We enter into another busy season! Instead of trying to do it all, let us slow down a bit. Maybe instead of buying presents for everyone, we could give a better gift of being fully present in people’s lives this season.
We finish up our sermon series on our core Values at CLC. There are blessings to receive when we are generous. It may sound too good to be true but it is not.
By the time I write my next article, it will be the season of Advent. We will be getting ready for the advent of our King.
Before we get to that next season of the church, I want to take a moment to wish you, your family and your friends a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving.
Whether you will be alone or in a crowded house next Thursday, it is always a good time to thank God.
Since our children grew up, we have had many Thanksgivings where it was Rachel and me. We didn’t dwell on who wasn’t at our table, we gave thanks to God for each other.
This year our house will be full, and it will be the first time since 2015 that we will have the entire family around the Thanksgiving table. We will take time to give thanks in between the lively conversations.
Whatever season or situation I find myself in, I know that that there is always a reason to give thanks to God for the blessings in my life.
No, my life isn’t perfect and I could tick off a list of things that I wish I were different or better in my life, but I choose to be thankful.
I know that Jesus loves me and I know that he loves you. That is more than enough for me.
If you are unsure of your blessings, join us at Community Lutheran Church at 6pm pst this coming Wednesday as we worship the God who gives and gives and gives. If you live in the Las Vegas Valley, join us in person! If you live out of state, join us online. We will be waiting.
I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30
God bless you,
We continue our exploration of our core values at CLC. In this message, I talk about the importance of learning and to understand what underpins our faith and what does not!
If you worshipped with us over the past two weeks, we’ve been spending time talking about core values.
These values aren’t things we aspire to be, they are things we do right now and our goal is to do them well.
Our mission statement and our core values are clearly described on our website: https://communitylv.org/what-we-believe.
You will even see them as you come up the stairs to church!
In past week we have shown clearly how we embrace and live into every core value we named as a congregation.
Welcome: A week ago Thursday we welcomed over 200 people to our church parking lot for our 23rd annual Trunk or Treat Halloween Party. Many families from the neighborhood came and enjoyed a fun evening where they were welcomed and made to feel “at home.”
We couldn’t do this year after year without the tremendous support of our church family who came out to serve our community with warm smiles and piles of candy.
Worship: As a church this is the primary activity of Community Lutheran Church! We worship Jesus who died and rose again from the dead. In doing so, we know that nothing can separate us from God’s love, not even death itself! We gather as a church family to praise Jesus and give thanks for all God has done in our lives.
Learning: We recognize the importance and commitment to be “lifelong learners.” There is always an opportunity to learn at CLC. Just this week 70 people gathered on Wednesday to share dinner and then engage in learning about the life of King David. This coming Sunday, I will be teaching a class on what it means to be a Lutheran Christian. There are other opportunities to learn as well, including Sunday School and Youth Group!
Service: We are a church that serves all the time! Not ourselves, but each other and the community. Why? There is an inescapable conclusion found in the teachings of Jesus that we show our love for one another by how we serve. We learn from the Bible that points us towards serving the way Jesus served us by dying for our sins.
You can see the signs of service everywhere at CLC! From our kitchen to our welcome desk, to ushers, greeters and Communion assistants, the Glitter Team, landscaping, the gift store. When the larger community needs our help we are ready to jump in with our senior feeding program, peanut butter, Operation Christmas Child, quilters, knitters, Carolyn’s Closet, Angel Tree and even Halloween candy. And we do even more than these things listed here!
Generosity: If we live into the first four core values of: Welcome, Worship, Learning and Service the inevitable result is a “lifestyle of generosity.” Simply put we give because God gave. We give of our time, our money and even our expertise/passion. We most look like Jesus when we give to others or to the church.
Living into our core values as individuals will lead us on a path of Inspired Growth… closer to God and closer to each other.
God bless you,
We are spending some time looking at our core values at CLC. Today, we explore the importance of worship and why we gather to worship. More than that, we are reminded why we worship because of what Martin Luther discovered and shared with the world.
Dr. Travis Bradberry is the foremost expert on “Emotional Intelligence.” Most of us know about IQ (intelligence quotient) but everyone also possesses some level of EQ (emotional quotient).
It is quite possible that being emotionally healthy is more important than “how smart you are.” Emotionally healthy people are happier people.
In Dr. Bradberry’s latest article (shared below), he lays out a few things that emotionally healthy do not do. I have added the Bible verses but everything else is from Dr. Bradberry.
They don’t beg for attention. People who are always begging for attention are needy. They rely on that attention from other people to form their self-identity. Emotionally intelligent people couldn’t care less about attention. They do what they want to do and what needs to be done, regardless of whether anyone is stroking their ego.
Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1Corinthians 13:5
They don’t act like jerks. People who act like jerks are unhappy and insecure. They act like jerks because they don’t have the emotional strength to be nice when they don’t feel like it. Emotionally intelligent people place high value on their relationships, which means they treat everyone with respect, regardless of the kind of mood they’re in.
A kind person benefits themself, but a cruel person brings trouble on themself. Proverbs 11:17
They don’t hold grudges. The negative emotions that come with holding onto a grudge are actually a stress response. Holding onto that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating health consequences over time. Researchers at Emory University have shown that holding onto stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Holding onto a grudge means you’re holding onto stress, and emotionally intelligent people know to avoid this at all costs.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
They don’t hang around negative people. Negative people are bad news because they wallow in their problems and fail to focus on solutions. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. People often feel pressure to listen to negative people because they don’t want to be seen as callous or rude, but there’s a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear to someone and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral. Emotionally intelligent people avoid getting drawn in by setting limits and distancing themselves from negative people when necessary. Think of it this way: If a person were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with negative people.
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.
They don’t feel entitled. Emotionally intelligent people believe that the world is a meritocracy and that the only things that they deserve are those that they earn. People who lack EQ often feel entitled. They think that the world owes them something. Again, it’s about locus of control. Emotionally intelligent people know that they alone are responsible for their successes or failures.
The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:11-12
They don’t let anyone limit their joy. When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself with others, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something they’ve done, they don’t let anyone’s opinions or accomplishments take that away from them. While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself with others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within. Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain—you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1Corinthians 15:33
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10b
They don’t get eaten up by jealousy and envy. Emotionally intelligent people understand that the happiness and success of others doesn’t take away from their own, so jealousy and envy aren’t an issue for them. They see success as being in unlimited supply, so they can celebrate others’ successes.
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30
Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15
They don’t live in the past. Failure can erode your self-confidence and make it hard to believe you’ll achieve a better outcome in the future. Most of the time, failure results from taking risks and trying to achieve things that aren’t easy. Emotionally intelligent people know that success lies in their ability to rise in the face of failure, and they can’t do this if they’re living in the past. Anything worth achieving is going to require your taking some risks, and you can’t allow failure to stop you from believing in your ability to succeed. When you live in the past, that is exactly what happens—your past becomes your present and prevents you from moving forward.
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13b-14
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Isaiah 43:18-19a
God bless you,
We conclude the sermon series on the Old Testament prophet Daniel. We begin with what we have learned so far and conclude with Daniel’s time in the Lion’s Den.
We continue in our journey with the Old Testament prophet Daniel. In chapter 5, we learn a valuable lesson about leaving our past behind and tapping into the power of Christ to change our lives.
I enjoyed reading the Harry Potter saga of books many years ago. They are not evil, nor are about how to perform witchcraft. This story is primarily about the struggle of good versus evil.
Weaved within this story is the primary importance of the power of love.
At one point, the wise old professor Dumbledore is speaking with an evil wizard by the name of Voldemort who wants to rule the world with an “iron fist.”
This is a part of that conversation:
Voldemort: “But nothing I have seen in the world has supported your pronouncements that love is more powerful than my kind of magic, Dumbledore.”
Dumbledore: “Perhaps you have been looking in the wrong places.”
It was love that protected the hero, Harry Potter in these stories and not magic.
Of course, there is no magic in the real world, but there is love. These fictional books point to a real-life truth: love is most powerful force on the planet.
The problem with love is this: We don’t believe love is the most powerful thing in the universe.
Love changes hearts. Hate hardens them.
Love forgives and offers a new way forward. Hate brings resentment.
Love inspires. Hate digs in.
It is the power of love that Jesus forgave the world through his death. It is the power of love that offers us the gift of eternal life.
Love has the power to change everything within the human sphere.
Of course, there is limited power in hate and violence but the power of love is infinite if we would only tap into the source of love: Jesus.
Hate has a shelf life, love never goes bad or has an expiration date. How do I know this? Jesus’ death and resurrection still provides life giving forgiveness and wholeness 2000 years later.
Love will grow the more we share it with others. It is not finite or containable.
Unfortunately, some will never see powerful potential of love. Instead, they will revert to hate, violence and manipulation to get what they want. There may be short term gain but to what end?
Jesus reminds of something that is so important that I don’t want you to miss it.
Jesus said, “What good will it be for a person if they gain the whole world, yet forfeits their soul? Or what can a person give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:16
Love is moving us towards something better. It is moving us towards a life that will never end with Jesus and our church family. A place of perfect peace and joy.
Don’t hesitate to show some love today! You might change someone’s life!