Opening Litany based on Psalm 80:7-15

Pastor: Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.

Congregation: You liberated your people from slavery in the land of the Pharaohs.  You gave them a great land and a great calling, just as you have given us a great land and a great calling.  You blessed them with abundance as you have blessed us with abundance.  

Pastor: Why then O Lord have you broken down the walls so that all who pass by may pick its grapes? Why O Lord do you let the wild things and insects ravage and feed upon the abundance you have blessed us with?

Congregation: Return to us, God Almighty! Look to us from your heavenly realm and watch over this blessing you have planted, the children of God you have called your own, and help us in turn return to You as the cornerstone of our lives. 

Poem based on 1st Advent Mark 13:24-31

With the tribulation upon us
And all the heavens
And earth crashing down around us
We stand
Knowing the God of love
Knowing the promises of God
That the God of Abraham and Hagar and Sarah and Keturah
Isaac and Rebekah
Jacob and Leah and Rachel and Bilhah and Zilpah and Paddan Aram
Esau and Judith
Will be our God
And we will be God’s people
Even in these times
When all we know comes crashing down
The God of creation
Will be our God
Beyond the realm of time
Tribe, class, nation
Beyond all the limitations that seem so real

Only to us

just a glimpse

Sunday November 30th Isaiah 64:  3 For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.  4 Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. This is the expectation of Isaiah.  When God returned to earth, it would be a show of force such as the world had never seen.  The sky would turn, the mountains tremble, everyone would tremble and know that God was coming and everyone would know whose God it was that was coming.  God however had a different idea. Instead of might and awesome power, it was a baby in a manger.  Sometimes we also want a God of Might and Anger not night and manger.  Sometimes we want a God who will show all those others who is Right with a capital “R".  But then, sometimes we get just a glimpse of how tough God really is.  Sometimes we get a glimpse of the loving God Immanuel, and Oh how much harder it is to come as a loving God in a manger rather than the mighty God in anger.  It is then we know that God calls us to that kind of toughness also, the toughness that can only come through gentleness and love.

let God

Monday December 1st,  Isaiah 64:  7 No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins.  8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.  When God seemed distant from the people of Israel, they often used the imagery of God’s face being hidden.  What was hidden however was not God’s face but their eyes and hearts and souls, much as it is with us today.  When God seems distant, it is usually because we are looking the wrong way, inward to the self instead of outward at those in need.   The solution is to stop trying to run the show ourselves and let God take control.  Instead of the clay telling the potter what it should look like and function as, perhaps the clay should let the potter be the one who forms what will be.  Our job is to not fight what we were called to be.  From dust we came and to dust we shall return, but in the meantime, God has been able to form that dust into vessels of beauty, function and form, which is what happens when we let God be God.   It is when someone lets God be God in their lives that we call them the saints.  God simply calls them the children of God.  It is most of us sometimes and some of us most of the time.  

grace shines

Tuesday December 2nd, 1 Corinthians 1: 4I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge— 6because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you.  When we shine, it is the light of Christ shining in and through us.  I thank God for all the saints that surround my life.  I thank God for the simple and graceful ways God shines through you.  I thank God for the grace God has given you.  I thank God for the times when that grace shines through you to others as well as to myself.  There are times when the community seems to sparkle because of this gift of grace.  As the first candle in the advent wreath signifies “Hope”, may the grace of God bring hope to the world around you, and through you, today.  Amen!

That humming we hear

Wednesday December 3rd, 1 Corinthians 1: 7Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.  Every congregation is given the spiritual gifts it needs to be a vessel for God’s love and grace in the community in which they are planted.  The roadblock most often is the way we keep pushing our perceived gifts rather than the gifts God has given us as a community of faith.  A sailboat can fight against the wind and make some headway, but it is a thing of beauty when catches full sail and gets up on step.  At that moment it becomes what it was intended to be from its very conception, and the sails and the ropes literally hum with excitement.  God intends something like that for us also.  It happens when we stop fighting God’s leading and turn and let the Holy Spirit catch our sails.  That humming we hear is what some would call angels singing.  

