Sunday, September 16, 2018

God’s call to love with our whole hearts

THIS SUNDAY we move ahead in our series “Loving God, Loving Others” as we unpack God’s call to love with our whole hearts.

╬  “Loving God, Loving Others!”  The calling to love God with the whole of our being is central to Jesus’ life and teaching.  He draws upon the ancient wisdom tradition of Moses in proclaiming the “greatest commandment”:  to love God with all that we are, loving others as we would be loved ourselves.  That’s heart, soul, mind and strength.  To love with our whole hearts is the calling to unlock the emotional love metaphorically seated in the “heart” of our being.  The heart symbolizes the life dwelling in the body.  Heart love is the capacity to connect deeply and empathetically with something or someone beyond us; perhaps to give another greater priority then our very selves.

Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings.  

Let’s gather in worship to celebrate heart love as a gift from God!

- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY -----------------------------------------------

God of all, open our hearts to share the love that you have planted and nourished there.  Set us free to love you whole-heartedly and so to love others and your creation.  Amen.

READINGS ----------------------------------------------------------

First Reading:  Leviticus 19:17-18
17 You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Psalm 51:1-2,6-7,10-12
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
6 You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Second Reading:  Acts 2:22-28
22 "You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know — 23 this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. 24 But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. 25 For David says concerning him, 'I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will live in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption.  28 You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.'

Gospel:  John 14:26-31
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I am coming to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Hear O Israel Sept 9, 2018

Worship on Sunday, September 9 …

It’s Rally Day and our Service Sunday!  AND we begin an new series in worship focusing on “Loving God/Loving Others!”

 “Hear, O Israel!”  

╬  The calling to love God with the whole of our being is the foundation of Biblical tradition and practice.  It is central to Jesus’ ministry.  Jesus teaches this love in a variety of different contexts in the Gospels as “the greatest commandment” and as “the key to inheriting eternal life.”  In Jesus’ spiritual heritage, it is the morning prayer of the Israelites: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.  You shall love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)  Just as it was in Jesus’ time, this is the essential calling of God upon our lives today.  When he teaches on this truth, Jesus always connects it with loving others … “love your neighbor as yourself.” For him, the two are inextricably linked:  we love God best when we love others as we would be loved ourselves.

Readings and the Prayer of the Day are below.

Blessings to all!
- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY -------------------
God of grace, your calling on us is to love. Teach us to love with the whole of our being. Teach us to love as we have first been loved, in Christ.  Amen.

READINGS --------------------------------

First Reading:  Deuteronomy 6:1-9
6:1 Now this is the commandment — the statutes and the ordinances — that the Lord your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy, 2 so that you and your children and your children's children may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life, and keep all his decrees and his commandments that I am commanding you, so that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe them diligently, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may multiply greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you.  4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. 6 Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. 7 Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, 9 and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Psalm 119:33-40
33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, and I will observe it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.
36 Turn my heart to your decrees, and not to selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes from looking at vanities; give me life in your ways.
38 Confirm to your servant your promise, which is for those who fear you.
39 Turn away the disgrace that I dread, for your ordinances are good.
40 See, I have longed for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life.

Second Reading:  Romans 13:8-10
8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet"; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

Gospel:  Mark 12:28-34
28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that Jesus answered them well, the scribe asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?" 29 Jesus answered, "The first is, 'Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." 32 Then the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that 'he is one, and besides him there is no other'; 33 and 'to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,' and 'to love one's neighbor as oneself,' — this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." 34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." After that no one dared to ask him any question.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Celebrating our work! Sept 2, 2018

Worship on Sunday, September 2 …

We are blessed to have our own Director of Children’s and Youth Ministry Julia Miller sharing a message:  Sabbath:  “Celebrating our work!”

╬ “The food that endures for eternal life!”  Being sabbath people and pursuing our work and commitments and vocations in life are NOT mutually exclusive.  All that God reveals of sabbath – Hebrew testament and Christian witness, alike – attests to our calling to be God’s people always and everywhere; at work, at home, at church, at play.  It is the very balance of spiritual sustenance and daily work that sabbath observance promotes.  We can engage in work and service that is meaningful to us and contributes to the world God loves AS the sabbath people of God.

Readings and the Prayer of the Day are below.  We thank our Synodically Authorized Minister Reggie Kikta for presiding at Communion this day!

Blessings to all!
- Pr. Brad Highum

Prayer of the Day:
God of life and all creation, may all that we do be to your glory, and for the sake of the world you love.  Help us to understand our work as vocation, that all we put our hands to might become a prayer of thanksgiving in service.  May our work be hallowed as offering to you, as communion with you and as celebration of our gifts in you.  Amen.


