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Wednesday Words – March 18, 2015

Pastor Len Hoffmann

I treasure your promise in my heart.
(Ps. 119:11)

Dionne Warwick made the song by Naked Eyes a popular hit tune. One of the lines reads:

You made me promises, promises
You knew you’d never keep
Promises, promises
Why do I believe?

We all have experienced broken promises. Some have been small and some very large and heartbreaking. Broken promises cause us not to believe and not to trust. Some can be reconciled; others cannot.

The Psalmist reminds us that God puts God’s promises in our hearts, and reminds us that we treasure God’s promises because they are true and because they are trustworthy.

In this Lenten season we are reminded of how trustworthy God’s promises are and we repent of our in ability to be trustworthy. God’s promises are sure – our promises to God not so much. 

As we move toward Holy Week we will focus on the renewed promises that God makes to us in Jesus Christ. Jesus makes a new covenant with us sealed in his life and death; a renewed promise that is made to us in Baptism. A promise that is true and trustworthy.

We treasure this promise of God’s commitment to us in our hearts. A treasure that surpasses all our understanding and stands above all else we treasure and we believe.

Pr. Len

 

 

Wednesday Words – March 11, 2015

Pastor Len Hoffmann

"You deliver your people from their distress." 
(Ps. 107:19)

Most of us are familiar with major distress. We have heard of ships at sea in distress or air planes in distress. We know there are many nations in distress. These types of distresses all make the headlines and at times are covered as they have happened in the 24 hour news cycle.

We, too, experience distress in our lives. It may be a saddened accident, or it could be a chronic illness. We might be experiencing distress over our work situation or over relationships that are causing us difficulties.

As we continue to journey through this Lenten season, we witness how Jesus encounters various situations of distress. People make demands on him. His disciples have a different agenda than the one he has laid out before them. He anticipates the distress of betrayal, crucifixion and death.

Yet, through all of this distress Jesus relies on the grace of his Father to deliver him. In each and every encounter, Jesus puts his trust in the faithfulness of God and with every confidence moves forward in mission.

God stands ready to deliver us in the midst of our distress. Jesus walks with us having experienced God’s deliverance. In turn having been delivered from our distress we are empowered to walk with others in their distress pointing them to God’s love, care and deliverance for their lives.

Pr. Len

Wednesday Words - March 4, 2015

“For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:18

I have a T-Shirt from my days of being a camp counselor that says simply “Camp Nerd” on the front, and on the sleeve of the shirt it quotes a similar verse to the one above, which says, “If we are out of our minds, it is for the sake of Christ.”

This is one of my favorite verses in the entire Bible because even though it was written in the first century, I think it’s message is still relevant to our 21st century experience of Christianity.

How foolish it must have sounded to the ears of first century Roman citizens to worship a God that was weak enough to allow his son to be crucified on a cross. But rather than try to rationalize it, or explain the logic, the apostle Paul embraces the utter foolishness of it all, saying that this foolishness is the power of God. Paul reminds us that “God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.”

In today’s age of enlightenment and scientific discovery, many have felt the same way – that the message of our faith seems foolish in light of all the advancements that we have made. And you know what? IT IS! What seemed foolish to the world in the 1st century still seems foolish in the 21st.

But we are reminded that it’s through weakness that we find our faith as Christians. God revealed himself through the weakness of the cross, and it’s through our own vulnerability and weakness that God reveals his strength in us.

So I say, Thanks be to God, for the foolishness of our faith.

Amen

--Pr. Paul

 

 

Wednesday Words - February 25, 2015

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD.  (Ps. 22:27)

In the movie “The Theory of Everything” it is postulated that the universe is ever expanding. We now have telescopes that peer deep into the far regions of space. 

In the movie Jane, the wife of Stephen Hawking, a member of the Church of England, to which the Hawking character replies, “of course,” seeks to have Stephen at least acknowledge that there is a God.

There always seems to be this tension between faith and science. Yet, the Psalmist puts this whole matter in perspective. “All the ends of the earth (universe) shall remember and turn to the LORD.” 

In other words faith does not exclude scientific discovery, and scientific discovery does not exclude faith. Faith is one thing, as Martin Luther put it, “Fear (awe), love and trust in God above everything else.” Science is another thing. It uses our reason and senses to discover the universe. We profess that God created, we do not profess how God created.

So, during this Lenten journey as we reflect on our relationship with God, and more importantly God’s relationship with us, we remember and turn to the LORD, and all the ends of the earth (universe) does, also.  

Pr. Len

Wednesday Words - February 18, 2015

Thought for the Day: Your paths, O LORD, are steadfast love and faithfulness. (Ps. 25:10)

Life’s paths are often fraught with peril. We have clearly seen this recently in France, Denmark, and for 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt. 

We have seen the pathways of some affected by natural and human-made disasters. We have seen the pathways cluttered for others through Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease.

Family crises have blocked our paths to spiritual wellness because of family strife, financial difficulties, and strained relationships.

We clearly need our pathways cleared of the clutter and a way out of many dead ends.

In this Lenten season we are invited to journey with Jesus down the pathway that leads to love and faithfulness.

Jesus’ love for us takes him through a journey that leads him to the cross. His faithfulness and obedience to his Father’s will leads him through death to resurrection.

Jesus journeys with us in our perils, through cluttered and blocked pathways, breaking open our hearts to witness to his love and faithfulness. 

You are welcome in this Lenten season to again travel down the paths of steadfast love and faithfulness as we hear stories from our fellow members regarding how God has been with them in the changes of life and helps us Make Change so that we might reflect Christ in message and actions.

Pr. Len

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