Stick to Jesus

Stick to Jesus

Weekly Word

What do we agree on? Where do we have common ground? What does it mean to follow Jesus? Is there a Christian position that addresses the cultural, legal and social issues that threaten to divide us?

We believe that God created human beings, our planet and all that exists. How God did it, how long it took, when it happened? Scientific questions like those are interesting but they are not a part of our shared confession.

We believe that Jesus Christ is Lord. We believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world. We believe that Jesus taught us a better way of living and loving. We believe that Jesus died on the cross and was raised to new life.

Jesus taught us to love our neighbor. Jesus also taught us that they are all our neighbors. Jesus taught us to forgive each other, to believe that God has forgiven us and to forgive ourselves.

Jesus taught us that the we are to care for the needs of the orphan, the widow, the poor and hungry, the oppressed and the foreigner. Jesus taught us to be humble, humble foot washing servants. Jesus freed us from judging others.

Is there a Christian position that addresses the cultural, legal and social issues that threaten to divide us? Most of the time, the answer is NO. Life in a fallen world is rarely “black and white.” There is a whole lot of gray. There are good Christian people who hold differing views on a variety of issues.

Make room in your life for a whole lot of gray.

Divorce is less than God intended, but sometimes it is less harmful than staying together. Taking the life of another human being is less than God intended, but sometimes it is the lesser of two evils. Abortion is less than God intended, but sometimes it might be the prayerful option of choice. Life is sacred, but we do not worship life or preserve it at all costs.

Dancing is not sinful, but the church once taught that it was. Playing cards and shooting pool are not sinful, but the church once taught that they were. Sex is not sinful, but for most of its history the church pretty much taught that it was a necessary evil. “Sex is dirty, save it for someone you love.”

Christian teachings include: humility, patience, kindness, compassion, generosity, forgiveness, honesty, and faithfully keeping the promises that we have made. Those apply to every life issue and every social concern. But how faithful people live into those teachings and understand their application, is open for interpretation.

Therefore, let me counsel you in this way: stick to Jesus, follow Jesus, work for peace and justice but do not think that you have the corner on the market of truth or divine revelation. Be humble knowing that good Christian people may have opinions that are different from yours. And as incomprehensible as it might seem, they could be right. Dancing might not be a sin.

What do we agree on? Stick to Jesus!

I am honored to share the journey with you—even if we don’t always share the same opinion.

In love,
Pastor Jim

Vision 2020 Update

Vision 2020 Update

Thank you for your love, your support, and your good care of your TLC home. God loves a cheerful giver.

Vision 2020 is a campaign dedicated to the care of our Trinity Lutheran Church Campus, our Island Community, and the people of Bihar, India.

This two-year campaign began on January 1st, 2018. In that short 16 months we have accomplished so very much. Thanks to your generous support we have:
* Resurfaced and striped our parking lot, good for another 25 years.
* Installed new carpeting in our Sunday School wing.
* Repaired and painted our Community Building on Highway 525.
* Repaired and replaced the roof on our Community Building.
* Given $50,000 to Lutheran World Relief, earmarked for Bihar, India.
* Installed a new sound system and locking cabinet in the Fireside Room.

All told we have spent some $220,000 on these projects and as a result our campus has never looked better.

We are now in the final eight months of Vision 2020. We still have goals to accomplish.

Our much used Trinity Preschool Playground is beginning to deteriorate. We will be installing new playground equipment, and making some much-needed changes to the playground, before Preschool starts in September.

We are hoping to replace our TLC Van that is used regularly by our youth group, our quilters, and the ministry of His Hands Extended.

We are going to give significant gifts to our local food banks, Good Cheer and Gifts From the Heart.

We are hoping to complete our commitment to Bihar, India, as we help to lift 60,000 people out of poverty and into a more sustainable future.

Can you help us reach our Vision 2020 goals? Blessed to be a Blessing!

This is our plan:
All Vision 2020 gifts in May and June will go to our Playground Improvements. Love kids? Want to foster play and imagination? You can help us in May and June.

All Vision 2020 gifts in July, August and September will be split between our local food banks and Bihar, India.

All Vision 2020 gifts in October, November and December will go toward the purchase of a new TLC Van.

Blessed to be a Blessing — Vision 2020:
Thankful for the past, investing in the future.

I thank you in advance for your generous support.

 

Pastor Jim Lindus

Is it Political?

Is it Political?

Weekly Word

I stay away from politics. For 30 years I have served here and people do not know how I vote. Why? Because how I vote is important to me, but it is not important to anyone else. I am not an expert in politics. I am not particularly skilled at picking candidates. I am not smart enough to tell anyone how to vote, and I have no loyalty to any political party. The church should just stick to Jesus, tell the Jesus story, be faithful to his teachings, and encourage people to live, serve and vote as they feel called.

In my preaching and serving, I stay away from politics. My Easter Sunday sermon was perceived by some as being very political. Any encounter with Jesus may be understood as being political, but I had no political agenda when preaching.

So, are the following statements political in and of themselves or are they simply the truth? Remember, too, that according to Jesus, TRUTH only comes from God.

Is it political:
To say that people are more alike than different?
To say that God loves Muslims, Jews, atheists, and Christians equally?
To say that all men and women are created equal?
To say that our nation continues to suffer from the evils of our past: slavery, racism, Civil War, Reconstruction?
To say that the sins of the parents are visited upon the third and fourth generations of those who follow?
To say that we must guard against prejudice and bigotry?
To say that we are to have compassion for the foreigner, the immigrant, the lost and afraid, the poor and hungry?
To say that the care of God’s creation has been entrusted to us?
To say that we are stewards of the air, water, animals, oceans, and land?

Those statements may have political ramifications. You can be the judge of that. Exercise your freedom, your voice, and your vote as God leads you. Personally, all of those statements are based on my understanding of the Bible, my understanding of the teachings of Jesus, my understanding of the Gospel. I don’t believe those things because they were written in our Constitution or in the morning paper. I hold them true because the Bible teaches me that they are true. All TRUTH comes from God.

Thanks for sharing the journey with me.

 

 

 

Pastor Jim

 
Death Will Not Have the Last Word

Death Will Not Have the Last Word

“All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40

Chauncey and Carol sauntered into church this past Sunday as they always do. They arrived at 7 a.m. to practice with the choir, to have a cup of coffee, to reconnect with friends, to worship God, and to sing praises with a joyful voice. After singing for a second time at the 9:30 service, Chauncey and the choir exited the sanctuary. Someone said to Chauncey, “I think we were better at the 8 o’clock service.” Chauncey replied, “I think we did fine at both.”

As Chauncey walked with Carol and choir friends toward his car, he collapsed. He would not regain consciousness. Chauncey left this world from church on a Sunday morning after singing of God’s love. Chauncey left a world that he loved, his bride of 64 years, and the church that was his second home. He crossed over to the other side in an instant after 89 full, productive, and faithful years.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Easter reminds us that death will not have the last word. Well done, good and faithful servant Chauncey. We will see you on the other side.

A funeral service for Chauncey will be held on Saturday, May 4th, at 1:00 p.m. Cards can be sent to:
Carol Richardson
638 Windmill Drive
Freeland, WA 98249

My love to you!

 

 

Pastor Jim

Palm Sunday Worship at 8 and 10 this Sunday.

Faith is a Most Difficult Endeavor

Faith is a Most Difficult Endeavor

Weekly Word

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Faith is a most difficult endeavor.

Babies and toddlers mostly live by faith. That may be why Jesus encouraged us to have faith “like a child.” Babies rely 100% on others. They have no choice really; they cannot fend for themselves. They simply have faith that mommy will pull them close to her breast. They have faith that someone will safely put them in their car seat. They can accomplish nothing on their own, so they put their trust in others.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

As we age, we like to think that we can “do it ourselves.” We are strong and smart. We think that our lives will never end. We figure things out, we have most of the answers, life is pretty black and white. There seems to be little need for God or faith.

Faith is a most difficult endeavor. It is hoping for and believing in something that cannot be proven, something that is totally beyond our reason or control. It is about embracing mystery and claiming our place, as fragile insecure creatures bound some day to die.

Faith is a most difficult endeavor. Most days, I am not sure how God is working. Some days, it seems that God is not working at all. My prayers often go unanswered. I see no evidence that God is even listening to my prayers. I pray for peace, and the world is much the same as it was when I started praying some 40 years ago. I pray for the people of God at TLC, and they die, they suffer, they are forgetful, and often lonely.

Faith is a most difficult endeavor. Adam and Eve did not want to trust God. They were not happy being loved and cared for. Adam and Eve wanted to be in control, they want to know, they wanted a say in the trajectory of human affairs. I am more like Adam and Eve than I would like to admit.

Faith is a most difficult endeavor. But in the end, there is nowhere else to turn. In the end, God will believe in us even if we do not believe in God. In the end, God will love us even if we do not love God. In the end, God will have faith in us even if we have lost all faith. How do I know that? I don’t. I am certain about very little at this point in my life.

I guess if I am to regain the faith of a child, then I will have to become more childlike. I will need to depend on others to feed me, to drive me around, to change my diapers, and care for me. That day will come, but until then, I guess I will just try to get more comfortable being a creature. I will give thanks for what I understand and for what I don’t yet understand. I will look to heaven and say, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”

May God Bless us as we journey together!

 

 

Pastor Jim

“Where Can I Go…?”

“Where Can I Go…?”

“Where can I go then from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I climb up to heaven, you are there; if I make the grave my bed, you are there also. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand will lead me and your right hand hold me fast.” Psalm 139:7-10.

My two-and-a-half-year-old grandson, Cam, stayed overnight with us last night. We had lots of fun playing on the floor. The firetrucks and aid cars were out as we ran from one emergency to another. The tired first responders took a break and enjoyed some of Connie Alexander’s homemade apple pie.

All was good except… Except it was now time for bed. Cam was having none of it. He tried negotiation. “I will make you a deal, Bapa.” He tried hiding and running. He decided he needed to use the bathroom – an extended visit, with a story.

As we snuggled on the floor, Cam started acting even more like a two-year-old. He did not want to sleep, he wanted to keep playing. He struggled to get away. He kicked and cried. He said, “I don’t like you Bapa.” I said, “Well Cam, I like you, and I love you.” “I don’t like Bapa, I like Gigi.” “That is fine Cam, I like you, and I love you, and you are my favorite.” “You are not my favorite Bapa.”

As this interchange continued for 20 minutes, I could not help but think of Psalm 139. How often we humans run from God. How often we rebel, wander off, kick and scream against the one who loves us. Life is difficult. When we are little, we do not want to go to bed. When we are older, we just want to go to bed.

Life is difficult and it does not always go our way. We find ourselves mad at God. “I do not like you God. I do not want to be around you. I don’t think that you care about me.” And God’s response is always the same, even though we are acting like a two-year-old. “I love you, I will always love you, you are my favorite.”

There is nothing that Cam could possibly do that would stop me from loving him. I might not always like his behavior, but I cannot help but love him. He is my favorite. He is my favorite along with my daughters, my dear Gigi, little Cooper, and you.

We can run from God, but when we are done running, God is there to welcome us home. We can curse God, but when we are done with our fit, God is there to welcome us back to the meal. We can refuse to believe in God, but God will never refuse to believe in us.

My whole body was sore this morning; I am not used to sleeping on the floor. Cam stretched and yawned. He said, “I love you Bapa. But let’s go, there is a fire. It is an emergency!”

My love to you and more importantly—God’s love to you.

Pastor Jim