Thursday, April 18, 2019 2:43 PM

RE - Affirming Our Faith

Thursday, April 18, 2019 2:43 PM
Thursday, April 18, 2019 2:43 PM

RE - Affirming Our Faith

A recent discussion about the Apostles’ Creed reminded me of a church member’s stated resistance towards reciting the creed. His concerns were over the words, “we believe in the holy catholic church…” The sincerity of this brother was clear as he said, “I honestly struggle with those words and cannot (in good conscience) say that I believe in {the holy catholic church}.”

I expressed gratitude for such honest, contemplative sharing of his observations. We agreed that reciting with others, the words of the creed, was a time of reaffirming and giving substance to our faith. Further prayerful discussion led us beyond the creed’s affirmations about God and the identity of believers, and allowed us to focus on the community of the people of God. I noted that the word “catholic” was not capitalized, nor meant to signify the name of the church.

Rather, the emphasis was/is placed on the nature of the Body of Christ as being holy and universal – We are part of the family of God who shares an unbroken line of communion…

Together, let us continue to strongly affirm our faith. Whenever there is a deficient view of the Church, may God resolve questions within our minds with divine answers in our hearts!

– Linda I. McDaniel

Friday, April 12, 2019 1:02 PM

The Worst Thing...

Friday, April 12, 2019 1:02 PM
Friday, April 12, 2019 1:02 PM

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
What is the worst day of your life?
What is your greatest failure?

One of the things that I love about Simon Peter is how often he messes up! Not because I am rooting for him to fail but because of how he is able to respond to his failures through the grace of God. The next two weeks in the life of the church include some of the worst days of Peter’s life and some of his biggest mistakes. But just like Peter it is not mistakes that define us but what happens on Easter Sunday!

In Adam Hamilton’s book, Simon Peter, we are reminded “Peter’s story shows us that we need not be defined by our failures. God does not define us by the worst thing we ever did. Jesus makes amazing use of flawed disciples. He continually invites us back, forgives us, and restores us. Sometimes he uses us even more profoundly, not merely in spite of our flaws and failures but because of them. Jesus is the Lord of the second chance. If the disciple who denied knowing Jesus could become the Rock on which the church was built, there is hope for us too.” (p 105)
Frederick Buechner encourages us as Resurrection people. “Resurrection reminds us that the worst thing is never the last thing.” As we journey towards the cross and ultimately towards resurrection, remember that the worst thing you’ve ever done, the worst day of your life, or your greatest failure do not define who you are! You are a beloved child of God and I can’t wait to celebrate resurrection with you.

In Christ, Will

Thursday, March 28, 2019 4:01 PM

Our Soul’s Response

Thursday, March 28, 2019 4:01 PM
Thursday, March 28, 2019 4:01 PM

One of today’s devotionals reminded me of ways in which we respond to heartaches and trials. Though some may choose to weep in silence, others may groan as the agonies of the soul weigh heavily upon their hearts. Each has a different way of handling pressure, and we express ourselves, accordingly.

These powerful words stood out: “It is said that springs of sweet, fresh water pool up amid the saltiness of the oceans, that the fairest Alpine flowers bloom in the wildest and most rugged passes, and that the most magnificent psalms arose from the most profound agonies of the soul. May it continue to be! Therefore, amid a multitude of trials, souls who love God will discover reasons for boundless leaping joy. Even though ‘deep calls to deep’ (Psalm 42.7), the clear cadence of the Lord’s song will be heard.”

I do believe that during the most difficult hours that could ever enter a human life, it will be possible to bless the Lord at all times. God’s Spirit continues to share the Lenten journey ahead as we remember the path that Jesus walked, for us, all the way to Calvary and beyond…

As the deer pants for
streams of water, so my
soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for
the living God. Psalm 42:1-2a

– Dr. Linda I. McDaniel

Friday, March 22, 2019 2:01 PM

Headed to the Cross

Friday, March 22, 2019 2:01 PM
Friday, March 22, 2019 2:01 PM

During this Lenten season, I always think about the fact that we are headed to the cross.

As we studied the book of John before this season began, Jesus would often say; “My time has not yet come.” Then He finally says, “My hour has come.” That hour was His death on the cross. And I always remember that He also called us to be His followers by “denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Him.”

It’s funny that a couple of books I have been reading this week, and our Bible study for the SLI team, all have highlighted this significant call of Jesus.

Newsletter articles don’t allow enough space to talk about how badly we have interpreted this passage in our modern day Christianity. So I will give you a couple of thoughts about what it really means.
First, Bonhoffer says, “If our Christianity has ceased to be serious about discipleship, if we have watered down the gospel into emotional uplift which makes no costly demand and which fails to distinguish between natural and Christian existence, then we cannot help regarding the cross as an ordinary everyday calamity, as one of the trials and tribulations of life.”
A criminal only picked up a cross after a death sentence. The Lenten season is not about giving up coffee, or taking on good deeds for 47 days. It is about running headlong to the cross where we come to die. Die?

Second, we have reduced our relationship to Jesus by saying, “We have invited Him into our hearts.” I think “wrong answer.” I have abandoned my life over to Jesus Christ. I no longer control my life, but my life is controlled by God. Bonhoffer again says, “For the Christian the only realities are those the person receives from Christ.”

Well, I hope you die this Lenten season. And I hope you come alive in Christ Easter Sunday morning.

Geaux Tigers, Barry

Thursday, March 14, 2019 3:13 PM

Lent - Love It and Hate It

Thursday, March 14, 2019 3:13 PM
Thursday, March 14, 2019 3:13 PM

I don’t know about you but Lent is one of those seasons that I both love and hate. I love it because it gives me a chance to deepen my spiritual disciplines and provides space and time for me to take risks in my spiritual journey. I hate it because I don’t like failure; I don’t like messing up, and I really don’t like for others to know that I’ve messed up. Anyone else like that?

Lent is a season of preparation where we fortify our hearts for the pain of Holy Week and prepare our lives for the joy and power of the resurrection.

My struggle with not wanting to fail often keeps me from taking risks in my growth around spiritual disciplines or being public with success and failures.

I was at a continuing education event a few weeks ago when I heard a quote from Mary Oliver that really stuck with me – “Things take the time they take. Don’t worry. How many roads did St. Augustine follow before he became St. Augustine?” I don’t know how much you know about St. Augustine but he is someone who failed (a lot), messed up (a lot), and wasn’t afraid to let others know about it (check out his book Confessions).

Too often I get frustrated when I’m not growing at a rate that I would like or if my prayer life has ups or downs. If that’s you as well, keep your eyes on Christ and your feet on the journey towards Him. If we keep walking the journey I know and believe that the Holy Spirit will continue to transform us into the image of Christ no matter how many times we fail or mess up and no matter how many people know about it.
My hope and prayer for all of us this Lent is that we will let things take the time that they take, and that we will seek to grow in grace and love as we model our hearts and lives after Jesus.

In Christ, Will

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