All I Want For Christmas is Advent!

Isaiah 64:1-9, I Corinthians 1:3-9 and Mark 13:24-37

As I write this, there is no doubt the holiday season is upon us. Christmas decorations are up! Trees are lit up in windows! And the catalogues come in stacks!

Poor Advent is often overlooked. But as worshippers we will hear and live out of the scriptures for the next four Sundays which speak of preparation, watchfulness, hope. We will be somewhat like a child seeing a Christmas package under the tree, and wistfully waiting for the day to arrive to open it!

Much of life is waiting and preparing. And an attitude develops for both living life to the fullest in that waiting time while believing the arrival of the future will be even better than now. How true is the expression, “the best is yet to be?” That is always answered by a lived out faith. Some of the waiting time is quite rough at times and we can only trust that it will be better. And the trust is always in the character of God: loving, merciful, steadfast, beyond words, Spirit and Truth.

So, Advent is as wondrous as Christmas in its own way. We just need to “stay alert” as Mark 13 of insists, and realize we have the means (gifts) to go forward based on I Corinthians 1:3-9, and that Isaiah 64:1-9 declares “God WORKS for those who wait for God.”

So, Christmas is there in Advent for sure! Hidden perhaps but still as real as the day of Christmas, as real as anytime the Kingdom of God shows up in our present life.

Blessings in the weeks ahead! Stay well, stay safe, pay attention to God’s calling upon your life in this most wondrous season!

Pastor Barry

Kings and Native Americans

Genesis 9:7-19, Revelation 7:9, 15:2-4 and Philippians 2:5-11

As different as Thanksgiving family gatherings may be this year, they will still take place in memory, in the “adjusted” present, and in hope for many more to come in years ahead.

For those in worship this November 22, we will be reminded through scripture how God promises to be at work to bring about bounty and blessings. For the Christian our blessings come through Christ the King who is benevolent, merciful, and wants only the “abundant life” for God’s people in the Kingdom also known as The “Kindom,” where all the kin are gathered in. All get to sit at the Thanksgiving table of Jesus. This is demonstrated generation after generation and in nation upon nation. Our faith circles the globe and includes the diversity of every culture and historical era. Enter the Native American.

From earliest elementary school we remember the story of the first Thanksgiving involving the Pilgrims and the indigenous people of America. Christians interacting with many yet to be Christians. It is a fascinating era of bearing witness to Native Americans and the resultant growth of churches within “every tribe and language.” All together under the Great Spirit now revealed fully as Christ the King.

As we give thanks this coming week we do so with an awareness of the contributions made by Native Americans and hundreds of other “tribes” other than our own. Let us give thanks for unity in diversity and be forthright in seeing Christ in every one we meet!

Thanks be to God!


Pastor Barry

You’ve Got Talent!

Judges 4:1-7, I Thessalonians 5:1-11 and Matthew 25:14-30

Each person is unique and has both potential and limitations. What potential says is that each has been given “talent” of some kind. What we are given in IQ, physical strength, will, and drive is most often a combination of genes, geography, family, and community. No one is self-made! God is always about calling forth that talent/gift in specific ways throughout the life time we are granted.

Our scripture for worship gives us an example in Deborah the judge and Jesus’ parable of the talents. Deborah is a prophetess in the time of Israel being led by judges not kings. She finds her gifts and talents, so to speak, being called forth in a time of national threat. Jesus tells of different servants who are given “resources” to use while the Master is away. And what happens when they are put to good use or…..not. There is no one who is not given something in some way that can be used to benefit others and to glorify God!

“You’ve Got Talent!” Let’s look this Sunday to see both a good example and a not-so-good example of the use of talent. Along the way we will hear about judge Deborah, Jael the Kenite woman assassin, Queen Elizabeth I and a few other leaders who used their talents for God and others.

See you Sunday!

Pastor Barry

Requirement and Reconnaissance

Amos 5:18-24, I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Matthew 25:13

Our national election count should be over by worship time this Sunday but the requirements of citizenship are ongoing. For those elected and for all within our republic.

The same within the life of the church. Both church and society are to heed the question, “What does the Lord require of you?” We cannot have the question addressed only to the individual, but to the whole of the Church and to all the nations.

We are also approaching Veterans Day November 11. We remember and honor the service Veterans have offered to our nation. They too have had requirements placed upon them as they act for the safety and benefit of a free people. One aspect of military duty is reconnaissance “the observation of a region to locate an enemy or determine strategic features.”

Requirements and reconnaissance go hand in hand in both service to country and to God. Amos spells out some basic requirements from God, “justice and righteousness,” while I Thessalonians and Matthew 25 speak to our staying alert through “reconnaissance.”

Sunday we will recognize both veterans and the church faithful who have answered to call to serve.

Stay alert! Seek to do what the Lord requires!

Pastor Barry