All That Light!

Exodus 34:29-35, II Corinthians 3:12-4:1 and Luke 9:28-43

The last few days have been like someone opened the curtains in a dimly lit room! The sun was still really there behind all the rain clouds of February. Light, warmth, welcome anticipation of change burst forth and cheered many.

Our bible passages this Sunday are all about the “glow,” the shining of God’s radiance. And especially through the messengers of Moses, Paul, and supremely Jesus. The Transfiguration is all about the glory of God present in Jesus on high but also how that glory is to show through bodily healing and through the work of the Church, the Body of Christ in the world.

The idea of shedding light on any subject is to make the subject more well known, to provide a better awareness of what can happen as the depth and width of the subject is seen in the greater light of God.

Whether it is seeing persons better as reflecting the image of God or whether it has to do with decision making as at the recent General Conference 2019, “seeing the glory of God” is something we are called to do.

And in seeing in a better Light we hope to “do no harm and stay in love with God.” Disciples come “off the high” of the mountain top experience and walk amongst those who need healing and transformation.

We see and go forth~~~!

Pastor Barry

Restoring Broken Relationships

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. – Matthew 6:14

We all suffer from broken relationships, with God, and with others. This brokenness will weigh you down spiritually and slow your progress in growing in Christ unless you take steps to mend it. And God wants to heal the brokenness and He wants you to participate by forgiving and seeking forgiveness for yourself.

God’s ultimate plan for you and our world involves healing. In Revelation, the apostle John saw a vision of a new heaven and a new earth, in which this healing would be complete. He wrote: “And the angel showed me a pure river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb . . . On each side of the river grew a tree of life . . . The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.” (Revelation 22:1-2)

Although we know that God will heal all things when He returns to rule, until then we need to take steps toward mending the brokenness. Giving and receiving forgiveness is a must when it comes to spiritual healing. In doing so you will make peace with God, with yourself, and with those you’ve alienated.

Who do you owe an apology to? Who do you need to forgive? Just remember, God has placed one condition on our receiving His forgiveness. . . that we forgive others. It’s a serious thing. Just remember, we don’t earn forgiveness, and we shouldn’t expect others to earn ours.

When you forgive, you in no way change the past–but you sure do change the future. – Bernard Meltzer


Chaplain Rob

What Would Happen If….

Genesis 45:3-15, Psalm 37:1-11 and Luke 6:27-38

To vary the Rodney Dangerfield joke about “I went to a fight last night and a hockey game broke out,” let’s say you went to a Peace and Forgiveness Rally and a war broke out is sadly not far from truth. The war to end all wars, World War I, and all the efforts for world peace in the Twenties led to World War II in the Forties. The victory over totalitarian forces in 1945 led to the Cold War and The Atomic Age anxiety and dread.

So, when we read of the forgiveness of Joseph toward his brothers and then the teachings of Jesus about turning the other cheek, we struggle to believe forgiveness, non-resistance, and the Golden Rule actually are possible in a world of brutal power and force. Perhaps it MIGHT work on the individual level but rarely on a societal level. “People will just run over you” is a recurring thought in a world embedded in Sin. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely! But, Joseph and Jesus set the example and lived out such remarkable lives that we find it hard not to believe such a way is possible. A different power is at work in Joseph, Jesus, and the God of the Psalmist.

Such a tension will probably never leave us, those who walk by faith and not just what we see time and time again in a rough world. And in every life such loving actions CAN happen in spite of our doubts and despair. The church bears witness to the possibility. We strive, and we strive not alone but together to follow the Lord the one who went to the Cross instead of calling down ten thousand angels to His rescue, to smite His persecutors.

It’s a message and hope we will explore in worship this coming Sunday in a century that still finds wars and rumors of war, people hurting people, and struggles at every turn. But living and walking in faith does “lean toward” the hoped for Peaceable Kingdom!

Be blessed in hearing the Word this Sunday!