God acts

Thursday December 4th, Mark 1st 13: 26"And then they'll see the Son of Man enter in grand style, his Arrival filling the sky--no one will miss it! 27He'll dispatch the angels; they will pull in the chosen from the four winds, from pole to pole. The expectations in Isaiah were fulfilled in the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.  Not by the Christ, but by all the angels who knew from before time what this event meant for the world.  In Mark’s Gospel we find similar expectations.  What will it be like when the Son of Man returns?  Will there be the “Left Behind” scenario where only a few are chosen and the many left behind?  Are the chosen only the hundred and forty four thousand, the frozen chosen, the right believers?  Listen to the Emmanuel, God with us version in which a babe is born in a manger and brings salvation to the whole world.  This is the way God acts in the world.  However, even with the Emmanuel version, it is always a good idea to live ready. 

looking for signs

Friday December 5th, Mark 13: 28"Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer's just around the corner. 29And so it is with you. When you see all these things, you know he is at the door. 30Don't take this lightly. I'm not just saying this for some future generation, but for this one, too--these things will happen.  Each of us will face an end time in our lives.  Each of us is called to live a life that is a life of being ready all the time.  For those who spend their time looking for signs of the end, they can find them in one way or another each and every day in the history of humanity, and will continue to find them as events unfold before us generation upon generation, it may be in God’s word, but it is not God’s way.  For those who live their lives bathed in the love and grace of the babe in Bethlehem, each day brings a new opportunity to live in, and show others, God’s grace.  Perhaps that is what the scriptures mean when they tell us to be ready.  Perhaps that is what the King was referring to in Matthew 25.  When you live in love, you live ready and most the time are not aware of it.  It is no longer a matter of what you do, it is a matter of whose you are.

live ready

Saturday December 6th, Mark 13:  32"But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven's angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. 33So keep a sharp lookout, for you don't know the timetable.  The only time you can be pretty sure is not “the” day and hour of the Lords coming, is the time most people agree is “the” day and “the” hour.  If you look ahead and try to figure it out so you can get ready, you miss all the fun of living as a child of God now.  It’s like a football player staying home and watching the game on TV so he can determine just the right time to suit up, drive to the stadium, run onto the field and win the game with the scoring touchdown.  The trouble is, he has missed all the practice, all the team interaction, all the other games and even if he gets to the game on time, will most likely not be allowed to play.  Don’t plan on getting ready, just live ready and enjoy the game, enjoy life.


10w for November 23rd, Ah, Lord, NL.

The following is a 10 minute worship for November 23rd, Ah, Lord, NL. You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song of the week is: The song of the week is “Dream God’s Dream” by Bryan Sirchio from his album, J-Walking, used with permission.  You can find this album and others at his website www.sirchio.com

10w for November 23rd, Easy to understand.

The following is a 10 minute worship for November 23rd, Easy to understand.   You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song of the week is: The song of the week is "No Hands But Yours" by Dakota Road from the CD, Break These Chains, used with permission.  http://www.dakotaroadmusic.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=4&pg=1


Opening Litany based on Psalm 95


Pastor: Come People of God, let us sing for joy to the Lord and bring forth a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation.

Congregation:  Let us come before the Lord with thanksgiving, music and song, for the LORD is the great God and the above all gods.

Pastor: The Lord holds the whole world in his hands, the depths of the earth, the peaks of the great mountains, the seas teaming with life and the very ground on which we walk and grow our food.  The Lord God has made them all. 

Congregation: Let us bow down in worship and kneel before the LORD our Maker; for the Lord is our God and creator of all, we are the people of God living in the beauty of this creation of God under the presence of our God's creating love and care.

Pastor: Hear the words of the Lord, let the spirit of the Lord guide your ways and your thoughts. Do not harden your hearts or close off your ears to the love and word of the Lord as did our ancestors long ago, for they tested the Lord even after being witnesses to the mighty acts of God's salvation.

Congregation: Lift your anger and judgment from us O Lord though we daily go astray from your ways.  Bring us again to the hope of your salvation so that we may indeed sing for joy to the Lord and bring forth a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation.

