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March 5, 2018

 
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Lent Reflections
 
Monday, March 5, 2018
 
 
Luke 4:23-30
 

Jesus said to those listening in the synagogue in Nazareth, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Doctor, cure yourself!' And you will say, 'Do here also in your home town the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.'" And he said, "Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s home town. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up for three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian." When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Sometimes the home crowd can be tough. It used to frustrate me when I was young and an aspiring musician that there wasn’t more support for the local music scene.  It prompted me to move to Los Angeles to pursue my dreams in the music business. I know several professional musicians who live here but travel and perform all over the world because that is where their fan base is. No matter how famous they are, locally they are still known as so-and-so’s son or daughter or what’s- his-name’s brother or sister, or I went to high school with him or her. That’s not a bad thing, it's just that we see them in a different light. The Nazarenes thought of Jesus more as Joseph and Mary’s son. They were fellow Nazarenes who lived down the street. But Jesus was more than that. He was the Messiah-Son of God. As Jesus spoke in the synagogue about Elijah and Elisha ministering not to the Israelites but to Gentiles, everyone thought something was wrong with this kid. They wanted to see proof of what they heard he had done. Jesus knew this and did not oblige. The crowd was not happy and even tried to kill him. A tough crowd indeed! A prophet my not be accepted in his home town, but I am so thankful that Jesus left his home town to spread the good news to those thought not to be worthy of it — like me.

 
 
 
 
 
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March 4, 2018

 
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Lent Reflections
 
Sunday, March 4, 2018
 
 
John 2:13-22
 

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.He told those who were selling the doves, "Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!" His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me." The Jews then said to him, "What sign can you show us for doing this?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews then said, "This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?" But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

 
 
 
 
 
 

This passage describes a scene of Christ's passion and conviction to have holiness for God's house.

 

His frustration is palpable, over seeing so many others "miss the mark" of using a place of worship for purposes other than growing closer to God.

 

Conviction is a fiery passion that helps us stay focused on what is important to our inner most self, and guide us toward a life of Christian integrity.

 

When are moments in your life where your conviction brought forth intentional effort to stay the course? Have you witnessed other believers or Christian leaders share their convictions with you? How did that shape your faith?

 
 
 
 
 
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March 3, 2018

 
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Lent Reflections
 
Saturday, March 3, 2018
 
 
Luke 15:11-32
 

Then Jesus said, "There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.' So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, 'How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands."' So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly, bring out a robe — the best one — and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!' And they began to celebrate.

 

"Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. He replied, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.' Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. But he answered his father, 'Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!' Then the father said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.'"

 
 
 
 
 
 

Free will, pride, forgiveness, unconditional love, and acceptance are all touchstones of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. We are "lost" at times. We may not lose fortunes, but we can easily be lost in arrogance, judgment of others, jealousy, and greed. However, the Parable of the Prodigal Son teaches us that forgiveness and unconditional love are always on the table. God loves us despite our faults or poor choices. All we have to do is ask for forgiveness and redirect our lives. For most of us, we may need to do this on a daily basis. This scripture also encourages us to be open to those who seek forgiveness, despite their failings or shortcomings. It challenges us to show unconditional love, acceptance, and kindness even when popular sentiment would steer us in a different direction.

 
 
 
 
 
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March 3, 2018

 
Having trouble with this email? Please view it in your browser.
 
Lent Reflections
 
Saturday, March 3, 2018
 
 
Luke 15:11-32
 

Then Jesus said, "There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.' So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and travelled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, 'How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands."' So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly, bring out a robe — the best one — and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!' And they began to celebrate.

"Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. He replied, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.' Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. But he answered his father, 'Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!' Then the father said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.'"

 
 
 
 
 
 

Free will, pride, forgiveness, unconditional love, and acceptance are all touch stones of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. We are "lost" at times. We may not lose fortunes, but we can easily be lost in arrogance, judgement of others, jealousy, and greed. However, the Parable of the Prodigal Son teaches us that forgiveness and unconditional love are always on the table. God loves us despite our faults or poor choices. All we have to do is ask for forgiveness and redirect our lives. For most of us, we may need to do this on a daily basis. This scripture also encourages us to be open to those who seek forgiveness, despite their failings or shortcomings. It challenges us to show unconditional love, acceptance, and kindness even when popular sentiment would steer us in a different direction.

 
 
 
 
 
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