Gentleness And Self-Control

Paul wrote the book of Galatians in a little bit of a panic.  He loved the people of Galatia, which would today be central Turkey.  He formed a church there and moved on, as he typically did in his ministry.  But then he heard that after teaching them about the all-inclusive love of God, the wideness of the Spirit, the life-saving promises of Jesus Christ, some other teachers came in.  Those teachers told the Galatians that Jesus wasn’t enough. You had to do something to get God to accept you. For those misleading the Galatians, that thing was circumcision.

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Conviction, Confession and Consolation

Conviction of sin is language that may be unfamiliar to many of you because it is language that we don’t use a lot anymore. Do you understand what it means to be convicted of your sin?

Think of it this way. When a prosecuting attorney gets a conviction in a criminal case, the truth about the criminal activity comes out and the guilty party is convicted and judgment is then pronounced.

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Nearly 20 years ago, Harvard political scientist Robert D. Putnam published the book “Bowling Alone”[1].  In it, he examines the steady decline in American social capital.  Social capital refers to the connections between people and the things they do for each other.

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The First Day of the Week

A number of years ago a friend of mine was on a sabbatical in England and together with his wife attended a worship service at one of the historic Anglican churches in England.

He shared with me that the setting, the music, the liturgy, every aspect of the service was profoundly beautiful and meaningful and he was surprised and a bit saddened that there was almost no one there beside himself and his wife.

After the service he sought out the Rector, the priest, thanked him for the meaningful worship experience and commented that it was too bad there were so few people in attendance.

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Meditate On It Day And Night

Sometimes when we read scripture in worship, we don’t always get the context and we feel a little left out. Let me try and help with that. 

Moses is the great leader of God’s people.  He is the one God called to lead the Hebrew slaves out of bondage in Egypt.  Moses guided the people through the Red Sea into the wilderness.  Moses brought the law from God to the people to show them a new way of free living.

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A Deserted Place

Last week Pastor Torgerson introduced our 10 week preaching series on Spiritual Practices and she both challenged us and encouraged us to keep on training in Godliness and to practice our faith.

This is what she said about spiritual practices; “there are things that faithful Christians do to continue practicing their faith, to grow, to be challenged, to voice their doubts and fears, to be held accountable – this is what it means to be Christian.  If you’re not doing it, it’s not part of who you are. If you are not training in godliness, it’s not you.”[1]

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Training in Godliness

In high school, I was a runner.  I ran on the cross-country team and did some middle-distance running in track.  I ran in true team and at sections.  I trained regularly.  I knew all the drills and work-outs.  I had a favorite pair of spikes and rotated my training shoes.  I ran a lot, but more than that, I thought of myself as a runner.

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Full Access

Dear friends in Christ, grace and peace. Amen

Perhaps you have had a similar experience. You are the recipient of a gift card on the occasion of your birthday or Christmas or someone is just saying thanks for a kind deed or a job well done. It could be anything right.

It might be a card to your favorite restaurant, a good book store, a free session of yoga, a ball game at Target Field, a Target gift card.

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The Native Language of the Gospel

God of Spirit,

We give thanks that when you sent your Advocate, the apostles were empowered to speak about your deeds of power in all languages, for every people. Give us boldness to share the Spirit’s power with our neighbors. Amen.

As of late I have begun to consider myself a master linguist; a translator par excellence. You see, I have a barely-two-year-old in my home, Ingrid. And like most toddlers, she’s learning language by listening, observing, exploring and copying.

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Inverted Power

Dear friends in Christ, grace and peace. Amen

If you are someone who thinks being a follower of Jesus is difficult then you would be right. It is difficult. I know firsthand it is difficult because I see how often I fail at it. Perhaps you feel the same way.

But I keep at it because I know I am not alone.

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