First Reading:  Deuteronomy 28:1-6
28 If you will only obey the Lord your God, by diligently observing all his commandments that I am commanding you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth; 2 all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the Lord your God:  3 Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field.  4 Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb, the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your livestock, both the increase of your cattle and the issue of your flock.  5 Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.  6 Blessed shall you be when you come in and blessed shall you be when you go out.

Psalm 90:14-17
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad as many days as we have been afflicted, and as many years as we have seen evil.
16 Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish for us the work of our hands – O prosper the work of our hands!

Second Reading:  Romans 5:1-5
5 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Gospel:  John 6:25-36
25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" 26 Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal." 28 Then they said to him, "What must we do to perform the works of God?" 29 Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." 30 So they said to him, "What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" 32 Then Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." 34 They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always."  35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

blessed with the gift of sabbath Aug 26, 2018


We are blessed to have Pr. Brad Fuerst, pastor of Lutheran Campus Ministry/UT preaching and presiding at Communion as we continue to explore our theme of Sabbath:  “Re-Engaging!”

╬ “Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart!”  We have been blessed with the gift of sabbath, by the God of sabbath!  We have known what it is to dwell in the “chesed,” the blessing of God’s lovingkindness experienced in sabbath rest.  The challenge becomes holding to our identity as sabbath people as we resume our busy lives with their array of often conflicting demands.  The Jewish practice of phylacteries – little boxes of Scripture – as prescribed in Deuteronomy, emphasizes keeping God’s truth foremost in our minds and lives.  It comes down to balance.  Being God’s sabbath people in contemporary life means embracing the Martha as well as the Mary in us all.

Readings and the Prayer of the Day are below.

Pr. Fuerst will also bring our Children’s Message and will be leading a conversation about Lutheran Campus Ministry between the services in the Sanctuary.

Blessings to all!
- Pr. Brad Highum

Prayer of the Day:
Gracious God, as we emerge from times of Sabbath, go with us and remember in us the blessings we have received.  As we re-engage in busy lives and responsibilities, help us to remain centered and live in the balance we have learned in Sabbath. Amen.


First Reading:  Deuteronomy 6:1-9
6 Now this is the commandment — the statutes and the ordinances — that the Lord your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy, 2 so that you and your children and your children's children may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life, and keep all his decrees and his commandments that I am commanding you, so that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe them diligently, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may multiply greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you.  4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. 6 Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. 7 Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, 9 and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Psalm 111
1 Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.
3 Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds; the Lord is gracious and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who revere him; he is ever mindful of his covenant.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever.  Holy and awesome is his name.
10 Reverence for the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever.

Second Reading:  Romans 12:1-2,9-21
12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God — what is good and acceptable and perfect.  9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.  14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." 20 No, "if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Gospel:  Luke 10:38-42
38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me." 41 But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her."

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Lord over the sabbath Aug 19,2018

Worship on Sunday, August 19 …

We seek to make the practice of sabbath a living reality in our lives!

╬ “Sabbath was made for us!”  In Scripture, no sooner does God bless us with the gift of sabbath but people begin to get very legalistic about it. This loving invitation from God is translated into a commandment and a host of other law codes governing its proper application in the lives of the people.  Jesus confronts this legalism with a strong rebuke.  “Sabbath was made for people, not people for the sabbath!”  Sabbath is a spiritual discipline, instituted by God.  But it is meant to be practiced for our own well-being and for the sake of human community and all creation. 

 Below are the Readings and Prayer of the Day.

Let’s embrace sabbath, not as “one more thing to do,” but as the invitation to a fuller and more peaceful life as God intends!

Blessings all,
- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY -----------------------
God of life, we seek the blessings of balance and sufficiency in daily living.  Guide us into the practice of sabbath that it might become a place of restoration and renewal in our lives.  Amen.

READINGS -------------------------

First Reading:  Exodus 31:12-18
12 The Lord said to Moses: 13 You yourself are to speak to the Israelites, saying: "You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, given in order that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. 14 You shall keep the sabbath, because it is holy for you; everyone who profanes it shall be put to death; whoever does any work on it shall be cut off from among the people. 15 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall be put to death. 16 Therefore the Israelites shall keep the sabbath, observing the sabbath throughout their generations, as a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed."  18 When God finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

Psalm 51:1-3,6-12
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
6 You desire truth in the inward being; therefore, teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Second Reading:  1 Peter 1:3-9
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith — being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Gospel:  Mark 2:23-28
23 One sabbath he was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?" 25 And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? 26 He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions." 27 Then he said to them, "The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; 28 so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Rebirth Aug 12,2018

Worship on Sunday, August 12

We continue our theme of Sabbath with a focus on the blessing of renewal, restoration and …


╬  “Wait for the Lord.”  You’ve heard people say it; perhaps you’ve said yourself.  Having rested after a time of protracted effort, struggle, exhaustion, recovery from illness … “I feel like a new person!”  This not just “something we say.”  It is a genuine experience of renewals and is  founded in a promise from God.  God ministers to us, body and soul, in times of sabbath rest that we might be refreshed and restored, quite literally “reborn.”  As God says through the prophet:  “Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength … mount up like eagles … walk and not faint … run and not be weary!”  Sabbath is about rebirth!

