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Pastor Tom's Encouraging Mini Messages

posted Apr 1, 2020, 1:46 PM by Lois Kerchner   [ updated May 21, 2020, 5:19 PM ]
May 21, 2020

Philippians 2: 1-16
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Th
erefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[c] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.

4/29/2020 When Jesus fed the multitudes, he didn’t do it himself while his disciples watched. He gave THEM the bread and fish! He placed in THEIR hands the means of life. Today, we are seeing in the very same way the disciples “distributing the elements” or the life sustaining food. Let’s not miss God’s Presence and work in the countless people who are caring and feeding and driving and risking and more!  

4/29/20      Cow Manure and Bells and Wealth

T.S. Eliot wrote, “All our life is exploration, and the end of all our exploring is to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”   

Tonight, at 6:00 P.M., I stepped outside and took in what is likely an unpleasant odor to many.   To me it was rejuvenating.   The church bell rang, and a moment of transcendence occurred.     Childhood.   That hell from which I vowed to escape.   Those long, dreary days of boredom and labor.    Those grown-ups who seemed content with life and each other in a world which promised glamour and wealth and happiness.

Then, the smell.  The bell.  The memories of those saints.   And for a moment, I realized, “This.”  


Video of Pastor Tom "The Hat Video"  April 15, 2020



                                 Palm/Passion Sunday:   I Love You Sunday!”

The great irony of the crucifixion is that Jesus, who was everything, had everything taken away from him.  

Jesus, a King who will die with nothing but a crown of thorns.

Jesus, who was willing to bring all humanity to his side, putting others first, ended his journey walking alone.   All that love, and this was the payoff.

Jesus, who was one with creation, dies nailed to it, a wooden cross.   With his arms still wide open.

My mentor led me to wonder if Jesus was crucified because he offered something that we always say we want:  Love.

It has been said that when we say those words, “I love you,” we give the other power over us. We give them power to destroy us, shape us, break our heart. Perhaps that’s why true love is so dangerous; perhaps so rare.

Love can hurt and love can crucify.   And yet, here is Jesus, showing us on Easter, that love remains the only way to a resurrected life.

Lazarus Saturday

John 11: 43-45

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.  Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”   45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

Today is the day before Palm Sunday.  In the Orthodox tradition, this day commemorates the raising of Lazarus by Jesus.  It is called “Lazarus Saturday.” 

Yes, Jesus brings Lazarus back to physical life. But the main point of raising Lazarus is not to show us that Jesus can raise a dead man back to life for a brief period of time. 

The main point of raising Lazarus is to teach that Jesus, here and now, can overcome death!   It is a revelation that Jesus offers life nowRight now!   Jesus offers us a life that will never die because it is God’s only life! 

Lazarus died eventually. And so will you and I. But Jesus offers us a life right now that lives through death so that when we die we already have God’s life running through us! 

Be at peace!

Pastor Tom

This is a photo of a section of the Valley of the Shadow of Death mentioned in Psalm 23. Once it was a road of great risk and fear. Today we walk a different kind of road, a virus that has stunned the world and each day brings fear and sorrow. Many today pray Psalm 23 and find the comfort and faith it has provided for centuries. Why not open your Bible now, turn to the Psalm, and draw on that same strength?

Pastor Tom

Friends. Family. Not far back, on a trip to Bethlehem, I took this photo. Not to be cute, but to highlight the struggles that many people endure each day. Here, fellow Christians must manage life with limited water rations. And other luxuries I have taken for granted. Their strength and unshakable faith challenged me then, and even more now. I lived in Juarez, Mexico and found even greater hardship. So, let us all, who claim the name of Jesus, reflect deeply upon our blessings and responsibility. And follow what the Holy Spirit compels us to do.

Pastor Tom