Poem based on Matthew 25:31- 46

In the silence of the evening
Just before blessed sleep brings peace
The tomorrow plan begins
Mental notes
To do’s and timing
That fill the day
Bring those outgrown kids clothes to that lady at work
Three kids
And a nice card for what’s her names birthday
(did I see you)
Pick up some cans for the food drive
At church
And write the letter to the editor
(in prison)
On eliminating the death penalty
During my lunch
Sarah looked a bit down on Sunday
Tough times going through a divorce
Perhaps we could have her over for dinner
(a stranger)
I’ll give her a call tomorrow
Blessed be the lives too filled with grace
To notice



part of the binding up

Sunday November 23rd, Ezekiel 34: 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. It is a curious thing why the idea of building up the weak and destroying the strong and sleek is part of God’s plan. It does not fit with love your neighbor as yourself, as some of my neighbors, as well as myself, are the sleek and strong and well, maybe just a bit on the plump side as well. Indeed one could argue that the majority of the Lutheran church would fit into the category of the sleek and strong and sometimes just a bit plump. One could further argue that it is not just a Lutheran trend, but rather describes Churches, schools, Synagogues, and that Holiest of American institutions, the mall.  I think the discussion that follows should be how one becomes sleek and strong and sometimes a bit plump. Too often in the history of humanity the path to becoming sleek and strong is through the peril of those who are becoming rough and weak in the process. In our climb to the top, there are many unseen victims.  All economic systems, whether currently in vogue or not, tend to have winners and losers. What God seems to be concerned about in this text is those who are winners at the expense of losers. It is not a matter of what you have, it is a matter of who loses in the process of you getting what you have.  Another very important question is now that you have it what are you going to do with it. Now that you have, what are You, not someone else, going to do?? We can choose to be part of the binding up and strengthening, or the tearing down and weakening. You might want to ask yourself where God stands on those issues that stand before you before you act.

veal in the freezer

Monday November 24th, Ezekiel 34: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? 19 Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet? This is the part of the text that is not included in the revised common lectionary.  I also feel it is one of the most graphic depictions of the issue and therefore include it in these meditations and in the reading for Sunday.  I grew up on a farm in Wisconsin; as such I have studied at least to some degree the social interaction of cattle.  They do not impress me as being smart.  They will trample and relieve themselves in the water hole so long as they can get a drink of clean water.  Concern for the future, or for others, is non-existent.  I have witnessed the larger stronger calves with a budding horn take a running start and knock the younger weaker calves flat on the ground in order to get more food now, or perhaps just to keep the weaker one from getting their fair share.  I confess that one time it roused in me such anger that in using a stick to control the situation our family ended up with veal in the freezer.  I sometimes wonder if God also gets angry at our trampling of the weak and hungry just to get more of what we already have too much of.  We can excuse the cattle as being dumb animals, but what excuse do we have when humanity does the same?  It is not a new problem; Ezekiel witnessed the same 2500 years ago.  On an individual basis we seem to be able to grasps the idea that we are social beings and decisions and behavior within a family affect others in that family, but do we carry that same wisdom into the world, into the market place, and into the church?  When moving headquarters off shore for tax purposes, when moving jobs overseas for economic purposes, when shopping in the big store rather than the locally owned for convenience, are we not doing the same as those cattle?  Are we not feeding our own desires without awareness, or a care, or how it affects others or in the long run, the society in which we live?  How we live in the world is not just about “us” with a small “u”, it is about “US” in the most plural of all views, Gods view.  And although I regret the veal situation, sometimes anger, and the resultant action associated with it, is the proper catalysts for change. 

blessings overflowing

Tuesday November 25th, Ephesians 1: 18 My prayer is that light will flood your hearts and that you will understand the hope that was given to you when God chose you. Then you will discover the glorious blessings that will be yours together with all of God's people. This is Paul’s prayer for the church at Ephesus and it is God’s prayer for us. God intends for all of us to be filled with the light of God’s love so much that it can’t help but to spill into the hearts and world around us. God intends for each and every one of us to become so fully aware of all the glorious blessings that surround each and every one of us that there is no choice but to share those blessings with others. We are called to hear the music of God’s love and grace and dance in such a way that the world around us catches the spirit and dances with us.  It is through blessings shared that we truly begin to see, know, and experience the blessings in our lives. It is my prayer for you that you will truly develop a mindfulness of all the blessings God has given you through the sharing of these blessings with others as God leads you to do. May our church be a place of blessings overflowing into the world around us, and may we dance! Amen.