The Prayer of the Day and Readings are below.

We celebrate sabbath as a gift from God that restores us to life!

- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY --------------------------
God of life, in you is the invitation to rebirth. You embrace us in your ongoing act of creation and open the way to new life.  We give you thanks for the gift of Sabbath and the way in which you make all things new.  Amen.

READINGS -------------------------------------------
First Reading:  Deuteronomy 30:15-20
15 See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Psalm 40:1-5,16-17
1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.
4 Happy are those who make the Lord their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods.
5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you.  Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted.
16 May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, "Great is the Lord!"
17 As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer, O my God.

Second Reading:  2 Corinthians 5:16-21
16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Gospel:  Matthew 11:25-30
25 At that time Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Sabbath Rest - August 5, 2018

My friends, we continue this Sunday, August 5, with our Sabbath theme, focusing on Rest!

╬  Sabbath Rest!  Imagine what the world would be like if on a given night, everyone, everywhere, got a good night’s sleep.  A rested world would be a happier, more peaceful place; it just would be.  Rest – sabbath – as the Bible talks about it is more than just good sleep.  It is to separate ourselves from the daily routines and habitual paths of life.  It is not defined as sleeping or doing nothing, it is abstaining from the busy-ness and tasking, for a time, to devote ourselves to the One who gives us life and longs for our wholeness and well-being.  The invitation from God is, “Rest in me.”

The Prayer of the Day and Readings are below.

I pray for you all to find these places of intentional rest in the embrace of God.  We can encourage this in one another, and all be the better for it!

Love and peace,

- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY ---------------------
Gracious God we give you thanks for your invitation to sabbath.  Help in the midst of life to find rest for ourselves in you.  Help us to live in balance, centered in your goodness and grace. Amen.

READINGS -----------------------------------
First Reading:  Ecclesiastes 4:1-8
4 Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun. Look, the tears of the oppressed — with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power — with no one to comfort them. 2 And I thought the dead, who have already died, more fortunate than the living, who are still alive; 3 but better than both is the one who has not yet been, and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.  4 Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from one person's envy of another. This also is vanity and a chasing after wind.  5 Fools fold their hands and consume their own flesh.  6 Better is a handful with quiet than two handfuls with toil, and a chasing after wind. 

7 Again, I saw vanity under the sun: 8 the case of solitary individuals, without sons or brothers; yet there is no end to all their toil, and their eyes are never satisfied with riches. "For whom am I toiling," they ask, "and depriving myself of pleasure?" This also is vanity and an unhappy business.

Psalm 23
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;
3 he restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 And though I walk through the valley of death, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff — they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Second Reading:  Philippians 4:4-9
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Gospel:  Mark 6:30-33
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 He said to them, "Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.


Sunday, July 29, 2018

Remember and Recollect July 29, 2018

Worship on Sunday, July 29 …

We are pulling the theme of “remembrance” forward in our Sabbath sequence.  July 29 is a “5th Sunday” and we will have a “Celebrate America”-themed community meal following worship at 12:30. 

╬  Remember!  Sabbath is a time to remember … to remember who we are and whose we are.  To remember all of the blessings of our lives and all of the people who give life meaning.  To remember the ways we have been nurtured and guided, and the challenges in which we have grown further.  Sabbath is an invitation from God to “re-collect” our lives, literally to “re-member,” to re-assemble ourselves out of the often scattering and fragmenting experiences of daily living.  It is to hear, once again, the One who says, “You are my own, blessed and beloved.  My delight!”

Readings and the Prayer of the Day are below.

I pray for a time of Sabbath for our nation, to remember our true identity and deepest convictions of compassion, justice and peace, for the sake of God’s world.

Blessings to you all, looking forward to celebrating with you!

- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY -----------------------
Gracious God we give you thanks for the gift of sabbath.  You bless us with a time for re-membrance, for re-collection, for re-connection.  Help us to live whole lives, centered in you, in remembrance of your goodness. Amen.

READINGS ------------------------------

First Reading:  Numbers 15:37-41
37 The Lord said to Moses: 38 Speak to the Israelites, and tell them to make fringes on the corners of their garments throughout their generations and to put a blue cord on the fringe at each corner. 39 You have the fringe so that, when you see it, you will remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them, and not follow the lust of your own heart and your own eyes. 40 So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and you shall be holy to your God. 41 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord your God.

