Monday, January 31, 2011

Ink Spots

This past Friday I was finishing up the bulletins for Sunday worship when I noticed that there were a few that came out of the copier with ink spots on them. My first reaction was to toss all of the ink spotted bulletins away and copy new ones or I could just get some whiteout and cover the ink and I would still be able to use them. I had already printed out all of them and the ink spots weren't covering up any of the wording so I decided to keep them. I got them all finished and placed them in their proper places for worship and left work for the day. But I left work still thinking of the ink spots.

 The topic of my Thursday evening women's Bible study that I have been leading has been on grace, God's transforming grace. Last Thursday we did an exercise using chocolate fondue and cut up pieces of fruit, pound cake and pretzels. It was yummy! I asked the ladies if their pieces of fruit had changed after they had been dipped into the chocolate fondue? They all answered yes. The chocolate fondue had made the fruit, cake and pretzels even that much better. I then asked them if God transforms us like the chocolate fondue covered the fruit? Their answer was no. God transforms us from the inside out. It isn't just how we are on the outside but how we reflect God from the inside. God's grace is freely given. All we have to do is accept it. God also forgives us through his grace. Like those ink spots on the bulletins we are sometimes covered in sin spots. But unlike the ink spots we can't just cover them up with whiteout or toss them away. Our sin spots can only be washed away by the blood of Christ and God's amazing grace. Can you imagine if we walked around with whiteout all over us so that no one would see our sins? Or if we would just be thrown out with the trash? Thankfully God doesn't work that way. When we ask to be forgiven, God washes our sins away and forgets. Wouldn't it be nice if we forgave others the way God forgives us?

"Now it's time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you, and send you the Messiah he prepared for you, namely Jesus." - Acts 3:19-20 (The Message)


Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Whole New Year!!

Happy New Year to all my friends and family. Last evening we said farewell to 2010 and hello to 2011.

And what a year 2010 was. Ashley started a new job, started taking college classes and started a new relationship with someone who truly makes her happy. Kayla graduated from college, started a new job as an assistant pre-school teacher and got married to Jerod, the love of her life. Andrew continued to be homeschooled, competed in his first mountain bike race in Rapid City SD and placed 2nd in his age category and faced some life lessons that will help him to be a stronger more responsible young man in the new year. Dave enjoyed the benefits of a great job and was able to relax a little more while not getting stressed out over the little things. I was able to fill in the pulpit at my childhood church a few times this summer and fall, started a new women's Bible study and continued to lead women's retreats at my church, realized that maybe being a Pastor in a church is not the path that God intends for me to be on, sad goodbye to my nephew as he left for Afghanistan and to my sister and her family as they moved a few hundred miles away and in November gave the eulogy at my grandmothers funeral.

2010 was faced with a lot of joy, a few tears and some personal challenges for Dave and I. But even through it all God was there; comforting, rejoicing, redeeming and sustaining each of us. Praise be to God.

And now as I look towards this new year, I am once again faced with a feeling of anticipation, excitement and hope. What will this new year bring? What does God have planned for me? For this year I pray that I will have the ears to hear, the eyes to see, the heart to feel and the mind to know what God is planning for me. I will continue to seek a more healthier lifestyle. I will continue to listen for God's direction in my ministry. I will continue to seek peace in my life at home and at work. I will continue to believe in the goodness of others. I will continue to be less judgmental and more accepting. And I will try and seek the quiet moments in  my everyday life so that I may feel the presence of God and to hear his voice.

My wish for all of you in 2011 is that God will give you the love, joy, peace, hope, strength and mercy that you will need. I pray that you will seek God first before anything else and that your heart be filled with love, your soul be filled with peace, your voice be filled with kindness and your mind be filled with hope.

Blessings for a very Happy New Year!!!!