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September 2, 2015, 3:04 PM

Love on My Mind


“There ain't no doubt… That love’s the finest thing around.” These poignant words from James Taylor’s Carolina on My Mind ring so true, whether it is romantic love, family love or love of neighbor. Indeed “love makes the world go ‘round,” as they use to say.  Yet it seems like now days the world is opting for just the opposite evident in daily reports of more and more violence, hateful rhetoric and selfish demands. 

We Christians can easily fall into the same hateful mentality as well influenced by our surroundings.  Hate is even so called “justified” as a reaction to the many atrocities being committed. However, hating others who hate only makes us haters.  And therefore the only thing perpetuated, the only thing shared, the only thing given in those cases is more hate.  All the while we all crave sweet love.

You know it’s funny, people who talk to their plants are usually deemed crazy.  But what they are actually doing in talking to their plants is giving them love.  These folk go the extra mile to care for their plants.  And you know what, there’s no denying the beauty of their gardens! 

 Likewise, children, senior citizens, co-workers, spouses, friends, and even strangers and especially those different from us who are shown love and who are well cared for dance and play and sing.  I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of world I want to be a part of,  because a world full of hate is like a neglected garden.  There’s no beauty and certainly no joy.

This summer we heard much from Chapter 6 in the Gospel of John about Jesus being the “Bread of Life.”  Or put another way, how Jesus is the sustenance we all need and crave.

I would take that one step further and say that Jesus the “Bread of Life” is love.  Therefore let us feast on love brothers and sisters because there is an abundance of that when it comes to Christ.

My daily prayer is that I can personally get that message through my own thick skull and my own hardened heart so that I may then be brave enough, strong enough and diligent enough to share the love we have been given.  No doubt it takes a strong person to love.  It takes a strong person to let down their guard.  Sometimes we even suffer for sharing love.  But love is still by far the finest thing around.

Amen to that, Pastor Jeff

 

 

Romans 5:1-5

5Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we* have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have obtained access* to this grace in which we stand; and we* boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we* also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

 




January 9, 2015, 11:21 AM

It’s a new day. It’s a new year!


     St. Luke’s Newsletter

                 January 2015    

 

It’s a new day.  It’s a new year!  Opportunity abounds! Deep inside each of us is the love of Christ.  It may be covered up in heartache, worry or fear.  But it is there!

There is enough misery around us.  We don’t need to add to that or be consumed by it.  So the questions are 1) How are we going to find that love daily in 2015 and 2) How are we going to share that love? 

These are important questions because quite simply put, there is no better way to live than in the sweet love of our Lord. We need it.  Our community needs it.  The World needs it.

St. Luke’s is loaded with potential.  The possibilities are endless.  What would happen if we all prayed for those two things, 1) help us Lord find the love you have for us inside.  And 2) help us Lord to share that love.

The Church is disconnected from the world around us.  But it doesn’t have to be. More than ever the Church needs your prayers and your effort. 

By the way, the NC Synod is offering a wonderful upcoming conference called "The Renewed Church for a New Age" Jan. 29-Jan 31 in Charlotte.  The conference will feature some great speakers beginning Thursday evening at 6:30 pm and ending on that Saturday at noon.  The cost is $65 and includes materials and some meals.  We are planning to car pool back and forth or you may also get a hotel room if you wish.  You can register on-line at www.nclutheran.org.  Follow the links.  There is a brochure you can download as well.
Let me know if you want to go, have questions or need help registering.

But if you don’t do anything else in January, please pray that the light of Christ may shine brightly through us in 2015!

In Christ,

Pastor Jeff




December 4, 2014, 12:02 PM

Advent teaches us that Christ has come and Christ will come again


     St. Luke’s Newsletter

               December 2014    

 

A good friend of mine used to tell me “Lindsay, the main thing is to maintain,” meaning “no matter what happens stay focused!” He was in law enforcement and that was apparently important for him to remember.   I suppose “to maintain” could also refer to the importance of planning and preparation both of which happens to be important themes in Advent!

Indeed Advent is the time for getting ready for what lies ahead in our lives.  It is a time to step back, reflect and make plans so that we can do a good job of staying focused especially when it comes to faith because Lord knows we will be tested.  A month of getting ready can mean a year of living well in the faith.

Advent teaches us that Christ has come and Christ will come again.  Therefore we look to the future with hope and expectation.  But the difficulties of life often draw our attention away from what God promises.  It is at those times I try to remember the words of Jesus, “I am with you until the end of ages,” as well as the words of my friend, “Lindsay the main thing is maintain!” 

Challenges will arise for us all in 2015.  “The main thing is to maintain!” We can do this by making plans to pray, worship, serve, give, help, love, and above all remember to look to Christ for hope!  Have a wonderful Advent. 

 

In Christ,

Pastor Jeff

PS.  A great family activity idea is

To make your own Advent wreath!




October 30, 2014, 11:56 AM

All Saints Sunday


November 2014    

 

             The first Sunday in November is All Saint’s Sunday.  This is a very significant festival of the Church where we celebrate the “Church Triumphant!”  In particular it is the Sunday we remember that our loved ones who have died are still with us just as Christ is with us!

            “What is “The Church Triumphant,” you may ask. It is God’s Kingdom after death.  More specifically it is how we talk about Heaven and the Church being connected daily through the living Christ.  In other words God’s Kingdom is there and it is here at the same time.  Only a thin veil separates us as they say. Therefore the Church is that vital source of faith that helps us trust that there is so much more after we die made possible in the resurrection. 

            We also celebrate at the communion rail the “feast that has no end!”  When we share the Lord’s Supper, it helps me to imagine an endless banquet table in heaven with all the ancestors gathered around dinning with Christ.  It is truly a meal like no other.

            We will continue the tradition of lighting candles for our loved ones and placing them on the communion rail as a way to remind us that their light still shines.  Please come and help us celebrate this most special day.

In Christ,

Pastor Jeff




October 15, 2014, 11:50 AM

Come to Christs table


 Do you ever partake in those free samples offered at grocery stores or in front of food court restaurants?  You get a hint of what you could be having which makes you want to buy more or order a plate full of the stuff! At least that’s what the retailers hope.

 In the Church we call this glimpse of future bliss a “foretaste.” For instance we say that Holy Communion is, “A foretaste of the feast to come!”  It is a hint of what God has laid out for us.  We gather there at Jesus’ table, sharing the love of God with the hope of an eternal heavenly banquet to come!  What could be better than that? 

The glimpse however goes even deeper because as we partake we hope of an end to suffering.  Plus we relish in belonging to God. And we also get a hint of what it is like living side by side in peace despite our differences. 

In some ways it sounds too good to be true.  Perhaps it is easier for me to see as one who distributes Communion every week.  I go down the line handing out the Body and Blood of Christ to all who come.  Each guest is different.  There are Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and those who are politically indifferent.  There are women, men, boys and girls sometimes ranging from a few weeks old to those who have been living for nearly a century.  Everyone’s background is as storied and varied as the next. And yet each one is welcomed by Christ despite our differences.

This is what is meant by a “foretaste!”  A sample that is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before.  All of God’s children gathered together sharing grace.  Can you think of another place where this happens?  I think not. 

Come to Christ’s table this Sunday with a thankful heart full of anticipation of bliss to come.  Come and share the Lord’s Supper with me.  You will not have a better meal anywhere else. 

In Christ,

Pastor Jeff


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