Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bicycle Wheel


   The Christian Church is like a bicycle wheel where Jesus is the hub, the center.  Each denomination, each church, and each of us are like the spokes.  The closer we get to Jesus, the closer we get to one another.  The farther we get from Jesus, the farther we get from one another.

   Get close. 

   www.faithsd.net

Big Dreams, Big Consequences


   I know I had some weird dreams the other night, but I only remember one.

   I dreamed that, on my own initiative and without consulting anyone, I bought a huge cargo plane for the congregation.

   The cost of the plane didn’t bother me in my dream.  Instead, I was concerned about how we were going to pay for the fuel, where we were going fly and land it, and store it, and pay to insure it.

   Big dreams.  Big consequences.

   I thought of this when I read an article on a congregation’s purpose.   

   What are we passionate about? 

   What is the big dream God has given us to realize, whatever the cost?

   Our mission is “to introduce people to new life in Jesus Christ that grows into enthusiastic Christian living.”

   That’s a pretty big dream.  And the best thing is that Jesus has already paid for it!

    Come and worship the living God with us this Sunday at Faith Lutheran Church at 8:30 a.m. or at 10:00 a.m.  We’re located at 505 East Bonita Avenue (one-half block east of the Post office) in San Dimas. 

   Find more information at www.faithsd.net.  Contact me at flc@faithsd.net or at 909 599-3978 if you have any questions.

What's Your Calling?


   When I was a kid, there was a lot of talk about people being “called” to ordained ministry.  How had God called you to be a person set apart, a sort of professional Christian, a learned presence, a leader of Word and sacraments, a pastor?

   I struggled with this for a long time.  I knew I would be a Lutheran pastor from my earliest memory.  No one in my family had been a pastor.  No one pressured me or even suggested that I be a pastor.  I just knew that that’s what I would be.  How I came to an understanding of my calling is another story.

   For now, I’d just like to say that my story is not unique.  In fact it is just the opposite.

   Each of us has a calling.  It is the answer to the question, “What does God want me to do with my life?”

   The word vocation comes from a Latin word “vocare”, “to name or to call”.  “Vocal” comes from the same root word.

   God has called each of us to do certain things with our lives and given us the gifts we need to do them.  There are therefore no special callings.  Being a pastor is no more holier a calling than being a teacher or a business executive.  It’s just a different way of serving God.

   In fact, a sentence attributed to the 16th century Christian Church reformer Martin Luther,  advises, (in a time when only men could do such things.), “Send your good men to the ministry.  Send your best men into politics.”  Don’t we all wish that this was widely practiced today?

   What is your calling?  Come and worship with a bunch of people who are trying to understand and live their callings every day.

Come and worship with us this Sunday at Faith Lutheran Church at 8:30 a.m. or at 10:00 a.m.  We’re located at 505 East Bonita Avenue (one-half block east of the Post office) in San Dimas. 

   Find more information at www.faithsd.net.  Contact me at flc@faithsd.net or at 909 599-3978 if you have any questions.

Seek God's Face, Not God's Hand


   Through all of the darkness of the current presidential campaign a light emerged.

   One of the presidential candidates, asked about his/her (no gender clues here; it’s not /important) faith said she/he and their spouse had agreed to seek God’s face and not God’s hand.

   That struck me.

   How many of us throughout human history have used God to support our causes.

   How often do we still today treat God as our servant?

   Rick Warren once counseled Christians not to ask God to do bless what they are doing, but to do what God is blessing.

   The psalmist writes, ““Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”
    Your face, Lord, do I seek.”  Psalm 27:8

   God speaks with us to draw us to God’s self.

   It doesn’t mean that God’s does not want us to ask for what we need.

   The paradox is that, when we are drawn to know God’s will, and to do it, we receive everything we need.

   Jesus said, “But strive first for the kingdom of God[a] and his[b] righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Matthew 6:33

   Would you like to experience the support of a Christian community in living in the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness?  Come and worship with us this Sunday at Faith Lutheran Church at 8:30 a.m. or at 10:00 a.m.  We’re located at 505 East Bonita Avenue (one-half block east of the Post office) in San Dimas. 

   Find more information at www.faithsd.net.  Contact me at flc@faithsd.net or at 909 599-3978 if you have any questions.
 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Day For You


   God made a day of the week for you.

 

This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

 

 Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 10 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.  Exodus 20:8-11

 

   What, you don’t own any slaves?  How about employees?  Do you think that would fit the spirit of God’s command?

