July 2018

Pastor Loren Mai        Recently I was watching a professional basketball playoff game. It was a tense, exciting game, and a player made a free throw to tie the score with five seconds left. He then missed a second free throw—leaving the score tied. A player on the same team rebounded the missed shot, and then, inexplicably, dribbled the ball away from the basket and did not try to make a game-winning shot. The game went into overtime, and the team that had tied the score (and had a chance to win in regulation time) lost the game.

       The player who rebounded the missed free throw was asked what he was think-ing, and he had no good answer for his action (or lack of action). It was specu-lated by many a sports-caster that the player simply became confused about what the score was, and that he assumed his team had the lead and therefore would win the game. That seemed to be the most logical explanation, although the whole sequence of events was puzzling.

       There is confusion in our lives—every day and always. We do something puz-zling, and we do not know why we did it, or we don’t know why we didn’t do something. Our confusion is caused by our sin, and as St. Paul says in Romans, “I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” And this: “I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.”

       This summer, come to worship, and come to Jesus—a guide in our confusion. We may not have less confusion, and we certainly do not have less sin, but we do worship the one who brings forgiveness and new life in all of our confusion.

Pastor Loren D. Mai

A WORD FROM PHIL

       And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Matthew 4:19

       I recently took my two daughters, Jillian and Abigail, fishing. It was a lot fun because it com-bined two of my most favorite things, fishing and spending time with my kids. Now, when I go fishing alone I pretty much have it down to a science. I hop in my truck, drive right up to my favorite spot, get out, and spend the evening hard at work. On the other hand, when I fish with my kids, it is a completely different experience.

       First of all, before we even left the driveway, Abby already made friends with and named each worm. On the way out of town she adamantly stated that we would not be using her new friends as bait. So, we stopped at the gas station and bought some unnamed and un-loved worms, along with some snacks and drinks. Then we hit the road again.

       When we got to the lake and after setting our new worm friends free, getting the poles ready, eating our snack, and subsequently alerting all of the fish to our presence, we finally started fishing. About half of the time was spent digging the lines out of the weeds and off the bank. The other half spent getting the hook unstuck from a pant-leg and exploring the shore-line with Abby while Jill sat in the truck and read her book. But, somehow among the three of us we caught three little bluegills. One each. Of course, Abby named and petted each one be-fore we set them free to be reunited with their families.

       It is amazing how two similar experiences can be completely different. This is a fun example but life is very much like this. Childhood, raising kids of your own, even old age. As it is with our faith journey. Yes, we are all children of God. Yes, we are companions on this earth, walking together as brothers and sisters in Christ. Yes, we are all called to go fish-ing for the Lord, as was Peter and the other disciples. Yet our approach and our experiences are different. While some of us are out making friends with the worms, others are sitting in the truck reading a book. They are both ok. We are all called to walk by faith and to live the Christian life through what we say and do, the best way we know how. We are each uniquely created in Christ’s image.

       How are you living your faith journey? How are you sharing God’s love in your life? How do you go fishing? May God be with you as you journey through life.

       May the Lord of comfort and joy guide you as you proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ this day and always. Amen.

Phillip Hett