Pastor Barry

Joy in God’s Presence

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid: you are worth more than many sparrows. – Matthew 10:29-31

Do you spend time in God’s presence praying, singing praises to Him, and bowing before Him? These are things that each of us benefit from.

Do you feel too macho or too proud to bow or sing to God? If that’s the case then look with me at a real man in the Old Testament. The psalms of King David are songs that still give us direction and hope. David was a man who knew his own sinfulness yet was able to sing, “What joy for those you choose to bring near, those who live in your holy courts. What joys await us inside your holy Temple.” (Psalm 65:4)

God wants you to know you are welcome and valued before Him. The joy you find in His presence each day will help you stay tuned into His desire for you.

Worship and prayer will remind you of how great and holy God is. You’ll gain a new appreciation for how gracious God is to forgive you and allow you into His presence.

When was the last time you prayed and sang to Jesus? If it’s been a while, try it. You’ll experience something very special. You’ll continue the process of being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.

Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow. – Helen Keller


Chaplain Rob

Alert! Woes and Blessings

Jeremiah 17:5-10, I Corinthians 15:12-20 and Luke 6:17-26

Jesus’ audience receiving a message which included woes and blessings, was, first, his disciples and then, “a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon…” Blessings and woes were announced to a wide range of people….not just his “early church” the disciples.

I cannot but think of the “great multitudes” of the USA on this Sunday before Presidents Day. If anyone commands attention and has a huge audience today it is whoever is in the highest office in the land. And almost to a person our Presidents have been of some Christian Faith themselves. Presidents are not “preacher in chief” but are influenced by the Word of God, a nation of churches and preachers.

What might any President in our history have heard when Jesus speaks of the “rich, the poor, those who mourn, and those who are praised by all.” Presidents have all had to deal with these categories of our population in leadership, by example and by policies. Is there an overlap between “church and society” when it comes to policies on the rich, the poor, those who mourn, those who get praised by all?!

Jesus sounds much like the prophets, in this case, like Jeremiah who generations before found reasons to pronounce both blessings and curses. God’s word is for both individuals and for nations, people in lands such as Judah with its kings and intrigues with surrounding nations. Jeremiah in 17:1 speaks to Judah, the people collectively!

This Sunday as we anticipate honoring our Presidential branch of government we might ask ourselves how we as a nation hear the Word of God with blessings and woes pronounced upon individuals and the nation? Certainly a very big question! The answers will take time to sink in and affect us as followers of Christ.

Let us worship the Lord who questions us and our attitudes toward others, but is ever intent on leading us toward blessings!

Pastor Barry

The Art of Ending

The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than a proud spirit—- Ecclesiastes 7:8

The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.”

And Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote, “The end of a thing is better than its beginning” (Ecclesiastes 7:8 NKJV).

Samson had a great beginning. He had superhuman qualities. Physically, there was no one stronger. He was a one-man army. On one occasion he killed 30 Philistines (the enemies of the Israelites) to settle a bet. On another occasion, he killed 1,000 Philistine warriors on the battlefield with a bone that he picked up off the ground. He once ripped a lion apart with his bare hands. He wasn’t a fictitious superhero; he was the real deal.

For a time Samson was a mighty man of God. And for a time he was even a true world changer. But in time the world began to change him. Samson turned his back on God. He had an amazing beginning but a tragic ending.

One day your life will be summed up in a paragraph or two on a bulletin that will be handed out at your memorial service. No one will care about how much money you made or how much stuff you owned. No one will care how high you climbed in your profession. Instead, they’ll talk about what kind of person you were.

We don’t decide the day of our death any more than we decided the day of our birth. But we do determine the spiritual state we’ll be in when we die. God wants us to be close to Him. God wants us in friendship and fellowship and intimacy with Him. But it’s our choice whether to have a relationship with the Lord or not to have a relationship with Him. We want to finish well.

May we all work hard today to leave a legacy, to finish well, to leave our jobs, our families, our communities, our nations better than we found it.