grace filled song

Wednesday November 26th,  Ephesians 1:  Christ rules over all forces, authorities, powers, and rulers. He rules over all beings in this world and will rule in the future world as well. 22 God has put all things under the power of Christ, and for the good of the church he has made him the head of everything. 23 The church is Christ's body and is filled with Christ who completely fills everything. We have been using music from “The Jay Beech” band in worship for a while now it is a wonderful gift to the church.  Not only is the music excellent and fresh, but the presentation format (music book with both full accompaniment and melody only bulletin format, CD with melody line, guitar, C, Eb and Bb instrumentation, etc) speaks to the needs of the church rather than some antiquated need to sell a book for every pew (Learn from this Augsburg/Fortress) One of the favorite songs with which to end a service with is called “The Church Song,”  by Jay Beech, ©1988,  the words are as follows. 


We are the church, the body of the Lord,

we are all God’s children and we have been restored.

The church is not a building where people go to pray;

it’s not made out of sticks and stones, it’s not made out of clay.

We are the church, the body of the Lord,

we are all God’s children and we have been restored.

You can go to worship but you cannot go to church,

you can’t find a building that’s alive no matter how you search.

We are the church, the body of the Lord,

we are all God’s children and we have been restored.

The church is not a business, a committee or a board;

 it’s not a corporation for the business of the Lord.

We are the church, the body of the Lord,

we are all God’s children and we have been restored.

The church it is the people living out their lives,

called, enlightened, sanctified for the work of Jesus Christ.

We are the church, the body of the Lord,

we are all God’s children and we have been restored.


(www.baytonemusic.com) Note: this song is part of the “one body alive” and is also found on the CD rom which is well worth the price to any church.  You can order the church here (http://store.baytonemusic.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=BTM&Category_Code=CHURCH) but I would suggest you treat yourself and the whole congregation by ordering Everyone who is Thirsty, Come.  Order the book, CD and CD-rom and bring life to your worship.  (http://store.baytonemusic.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=BTM&Product_Code=01001-3&Category_Code=SNGBKS)

grace filled conversation

Thursday November 27th,  Matthew 25: 34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' We are saved by the Grace of a Loving God. Because of that gift of grace, our hearts are changed, our lives are changed, who we are is changed, and we become more graceful as we become grace filled. As our lives are changed by this loving grace, we become more graceful to the world around us, and believe me, it shows. It shows because showing grace is no longer becomes a matter of what we do, it is simply a matter of who we have become through the gift of God’s grace. As is the case with most children of God throughout the world, the grace we are shown by a loving God comes to us through the lives changed by a loving God. We simply pass it on and become part of the process because true grace from a loving God can do no other.  When grace truly becomes a part of who we are, others tend to notice even if we forget.  When they notice they begin the spirit dance as well.  So listen to the music of God’s grace and dance, soon you won’t even notice you are dancing, you have become part of the rhythm and the world sings because of it.  And may your Thanksgiving celebration this day be filled with the grace filled conversation with friends and family.

life filled with the grace

Friday November 28th,  Matthew 25: 37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'  When one is saved by a loving graceful God they often become a grace filled person. As you live a grace filled life, it is not something you think about, it is not something that saves you, is it not something you must, should or ought to do, it is simply who you have become and continue to become in ever new and changing ways. When one is outside of this grace, we ask questions like what must I do to be saved. When one is filled with grace, that is no more a question than a salmon asking if it should spawn and if so what stream it should take. It is simply a matter of going and living your life filled with the grace of God, and letting that grace flow through you to the world around you.

grace filled eyes

Saturday November 29th,  Matthew 25: 44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' 45 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' If your focus in life is on yourself, not God, there is no amount of “doing” that will change you. That is because what needs to change is not what you do, but who you are. With un-grace filled eyes, you can look around, but you just don’t see the need, only the cost. With grace filled eyes you see the need, and you know the cost has been paid already.


