Pastor David Krueger
As we move through the Advent Season, let us prepare our hearts for the celebration and joy that the Christ Child brought into the world. May our thoughts turn from shopping and gift wrapping to God’s Word that reveals the true meaning of Christmas and discover God’s plan for our salvation. In his Word we discover the depth of His love and the gift that is offered to all people. This Advent Season pause and reflect on the Cross of Christ and discover the gift of eternal life that was given to the world through the babe in the manger. Yes, we will be singing “Joy to the World”, “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “Silent Night”, and a host of other favorite Christmas carols that stir the depths of our souls. Along with the singing, may this Advent and Christmas Season find your family enjoying time together while journeying through the scriptures discovering God’s gift to you and yours, His one and only Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
From Treila and myself, “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”
to our dear church family at Zion UCC
From the Pastor’s Desk:
This month we will be celebrating what has probably become our most forgotten
National Holiday. Squeezed between Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving Day,
often gets lost in the commercialism of Christmas and Halloween. Thanksgiving
the one day we set aside to say “Thank You – God” for the blessings we have
received and continue to receive here in America. “Thank You God” for the food
that fills our tables and the time we have to share with family and friends.
Thanksgiving Day has become a day for Football and Pre-Christmas Sales. What
have we done to this day of remembrance? What does that tell us about our
ungrateful nation and its people? I’m afraid that we as a nation, blessed above all
others, have come to take our blessings for granted. No longer do we celebrate
the food on our tables as gifts from God. No longer to we celebrate family, friends
and neighbors as your children. Too many times we fail to look at people of
different ethical backgrounds as equals that are entitled to the blessings that we
enjoy. Help us O Lord, to remember your call to love one another regardless of the
obvious social and ethical differences and to see the heart in which you dwell.
Galatians 3:28 tells us: “ There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free,
nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
May this Thanksgiving Day find you surrounded by family, friends, and neighbors giving
thanks to our Creator God for the gifts of individuality? May we never forget to
give God the thanks and praise due his Holy name.
Psalms 62:5 tell us: “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” When your days seem to be overwhelming, slow down and refocus. Rest in the presence of Christ your Lord and Savior. Give your mind a chance to refocus and stop trying to anticipate everything that will happen before it even occurs. Pray continually, asking for the Holy Spirit to take charge of the details of this day. Remember, that you are on a journey with Jesus. And when we try to look into the future and plan for things that may not even happen, we ignore our constant companion who sustains us moment by moment. As we gaze anxiously into the unknown future, we often forget who’s holding our hand and just who will get us on the other side of life’s difficult circumstances. How foolish we are to think that we are on our own when Jesus has promised never to leave nor forsake us. Remember it is our grip of the Savior’s hand that will sustain us during the challenges of life. Remember God’s promises to the Israelites recorded in Deuteronomy 12:10 – “But you will cross the Jordan and settle in the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and he will give you rest from all your enemies around you so that you will live in safety.” May we find our much needed rest in the arms of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Every journey has a starting point…and it has an end. God meant for Life to filled with joy and purpose. He invites us to…take the rest of our journey with Him.
Billy Graham of LIFE
Throughout the Gospel readings Jesus teaches us to love and care for one another. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan recorded in Luke 10:25-37 for instance, Jesus calls for us to get involved in helping those in need. Then in Luke 10:38-42 we have the story of Jesus visiting Martha and Mary’s home and how Martha complained to Jesus that Mary wasn’t helping prepare the meal and that all she was doing was sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to his teachings. Then Jesus informed Martha that Mary had chosen the right thing to do. Listening to Jesus you see is what we are all called to do and the gospels stress that point. So today let us all take time away from our busy schedules and set at Jesus’ feet and listen to what he has to say to us. You can hear him if you tune into the scriptures and tune out the distractions of the world around you. This after all is what Jesus said was the better thing for us to do in Luke 10:41-42.
I know that summer can be a very busy time with vacations, day trips, yard work gardening, and entertaining visitors but nothing is more important to any of us than sitting at the feet of Christ. Who knows you might just find a new favorite place to sit? I know that as I sit on the porch swing and watch the world go by, God speaks to me in ways that inspire sermons and relationships. Who knows maybe I need to just set in my porch swing a little longer and recoup and listen for what God has to say. So if you see me sitting in the swing don’t think I’m not doing anything. It might just be that like Mary, Jesus and I are having a conversation.
May God bless you all with a seat at the feet of Christ and heart and mind to hear him speak.
C.S. Lewis once wrote: “God gives His grace where He finds the vessel empty enough to receive them.” St. Augustine says: “God gives where He finds empty hands.” This Lenten Season may we break free from whatever has filled our hearts so full that there is little or no room for God? In light of the recent school shootings we as a nation are forced to look within ourselves and see where our priories lie. Have we as a nation drifted so far off course that God’s hopes and dreams for our nation have drifted beyond his reach. Have we pushed God so far out of our schools, our homes, and our government that we are drifting from one golden calf to another? Have we become so consumed with material possessions and hatred that our hearts have room for nothing else? Have we as a nation and as individuals become so consumed with material possessions and violence that there is no room in our hearts for Gods’ love and grace? A love and grace that is meant to be shared with those around us. The scriptures tells us in Romans 15:13 – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Today many are living in fear while the hope and joy offered by God is nowhere to be found. This Lenten Season may we be found on our knees seeking the face of God; admitting our shortcomings and seeking God’s forgiveness. May we as individuals and as a nation turn our hearts and minds back to God? May we get back to the point where we can proclaim as the psalmist did in Psalms 34:8 – “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is he who takes refuge in him.” May we come to know the God of grace, hope, love and acceptance shown to us through the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May we as individuals, as a nation and as a community of faithful followers of Christ, empty our hearts and minds enough to receive God’s gifts of grace and love so that we can be found, proclaiming – “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalms 118:24). May God bless and keep us all hungry for his Word. Amen.