Pastor's Corner - march 24th
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6). It's pretty easy to lose our way in life. Just one wrong turn and suddenly we have no idea how to get back to where we belong. Like prodigal children we are all looking for our way home. So where do you turn when you are lost? Some people flip through Ikea catalogs to find their best life. There’s a line in the movie, Fight Club that perfectly captures this charade: “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy [stuff] we don't need.” So where do we go next when materialism leads down a path of dissatisfaction and disappointment? Many pursue achievements in their search for meaning. Some turn to addiction in their pursuit of happiness. With all the wrong paths to choose from it is no wonder so many are lost.
But in Luke 15, Jesus provides a way back home in his parable about the lost sheep. He reminds us that we have a shepherd who actually drops everything to come find us. Others may leave us to our own device, but our shepherd goes over the mountains and down through the valleys to bring us home. Like a good shepherd, Jesus provides protection from the elements and sustenance on the journey. I love the way the prophet Isaiah describes our shepherd in Isaiah 40:10-11:
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
Maybe you feel a little lost this week. Perhaps you feel a longing in your heart for home. The human predicament is this: we are all lost until God finds us. Believe me when I say that it is no small wonder that we can call upon our shepherd by name. In the moments when we can’t tell which way to go, may we discover that Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Chris Allen
Christmas is just a few days away...
Christmas is just a few days away, and we are probably all very excited about the gifts we will be able to share with our friends and family. And for the record, I do still enjoy that practice myself. We often hear the admonishment (especially among Christians) that its “not about the gifts!”
And yet it is - at least at some level.
Gift-giving at Christmas is a great joy - especially when it is done in the right spirit. I love thinking about ways I can bless my friends and family with a thoughtful gift to express my love and appreciation for them. AND, yes, its also nice to be on the receiving end as well. I love everything about it. Life can get so busy at times. It’s nice to have the excuse of stopping long enough to think about the ways we can bless our loved ones with a thoughtful expression of our appreciation.
What I can also heartily affirm is that Christmas isn’t ONLY about the gifts. It is obviously and most importantly about the Christ child - the greatest gift ever given. And I do love that celebration the most. We are going to be able to celebrate that together as a church family on Christmas Eve.
And I am very excited about our Christmas Eve service this year. We have some special creative elements that I hope will make the time together especially meaningful.
With that in mind, I hope you will be mindful of an invitation that you might extend to a neighbor, colleague, or family member that might need a special reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. After welcoming a new slate of new members this past weekend, we have been reminded (all over again) of the power of a strategic invite. Please take a courageous step and ask a friend to join you.
Lord, do your prep work!
The service is scheduled for Monday, December 23, at 7:00pm. My family and I look forward to being with you.