Monthly Archive for: ‘May, 2013’

The Breath of Community that comes from God

Preparing for Worship at Good Sam on 5-26-13

The one thing that Christians often hear about from those of other faiths is the community 3idea that God is three and that God is one.  We call this the Doctrine of the Trinity.  Perhaps it is a bit of a stretch for us to imagine a unified God with three expressions, but it isn’t so much a stretch for us to hear that God desires community.  We actually learned this from Jesus.

community 1 Even in the telling of Creation, In Gen 1:26-31, God says let us make human kind in our own image, male and female let us make them.  God sees fit to make us with community among ourselves in mind and it is difficult to hear in this that God also desires community with us.  Perhaps this is the purpose of making us in the image of God.

Perhaps in God’s own self there is a sense of community and desire for community.  I imagine that this is really the whole purpose behind creation itself:  God searching for and creating the possibility of Community between us and God.

I say that God is best discovered in community.  Partly that means coming to community 2know God in Jesus and the depths of God revealed to us in Jesus’ work, but also the presence and life of God that comes in “Ruah”(breath, life and spirit).

This Sunday we will gather to explore the life of community that God gives and desires with us.  This is the real meaning of the Trinity.  God comes to us as community and in community for the purpose of creating true communion.

Pastor Mitch

When What God Does Is All That Remains

Preparing for Worship June 2nd, 2013

Genesis 22, I Kings 8:22-23, 41-43 and I Corinthians 3:11-12, 16

Have you been to the Temple Mount?  There Abraham worshiped God, temple_mountdiscovering how God provides.  There Solomon built the first Temple of Worship to Yahweh.  This particular mount has been a significant site for worship of Jebusites and Jews, Muslims, Romans and Christians.  The Jewish Temple there has been built and torn down a couple of times over the millennia.  Some wait for it to be build for the third and final time.  I think it is interesting that of the original Temple built by Solomon (in 957 BCE), all that remains are the large stones that made up the foundation of the western wall.  This is where the Jewish faithful come to pour out their prayers to the Lord.

It seems to me that the faith of Abraham is as strong a foundation and model and witness to faith in God as the Temples built to the Glory of God.  It speaks volumes to us in just a few chapters of Genesis (Gen.12-25).  The stones of the Temple that remain are a witness as well, but the message is not as clear or resilient.  Are they a sign of faith that has failed or a symbol that God is still our foundation when everything else is destroyed?

Perhaps the faith of Abraham, Paul’s words about keeping our foundations in Christ and the stones of the Western Wall are there to remind us to think carefully about what it means to build on a secure foundation.

Pastor Mitch

Community and God

Sermon from Worship at Good Sam on May 26, 2013 (Memorial Day Weekend) Trinity Sunday

based on Romans 5:1–5  and  John 16:12–15

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Taking the Message with Youcross

There are always these two parts to working out our faith lives;  our connection and communion with God (vertical dimension), and our care and work in building community with the giftedness of our faith (horizontal dimension).   Can you see the image of the Cross in this work – vertical plank and the horizontal plank? Each of these needs attention for our faith lives to fully thrive and find full expression.

Finally, focus on the intersection where these two efforts come together.  Ask God guide you to where the community you need may be found, where you may most fully participate in community life.  The truth is God still speaks to community.  In and through communion with God and in connection to the community of faith God works mightily.  Remember Jesus words, “Love God with all your heart, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.  In these are summed up all the Law and Prophets.”

Pastor Mitch

Those Who Are Led By God

Sunday’s Sermon at Good Sam on Pentecost Sunday

(also Confirmation Sunday) 5-19-13

Sermon Based on Acts 2, Romans 8 and John 14

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Taking the Message with You

“The “spirit of adoption” lives in community.  Never does it reside by itself.  It gathers the lost, welcomes the stranger, makes room for more and always leaves an empty chair at the table that can be filled by the next person to enter the room.  Where is that spirit among us?  Look here, look there, can you see it?  Does it dwell within you?  Does it beg or invite you to partake of its goodness and share in its gifts?

Pastor Mitch

Amazed and Astonished

Preparing for Worship 5-19-13

                “…you have received a spirit of adoption.  When we cry, “Abba! Father!”  16it is that very Spirit     bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,  17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.”  (Romans 8:16-17)

Preparing for and growing into our adoption with Sara has been a monumentalSara and Dad journey for me.  In the beginning it was about imagining and re-imagining myself; who I am and who I might become through adoption.  I had no idea how this adventure might turn out.  I didn’t even know if I was really ready.  But, I knew it was right for me to dive in.

When we first took Sara to a large gathering of people ( Synod Assembly last spring with 400 other church leaders), we were amazed at the conversations we had.  Again and again people would come up to us and tell us of their adoption stories.  Often it was adopting a child, but some were of their own adoptions.  What we saw in their faces and heard from their hearts was the power and strength of life and hope that had come to them through adoption.  We had no idea so many people in one room could have been so powerfully touched by adoption so as to come up to us and visit with us about Sara and their lives around adoption.

One of the great joys I had recently was visiting Library Story Time with Sara, who is there regularly with Shannon.  It was my great surprise and delight to be identified and known as simply “Sara’s Dad.”  No other title or anything.  I loved it!  Truly she is not just ours, but we are hers.  This adoption thing has begun to change who we are, indeed.

Do you recognize this spirit of adoption?  Paul talks about it in our second lesson for this Sunday.  It is very much the same way in which we get caught up in the life of Christ – slowly and surely Christ becomes part of us and we become part of the body of Christ.  This is God’s work and it is amazing.

Pastor Mitch

Too Short a Time Under Her Wings: The Mission of Nurturing

Sermon at Good Sam on May 12, 2013  (Easter 7 and Mother’s Day)

Based on Acts16:16-34 and John 17:20-26

Sermon Video

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Taking the message with you            (reflecting on worship 5-12-13)

Have you had a chance to sit and think about the people that God has placed in your life who have really had a positive impact in making you who you are?  Perhaps some of those people have been people of faith from whom you have learned from and discovered faith in Jesus for yourself.

This Sunday we learned that Jesus’ prayed for this work (John 17:6-26).  He prays for his disciples and he prays for those who will come to believe through them.  Here Jesus in interested in our lives of faith as believers and also how we will share that gift with others who have yet to grow into faith and life in Jesus.

Has anyone ever told you that you have helped shape their life and faith in Jesus?  How does this work happen?  I pray to Jesus for insight and wisdom around how to be an example of faith.  I ask Jesus for opportunities we I can uniquely encourage someone if in faith.  I ask Jesus to help me know with whom and where I can do this gifting of Jesus.

Would you join me in furthering this urgent work that Jesus cares so much about?  Will you seek with me to be directed to those with whom we can serve, support, encourage and nurture faith in Jesus?  Imagine how blessed we will be to have a strong sense of how we have shared the life of Jesus with others in our words, our actions and in our intentional service and care of people in our life.  Surely we will come to better know how the grace and mercy of God show themselves in the world today.

Pastor Mitch

A Gift for Every Situation and Season

Message in Worship at Good Sam on May 5, 2013

Based on Revelation 21:10, 22 — 22:5 and John 14:23-29

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Pastor Mitch Watney

Happy Mother’s Day

(Preparing for Worship 5-12-13 at Good Sam)

This Sunday (May 12th) is Mother’s Day.  It’s a great time to give thanks to God for this vocation which is foundational in most all of our lives.  We must also give thanks to those who have accepted this call and given themselves to it, for we have benefited greatly this work of God in the hands and heart of our mothers and those who have nurtured us into life.

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Pastor Mitch