We are exploring the letter the half brother of Jesus wrote to the Church when he was leading it. We move into chapter two where James writes about being consistent in our words and actions.
If you don’t live in Las Vegas, the big story this past week was the rain in the Las Vegas Valley. Rain in an amount we haven’t seen in quite a while. Incredibly, Lake Mead added three inches of depth because of the precipitation.
In other parts of the country, rain is a fact of life and it barely gets a mention when it starts or stops.
Here in the Mojave Desert, we stop when the rain starts and we watch … or at least I do.
Rain is a gift in the desert especially when we are experiencing severe drought. Of course, heavy rains bring mayhem too.
This past week, we lost a tree in our parking lot. The blessing in this loss was that the tree was already dead and needed to be removed. The tree company wanted $3000 to remove the tree. The rain and wind took care of that for us. It even fell perfectly (thank you God) between a break in our cinder block wall and palm trees (which are just fine).
Years ago, I parked under that tree for shade in the summer!
Sure, we need a lot more snow in the western Rocky Mountains to resolve our drought issues but the rains have been refreshing.
Rain in moderate amounts can be refreshing even cleansing. It can wash away the grime and grit that accumulates everywhere.
Listen to what God equates to rain in Deuteronomy…
Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. Deuteronomy 32:2
God’s word (scripture) and God’s Word (Jesus) nourishes us in the same way that plants need water to grow.
We feed ourselves with a lot “fertilizer” but God’s Word is helpful, comforting and always there for us.
I believe that with the core of my being. Whenever someone asks the hypothetical question, “What one book would you want if you were stranded on a desert island? My answer is always, “The Bible.” It has everything I need for spiritual nourishment.
Pair that book with Jesus and I have all I need, spiritually speaking.
Remember what God said to Isaiah so many years ago…
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11
God has a plan to direct his word at us like a refreshing rain. Be open to the “living water” that Jesus promised the woman at the well and us!
We begin a sermon series on the book of James. We begin with chapter one where we hear practical advice about how to navigate troubles in our lives and how listening helps us all.
KCLC is still on the air and we go back to 1978 to hear the first breakout hit of this band from the state of Illinois. This song is an invitation to higher living. The lyrics to this song points us to a new way of living.
There is a man named Kevin Ford who works at the airport here in town. Specifically, he works at a Burger King in terminal one.
Kevin has worked at that Burger King for 27 years with perfect attendance.
He originally began working at this job as a single father when he gained custody of his two daughters and he just kept working.
In recognition of his 27 years of outstanding service and attendance, some of his co-workers gave him: a reusable Starbucks cup, a bunch of candy, a pen, and a single movie ticket. But nothing from the franchise owner.
Ford’s daughter Seryna, set up a GoFundMe page after the lack of acknowledgment from the higher ups, writing that indeed, he had never missed a scheduled shift.
Seryna also wrote, “In no way are we asking for money or is he expecting any money but if anyone feels like blessing him, he would love to visit his grandchildren.”
And people responded.
As of this writing, generous people from all over have given $374,460.
Ford was interviewed on the Today show and he said, “For all those years, you feel unappreciated, but you get up just like everybody else. You do your job, and for somebody to show this appreciation is just overwhelming.”
Most of those gifts were from strangers whose hearts were moved by one man’s work and dedication.
I am reminded of two things when I read this story…
- A little kindness goes a long way in this world.
- A group of people who show kindness can accomplish a lot.
Kindness is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) That means any person of faith can know that God is working in them by the amount of kindness we show others. If kindness is lacking, drawing closer to God can remedy that deficiency.
God promises to give everyone who trusts in Jesus more of what we need. Specifically: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
The author of Colossians puts it this way…
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12
Kindness happens in the smallest of gifts. A donation to a GoFundMe page, a jar of peanut butter for Lutheran Social Services of Nevada or even your regular offering to church.
God bless you,
We hear another song from the radio this week. This time from Motown Records. Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On reminds to ask the question to those around us before we get too far down the road.
We continue in our KCLC Radio sermon series. Today the last song ever released by The Beatles. The song says a lot about the lives we all lead and the world we live in.
KCLC Radio is on the air! We take a look at popular music from the radio and explore the spiritual messages contained within. This week, the first single ever released by Elton John in the United States.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19
There are some things in my life I would love to forget. If there was a way to block certain and specific difficult memories in my life, I would be first in line.
I don’t know about you but I have had moments in my life that I do not wish to relive because they were either painful or embarrassing. Yet, every so often they pop into my head and I am recalling a portion of my life that plays like a movie trailer in my mind’s eye.
When those moments happen, I turn to Isaiah 43:18-19. God instructs us not to live in the past. As the old adage goes,“let by-gones be by-gones” because those days have gone by and they have gone bye-bye.
It is easy to live in the past and live a very nostalgic if not troubled life. God reminds us not to dwell there because we are called to live in the present moment. Not to dwell in the past or even the future.
I choose to do that both in my life and at church. God is doing a new thing and I am trying to keep up!!! It does me no good to live in the past because we have a God of the present moment. So much has changed in the past 10 years. Not only in our lives but in society too. Yet, God is always making a way. That is what He promised.
Even though I live in a desert (and I suspect most of the readers of this are too), our connection with God doesn’t need feel that way. Time and time again in scripture God promised never to leave us alone especially when we struggle.
Turn to God because promised to give us “streams in the wasteland” of our lives. Cool baptismal waters that remind us we are never alone.
Today we remember the story found in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit was given to the believers of Jesus. We explore what that means for every Christian today. And a beautiful song at the end.