Binding Wounds, Preventing Wounds

2 Samuel 1:1, 16-27, 2 Corinthians 8:7-15 and Mark 5:21-43.

In these passages we see a number of experiences common to all: grief over death, illness and it’s healing and being generous with your resources. Needless to say, these experiences come during national times of crisis, e.g. war, epidemics, economic hard times, as well as to all of us throughout our life span.

Christ’s church is not immune from any yet leads the way in responding to all these human conditions. Where would we be without the church?! I suppose we would depend solely on the goodness of the state (!). If history teaches us anything, the human institution of the state is a very mixed bag! As we acknowledge July 4th we recall that a government became oppressive to the original 13 colonies. Governments can wage war and death on its people! And governments can, at their best, care for its citizens.

The church, however, heals not kills, gives and rarely receives in kind, and is not an instrument of death whether for evil or for justice. Jesus sets the example time and time again. Render unto God….render unto Caesar…..know the difference.

As we receive and celebrate the Lords Supper, Holy Communion we are reminded to do this in memory of the One Crucified, Dead, yet Alive! No force of nature, state, or fallen people can overcome God’s Righteous One who lives for others.

Come this Sunday for Word and Sacrament believing that Jesus is the generous, merciful Lord of life, conqueror of death, and Ruler of all nations!

Be blessed in this knowledge and in this faith!

Pastor Barry

Always Something

Opposition.  Antagonists. Enemies. The Empire.

Even on a personal scale, whether it be illness or injury, grief and loss, debt or financial woes, interpersonal conflicts, there seems to be THAT which we are “up against.”

In these scriptures, you find the memorable David versus the giant Goliath, Jesus against the angry sea waves, Paul recounting those who have opposed his ministry of the Good News of Jesus the Christ. Struggle. How we wish we were “at ease in Zion!” Those days are, for most of us, few and far between. There will “always be something.” It might be low from day to day on a scale of 1-10 but invariably the “10s” will arrive in life!

Perhaps we should come to worship each time with struggle in mind but ultimate peace hoped for. And maybe hope for peace and reconciliation in the daily mix! The church worships because we have faithful examples, e.g., David, Paul, believers in every generation, family and friends with us indicating God is still at work in our midst “calming the angry waves!” Even worship can be a struggle when your day has been darkened by forces against you. But, avoidance of the faithful community at worship is not the answer. To be together in our struggles IS the answer. We are stronger together than alone.

Come together this coming day of worship and find our way forward against whatever “giant” you and I and we are facing on the field of life!

Peace and hope~~!

Pastor Barry

What’s your Limp?

When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. – Genesis 32:25

There’s a story in the Bible about Jacob wrestling with God, and as a result, God touched Jacob’s hip resulting in Jacob walking the rest of his days with a limp.

Have you wrestled with God? What’s your limp? Do you have a scar or a wound that you have hidden from the world? Note that God gave Jacob a limp. Unlike a scar or a wound, you can’t hide a limp. It shows whenever you get up and move around. I think God wanted Jacob to limp with pride. It was his battle scar.

What’s your battle scar? Have you accepted them for what they are and for the person they have made you? Have you allowed the pain of your wrestling match to grow you into a better, more compassionate person? Let God unfold more of His beauty and grace and love in your life. Would you have it any other way?
God will take the lowest of all and raise him up. He’ll take the weakest one and strengthen him. He’ll take the most insecure and fill him with courage. He’ll take the least and make him the most. All you have to do is let him.

So, whatever your limp is, walk with it and don’t deny it. It is who you are, and He is molding you into a masterpiece. You are who you are because of your painful past. God accepts you right where you are, limp and all. I hope you do, too.

Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has.
– Billy Graham

The wound is the place where the Light enters you. – Rumi


Chaplain Rob

It’s Not About You!

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – Hebrews 10:24

The first sentence of Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life is this: “It’s not about you!” Do you believe that? Does your life reflect that? It’s a struggle for me, and I bet it’s a struggle for you.

Consider these situations: You’re in the checkout line and the older gentleman in front of you wants to write a check, but can’t find his checkbook. He locates his checkbook, but now he has no pen. Finally pen in hand, he inquires about the date. The clerk noticing his out-of-state check calls for approval. This short “in-and-out” errand adds additional minutes to your packed schedule. It was probably the most inconvenient experience you’ve gone through. There ought to be a law! Or in the words of my mother, “It’s always something!”

Or what about your restaurant experience with the hamburger and no ketchup because the waitress forgot. She is off talking, ignoring your request, and crying about something. The serving station has ketchup but it is her job. So you sit, tap your fingers on the table, and shoot darts at the lady crying at the back of the restaurant.

Did you think to say a kind word to the gentleman to help settle his nerves, or tell the waitress that you hope things get better. You might even leave a bigger tip or offer to pray for her. It’s not about you! Look outside yourself. It’s what we’re called to do. Try it. See if God doesn’t affirm you for it.

