Dear Friedens Folks,
I’m happy to be writing to you at the start of the New Year. While the pandemic,
political, and racial concerns still dot our horizon, what are you looking to
accomplish in this New Year? One of the items on my to-do list is I want to invest
significant time in spiritual growth. I believe the best way we fight the forces that
would drag us down is to develop an indomitable spirit. Spirit makes it so when
we get knocked down, we get back up again. When our spirit is intentionally linked with God’s Spirit, we
keep getting back up. But that kind of spiritual strength does not come through wishing it. Strength like this
develops as we exercise our faith in new ways. If you would like to be part of a spiritual fitness program, stop
what you are doing—text, email, call, or otherwise message me. Let me add you to my list.
If Jesus at times seems far away, please consider this: Sometimes we can be so preoccupied in our thoughts
we see people, but we don’t see people. I was in the grocery store and saw a friend. I could tell he was deep
in thought. He looked right at me but did not say hi. It wasn’t until I interrupted his train of thought with a
cheerful, “Hi, Tom,” that he finally shook himself awake to my (literally) standing right in front of him.
“Bill,” he said, “I never saw you.”
Folks, Jesus is always standing right in front of us. We can be so preoccupied with our concerns we don’t see
him. Let’s learn, together, how to interrupt our train of thought so we can not only see him, but celebrate his
presence with us.
Happy New Year!
I’m turning on my inner nerd for a minute. I like the Marvel Comics Universe (MCU)
and all the movies they have produced. Perhaps my favorite is Thor: Ragnarok. As I was
thinking about what’s on my heart, and considering what might be on your heart, I
remember a scene from the movie. Thor, the hero, has just been imprisoned when he says
to Korg, a fellow prisoner, “This doesn’t make sense.” Korg says, “The only thing that
makes sense is that nothing makes sense!”
Perhaps you find yourself with Thor’s sense of disequilibrium about living life right now.
Perhaps you also really relate to Korg’s observation that “nothing makes sense!” Maybe life feels like you are on a
treadmill, but all the controls are broken. Abrupt starts, quick stops, too fast, too slow—nothing is predictable. Life
doesn’t make sense. Then a Korg-like person in your life says, “The only thing that makes sense is that nothing makes
sense!” Is that really what you want to hear?!?
Friends, there is a lot about living life that doesn’t make sense. So how about we ease upon ourselves. Instead of trying
to make sense of what’s going on, let’s lean into our Lord so that he might show us how to help. Rather than be
overwhelmed by the magnitude of our problems, we look for opportunities to make a difference, even if it’s just a small
difference. That small difference you just made might be the cup of cold water that truly refreshes another person’s soul.
And, truth be told, going and doing something to help another person in the name and Spirit of Jesus is the best way to
spend our time waiting for life to get back to some sense of normal.
Friends, thank you for being there for me. Know I am here for you. If it’s been too long since we talked, call me, or
email me, or text me. I’d love to spend a moment with you so that we might encourage each other. If life is not making
sense, let’s help each other, or let’s help someone in the name of our Lord. It’s surprising how much better-focused life
feels after being with him.
Are you a Reformer at heart? A Reformer has love and passion for the traditions
of the past that honor God and gives life to the masses. A Reformer has deep
values grounded in God’s Word. These values serve as the motivation for what
they say, how they act, and who they are. A Reformer recognizes hypocrisy and
fights with undaunted determination to make corrections that steer toward the
mission of helping neighbors encounter the living Lord. A Reformer recognizes
the times and boldly uses whatever means are necessary to offer the Good News in
a language and media that most will understand. A Reformer looks to be transformed as they work toward the
transformation of the prevailing culture. A Reformer will do whatever it takes to connect God’s love to a real
Jesus Christ was a Reformer. The Apostle Paul was a Reformer. Martin Luther was a Reformer. How about
This month we will be celebrating the transformations God causes in our lives as we move from religion to
relationship, practice getting over worry, learn to choose God first and celebrate the best of our Reformation
Are you a Reformer at heart? Whether you are watching online or here in person, come find out as we journey
together through God’s Word each Sunday.
Friends, thank you for taking a moment to stop and read and grow. I, like many of you, am doing my best with all of the adjustments we’ve had to make because of
all of the unrest. If I let myself drift apart from the Lord, I am grumpy, impatient, and frustrated. Work becomes drudgery. Play becomes repetitious. And rest
becomes fitful. If I let myself drift apart from the Lord…
That’s the key to it all. When I am drifting more deeply into the Lord, I am happier, patient, and peaceful. Work becomes creative. Play becomes inspirational. And rest is peaceful.
Friends, when I am intentional about fostering my relationship with Jesus, he shares his spirit with me. As his spirit lives inside of me, my perspective changes causing a deeper, mature approach to the unrest around me. I find I am more confident in myself because I have been in conversation with Jesus who assures me and provides for me and shows me how much he cares. The same can be true for you. Do not let yourself drift from the Lord. Drift into the Lord and see what his spirit awakens in you.