Remember that you are baptized

 

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Do you renounce
the spiritual forces of wickedness,
reject the evil powers of this world,
and repent of your sin?

I do.

Do you accept
the freedom and power
God gives you
to resist evil, injustice,
and oppression
in whatever forms they present themselves?

I do.

Do you confess
Jesus Christ as your Savior,
put your whole trust in his grace,
and promise to serve him as your Lord,
in union with the Church which Christ has opened
to people of all ages, nations, and races?

I do.

According to the grace given to you,
will you remain faithful members
of Christ’s holy Church
and serve
as Christ’s representatives
in the world?

I will.

. . . . .

Remember your baptism
and be faithful.

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Easter People, Raise Your Eyebrows

Easter-2-500x250Happy Easter!

It’s a week and a half after Easter. How do you feel?

Did you leap from your bed this morning like a bunny? Are your hard-boiled eggs still all the colors of the rainbow?

Most importantly, did you feel like an Easter people?

A week and a half is not a very long time but in that span many of us have forgotten that Easter ever happened. Oh, we will still remember that Easter happened, in history, but we tend to forget that it happened to us.

I don’t know about you but many times it’s only after the fact that I begin to understand how important something is. The deep meaning of a conversation. The symbolism of a book or movie. That’s how it should be with Easter, too.

That certainly is how it would’ve been for the disciples, understanding more and more what this miraculous event meant for themselves and for the world. It would take a good 10 days just to get over the drama and shock of it all!

I could go so far as to say that if you and I aren’t pondering the miracle of Easter here and now, then we may have reduced it to a spectacular encounter with ham and pie, jellybeans and chocolate.

You and I know it’s more than that.

Easter people, raise your eyebrows. Ponder what it means that Christ is come back from the dead, and into your life. Reflect upon how your life is different. It is, isn’t it?

If you’re not sure, don’t stop reflecting until the stone has been rolled away from your heart.

Go on…

Hop to it!

Have a great week,

Mitch

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25 one-minute faith fixes

A lot can happen in a minute.

If your faith feels a little faded today, try one of these quick fixes and reconnect with God.

1.  See the sky

1. outside

  If you’ve been cooped up inside all day, give yourself a glimpse at the sky.  Feel the wind on your face.
Remember that the Holy Spirit is present.

2.  Give yourself a temporary tattoo

4. tattoo

Really!  Take a pen and make the tiny sign of a cross or fish (ichthus) on your hand.
Every time you look at it today, you’ll remember Jesus.

3.  Remember your baptism

13. baptism

Use the drinking fountain or a sink.  Just wet your fingers and then make the sign of the cross on your forehead.
You are blessed and made clean by God!

4.  Go Green

16. green

 A potted plant, the tree outside the window, a flower, a weed — it doesn’t much matter.
Being in the presence of life like this points you towards the one who gives it.

5. Laugh.

laugh

 Make a joke, watch a Youtube video, remember your favorite episode of Seinfeld.
Every time you laugh your body, mind, and soul get a little healthier.

6.  Do this quick guided imagery

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Take 3 deep breaths.  Close your eyes and picture the following, using your imagination to add detail:
You are in a giant hall.  God is there, with you.  In front of you is an ornate chest.
You hear God’s voice telling you that there’s something specifically for you, today, inside the chest.
Open it.  What do you see?

7.  Donate for free with the click of a mouse.

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Visit Greatergood.com and with the click of a mouse, you can help
support veterans, rainforests, orphaned animals, and much more.  See for yourself!

 8. Invite someone to church

11. invite

What?  In a minute?  Why not!
We spend more time fretting about inviting people than it takes to actually do it.
Ask a co-worker. Send someone an email.  You’ll feel good to have reached out.

9. Strive for silence

silence

Take a minute and simply be in the presence of God.  What the heck.  Take two.

10.  Look at your hand

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Look at the lines on your palm.  Your fingerprints.  The color of your skin.
You are a unique being, and you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

11.  Pray for someone in particular

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It could be anyone.  It could even be yourself.  The person you pray for doesn’t have to be sick, even.
But for one concentrated minute, you are channeling your spiritual energy in praying God’s blessing upon them.

12.  Memorize a Bible verse

6. memorize

In one minute, you can commit a simple Bible verse to memory.
Visit http://ministry-to-children.com/easy-bible-verses/ and you’ll find 10 simplified verses you can pick up easily.

13. Tell someone “I love you”

3. i love you

Who do you need say those 3 magic words to today?  Giving love to someone else helps you to feel it too.

14. Light a candle

1111 flame

There’s nothing like a simple flame to point us to the presence of the Holy Spirit.

15.  Remember your communion

21 Communion

We have the opportunity to take communion all the time — but not necessarily right this moment.
So take a moment and remember the bread and the cup, and what they mean for you and your life.
The love of Christ is still nourishing you — even now.

 16.  Pet your pet or kid with your kid

2. dog kid

The innocence of animals and children is like a giant arrow pointing towards God.
Call up a few fond memories and smile in God’s direction.

