January 14, 2019

Here we go!

 

Dear FPC—

              How is counting your blessings going so far this week?  At the men’s breakfast this morning we were sharing topics for prayer.  Ben Noid asked that we praise God for his blessings to us.  There is someone who was paying attention in church!  He said that he has written many of his blessings down in his memoirs—over 100 pages worth!  --- That kind of puts our soul training exercise in perspective!  Remember the idea is to make a list of 10 blessings and then add to it each day, getting up to 50 or more. 

              If you are struggling, here are some of mine to help prime the pump: 

God’s existence, dark chocolate, the Wasatch Front, smiles, Jesus, love, recovering from illness, the Bible, scientific discoveries, chicken parm, music, friends, hiking---

              As you make your list, use that time to be in prayer, thanking God for providing these blessings to you. 

              This Sunday we will be celebrating God’s generosity—I hope you can join us! 

 You are a blessing to me,

Pastor Steve

January 7, 2019

Dear FPC—

              How is your week going?  How are your “soul training exercises”?  I am struggling finding my 5 minutes quiet time (even just writing that makes me realize how lame that sounds—I can do this!) but I’m enjoying God’s creation, especially the snow covered mountains.  I hope you are doing better than me (or at least are reminded now of our soul training practices for the week)! 

              I really love our catechism question this week.  You can find it here:  http://newcitycatechism.com/new-city-catechism/#1

              It is based on the wonderful first question of the Heidelberg Catechism:  “What is your only comfort in life and death?”  A:  “That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.”  What a personal question! 

              Is there anything more countercultural than confessing that I am not my own, but wholly belong to God?  Is there anything more comforting and hopefilled than that same truth?  We belong.  We belong together.  We belong to our faithful Savior—our whole selves, body and soul; for our whole life—in this world and the next.  He rescued us, he sets us free, he watches over us, he sends us out to live for him.  We are held close by Jesus’ love—in the grip of grace.  Remember how good our God is—and that he came to rescue us.  Amazing! 

              God is good—all the time!  And all the time, God is good!

 May God bless you this week,

 Pastor Steve

January 1, 2019

Dear FPC—

              Happy New Year!! I am excited for what God will be doing among us this year.  As we launch into January, I wanted to share this classic ancient prayer with you, often called St. Patrick’s Breastplate:

Christ, as a light
illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield
overshadow me.
Christ under me;
Christ over me;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;
in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light;
Christ as a shield;
Christ beside me

on my left and my right.

 --Celtic Prayer Book

               What a great way to begin a year or a day! 

              What you think about when you think about God is the most important thing about you.  Do you ever think that God is mad at you or is angry?  Come on Sunday and let’s look at whether that is an accurate idea or a false narrative about God. 

               Have a blessed week!

              Pastor Steve

December 24, 2018

Dear FPC—

                Merry Christmas!  It was so lovely to get to worship with so many of you and your families on Christmas Eve.  What a great way to step out of the hustle and bustle, and to pause, to listen, to wait for the arrival of God in our lives.  What kind of God shows up in our world not with an army or a bolt of lightning, but as a newborn baby!  As something easily overlooked.  But the key for us is to notice.  To pay attention—and then our response is . . . worship.  Worship like the magi did, like the shepherds did, like the angels did. 

 As Eugene Peterson taught—“worship integrates both our vertical relationship with God and our horizontal relationships with one another into one reality.  The wall between the private and the public is broken down in worship.  That’s where individual members come together as a body.  And that’s where they are most whole and healthy.” 

I hope you can come and be healthy with us this Sunday as we learn about waiting well. 

Blessings to you and your family during this Christmas time!

 Pastor Steve