“Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so!” I was young, in elementary school, and a brown paper sack sat on the corner of my worn wooden desk, just like the corners of all the other worn wooden desks in our classroom. Some had pink or red hearts pasted on them, while others had hearts drawn in crayon. Our names were boldly emblazoned at the top, unmistakable. At the appropriate time toward the end of the day, our teacher invited us to go around the room and drop our Valentine’s Day cards into each of the bags on each of the desks. Single file, in a long parade of students, we went desk by desk to deposit our cards. Little white envelops slid quietly, offering words of affection. At home, with eager anticipation, each envelop was ripped open to see who had sent a “Be Mine” kind of Valentine. At the end of the deep stack, I realized that I didn’t have one from every student in my class. I was crushed. Who didn’t send me a Valentine? Why? Had I done something? Said something? I second guessed myself. Even at such a young age, the pain was real. Those emotions run deep. We all want to be loved, to know down deep that someone cares about us, that we belong. No matter how old we get, our deepest longing is love. Yet, we live in a hostile world, where divisiveness, anger, hatred, and violence, both physical and emotional leave deep scars. Headlines remind us that we are not worthy; advertisements tell us that we’re not who we could be. We could be so much better if we would use this product or that. So, from where does our deepest affirmation come? In the waters of baptism, God claims us, names us, and calls us his own. We are reminded of God’s love and that nothing in all creation can separate us from it. We belong to God, and are loved by God. This word is the hope that propels us in our daily lives to risk, to make ourselves vulnerable, and to offer God’s love to others. Rooted in God’s amazing grace we are free to grow to a bountiful harvest of abundant life for the sake of the world. We don’t have to hope for our sacks to be filled by those around us, because the one who gave us life, has filled them to overflowing. Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so. And Jesus loves you! May your life be so filled by the love of God that it spills over into all that you say and do!
God Loves YOU! Amen Pastor Mike
From The Pastor - January 2019 Newsletter
“O Come, Let Us Adore Him!” When Jesus was born, those who made the journey came to worship him, to adore him, to show him honor. They came bearing gifts, not that Jesus needed gold, frankincense, or myrrh, but rather as a sign of reverence to the child king. They had followed a star, not knowing where it would lead them, yet knowing that their hearts compelled them to worship wherever it took them. I would like to think that if I knew Jesus, the Savior of the world, was being born, I would rush to the manger, bow down, and worship him. Perhaps you feel the same way. I think of all the children I’ve held over the years and said, “You’re adorable! How precious!” As I do that for those beautiful children, I can’t imagine not wanting to rush to wherever Mary was cradling her son, God’s son. I mean, when there is something that we really want to do, there is little that can stop us. We will find a way. We will carve time out of our busy schedules; we will re-prioritize. We will do whatever it takes. When Beth went into labor with our daughter Katie, my parents dropped everything, left work, and drove four hours just to be there when she was born. Nothing was going to keep them away. The mood was one of excitement and joy. At Epiphany, January 6, we begin the season that reflects the revelation that Jesus came for the whole world. The wise men from the East remind us that the Christ was not for Israel alone, but everyone. The wise men came to worship the baby Jesus, the Messiah. On Christmas Eve, we too come to worship the Christ child. Yet, sometimes I think we forget that Jesus grew up, lived, died, and rose again so that we would have eternal life. We worship on Christmas because of Easter. Easter informs all of our worship. Without the resurrection, there would be no celebration of Christmas. And so it is the same Jesus that we worship each and every Sunday morning, the God of the manger, the God of the cross, and the God of the empty tomb. Every Sunday is a time of reverence, a time of adoration, a time of worship, a time of singing and praise, and a time to invest in the presence of God.
O Come, Let Us Adore Him, Christ the Lord! Pastor Mike