Psalm 25:1-10
1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me.
3 Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.
6 Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness' sake, O Lord!
8 Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

Second Reading:  2 Peter 1:3-15
3 God’s divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature. 5 For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. 8 For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For anyone who lacks these things is short-sighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins. 10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble. 11 For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.  12 Therefore I intend to keep on reminding you of these things, though you know them already and are established in the truth that has come to you. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to refresh your memory, 14 since I know that my death will come soon, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

Gospel:  Luke 22:14-23
14 When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. 15 He said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." 17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." 19 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 20 And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 21 But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. 22 For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!" 23 Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Be Still - July 22, 2018 Mixed Blessing 25th Anniversary

Worship this Sunday … Mixed Blessings 25th Anniversary

My friends, we have launched into our second Pentecost series, focusing on Sabbath!  As in all things, we look to Jesus for light and guidance in times of confusion, frustration and fear.  In him we receive the invitation to center ourselves in God in the midst of busy, challenging lives.

Be Still!

The sheer volume of life is astounding, in every sense of the word:  the quantity of things that invite or demand our attention and the “noise level” that can create.  It is all a part of the active and complex lives we lead.  Yet it has the power to push us off center, to throw us out of balance; many times in the course of a day, sometimes for extended periods of time.  God’s invitation is to “shalom” – peace – even in the most chaotic times and circumstances.  We’re invited to balance and center ourselves in God, come what may.  In the voice of the Psalmist, God says, “Be still and know!”

Readings and the Prayer of the Day are below.

AND …  it’s time to celebrate!  We will bless Mixed Blessings in worship for their 25 years of music and worship leadership at Abiding Love! 

Tom Hokanson says the song list include: 

  1. Love Carrier 
  2. Best of Friends 
  3. All Together 
  4. Salt and Light 
  5. What We've Come Here For 
  6. Seek First 
  7. We Believe in God
  8. Where Do I Go? 
  9. Hope Set High
  10. Let the Flames/Shine Jesus Shine
  11. May the Lord
  12. I Will Call Upon the Lord
  13. We Are Marching

- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY -----------------
Lord of life we look to you.  Help us to know your presence in all weathers, in all the joys and challenges of life.  Help us to hold you in view when life becomes chaotic.  Help to live our lives, centered in your goodness. Amen.

READINGS -------------------------

First Reading:  Exodus 20:8-11
8 Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 10 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work — you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.

Psalm 46
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.
6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God!  I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth."
11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Second Reading:  Galatians 5:16-25
16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.

Gospel:  Mark 4:35-41
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." 36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" 39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40 He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?" 41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"

Sunday, July 15, 2018

renewal and refreshment July 15,2018

Worship on Sunday, July 15 …

We begin a new series focused on Sabbath, finding renewal and refreshment in the midst of life.

“In the Beginning …”

╬  “Remember the Sabbath!”  It’s one of the primary and central commandments given to a wayward, wandering people as God begins to form them in community.  Sabbath is the invitation to balance and sufficiency in the face of striving and desire.  It is the gift of presence, peace and renewal in a complex and often chaotic world.  Sabbath is a practice of healing and wholeness which God seeks for each and all.

The Prayer of the Day and Readings are below. 

I’m really looking forward to exploring this theme with you and our whole community!

 Blessings of sabbath to you all,

- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY --------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lord of life, help us to grow deeper in our understanding of sabbath, as you proclaim it for the well-being of the world. Help us to be diligent in our practice of sufficiency, peace and wholeness in you. Amen.

READINGS ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

First Reading:  Genesis 1:26-2:3
26 Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."  27 So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  28 God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." 29 God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.  2 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2 And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.

Responsive Reading:  Ecclesiastes 2:24-3:8
2:24 There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God;
25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?
26 For to the one who pleases him God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy; but to the sinner he gives the work of gathering and heaping. This is vanity and a chasing after wind.
3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Second Reading:  Hebrews 4:1-11
4 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "As in my anger I swore, 'They shall not enter my rest,'" though his works were finished at the foundation of the world. 4 For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows, "And God rested on the seventh day from all his works." 5 And again in this place it says, "They shall not enter my rest." 6 Since therefore it remains open for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he sets a certain day — "today" — saying through David much later, in the words already quoted, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."  8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later about another day. 9 So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; 10 for those who enter God's rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. 11 Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs.

Gospel: Mark 1:29-39
29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31 He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.   32 That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered around the door. 34 And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.  35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37 When they found him, they said to him, "Everyone is searching for you." 38 He answered, "Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do." 39 And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.