Only God can give us a selfless love for others, as the Holy Spirit changes us from within. This is one reason we must receive Christ, for apart from His Spirit we can never be freed from the chains of selfishness, jealousy, and indifference. Will others see Christ’s love in your life today? – Billy Graham

Chaplain, Rob

Love Your Neighbor

Let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. – 1 John 3:18

If you’re like me, you live a life in community, but your community isn’t likely one to include your neighbors. I know people who have lived in their neighborhoods for years and still don’t know their neighbors’ names. Busyness blocks out the world immediately around them.

A friend of mine recently shared a story with me. She said that she’s lived in the same neighborhood for twelve years and never really reached out to any of her neighbors. Having learned that one of her neighbors was battling cancer and leukemia, she thought that the time had come to express care, concern, and love to her.

So, she wrote a note, wrapped up a little stuffed bunny, and approached her neighbor’s house. Her heart was pounding. Was she opening herself to ridicule? She knocked on the door, wondering how this little gift and expression of care would be received. When the neighbor came to the door, she could tell that this hand delivered expression of love really moved her. The whole 10-minute process, doing exactly what God wanted her to do, was a blessing to both and an expression of the love of God to her neighbor.

Do you need to step out of your comfort zone and express love and concern to someone? Just look around you; the opportunities are there. We just close them off in our hurry to have a day without interruptions. Express some care and concern for someone today. Lend someone a helping hand. Spend time (and money if necessary) to be an agent of God’s love. You know you need to do it!

You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes. – A. A. Milne


Chaplain Rob

Fathers, Children, and Seed Planting

John Wesley, father of millions of Methodists, had no children, no offspring. His marriage was not particularly a happy one. Yet, he was a father. Just look around the world!

This Sunday we will give a measure of honor to those we call father, to those who were also “dads” of sorts to groups of children on ball fields, clubs, Scouts, schools, and churches. Men who cared and helped us grow up and grow in the Lord. Biological fathers, step-fathers, uncles, older brothers, coaches, teachers, others who appeared as mentors and guides. Like “Dads!”

Our Mark text is about growth. And how even the Kingdom of God takes time. It’s “in our midst” but not hardly complete….just yet! Growing! And in I Samuel, the Word for us is about sons who can be leaders, even kings with power and authority. And the act of calling, responding, growing into…..maturity and behavior that points to the Reign of God in our lives, our communities.

Just as these words and acts of God manifest themselves in our two congregations, in different ways with different histories, (yet all siblings of the One Lord) we accept that we are still seeing the Kingdom of God grow in our midst, like a small seed into a large bush, like children growing always into spiritual maturity even we “can’t always see the growth ahead, we continue by faith” II Corinthians 5:7.

So, we remember those who left us examples, tool kits, game plans, who took us to church, put up with our missteps, misadventures, and did it, hopefully, with patience and wisdom. When they inevitably failed at times we remember what they took us to hear about at church: forgiveness and hope!

For the “fathers” still with us and those of us called “father” we look to the Heavenly Father to be our guide and show us the Son who never “forsakes us, never leaves us!” Play ball, do the chores, walk that walk, keep that faith, learn the trade, listen to that call….to be that “somebody for somebody else!”

Bring that “inner child” and any other child with you to worship this Sunday!

Pastor Barry

Size Doesn’t Matter

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:1

We live in a culture that values things that are large, extravagant, and impossible to miss. For this reason, we’re tempted to look at the struggles in our rather ordinary lives, and consider our victories insignificant if they’re not acknowledged or recognized by others.

But that’s just not true. Victor Hugo, the great French playwright who penned Les Misérables, rightly said our “greatest actions are performed in minor struggles. Life, misfortune, isolation, abandonment and poverty are battlefields which have their heroes, obscure heroes who are at times greater than illustrious heroes.”

It’s not the size of the audience, or the amount of applause, that determines the value of your achievements. Live your life before the one true God. And live it with faith, hope, and love even though you’re not getting accolades for it. Remember, your true character is what you do when no one is looking.

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip. – Will Rogers


Chaplin Rob

Who’s In Charge Here?!

Summer is time for back yard, camp, picnic fun. Kids will choose up and play games. Who gets to go first? Who gets to pitch? Who gets to take the lead on the hike? Youngest? Oldest? Strongest? Most athletic? Pick straws? Rock, paper, scissors? Somebody take the wheel!

In our Samuel text, leadership has been done poorly, so they want a king like other nations. God reluctantly grants their request through Samuel the prophet. In Mark, it’s clear that many disagree with the direction Jesus is heading and with his authority! Conflict arises! Paul, to the church at Corinth, where there was plenty of conflict and resistance to him, stays determined to not give up. God will come through for us.

Yes, as communities and families and tribes and institutions we invariably, in due time, will have conflict, need leadership to work through the troubles, and are called upon to believe God is with us in our struggles.

We value peace and harmony so much because we know how hard it is to get there! And when we are at peace, we are all glad! It is just hard to stay put in peace! Maybe we need a leader! Jesus has some things to say about that and steps up to the dismay of his family and the religious leaders.

Let’s listen in this Sunday to leadership troubles and look to Jesus for example and His and Paul’s words that lead to a better Way! See you soon!

Pastor Barry