10w for November 16th, Harvesting Hope, NL.

The following is a 10 minute worship for November 16th, Harvesting Hope, NL.  You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song of the week is: Let us go to the house of the Lord by the Jay Beech Band from the CD Everyone who is Thirsty, come.  http://www.baytonemusic.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=SFNT&Store_Code=BTM


10w for November 16th, Ya But Shovels, P23.

The following is a 10 minute worship for November 16th, Ya But Shovels, P23.  You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song of the week is: What a Blessed Assurance by Andra Moran from the CD Harmony Grove http://www.andramoran.com/store



Poem based on Matthew 25:14-30

Gifts abound
Filling our lives will all the love God has for us
Here take it
Live it
Use it
And experience
The joy of living connected to the living
And yes, forgiving
But what if…………….
I might misuse
I might make a mistake
Maybe God made a mistake
What if I do something wrong
Better to do nothing than something wrong
Sin boldly
Live boldly
Use every bit of every gift God has given you
Mistakes are part of the process
The fun
The joy of living
And learning
Your light will never shine
Buried in the ground
Combined with thousands of other lights
It can illumine the world
Put that shovel down
And live in love
For love
With love
And laugh with joy and with God.

Ho Hum

Sunday November 16th, Zephaniah 1: 7 Be silent before the Sovereign LORD, for the day of the LORD is near.  The LORD has prepared a sacrifice; he has consecrated those he has invited. The biggest threat to Christianity is not Islam or evolution or creationism or atheism or liberals or neo-cons or the so called homosexual agenda, it is Christians who are complacent. God can work through all the other hot button issues we sometimes think are so important, but someone who is complacent, is, in the midst of their seeming complacency, very busy keeping God at bay. When you let God take hold, changes take place. Those changes might not be the Muslim becoming Christian or the evolutionists supporting creationism or the atheists outwardly turning to God or the homosexual becoming somehow straight, as if that were possible or even what God finds desirable.  Those changes are all about personal agendas and have little to do with God. The change that takes place is much deeper than that, it is in the heart and therefore in the very essence of who this person is who is grabbed by God. This is a change in the heart of a human.  It’s the Ho-Hummers who seem to be the most concerned with the hot button issues and keeping God at bay by keeping these non-issues alive and in the spotlight.  It is also the Ho-Hummers who are most slippery when it comes to being grasped by God.  Ho-Hummers include most of us some of the time and some of us most of the time. 

top of the list

Monday November 17th, Zephaniah 1: 13 Their wealth will be plundered, their houses demolished.  They will build houses but not live in them; they will plant vineyards but not drink the wine.  When Christ returns, how much of our “stuff” will be really be important? If you were to write your own obituary, what would be in it?   When others remember your legacy what will it be?  Would you write about your car or house or boat or bank account, or would you write about those you love and how you showed that love, received that love, lived that love? Most of us all the time, and all of us most of the time, spend our time on pursuits that in the end, matter little. If you consider what you would want on your obituary, what comes to the surface as priorities in your life?  Have you thought about living into those things?  Is a relationship with God on the top of the list?

end of the earth

Tuesday November 18th, 1 Thessalonians 5:  1 Now, brothers and sisters, we do not need to write you about times and dates.2 You know very well that the day the Lord comes again will be a surprise, like a thief that comes in the night. The Left Behind series is raising it’s ugly head once again, proof that the dispensationalists are still alive and well.  Over the years there have been many attempts to determine when the end of the world will come about. I find it interesting to watch all the clamor over when the second coming is going to happen. People study and study the Bible for clues.  I have known some who have moved to what they assume is the ends of the earth in Alaska to wait for the rapture. I guess they missed this verse. It is not a matter of figuring out when it will be so you can get ready, it is a matter of being ready.  Remember the story of the maidens and their oil lamps? It is a matter of being ready, not getting ready.  Anything else is just trying to cheat, and quite frankly it doesn’t work.   Trying to figure out when the end will come just seems like an odd approach to anyone who takes the Bible seriously. When will Christ come again? When you least expect it, which means you can probable take all those predictions and mark those times off as when the end is least likely to occur. Christians take the joy now, live the joy now, follow Christ now, allow their lives to be changed now, live as the children of God now. Christians don’t put all the fun off until the end. (maybe those who are trying to predict when the Lord will come are doing so because they don’t think being a Christian is very much fun. Sorry to hear that!?!) It is not a matter of getting ready, for in doing so you miss the point, it is a matter of knowing God loves you and living that each and every day. 