 

   Nobody owns our Sabbath, our Sunday, but God.  It is a holiday, a holy day.  And, he has given it to us to glorify God.

   How do we glorify God?  There are many ways, and God knows what our real intentions are when we do them.

   We respond to what God has done and is doing for us in worship with God’s people.

   The Holy Spirit draws us together for worship on this day.  Hearing and doing the work of the Spirit is what makes us Christians, rather than Christists (doers only), or Christophiles (hearers only).

   We are the community of God’s people, the corporate Body of Christ.  We are a new creation in Jesus Christ.  Sunday is our day for re-newal and re-creation in his Spirit.

 

17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

   Come and worship the living God with us this Sunday. Come and worship with us this Sunday at Faith Lutheran Church at 8:30 a.m. or at 10:00 a.m.  We’re located at 505 East Bonita Avenue (one-half block east of the Post office) in San Dimas. 

   Find more information at www.faithsd.net.  Contact me at flc@faithsd.net or at 909 599-3978 if you have any questions.

Breakfast On The Beach


   Have you ever gone fishing and caught nothing?  Have you ever invested in a relationship and received nothing?  Have you ever been disappointed with God?

   Jesus’ disciples had experienced all those things.  Jesus had died, appeared to them twice in his resurrected body, and that was it.  Their hope for a Messiah or a revolution, or something had disappeared.  Three years with Jesus shot. 

   Many of them went to their comfort zone, back home, to commercial fishing as they had done before Jesus had called them to come and follow him (John 21:1-19).

   They fished all night with no results. 

   Then, at dawn, Jesus appeared on the shore and told them to throw a net on the other side of the boat.  It sounds funny, but they did it and caught 153 fish! 

   Jesus was waiting for them with a fire and fish and bread for breakfast on the beach.

   Jesus had not abandoned them.  He had met them where they were.  He had provided nourishment for them so that they might live truly.

   This is the risen Christ. 

   He is alive among us, the tired, the failed and the discouraged Christian community.  He calls us to himself to be re-energized and sent again into the world in his presence and in his name.

   Peter, who denied Jesus three times is forgiven and sent to proclaim Jesus three times.

 All are called to follow Jesus again, nourished from within.  Jesus is alive and is present within and among us.  We are fed with the Spirit, we are nourished at His table.

   Jesus said, to the Devil, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)

   Jesus is alive and at work in our hearts.  Know Jesus, know life.

   Come and worship God for all that he has done for us this Sunday at Faith Lutheran Church at 8:30 a.m. or at 10:00 a.m.  We’re located at 505 East Bonita Avenue (one-half block east of the Post office) in San Dimas. 

   Find more information at www.faithsd.net.  Contact me at flc@faithsd.net or at 909 599-3978 if you have any questions.

What Would Jesus Eat?


   I was walking around the tables, talking with the families who were lingering after a recent epic and legendary potluck lunch at Faith Lutheran Church, when one of the dads called me over.

   “Did Jesus eat vegetables?”, he asked?

   “That’s an interesting question,” I said.  “I’ll have to do some research on that one.”

   “My son and I were at the food table and I told him he had to take some raw vegetables,” the dad replied.  “He said, ‘Jesus didn’t eat vegetables.’”

   Ah, the beginning of theology!

   I think carrots were in question, specifically.

   So, I did some research and found, as I expected, that there were some references to Jesus eating and drinking in the Bible but that, in addition to those, he probably ate the food that was common at the time.

   Pomegranates, fish, honey, olive oil, olives, grapes, figs, vinegar, lamb and bread were likely part of his diet, as well as possibly figs, lentils, whole grains, and nuts.  Some people ate grasshoppers and crickets for snacks or for survival.  John the Baptist did!  But, no carrots.

   That would not, in my opinion, give the boy an exemption.

   The most important thing about Jesus is not how Jesus lived, or what he taught, or even what he ate. 

   The most important thing about Jesus, fully God and fully human being, is that he died to restore the relationship between us and God for which we were created.  That relationship changes everything.

   Would you like to find out more about Jesus and the personal relationship he offers you?  Come and worship with us this Sunday at Faith Lutheran Church at 8:30 a.m. or at 10:00 a.m.  We’re located at 505 East Bonita Avenue (one-half block east of the Post office) in San Dimas. 

   Find more information at www.faithsd.net.  Contact Pastor Berkedal at flc@faithsd.net or at 909 599-3978 if you have any questions.