Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of our journey into the Lenten Season. This is a day when we are reminded of our mortality, and reminded of the steps that Jesus takes to bring immortality to life.

When we are marked with the cross of Christ with ashes on our foreheads, we hear those words - you are dust, and to dust you shall return. This morning at the daytime service I made that mark and said those words to my wife and baby girl. It was a powerful moment, and one where, in my spirit, I fell to my knees and was reminded of the delicate nature of life.

And then, as I walked forward to receive communion, with that same baby girl in my arms, I received the body and blood of Christ and was reminded of a promise. A promise that yes, we are dust and shall return to dust, but that was not the end. For through the death and resurrection of Christ, we are also promised a new life - one where the bread and wine are but a foretaste of that great feast to come. One where there will be no pain or suffering, only the joy of resting in the arms of Christ.

So this Ash Wednesday, take time to reflect on the gift of life you have been given, and spend time reflecting on the gift of eternal life that is promised to you.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Health and Wellness

At our church we started a Health and Wellness program last week. The program consists of exercise classes offered at the church, a class on health and diet, opportunities to chart weight loss, and we are letting people "pay" for the classes and weigh ins by donating food that goes to a local food pantry. The turn out for it has been wonderful, with over 2 dozen people participating in various ways.

For me, this is a great way to be held accountable, and that is a good thing. I am one who has struggled with weight loss for years, and to have a group of people to work with and see what I am doing is a good thing because it keeps me focused. The first week I dropped 5 pounds, and I will keep you updated as to how I am doing here as well.

Health and wellness is something that affects all of us - whether it be the need to lose a few pounds, or eat healthier, or just get some exercise. Our bodies are a gift, and we need to take care of them and honor them as the gifts that they are.

So today, I invite you to take some time and look at your life. Where are some ways that you can grow in the area of health and wellness? What are some small steps you can take to improve your gift of the body? And who can you take these steps with on order to grow on your journey?

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Today I was reminded about how much I need reminders in my life. I need reminders when I go shopping, I need reminders about meetings, I need reminders for many different things.

And I also need a reminder to thank God. So often I get busy with everything going on, and things seem to be going so smoothly, that I forget to thank God for everything I have in life. Even when things are going poorly in life, I still need to thank God for the blessings that I have.

And I was reminded about a sign one of the churches in Beloit has. On it is printed the saying - Life is not always fair, but God is always faithful. God will be faithful to his promises to us always, even when we may doubt them. God promises that he will walk with us, strengthen us, and love us - esp. in the difficult time.

So today, I invite you to take some time to thank God for all that he has given to you, and I invite you to remember that God is faithful - faithful to you his beloved child.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Blessed Church

Last year our Congregation Board read a book called "Becoming a Blessed Church." This is a great read that helps all of us to take time and focus on what God is calling us to do, while trying to put out will and desires in line with what God wants. The book was so popular that we are getting the author to come to our Synod and lead an event n March.

As I read through this book, again, I was reminded what a blessed church this is that I serve. The vast majority of the people are filled with joy and really want to find ways to use their gifts to further the kingdom. It is exciting to see all the ways people are stepping forward and doing new things and taking ownership in different aspects of the church.

And I was also reminded how we need to take time and reflect on the blessings that others bring to us. We need to let others know what a gift they are to us and how they help us to grow in whatever ways they do so.

So today, I have a challenge for you - call, write, or e-mail someone who has been a blessing to you. Let that person know what a gift they are to you and offer them some words of encouragement. When we do this, we help to shine the light of Christ in the lives of others.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Scarlett is at the wonderful age that when she sees someone she knows, she smiles. It is one of those smiles that covers her entire face and lights up a room. Whenever someone sees her smile, it just brings joy to that person.

Yesterday I went out with my mom, Sierra, and Scarlett and spent the day in Rockford. We drove through the snow sculptures, went to the mall, and had a little lunch. Scarlett slept through the entire thing, until we were about to eat. Then she opened her eyes, saw me, and just smiled. She spent the next hour just looking at us and smiling.

That little thing, a smile, just made my day. Watching her bring joy to others, seeing her have fun and smile as she watched other kids run and play, it was a true blessing to me. And it got me thinking, thinking about how such a little action, such as a smile, can make such a difference in someones life.

Little actions do a lot. It is in these actions that we can see the face of God and be reminded of what a gift life really is. So today, may you bring a moment of grace to someone else with your smile, and may you be blessed to see God's face through someone else.