17.  Draw Creation

24. creation

I’ll bet you can draw the story of creation in one minute.  No time for perfection here–just sketch it out fast:
The Sun and the stars.  The sky and the water and the land.  The birds and the fishes and the animals and the humans.
Remind yourself of the grandness of God’s gifts.
And don’t forget to put God’s pronouncement on there somewhere:  IT WAS VERY GOOD.

18.  Confess

23. confess

You don’t have to carry guilt around a minute longer.
Don’t beat around the bush — just lay it out there for God to take from you, and ask for forgiveness.
And then, read this:
“Christ died for us while we were yet sinners.  That proves God’s love for us.
In the name of Jesus Christ, You are forgiven!”

19.  Hum Amazing Grace

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Or sing it, if you’re where you can.  Think of how many millions of believers had sung these same words and felt the same Grace.
You are not alone.

20.  Listen to the World.

12. listen to world

The world can be a noisy place, and we tend to block out a lot of ambient noise.
Take a minute, though, and really listen:  The car driving by, the hum of the refrigerator, distant footsteps.
You are called to be part of life’s symphony.

21.  Picture God’s arms around you

7. arms

I frequently share this idea in situations where people are feeling pain or loss,
but really, when wouldn’t God be holding you?  It’s not just an idea…it’s really true.

22.  Recite the Lord’s prayer

10. lord's prayer

This prayer is designed to align us with God’s Kingdom.
Pray it with the confidence and hope of a believer.

23.  put on the armor of God

22. armor

You are a member of the Body of Christ, and an ambassador of the Kingdom of God.  That means you are connected with the powerful Love of God and even able to use it in your life.  When conflict, abuse, or trials come, don’t forget that.

24.  Put a problem in your God box.

20 god-box

My wife does this, and swears it helps.  It’s based on some writings from Anne Lamott.  If there are problems you just can’t face, put them in your God box, and remind yourself you don’t have to be in control of everything.

25.  Recite the story of the Good Samaritan

19. good samaritan

This is one of those parables many Christians know by heart.
Take 60 seconds and tell yourself the story again.
By the time you’re done you may remember Jesus’ 2nd commandment as well
— to love our neighbors as our self.

There you have it!

It’s as if Jesus himself had walked up behind you, tapped on your shoulder, and asked:

“Got a minute?”

Have a great week,

Mitch

The Names of Things

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In Genesis 2, God gives Adam the task of naming all the animals.

It was our first job.  The primary thing for us to do — to give and keep track of the names of things.

If that job falls now to me, God must be disappointed.

I’m not very good at noticing my surroundings, and I’m terrible at identifying things:

Birds, trees, flowers?  I know a cardinal, a weeping willow, and a rose.  That’s about it.

Clouds?  Automobiles?  They’re both pretty much a blur to me as they pass by.

Constellations? People? So much of the time I can’t seem to pull up the names when I need them.

Sometimes I feel like I’m walking around without my glasses on — only dimly aware of the world around me.

I want to see more clearly. I want to know more names of things. Not just because it’s my job, but because it’s the world I live in.

I want to pick up one of those twirly helicopter seed pod things, and be able to tell you the tree it came from.

I want to meet a person once, and then meet them again 3 months later, and be able to call them by name.

I want be able to tell you the names of all the different birds that have come to our feeder, not just the cardinals.

So how does a person learn to do that? Perhaps faith can help.

2 Corinthians 5:7 reminds me that “we walk by faith and not by sight”.

My faith tells me that God placed the spark of life in all the creatures around me.  That God somehow helped form and shape the world I live in.

It is faith that reminds me that the more I know about God’s creation, the more I know about God.

And so, I rededicate myself to the task of naming the world around me,

learning as I go, knowing that God…

is in the details.

Have a great week,

Mitch

Helicopter Seed Pod

That $%#^@ from Aurora.

I started to look up his name.

I’ve already heard it or read it a hundred times, but I wanted to make sure I was going to spell it correctly.

And then I stopped.

This guy gunned down a theater of people.

Do I really want to point out his name?

Truthfully, I have enough on my mind. It’s been a busy week. I have matters to attend to at work and at home.

Now, thanks to this inhuman act, my thoughts and prayers have been on people I’ve never met, who share with me the love of movies, and who never saw this coming.

Maybe my brain is just too full to remember your name, buddy.

I’ll think of you as $%#^@.

Or Monster.

Or maybe I won’t think of you at all.

Maybe you’re sick. Maybe insane. Maybe you need help.

Surely, you need help.

But I don’t want you to be famous for what you’ve done.

I want to say a name, but it isn’t yours.

I want to call out to the One, Jesus,  who can provide Peace to this violent world.

I want to hug my wife Jan and my dog Charlie, and remember to cherish the lives of those I hold dear, and never take them for granted.

These are the names I lift up.

And I pray for the families of Jon Blunk, Alex Teves, Matt McQuinn, John Larimer, Jesse Childress, Rebecca Ann Wingo, Alex Matthew Sullivan, A.J. Boik, Veronica Moser-Sullivan, Jessica Ghawi,  Gordon Cowden, Micayla Medek,

And yes,

I will pray for you, too, $%#^@.

Angrily, perhaps…

but I’ll pray.

Peace,

Mitch