Yesterday morning, I drove 180 miles up Interstate 94 to spend some time with Barb’s parents. It had been a little while since I had been able to visit. As many of you know Barb’s father has been dealing with cancer for quite some time now. Recently the effects of the cancer have been intense. I wanted to visit and pray with this man who has blessed me in so many ways.
Ray and Ardy welcomed me into their family 23 ½ years ago. It has been one blessing after another. I won’t try to create a big list for you but I will mention two. First, they raised and supported my wife to be the incredible woman that I have enjoyed all these years. One of Barb’s strongest attributes is that she is exceptionally solid in her faith and as a person. As I got to know her parents it became obvious that it was in her genes and in the modeling in which she grew up.
The second blessing I want to mention today is that in Ray and Ardy’s world you can’t help but bump into an honest and living faith. They have never pretended to have all their ducks in a row and they naturally proclaimed the centrality of grace. Ray lives all out – always! Ardy tenderly and patiently loves Ray – always! What a team they make. My father-in-law has lived all his days in a way that I have been able to see a man with great strength, passion and honestly that didn’t try to appear better than he was. He has always been very well aware of his need for a Savior and he has used his gifts to present his Savior in as many ways as that creative mind of his could drum up.
I mention Ray and Ardy not to glorify them but to point you to the center of their world. They have a deep, living and eternal relationship with Jesus.
This summer I am inviting you to interact with that same Jesus as we begin our summer series this Sunday. The series is simply titled “Jesus Has Some Questions…” Over the next few months we will be looking at some of these important inquiries of our Lord.
When Jesus asks a question it is for a reason. He wants us to know something, to be His and live in freedom. This series will include four sections.
Jesus Has Some Questions…
This Sunday will be an introductory message to the series entitled “Jesus Has Some Questions…For us Today.” A primary question for Sunday that Jesus asks will be from Luke 6, “Can the blind lead the blind?” Looking forward to journeying with you this summer.
Seeking Jesus’ Answers with you,
This Sunday is Confirmation Sunday and it also is the final message in the WayPoints Series until we return to the New Testament portion in the fall. We have spent the past eight months in the Old Testament encountering God and His people. It has been quite a journey with all kinds of ups and downs along the way. Some things never change.
Another thing that never changes is that we find God in it all. He is there when we are at our best and He is there when we are in a pit. He confronted Adam and Eve with their sinfulness and today He will not let us be comfortable with our sin either. He called Abraham, Moses and Jeremiah to serve in His kingdom and He is calling us to serve in that same kingdom-building project today. God Almighty patiently persevered and continued to love Israel through it all; He does the same for the Church of Jesus Christ today.
God has given us these ancient and relevant WayPoints in His Word to be eternally present. Our lives reach back to the same truths for us today and the stories of Scripture travel across the years to the moments that make up our lives in 2016. This Sunday Cole, Rachel, Sophia and Karin will declare that they are connected to the WayPoints of Scripture in general and all that is ours through Jesus in particular.
The WayPoint on Sunday at Oak Hill will be a spot where God’s people gather together and celebrate our faith that has been passed down from generation to generation. It truly is a moment to rejoice when the young generation declares to the old that “your God is my God and your hope is my hope”. What could be better than that? Please remember to pray for our four confirmands this Sunday and expect to be blessed as they confess their faith to you this Sunday.
Also, May 1st we will begin a new series that I am excited about. It is “Jesus Has Some Questions…” and it is literally looking at a number of the questions Jesus asks us in Scripture. Why is He asking these particular questions and what does He hope is delivered to us as we answer them? It should be a great summer hanging with Jesus!
Grace and Peace,
I am writing this blog/View article with a couple of funerals as bookends. Funerals serve as a reminder like nothing else I can think of that we are incapable of solving a great deal that life throws at us. It is also at funerals we most naturally ask the big questions of life. What is the point of it all? What is the point of me? With the backdrop of death – we come to grips with the fact that if there is a God we should want to know what He thinks of me.
Along with this truth regarding death, my mind is contemplating the prophet Habakkuk’s questions about justice, sovereignty, submission and faith. He asks, “God, why?”
I have bumped up against that question a few times in my life. Maybe more than a few times actually. Most of the time I have asked it with a combination of bewilderment and humility, but there have been times when I crossed over into arrogance and anger. Can you relate?
