Spring Cleaning Outside

Spring cleaning outside was how I spent this past gorgeous Sunday afternoon! I hope you and yours were able to get out and enjoy the weekend. I love this time of year as the weather turns, the trees and flowers are getting in bloom, the birds sing and all seems right with the world. It was time to fire up the lawn mower, get out the garden hose, reset up the bird feeders and bird bath, and fly my colorful “Welcome” flag out front. In addition, I got one of those hanging flower baskets for the porch and enjoyed an afternoon of outdoor work.

I am not really a fan of mowing the yard. My house is near a big intersection in town and the traffic seems to never stop. I picture people at the stop sign with nothing better to do than watch me haul that mower around the yard! I’m sure the neighbors do as well. In my weird mind I sense a couple at the picture window having pulled up chairs to watch their neighbor struggle to get his yard mowed!

I fill the lawn mower with gas, check the oil and proceed to get it started. It did not want to start. So there’s that lovely scene, me tugging, pulling, the starter and nothing happening. I guess no neighbor or anyone else was watching as the blue smoke began to pour out of the mower! No one came to my rescue, one neighbor I have said it was burning up unused oil! (This has happened before…)

Spring clean your faith this day, this week! Throw out the problems and mistakes of the past and embrace the new. God is our God of active, life giving love and grace. As the old saying goes “there is nothing you or I can do to cause God to love us any more or any less!” This morning I heard a worship song entitled “We belong to God”. I thought of the verse in Revelation about Jesus “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end..” (21:6). The Alpha is the first word of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last. God is the beginning of our lives, the end of our lives and everything in between! We belong to God and that’s a reason to know that any problems or difficulties we have God is with us. Every time we suffer, every time there are issues in the family, or the finances, or at work we have a God who is with us, and we belong to God!

Think of that spiritual good news as a sunny, spring day with the sun shining, the breeze blowing, the birds singing in the trees. They all belong to God as well,

Peace,

Pr. Doug

NLS Spiritual Director

 

Good News

Stephen Ministry has been around in congregations, hospitals and other places for over 40 years. The message is simply about equipping God’s people to care for another person. The leadership training I attended last week promoted the idea that people will always need someone to care for them whether they realize it or not. Visit www.stephensministry.org to learn more. I will be having a class in Stephen Ministry at the hospital coming up in May and if you are interested please let me know. No qualifications another than a desire to care for others and willingness to invest some time to learn and grow in that ability.

While I deeply respect the program and all it means, couldn’t we say we are all called to care for one another? Today on the news it was horrible: the tragic earthquake in Ecuador, murders in Indianapolis including a body found in the White River. There is news like this available every day, just turn on your TV! But what about “good news?” Where is the Good News of life?

Good News is what the word “Gospel” means and is the story of Jesus Christ and the lifesaving ministry of our Lord. The four Gospel writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all give us their versions of the stories of Jesus in Scripture. Good news is not found anywhere but the Bible. Jesus lived. Jesus died. Jesus rose. He defeated death and now lives in us to encourage us to love and serve one another! Couldn’t we all be like a Stephen Minister and whether or now we take the training, couldn’t we all care for each other? Isn’t there someone in your life who needs you? Now, today, right now…make a call, send an email, or write someone you know needs some love and reach out and care! You will make a difference,

Peace,

Pr. Doug

NLS Spiritual Director

 

Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C

This year, the 4th Sunday of Easter is April 17th.  But “Year C”, what’s that all about?  Have you ever talked about Sunday’s sermon with a friend from another denomination, or even Catholic, and he or she heard the same Scripture and a similar sermon?  Here’s why.

The church year is broken up into Seasons: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and the Season after Pentecost.  The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) is a three-year cycle of weekly lections used to varying degrees by the vast majority of mainline Protestant churches in Canada and the United States.  The RCL is built around the seasons of the Church Year, and includes four lections for each Sunday, as well as additional readings for major feast days.  During most of the year, the lections are a reading from the Hebrew Bible, a Psalm, a reading from the Epistles, and a Gospel reading.  During the season of Easter, the Hebrew Bible lection is usually replaced with one from the Acts of the Apostles.  The lections from the Hebrew Bible are sometimes chosen from the Apocrypha.

For example, this coming Sunday’s readings will be Acts 9:36-43Psalm 23Revelation 7:9-17 and John 10:22-30.  Look for some or all of these scripture readings on Sunday.  Some congregations make “Christ in Our Home” (Augsburg Fortress ISSN 0412-2968) available to members; individual subscriptions are also available.  This devotional booklet follows the Lectionary.

The gospel readings for each year come from one of the synoptic gospels according to the following pattern:

  • Year A – Matthew
  • Year B – Mark
  • Year C – Luke

Readings from the Gospel of John can be found throughout the RCL.

Jesus prays for all believers in John 17:20-21 (NIV): “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, [emphasis added] Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

The things that divide us into denominations are of man and not of God.  There is so much more that we have in common than things that divide us.  The RCL was produced by The Consultation on Common Texts (CCT).  Current members if the CCT are American Baptist Churches/USA, The Anglican Church of Canada, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Reformed Church in North America, Church of the Brethren, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Free Methodist Church in Canada, Liturgy and Life: American Baptist Fellowship of Liturgical Renewal, Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, Mennonite Church, National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States, North American Lutheran Church, Polish National Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Presbyterian Church in Canada, Reformed Church in America, Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship, United Church of Canada, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, and Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

 

For more information about the Lectionary, see the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.

 

In His service together with you,
Dave Lambert

NLS Database Coordinator

 

p.s. Chaplain Doug Givan is still away at a training conference so I have again brought you today’s message in his stead.

Courtroom Scene

Chaplain Doug Givan has been away at a training conference for two weeks so I will will bring you today’s message in his stead.

It’s been over 2 weeks since the time change to Daylight Saving Time and I just got around to changing the old analog clock on my fireplace mantle. Everything is so easy these days, even your cell phone knows how to adjust for Daylight Saving Time! But did you “spring forward” in your walk with God or are you still in “fall back” mode?

In March, I attended the Rainbow VdC Ultreya where the guest speaker talked about their walk with God. She said she was energized by the 3-day retreat weekend she attended and has been more in tune with God ever since. She felt compelled to volunteer to give a talk about that at the gathering. She said to picture a courtroom scene where you are on trial for being a Christian and you are not allowed to testify on your own behalf.

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. (Matt 28:16-17 NIV) Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24-25 NIV)

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17 NKJV)
Therefore you must first believe and your good works to glorify God will follow.

Are there enough witnesses that can be called to the courtroom to testify on your behalf to convict you of being a follower of Jesus?

In His service together with you,
Dave Lambert
NLS Database Coordinator

David Robert (Dave) Lambert
Wesley Theological Seminary
Equipping Lay Ministry Certificate, Class of 2006
https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrobertlambert