Friday, April 24, 2009


This week I have been working on a class I am teaching on Leadership, and the session we are on has to do with listening - esp how well we actually listen to those around us and to God. It is one of those sessions that is good for me to teach because it reminds me of how I need to slow down and make time to listen - to family, friends, co-workers, and God.

Listening is not passive. It is now just sitting there when someone is speaking. But rather it is active. It is being engaged with the person you are with and truly hearing what that person is saying. There are too many times in all of our lives when we are preoccupied with other things going on that we do not give the attention needed to the person we are with.

And the same goes when listening to God. How often in our prayers do we spend the entire time just naming things off to God that we want changed, healed, or made different in some way? Part of prayer is active listening, making that time of silence available to actually hear what God is saying to us - because I truly believe that God is speaking, he is talking, to each of us. We just don't always hear what he has to say.

So today, I invite you to participate in active listening. Do it with family, friends, whoever you are with. Show them how important they are to you by being fully engaged in what they say. And do the same with God. Turn of the TV, computer, radio, whatever it may be, and spend some time listening to what God may be saying to you today.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Here is the new video we have on our website for those who are visiting for the first time.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Return

Earlier today we returned from a nice week of R and R in Florida visiting family. It was a nice break, but I am ready to be back.

During this time off i read through a couple of books and have been mulling over a couple of thoughts, esp about how we, the church, relate to God and relate to others. What is our purpose as the church, and, even in a different context, what is our purpose as humanity as a whole.

The more I have thought about this, and reflected on how I view God (which is in a very relational model), I have started to reflect on how individualism is a barrier we set up to promote self and even idolize at times.

Now this is a thought in process, so at this point I am just brainstorming.

God is relational. Relational in God's own being - the Trinity - and God desires to be in relationship with us - we know this because of the way that God keeps coming to us, forgiving us, and working to restore our relationship with him. So when we focus on our selves, when we promote our own individualism - what we want, things we deserve, desire, etc, are we setting up barriers between ourselves and others, and even barriers with God?

As a part of the body of Christ, the church, I believe that we are called to put aside our strong desires of individualism - our wants, desires, etc - to try and build relationships with others, and even grow in our relationship with God. This is not an easy thing, because human nature seeks to put our selves above others. But in working to grow in these relationships, we start to see the face of Christ in a new light. we start to see that what matters more than anything is the relationships we have.

This means that we will not always get what we want - or does it? Because if the relationships are what are truly essential, then everything else becomes secondary.

So how do we do this? The first step is to start by sitting down and really getting to know people. Spending time with them, where they are, finding out what they are going through, and truly listening to them. As we do this we will start to see the ways that God is working through these people - and working through us as we grow in love of these others.

Second is to try and develop new relationships. New people come into our lives all the time, but do we spend the time needed to actually get to know them and develop a relationship with them, or do we just pass by, missing the opportunity to see God working in their lives as well?

Like I said, this is a thought in process, any comments are welcome.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Later this afternoon we are taking off on a week long vacation (Note - I will not be posting anything during this time). It is our annual post-Easter vacation and we are all looking forward to a little time away.

So today I thought I would leave you with a couple of things to ponder while I am off.

1 - In the resurrection story Jesus tells Mary to "Not hold on to him." When Mary saw the risen Lord, she may have assumed that everything was going to go back to the way it was before he died, but Jesus says no - everything is different now. How is your life different knowing that sin and death have no hold over you? What does this mean for how you live out your life?

2 - The church is not a building or a place you go, but rather the church is who you are - a member of the Body of Christ. When you are out in the world, do people know that you are a part of this body by the way you act?

Have fun this week, talk to you all when I get back.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia.

Whenever we brush Sierra's teeth we sing a song. Normally we sing "Halle, Halle, Halle," but throughout Lent we need to change it - for there no Alleluia's during Lent. So we sing the same tune, but change the words - "Water, Water, Water - mel-lon" or her favorite "Motor, Motor, Motor, cy-cle."

For the past week she has been reminding me, when I get up on Sunday, we get to sing Halle, Halle again. So i ask why and she says - It is Easter, silly, and Jesus got up.

Yes, today is Easter, and Jesus is up. The powers of death could not hold him, the tomb could not hold him, new life has been born - Alleluia!

Today is the central part of our faith - Jesus is raised from the dead and no longer do sin or death have any power over us. It is a day to celebrate.

So I am going to go upstairs, wake Sierra up, and we will sing, as loud as we dare, Halle, Halle - for today we celebrate the gift of new life in the God who comes searching for us and walks with us.

Have a blessed Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Holy Saturday

Today we live in the in between times. Passion of Christ is over. No more beatings, no more nails, no more pain. What we see is a sealed tomb. We are still waiting for the breaking of the dawn. Still waiting to see what is lurking in the darkness. Still waiting to see what great miracle God has planned

Yes, this is the in between time. In between death and new life. In between sorrow and hopeful joy. In between reality of suffering and promise of peace.

So what can we do as we wait in the darkness. What can we do as we live in the in between time?. We do what we can – we pray. Pray that God’s grace and love will be showered on all God’s children. Pray for comfort and peace for those who mourn. Pray that darkness will end and new light, a brilliant light, will break into out lives

Yes, today, as we wait in the darkness, we pray. And we pray with hopeful hearts. We pray resting in God’s promises. We pray that we will see, once again, how God will have the last word. And what a word it will be. For we pray that the last word will be one of new life.

