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“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all...I want you to stress these things about Christ and our call in renewal by the Holy Spirit so that those who trust God may be careful to devote themselves to doing good. These things are profitable for everyone. Avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about how to interpret the law, because these things are unprofitable and useless.” - Titus 3: 1-2, 8-9

So, it’s Lent. A time to reflect and be honest and undertake our duty as members to examine the quality of our own membership (G-1.0304) and our discipleship under Christ. How’s it going? You might take the approach that all is well and you have nothing to change. You might take the approach of anxiety and worry about being perfect. You might take the approach of foolishness and defensiveness and ask why the church thinks it can butt into your own affairs. But consider Paul’s advice to Titus—stay focused on Christ and our commonality in Jesus and avoid quarrels and controversies. Many have been saying they are tired of all the politics and craziness, the name calling and the sound bites, not just on the national level but in our community, family, and church. We are called to do something about that you know. Avoid silly controversies, quarrels about how things should be done, disagreements over who and why as well as how. Rise above that secular sin of thinking you are right and the most important and be the church who makes Christ the most important—working to support each other, to equip each other, to both rebuke and receive rebuke (it is a two way street unless you really are Jesus).

"The moon God made to mark the seasons and the sun knows when to set." –Psalm 104:19

Here we are at the changing of the seasons again. This month (Feb) will begin Lent—that means Spring in Latin you know! We have become too scientific and precise in our world, so some of you may say—but Pastor it’s not spring until march 20—the vernal equinox. Well, embrace the rhythms that God set and read the wonders of Creation like the Psalmist says in Psalm 104.

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” -2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NIV)

Happy Epiphany! Yes, yet another installment in our Christmas Cycle. Epiphany (the coming of the three Kings) reminds us that the Light that came, is here, and is coming into the world, Jesus, is not just a casual event but an event that changes everything. And it requires a response from us. Not to be saved, Jesus did that on the cross and adopted you into the Father’s family by the Spirit at your baptism. No, the response is not to be saved (not to go to heaven) but to respond to what God has done in saving you. Martin Luther explained it this way—if you had been in a terrible accident and were on the verge of death and could not do anything to save yourself, how would you react if someone then saved you, especially if that someone could have just walked on by or stopped and stared and if that someone was hurt in the process of saving you? Would you be bitter, upset, or angry? Would you be full of guilt and shame? Or would you be full of gratitude and joy? What loyalty or trust would you place in that person that saved you? What if you asked how you could best honor them and the person said to you—“Help others?” Well that is exactly the situation we are in. That Christ who came to earth in flesh and died for us has rescued us from a death that we were powerless to avoid. Jesus has saved you and tells us to now do the same. Do you trust Him, show gratitude to Him, and dedicate your life to helping others? That is the Christian life of gratitude.

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