working too hard

Wednesday November 19th, 1 Thessalonians 5: 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not living in darkness, and so that day will not surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all people who belong to the light and to the day. We do not belong to the night or to darkness.When you walk with God it is not a matter of getting ready, it is a matter of being ready. How do you know when you are ready?? When others in one way or another point out that you seem to be the kind of person who loves God with all your heart and loves your neighbor as yourself, and you are not sure what they are talking about. Then you know that for you being a Christian is not something you do, it is something you are and the doing just flows from that.  It’s like, I love my wife and how I act toward her, how I live my life in this world, reflect that.  If on the other hand I feel I have to prove to her that I love her, something is amiss in our relationship.  If you somehow feel you have to prove to God you love God, something is amiss and you are working too hard hiding that part of your life you do not want to give over to God. 

join the fun

Thursday November 20th, Matthew 25:  14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.  Life is not fair so it seems. Not everyone is blessed with each and every talent in the world. Each one of us has gifts for the kingdom however.  They become gifts for us as well as for the kingdom when they are used. It is when we use our talents and gifts along with the talents and gifts of others that we realize the strength of our gift. Carbon is not very strong. Even iron is not that strong. But carbon and iron together make steel which is a whole different ball game. Carbon left to its own is rather brittle and soft, how many times have you broken a pencil lead. You can use your talents and your gifts all by yourself and come up with some wonderful things like carbon, when used and worked into “Bucky Balls” or “Bucky Tubes” is even stronger than steel, but still even they are rather useless all by themselves.  So it is with the talents God has given each and every one of us. By themselves they are a gift. When used, whether by themselves or in conjunction with the gifts of others, they become the thing of miracles. God invites you to join the fun and to reach out, serve and incite miracles.

the fun begins

Friday November 21st, Matthew 25:  16 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.  The first two put their talents to work for, and in the kingdom. The third one played it safe and no one knew he had the talents or gifts. I can imagine that after all that time in the ground, the talent was not only worth no more than before; it was also a bit rusty. That seems like a good metaphor for what happens to the gifts God gives us. Use them or lose them.  If they are a bit rusty you need to clean them up and rub them with a bit of prayer and start working them.  Then the fun begins. 

rather forgive than coax

Saturday November 22nd, Matthew 25:  24 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’  Luther said to sin boldly, but rejoice more boldly still. The gifts God gives you cannot be broken, but they can be misused. As a matter of fact, they are probably misused most of the time. But it is not misuse that is the problem, it is lack of use. So, love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself, in whatever way your God given talent leads you. And if you make a mistake along the way, get up, dust off your knees, laugh and continue on your way.  Making mistakes is much better than erring on the side of caution. In fact, please make mistakes, lots of them.  At least it shows you are trying.  In the kingdom, it is much better to screw up trying than to really screw up by not trying. Jesus would much rather forgive than coax.


10w for November 9th, Light in the Soul, P22.

The following is a 10 minute worship for November 9th, Light in the Soul, P22.  You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song of the week is: Light shines in the darkness by Dakota Road from the CD Break These Chains  http://www.dakotaroadmusic.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=4&pg=1

10w for November 9th, Justice Flows Down, NL.

The following is a 10 minute worship for November 9th, Justice Flows Down, NL. You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List. The song of the week is: Let Justice Roll by Dakota Road from the CD All Are Welcome  http://www.dakotaroadmusic.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=4&pg=1

Micah, Justice Flows Down

Micah, do Justice from Dan Bollerud on Vimeo.