So let us pray.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday Music

I have just finished the first of two Good Friday services, and as I sit here, reflecting on the service and preparing or Easter, I am reminded of the gift of music and how music moves the soul.

In the service I had Jennifer sing a verse of a song during the sermon, and then, at the end she did a duet of Pie Jesu. These two pieces of music were ones the brought me to my knees, for they were so filled with emotion, so filled with faith, that they brought right to where I needed to be - the foot of the cross.

We also sang "Were You There," which is one of my favorite songs. This day of reflection would not be complete for me if I did not join with my brothers and sisters in contemplating all that Christ has done for me in song.

Music moves the soul. Music brings us to where we need to be. Music is powerful.

So today, may you be blessed with the gift of music in your life, and may you have moving Good Friday experience.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Expensive Week

It has been an expensive week at the Jelinek household. This week our washing machine died, and it would have cost more to fix it than buy a new one. So yesterday I was running around trying to find a good machine at a decent price. Since Easter is coming, and we are on vacation after Easter, we needed one to clean our clothes and trips to the laundry mat were not in our schedule. Luckily, I found a store who can deliver today.

So after running around and spending money (doing our part to stimulate the economy I guess), I sat down and started thinking about the expensive week.

Today is Maundy Thursday, the day we gather and celebrate the gift of the Lord's Supper. It is a somber time, for we know that this is also the beginning of the end for Jesus' ministry. After today, things get very painful for Jesus, and tomorrow we gather to watch as he dies for us.

It is an expensive week, for this week we are reminded of the price that God pays so that our relationship with him may be restored. It is an expensive week, for it is a time when we are called to see that price of human life that is paid so that we may live, and live eternal with God. It is an expensive week, for this is the week we see Jesus blood being poured out as payment for our sin.

Yes, this is an expensive week. But is through this expense that we are given hope. We see that God loves us so much that he is willing to give his life all so that we may experience his love for us in a new and powerful way.

So during this expensive week I invite you to reflect on the gifts that God has given you, and the expense he went through to ensure you of these Gifts.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Morning Walk

When the weather is nice, and I get to sleep at a decent time, I try to go for a walk in the morning. This is a time for me to get some exercise, which is always needed, and enjoy the early morning.

I have always been a morning person. I love getting up, hearing the birds chirp, watch the sun rise, and bask in the glory of a new day. It is a very comforting time of day for me.

When I was growing up, my dad and I were the two morning people in the family. It was our time to catch up, watch the news together, and just spend time with each other. I have many great memories of the two of us sitting the kitchen in Billings and enjoying the break of day.

This week the morning has a special significance. This week we will walk into the darkest night of human history - the night we now call Good Friday - and we will be surrounded by the darkness of death - the death of the Christ. But we do not stay in this dark place. For as it is with all nights, it too will come to an end. And then we get to bask in the glory of a new day, a new day of the resurrection.

This new morning that we are walking towards is one that changes all of humanity. For in this new morning we are given hope - hope that death is not the end and a new morning, a new life, is breaking into our lives.

So as we journey towards the new morning of Easter, may we always be reminded of the steps Christ took to make this new morning a reality. May we be blessed with the hope of new life in our lives. And may we celebrate the Son-rise every day of our lives.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Palm Sunday

On Wednesday night during our regular youth activities the kids kept coming up to me saying, "Pastor Erik - can we show our march?" Finally, when we were done I said yes, and these little kids ran out of the sanctuary. Then, they appeared in another door, arms raised, and started marching through the church singing - Hosanna, Hosanna. The joy on their faces was a beautiful sight to see, and the excitement in their voices and actions was wonderful.

Today is Palm Sunday, and it is the start of that last days of Christ's life. We march with him into Jerusalem, singing our praises to the King of Kings, all the time knowing that Friday will bring great sorrow and next Sunday will be the moment of joy that brings hope and new life to all the world.

So this week my prayer is that you will take the time to reflect on this leg of Jesus' journey. That you will slow down, walk with Christ into Jerusalem, sit with him in the Upper Room, and weep with him during his final hours. For when we go through these experiences, the joy of Easter is so much sweeter. May you be blessed with a powerful Holy Week this year.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Lent and all that

I know that it has been a long time since I have put anything up here - and I apologize for that. The season and everything else has come crashing down on me and the blogging has just gotten away from me. So today I want to put down some random thoughts about the different steps I have been taking over the last month.

Step 1 - stepping into Lent towards Easter

This is always a busy time of year for me. All the extra sermons, worship services, and everything else that comes crashing onto my plate. The thing is, I really love this time of year. Changing up things, devoting time to reflect on the journey that Christ made for us, preparing for the Easter season - i love all this because it pulls me back into the heart of faith. Every year, when I feel overwhelmed I sit in worship, sing Holden Evening Prayer, and travel with Christ as he prepares the make the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Step 2 - Hospital trips

Our church has been having a bunch of people diagnosed with cancer lately. Taking steps with these people is painful, yet it is also a time when I see the face of Christ shining in their lives as well. Others step up, offer help, and bring a little joy into the lives of those who are struggling.

Step 3 - always trying to move forward

Those of you who know me know that I don't do well just sitting back. I am always trying to look forward and find new ways to reach out with God's love in the lives of others. Over the past month I have had the opportunity to take steps with people as they dream big dreams and start to put those dreams int action. It is a true blessing to be a part of their steps as well.

So as we continue taking our steps to the cross and beyond, may you be blessed to see Christ stepping with you - giving you all that you need and empowering you to step out boldly.