Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. —Mark 6:45-46
As I spent many hours alone, phone turned off , no tv a few weeks ago it gave me time to simply sit in the quietness of God. Reflect upon the good, the blessings and His presence. Like Jesus who would pull away from everything going on to focus exclusively on His relationship with the Father. My surgeries forced me this opportunity. I believe if He had a smartphone it would have been turned off, put on Do Not Disturb. His choice to pull away to spend time with the Father refreshed and energized Him to love and serve others with His whole life. Jesus did this because He knew the power of relationships, especially that of God the Father. How frequently do you do the same? Where do you need God’s refreshment in your heart, head, hands, and habits? Unlike Jesus, I was forced to stop and I am blessed because of it. We need to stop, turn everything off and be refreshed or energized. It is worth the time.
Father God, Thank you for getting through these past few weeks. Thank you for sitting with me and helping me see better where I need to give You full access to my life and leadership. Remind me in the years to come to put the world on Do Not Disturb and spend time with You. I ask you to send Your Spirit to refresh and re energize me to love, lead, live, and serve like Jesus, in whose name I pray, Father, I pray for those I am called to teach that they too take quality time to talk and listen, to read and discern Your Word. Father I, we live in a hectic world that tells us faster, and yet in Your wisdom you say stop. May each of us listen as we turn to you through Your Son. Amen.
One of the hardest things in life is to let go of old hurts. We often say, or at least think: "What you did to me and my family, my ancestors, or my friends I cannot forget or forgive. ... One day you will have to pay for it." Sometimes our memories are decades, even centuries, old and keep asking for revenge.
Forgiveness or letting go is not always easy but as a Christian it is demanded for our sake. I hear people say , I can never forgive them for what they have done. I have sat with people who have carried pain for decades and seek to let go knowing that they cannot do God's work and carry this burden.
Holding people's faults against them, including yourself often creates an impassable roadblock in your own journey. The Apostle Paul understood this as I imagine he was betrayed, booted out, and called many things but listen to him: "For anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation: the old order is gone and a new being is there to see. It is all God's work" (2 Corinthians 5:17-18). Indeed, we cannot let go of old hurts, but God can. Paul says: "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not holding anyone's fault against them" (2 Corinthians 5:19). It is God's work, but we are God's ministers, because the God who reconciled the world to God entrusted to us "the message of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:19). This message calls us to let go of old hurts in the Name of God. It is the message I believe our world needs to hear now. Who better to tell the message then the ones who have experienced His grace and forgiveness.
As we enter the new year open your heart to what God is calling us to do. Love your God and love your neighbor, let go of the past and let us all embrace the here and now of God's incredible Kingdom. See you later in church.
Gracious and heavenly God I come before you ashamed at some of things I carried for so long instead of turning them over ot you. Thank you Lord for the gift of forgiveness that heals even the deepest wounds. Thank you for allowing my life to move forward and into a deeper relationship with you and those along side me on my journey.
Father I ask for prayers for my upcoming surgeries. Be with those that are praying for me. Be with those that have their own burdens and give them comfort and hope. Father I ask for your forgiveness in my own sinfulness. Show me mercy oh Lord. Be with my families and may they glorify your name as they step forward to even more in the coming weeks. Father, peace is at hand when we turn to you and pray. This morning Lord, I ask you to hear my prayers that I lift up in your Son's name. Amen
Meet the pastor
Rev. Pastor Carl Schreiber has been serving East Orrington Congregational Church (EOCC) since March 12, 2006