God of Peace

God of peace,

Unpeace is something I do not desire.
Conflict is something that wears on me.
Discord is something the brings me down.

Oh God, bring me peace.

Waves batter against me.
Storms rage all about me.
Satan is working overtime around me.

Oh God, bring me peace.

People speak evil about me.
People plot against me.
People seek my demise.

Oh God, bring me peace.

Amidst the unrest it is tempting to take matters into my own hands.
Amidst the unrest it is tempting to lose the faith.
Amidst the unrest it is tempting to give up.

Oh God, bring me peace.

But then I remember that You have never promised peace
in this world.
You never promised that the road would be
easy.
You never promised to dismantle the storms
in my life.

You promised peace.
You gave Jesus.

So…

 Amidst the unpeace,
in this world.
Amidst the conflict,
in this world.
Amidst the discord,
in this world.

May I always know the peace of Jesus,
within.

God of peace,
I praise you.

The Pastor -|—

Immanuel, God with Us ~ A Prayer

I am back after a Sunday off; celebrating Christmas with my family. I hope and pray the joy of Christmas continues to reside in you; drawing you closer to God through Jesus Christ. Let us pray…

Loving Father, Holy God,

You came to us at Christmas time
as Jesus;
Immanuel, God with us.
You came to us in love to give us hope.
You came to us as light to scatter the darkness.
You came to us as our Champion; defeating death.

Oh God,
words escape us
as we ponder the implications of this holy birth
as too often we take Christmas for granted.
Too often we get caught up in the
lights
and sounds
and smells
and tastes of the season.
Too often our gaze is diverted from the manger
to imaginary creations of the season.

Holy God,
send now Your Holy Spirit
to tune our ears to Your words
so that we may fix our eyes on Jesus.
May our hearts swell with joy
and pulsate with a desire to proclaim this Good News;
Jesus Christ,
Immanuel,
God with us.

May all glory be to You through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Open Letter to the Doyle Rices of the World

[From a story posted on Kare11 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; written by Doyle Rice from USA Today. This is in reference to the winter solstice (first day of winter).]

And why is the Earth tilted? It’s probably the result of collisions with various proto-planets and other massive objects during the formation of the solar system billions of years ago, according to NASA. Just a bit unsettling to realize that the reason the Earth has the perfect temperature for life to form is a few random collisions with other space rocks a few eons ago.

Oh Doyle Rice, if only you knew that the reason the earth is perfectly tilted isn’t due to “random” collisions. If only you knew that this perfect planet was created and put into perfect motion by God Almighty, our Creator. If only you knew that the only “unsettling” part of all of this is that your very life (and ours) are in the hands of an Almighty God.

But…

The Good News is that your very life (and ours) are in the hands of a loving, Almighty God who came to us on Christmas Day in Jesus Christ. And through faith in Jesus Christ, redeemed a lost and sinful people.

Therefore, when you look at creation, it should send you to your knees in humble worship of an awesome and powerful and loving God. There is NOTHING random about God. Creation is NOT a fluke. Life DIDN’T just happen. There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of details about our universe, galaxy and planet that have to be perfect in order for life to exist. That is NOT random. That was NOT an accident. Collisions DIDN’T just happen and bump things into perfect place. Nature doesn’t work that way. If any collision is responsible for the earth being tilted PERFECTLY then God’s mighty hand guided that collision to make sure it was perfect; as God guided and formed all of creation.

One CAN NOT just pass off life as a cosmic accident.

And so to all the Doyle Rices in the world, I appeal to you to meditate on creation and consider the perfectness of all those thousands of factors and then look to God Almighty and worship HIM through Jesus Christ; for you are not random but rather wonderfully created.

So don’t be “unsettled” over randomness and accidents and chance, but rather worship and praise this awesome God of ours as we live in this perfect masterpiece called creation.

All praise and glory and honor and worship be to God, always and forever.

The Pastor -|—

 

Getting Closer ~ A Prayer

God of hope.
God of Joy.
God of glory.

As Advent winds down
we continue to wait with anxious anticipation
as we long for the coming of our
Lord Jesus.
We look forward to worshiping this week;
giving You thanks and praise
for the Christmas gift to beat all Christmas gifts,

but more importantly,

we long for the second coming of Jesus.

May we not look past the manger
and miss the joyful Good News contained within.
May we not see only a cute little baby
born to humble parents in humble circumstances.
May we not only enjoy the pageantry of the season
but may we also see our salvation story
being played out before our longing eyes.

May we see our hope.
May we know true joy.

So we humbly ask that You may send your Holy Spirit
to fill our hearts with the hope of the resurrection
through faith in Jesus.
May we know and live the true meaning of the season.
Jesus Christ,
our victorious Lord and Savior.
And may the joy on our face and in our voices
show people that we indeed mean business.

Amen.

God bless you, this 4th Sunday of Advent, as we speed ever closer to the manger. May your Christmas preparations draw you closer and closer to Jesus.

The Pastor -|—

All I Want

Father God,
there is much that I want.
Sometimes my list looks eerily like a letter to Santa.
I want this…
I need this…
I must have this…
All things that I think will make me happy.

But none of them bring you glory.

—————————–
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” 
(Psalm 32:9)
——————————

And then I am quickly reminded of what brings You glory.
You are glorified when I seek to be instructed by You.
You are glorified when what I want is You.
You are glorified when my happiness is wrapped up in You.
You are glorified when I am satisfied in You.

And so I seek instruction from You.
I seek wisdom from You.
I seek to glorify You.

Teach me
Lead me
Show me

And therefore, all I want for Christmas is YOU,
oh God.
All I want for Christmas is YOU.

The (seeking) Pastor -|—

Ramblings of a Listening Disicple

Listening is never easy.
It’s hard work.
It means doing something active.
You can’t be passive and also listen.
It takes focus.
It takes determined attention.

To truly listen is a loving act.

You can hear someone making noise,
but that’s not listening.
You can see someone trying to communicate,
but that’s not listening.
You can be aware of someone trying to transmit data,
but that’s not listening.

Listening is focusing, receiving and processing.
Listening is caring about the communicator.

Listening is hard work,
especially when we are talking about
God.
Listening is scary,
especially when we are talking about
God.
Listening is awesome,
most especially when we are talking about
God.

For when we are listening to God;
when we are receiving from God;
when we are obeying God;
we are participating in God’s most awesome and perfect will.

Listening is still scary but it is also awesome.

Oh God, speak to me.

I’m listening…

The (listening) Pastor -|—

Hold Me Tight ~ A Prayer

Holy Father,
Your wisdom is awesome.
Your timing is perfect.
Your faithfulness is great.
Your love is boundless.
Your grace is limitless.
Your compassion is comforting.

And it is in these qualities that I find peace for a restless soul.

And so I,
appeal to Your wisdom;
wait for Your timing;
bask in Your faithfulness;
cling to Your love;
give thanks for Your grace;
and rest in Your compassion.

May I always know this peace.

Holy Father,
in the midst of turmoil,
I am thankful for a peace that surpasses all comprehension.
So hold me tight,
and shake me awake when I mindlessly wander from You.

All praise and worship and honor and glory,
be unto You,
Holy Father,

forever and ever,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—