The Great Invitation

rain and boatThursday, July 3, 2014

Matthew 11:28-30

It rained every day on a canoe trip I took some years ago with friends. Every day looked just like the day before. I think you call that a “stationary front.” The steady drizzle soaked everything in camp and reduced visibility across the waters. We spent hours under a rainfly looking at our shoes and trying to come up with one more thing to talk about. But even with the weariness of rainy days came the resiliency of my friends’ good company.

I am glad for the many in my life who give witness to the invitation of Jesus: Come to me, all you that are weary… and I will give you rest. I hear the invitation in the ways they let their lives speak. With them, needed rest is found in the patterns of worship and fellowship and routines of service. Needed rest is found by the simplicity of prayer and the openness to a learning that leads to change.

It’s hard to admit at times when we are feeling weary. The pace of our lives, the demands and the expectations can foster a tendency to work even harder. Obligations can feel burdensome. But there is something about faith that reminds us of our limitations and frees us from having to do it all.

There is a gentleness and care that speaks to our worry and constant striving; it lifts our souls and renews our hearts.

There is a good and renewing kind of rest that can greet us when we feel weary. The call to follow in the way of Jesus is accompanied with the reassurance that the work and responsibility is not shouldered by us alone but is shared by Jesus who goes before us. It is shared by our brothers and sisters in the faith who greet us, walk alongside of us, and help us ungrudgingly so.

Pastor Randy J Olson

Welcome

empty hands

Friday, June 27, 2014

Matthew 10:40-42

It seems that Jesus is asking his disciples to give up everything to follow him...home, career, possessions, even family. But by letting go, disciples will find that their lives are now open to receive (and give) the incredible gifts of grace.  Could we be so brave?   Click here to listen to Pastor Sarah's blog.

With Good Courage

BirdsFriday, June 20, 2014

Matthew 10:24-39

When I read this part of Matthew I think of the prayer: O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

When Jesus called the disciples forward, nudged them toward the future and taught them to be bearers of the light and of the good he did so with the strong encouragement: do be not afraid. Their participation called for fear to fade and faith to lead the way. Proclamation would be bold enough to come from the housetops. While fear restricts our imagination, faith invites us into possibilities beyond our efforts and abilities.

 

Whenever we venture into new challenges we will likely feel some fear. It’s natural. Whenever we face resistance or rejection in our endeavors fear will not be far away. The little reminder that not a sparrow goes unnoticed by God’s expansive care was the reassurance that God is always present, upholding, leading and seeing us through. It was a simple word to make room for courage so lives can be more aligned with Jesus and his mission. It was a way of saying that perfect love casts out all fear.

Where do you see the sustaining care of God’s love that leads you forward? When are the times you have been caught up in surprising moments of courage?

Pastor Randy J Olson