Poem based on Matthew 25:1-13

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

Being ready
Is different
That getting ready
In the Rapture Racket
Everyone waits for the end
Missing the joy of now
Lamps ready waiting for the day
Nothing in them
Others fill them day by day
Never knowing any other way
Helping neighbor
Caring for earth
Praying for enemies
And bringing to birth
The kingdom among us
Full and alive
Just the way life is lived
Not just a moment to strive
In the end
Never realizing
The ones raptured off
Miss the bridegroom

Opening Litany based on Psalm 70

Pastor: Please O God, I need you now, come quickly to save me; O Lord.  May those who wish me harm and death have their motives and deeds brought to light.  

Congregation: may all who desire the ruin of the children of God be turned back in disgrace. May the motives and deeds who would destroy the love of God in this world be turned back because of their shame. 
Pastor: But may all who seek the Lord rejoice and be glad.

Congregation: may those who long for the saving help of God always say, “The LORD is great!”
Pastor: for me, now, I am in need of your saving help O God

Congregation: You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay.


rapture madness

Sunday November 9th, Amos 5: 18 Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD ?  That day will be darkness, not light. 19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Ahh, the Rapture, and now we have a new movie coming out. People sitting around just waiting for it to come so they can watch all those who disagree with the way they see things get left behind.  Won’t it be glorious?!? There is a real sickness in this view, and a sickness that is the antithesis of the Gospel.  Amos warns the people of Israel that they might want to think about what they wish for.  In the recent campaigning there have been all sorts of word games.  Spreading the wealth so it goes up is called cutting taxes and spreading the wealth so it flows down is considered socialism.  Amos was warning a society where the wealth was flowing up that when the day of the Lord comes, they would find themselves carried on that upward current, but where they would find themselves would be up a creek without a paddle, or perhaps even more ominous, without a relationship with God.  The day of the Lord is coming with or without your calling for it, but it might be best to be careful what you wish for. And make sure blessings flow in the right direction.

irrigation system

Monday November 10th, Amos 5:  21 "I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies.  22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. 23 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. 24 But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! To quote William Sloane Coffin, it is one thing to stand with the prophets of old and call for justice to roll on like a river and righteousness like an ever flowing stream, it quite another to design the irrigation system.  Do we sometimes enter our sanctuaries and make a beautiful noise onto the Lord so we don’t have to hear the cry of the poor?  Do we sometimes focus on atrocities over there so we don’t have to face the atrocity of growing needs right here?  Do we spend more on military than on aid and diplomacy because it is more efficient at creating a better world, or because connected contractors find it easier to make money off death than off life?  These are questions to ask both inside and outside our worship.  We are saved by grace but unchanging worship with unchanged lives is an abomination to the Lord. Sometimes we need to get our hands dirty and dredge the irrigation system so the justice and righteousness begins once again to flow and in the process, reaches all.   

I feel it again

Tuesday November 11th, 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-14 And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don't want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus. Last week we honored the Saints in our lives, for most of us these are the dear departed who brought us the Gospel, the good news that we are loved by God.  My parents passed away about a year apart, it was a couple of years before I reached the point where I no longer walked to the phone to call them, or when it rang, wondered if it was them, or perhaps just turned, heard a song, saw a flash of light that stopped me short with the feeling of their presence.  For the most part that feeling is gone now after almost 20 years. But sometimes I wonder, is it gone only because my intellect has overcome my spirit?  The good news in Christ is that the grave has not overcome and that we are surrounded by the saints at all times. In writing this, I feel it again.   

tomorrow after tomorrow?

Wednesday November 12th, 1 Thessalonians 4:  15-18 And then this: We can tell you with complete confidence—we have the Master's word on it—that when the Master comes again to get us, those of us who are still alive will not get a jump on the dead and leave them behind. In actual fact, they'll be ahead of us.  How far ahead of us?  Where?  We often get hung up on time, sometimes even trying to explain eternity to children or others.  Heaven for all eternity?!!  What does that mean?  For us humans, in our limited dimensions of existence, we have a tough time thinking outside of time.  Perhaps eternity is not the elongation of time but the absence of time. Perhaps eternity is not tomorrow after tomorrow after tomorrow, but rather yesterday, today and tomorrow all as one.

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