of the cloudiest Sundays we have experienced. It rained all night – but the temp isn’t too bad – just a little windy. The majority of the leaves have fallen, but here and there you will find trees that are hanging on to most of their leaves and if they are they are full of beautiful color.

You may have noticed that I started a new feature last week called picture of the week. This will be a challenged, but I’m looking forward to it. This last week was a great week for pictures.

One of the things we are planning to do tonight is prepare our October teacher’s gifts. We enjoy doing this little appreciation gift for the elementary teachers in our school district. I know that they appreciate the thoughts.

Speaking of appreciation, our church surprised us this week with a love offering, several cards, and an apple pie. The pie was delicious.

This past week was quite the different tempo from the last couple of weeks. In fact, yesterday was almost a complete day of rest and so needed to refresh my brain. This afternoon completed the two days. It has been awesome.

We had a good worship service this morning. I could sense the Holy Spirit as we worshiped and as I preached. God spoke to the people in various ways.

We are looking forward to two church events. The first is our Fall Festival. This will be in lieu of our regular Kid’s Klub meeting. There will be singing – an object lesson – crafts – and food, like hot dogs, s’mores, and hot chocolate.

The on Saturday, we are having our annual Harvest Dinner. It is really our church’s Thanksgiving dinner. We will have special guests this year – missionaries to Australia will be visiting us. I am looking forward to hear what they are doing as they are church planters there. We always have great food and great fellowship.

That about wraps it up for this week. Have a great one!

Prayer for the Week

Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Running Update

All I can say is this week went much better than last. 16 miles better – that’s because last week was a zero mile week. I have struggled through October, which is strange because normally October is a good month for me. I got in a five miler on Monday and four miles on Tuesday on the track at the Y – 11.5 laps to the miles. It was raining and chilly so I preferred to stay inside.

My original plan was to just go six this morning, but I decided at the last minute to go seven. It was a good run – nothing spectacular. It was mainly overcast and chilly, but on a long run you tend to warm up. I started with gloves but took them off about mile three. I’m hoping to do at least the same amount of miles this coming week.

But for now I keep Pressing On!

20th Sunday after Pentecost

Joel 2:23-32 • Psalm 65 • 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 • Luke 18:9-14

Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Luke 18:9-14 New Living Translation (NLT)

One of the things that Jesus seems to teach over and over again is the upside down nature of the Kingdom of God. Inside that teaching however is also a teaching on the importance of humility. It’s a trait that Jesus shared and modeled for his disciples – even on the night before his death. That evening Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. It was a job that the lowest servant should have done, but Jesus, took off his robe and humbled himself to wash the feet of his disciples.

The Apostle Paul quotes an ancient hymn in Philippians 2

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God,
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
    he took the humble position of a slave
    and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
    he humbled himself in obedience to God
    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Philippians 2:5-8

Humility was the very heart of Jesus – and he calls his disciples to be humble as well. It almost seems as if Jesus exaggerates the difference between the Pharisee and the tax collector. There are too many who are like the Pharisee and not enough like the tax collector.

Even though we are believers and living our lives for Christ, we should have a humble attitude – the same attitude that the tax collector had:

O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.

It is much better for us to be humble and beg for God’s mercy than to flaunt your righteousness before others.

Jesus tells us that…those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Luke 18:14b

Let’s remember to be humble in everything we do.

Ancient Prayers

This is one of the more well-known ancient prayers, but one that is well needed in the day in which we live. Lord make us instruments of your peace.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

St. Francis of Assisi