Chaplain Rob

In Spite of The Dirty Lips, The Least, and The Sinful

Isaiah 6:1-8, I Corinthians 15:1-11 and Luke 5:1-11

We talk about determination. Such as an incredible quarterback like Tom Brady. A courageous woman like Rosa Parks in the segregated South of the Sixties. Max Cleland a triple amputee decorated veteran being elected to Congress. Determination.

In our scriptures we actually discover three who, in spite of their failures and self-condemnation, come up against a God who is determined to call them out and away from their guilt and low self-esteem and “employ” them for the work of the Kingdom! God’s determination sinks in to them and we get a prophet and two apostles!

God is determined to bring the best out of our worst. Yes, we are told to confess our sins but the next step is to not stay “stuck” in our confession but rather move forward in our “profession.” Profession in the two senses of “I profess Jesus Christ” but also the sense of A profession e.g. a calling, a call to personal mission and service. “Here I am Lord….send me!”

Sunday we will look in the mirror. Let’s pray we see both our worst selves and the self that God sees as a beloved friend ready to participate in God’s work here and now and bound in heaven for all eternity. “Well done thou good and faithful servant!”

Come out of any self-imposed negative view of yourself and view how God sees you! Sanctification as a happy, giving life shared together in worship, witness, and specific works YOU are called to! Eyes and ears and hearts open to God’s call and guidance!

Pastor Barry

Better Than a GPS

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.— I Corinthians 6:19

Every now and then, it seems that my GPS has a mind of its own. I’ll be driving on the freeway, going to a destination where I’ve never been before, and all of a sudden it tells me to turn right at the next off-ramp. It doesn’t make sense, but I turn right. Then it tells me to turn left, so I turn left. Then it brings me back to the freeway. What was that all about? It makes no sense at all.

The Lord gave the Israelites an amazing GPS system: a fire by night and a cloud by day. It was very simple. When the cloud moved, they moved. When the cloud stopped, they stopped. At night when the fire moved, they moved. When the fire stopped, they stopped.

We might think, “I wish I could have that, because a lot of times I don’t know what I should do and where I should go. It would be so easy.”

As believers under the New Covenant, we have something better than a cloud or a fire. We have Christ Himself living in our hearts. This is only for the Christian who has believed in Jesus Christ. God takes residence in our hearts. We don’t need a fire in the sky. We have the fire of the Holy Spirit in our lives, giving us the power to do what God has called us to do.

The Lord will lead us in the way that He wants us to go. Now, sometimes God’s will doesn’t make sense. Maybe we think God is trying to ruin all our fun. But in time we’ll realize that God knew what He was talking about all along.

A GPS isn’t always right, but God is always right. And God’s way is always the right way.


Chaplain Rob

A Super Bowl, A Groundhog, Rumspringa, and Holy Communion

Ecclesiastes 8:15; 9:7-10, I Corinthians 10:23-30 and Matthew 22:34-40.

One gathers to worship on Sunday. Yet, one knows that the other hours of the day offer a thousand other activities, routines, habits, works, leisure’s, and cultural diversities. Yes, we are in the world!

No generation of Christians goes without the need to consider their life as lived out in the culture of the day. Some remove themselves as much as possible e.g., Amish, questionable sects, while most live and move within the culture of entertainment, Super bowls, parties, diverse opinions and preferences for going about the day and week.

Jesus says “love God, neighbor and yourself.” Paul says, you have freedom, “but not all things are helpful, not all things are beneficial.”
From Ecclesiastes, in spite of all the writer’s concern for the passing away of all things, we are advised to “eat, drink, and be joyful.”

This Sunday’s hour of worship will hear these voices from the Scriptures and then celebrate together at The Table of the Lord. And in our culture many will then attend to the “Groundhog and weather, to the grand finale of football season, and ponder the meaning of what around us gives us joy and delight, peace and salvation.”

“Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head!” (Ecclesiastes 9:7).

Pastor Barry