Habakkuk helps me to remember how to process the conundrums of faith. This Sunday’s message will look at the way God met his prophet’s questions and we will find that it is still the same way He addresses our “WHY’S?” today.
I also want to take a moment right now to give you a personal invitation to be a part of a small group workshop this summer that I will be leading on Transformational Servant Leadership. We will meet a total of six times over the course of the summer processing the way that God made you uniquely to lead in your particular context today. Although this class will include a bit of leadership theory that would be taught in any university setting, we will primarily learn to lead in the way that Jesus set forth in the Gospels. This will be a casual interactive time but I will expect you to do your homework – you will learn some important things and it will be fun!
Please let me know if you are interested since there will be limited space. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have. You can contact me at 952-881-9486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grace and Peace,
This Sunday we will be looking at the prophet Amos. For many of us, Amos is largely an unknown. The book is toward the back of the Old Testament where all the books can seem to run together and it is hard to remember the exact order. Amos was a prophet primarily to the northern kingdom of Israel but his message went to the surrounding countries as well. As is the case with all of Scripture Amos transcends time and speaks into our lives today.
Do you ever want to be something you are not? I am guessing we can all relate to this on one level or another. Personally, I would love to be a great runner that leaves my front door and returns home after a 5 mile run in just under a half hour – Nope, not happening! I would also like to tell you how easy it is for me to eat healthy instead of telling you about my pizza and pretzel intake.
Or how about we think of it this way? I want people to be impressed by my…
How would you complete that?
We all like to be thought of highly and that isn’t all bad. But pretending or pretense can be a terrible prison to live in. It creates all kinds of lies and stresses to mask the thing that isn’t true. This is a problem for all of humanity no matter our age, gender, financial position or status in society. God created us to not be caught up in this trap. He made us to find our place and meaning as we live out our days responding to His call and reign on our lives.
Amos was dealing with the most dangerous pretending of all – pretending to be right with God. Israel was going through the motions; well some of the motions. Israel did the "worship stuff" such as sacrifices, festivals and music but it didn't take root so that it was bearing fruit in their day to day living. We see this for instance in Amos’ words from chapter five.
God always intends for His people to live out his heart. The heart of God stands up against injustice and oppression. Do we?
The heart of God is holy and sinless. Do we stand up for what God declares as good and oppose what God declares as sin?
Do we rest in God’s love and find our hope there?
God invites us to see things this way and be a part of the “Remnant” described in Amos 5:15. The Remnant remain God’s even in the midst of vast opposition and false gods. They find God to be good and enough always!
Grace and Peace,
This week we consider the calling of the prophet Jeremiah. Each and every one of us is called in a way that is universal in God’s Kingdom and we are also met individually or uniquely by God. The words that follow come from Jeremiah 1.4-5
In this brief passage we see a few key components of God’s calling on our lives.
Jeremiah is just like the rest of us in that He was called into a particular context at a particular time. Jeremiah’s calling was different than ours in that He was a “Prophet” that was given the original Words of God. This means that he wrote the pages of Scripture through the Spirit’s inspiration. We do not write Scripture like that but we proclaim those original Words of God in our time and in our lives.
From the beginning to the end of our days God is calling us. First off, He is doing this so that we know Him and then He continues to call us so that we know the life that He wants us to live. Jeremiah had a glorious calling but he also had a very difficult calling. If you know Jeremiah’s story you know that God needed to meet Him in a uniquely special way for a uniquely difficult calling. But be prepared because difficulties will come to most of us in God’s call on our lives.
In the past hour I was blessed to gather with the McQuoid family as Shirley approaches her eternal home. It is hard to see her like this but it is also a time of rejoicing in God’s promises. As we spent time together we read Scripture, prayed and celebrated God’s call on Shirley’s life. We were able to celebrate a life that was lived well by God’s grace and power.*
What a blessing for Shirley’s family to remember all the ways that God’s call on her life was played out. She was called like the rest of us to live in God’s big Kingdom but she was also called to specifically commit herself to Bill and the kids that made up the McQuoid family. They have great stories! Then she has the kids that came through her kids – she blessed them. Then there was the way she touched Oak Hill with Bill – we were blessed.
This is the way God’s calling most often works itself out today. It is in the ordinary life moments that we come to realize life itself in God’s Kingdom is extraordinary.
You have been called. Enjoy it and live!
*this was written on Wednesday (3/30/16) and since that time Shirley has gone home to be with the Lord
Pastor Nick Mundis