From Pastor Karl

From Pastor Karl (41)

Monday, 29 May 2017 10:13

Memorial Day 2017 Do You Remember?

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Do You Remember? 

In reviewing Memorial Day tributes online, I found this brief tribute by President Reagan. I was especially struck by the phrase that we owe our fallen military serviceman a "debt we cannot repay." How simple. How profound. How true. 

So, in the very least, remember.  Pause. Stop. Watch. Listen. Reflect and remember on this long holiday weekend because it honors their sacrifice.

Secondly, as Christians who live by faith passed down one generation at a time, our civic calling to remember provides a great time to remember Christian martyrs, such as this family,  that were killed bearing witness to Christ. They too have made a sacrifice we're unable to repay, but we can remember. Pause. Stop. Watch. Listen. Reflect and remember on this US holiday what is true globally for Christian martyrs.

By remembering we honor their sacrifice...and gain perspective on our lives...

Do you remember?

Pastor Karl
Thursday, 25 May 2017 10:07

Ascension Day Thoughts

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Ascenday Day, today, is a little like a transfer of Power, kinda. 

The Christian church celebrates Ascension day 40 days after Easter, basically since the 14th century. There isn't much in the way of detail, and Luke has most of the story in 24.50-53. 
"He led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God." 

Jesus, the Resurrected Jesus, had just completed 40 days of coming and going, appearing and disappearing, assuring and equping for what was next. And one thing is clear in his pattern - it's all about the mission to bring souls back to God where they were first together - in the Garden. By this point he had instructed his diciples to "stay and wait" for "power from on high." (Luke 24.49) They didn't know, they couldn't know the Spirit's Power, sent from Jesus, would distribute all that Christ had won on the cross, and guarntee it all in the resurrection. 

We're here because of that "transfer of power." We have the freedom to live freely because of that "transfer of power." We have the assurance we've been designed and redeemed to live forever because of that "transfer of power." 

What a life we live as a result of Jesus' ascension and the power of the Spirit that came after that... but that's getting ahead of the story a litle bit... 

Pastor Karl 
10AM Worship Schedule Change

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the new worship schedule?

We’ll be celebrating worship at 10a every Sunday from now through September.

What is being asked of me?

Each family is being asked to alter their worship patterns for a season – for the sake of the mission. This is a simple but profound way to sacrificially contribute to the building of our mission, “Receive, Invite and Invest in God’s Power and Peace.”  

What is the full Sunday morning schedule?
·       9a “God Questions Café” (beginning June 4th) is an interactive, conversational study to address the questions you bring forward. Ask anything. They’ll be organized and then discussed each time we gather. We’ll meet in the sanctuary and begin precisely at 9a with hymns and songs of praise, prayer and then the topic at hand. We’ll conclude no later than 9:45a.
·       10a Worship will proclaim the theme, “Why Jesus!?” all summer. Each message will also include an opportunity to create and edit your story of “Why Jesus, for you!”  This is a call, a challenge to rise above church-like institutionalism to the personal transformation to which Jesus has redeemed us!

Why did we move to the new worship schedule?

Seasonal attendance no longer supported two worship services which inadequately illustrated our passion for God’s vision and mission. The phrase discussed was, “emptiness = awkwardness”  - i.e., it became awkward to welcome visitors. We’re the third of five area LCMS congregations to reduce worship offerings out of season.

How was the decision made?

Pastor Karl initiated the conversation after focusing on what would best serve our mission;  research from area LCMS congregations and our history at Peace. His proposal was taken to the Elders for prayer and conversation, then to the Church Council for discussion and consensus. Lastly, “Let’s Talk About It” 5 voluntary small groups discussions were held at 5 different times of day.

What was the purpose of the “Let’s Talk About It” gatherings?

The primary purpose was to practice loving and respectful conversation when we disagree while focusing beyond personal preferences to mission-mindedness. Secondarily, it was to begin to grow our partnership relationship; thirdly to make sure nothing was missed in the recommended proposal.

Saturday, 20 May 2017 15:38

Speaking the Truth in Love

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Do you know what is true and what is not? 

Do you know what truth is, and what is not? 

When you know it, and you discover an un-truth, a lie, can you lead to the truth in love? (Or are you tempted to either pick up a metphorical 2x4 and use it on the hard-headed, or just forget about it?) 

This Sunday's worship is about speaking the truth of Jesus and his resurrection, and modeling our conversation after Paul visiting with the people of Athens. (Acts 17.16-21) Although "provoked" by the mistaken spirituality of Athens, he entered into dialogue with the Jews there and the philosophers of the day. He began by respecting what they were believing and then led them from there. He quoted their own poets to illustrate the true connection to God - and the grace upon grace that is illustrated in Creation and evident in Jesus' resurrection! 

Jesus calls the Holy Spirit, "The Spirit of Truth." (John 14.17; 15.26; 16.13) His purpose, is to bear witness to Jesus and lead disciples to speak the truth - and do it in love!

We'll ask the Spirit of Truth to lead us in worship, and perhaps more importantly, lead us from worship to encounters like St Paul in Athens. There are many, many, gods out there, and together we'll seek ways to love and respect the people who follow them and then lead them by the same Spirit of Truth that has been leading the church since Pentecost!

See you soon, Good Lord willing,
Pastor Karl  

Friday, 12 May 2017 19:39

We All Need Nourishment

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Our Mother's Day worship celebrates the process of being nourished by God through moms! 

Although we talk about Peace entering a New Era, the 21st century mom defies pretty much redefines any "new era" as well as any stereotypical description. From stay-at-home moms to work-from-home moms and basically any iteration inbetween, moms are writing blogs, starting foundations, doing surgery or doing laundry. And some overachievers all of the above.  

Still...there's a common denominator throughout all 21 century maternal configurations - we've all been nourished from the womb. In amazing ways, nourishment is extracted from the food we eat and tranferred to the developing child. The placenta, the umbillical cord and lots of other parts I'm unaware of, tranfer nutrition from the table, or from behind the wheel, to the rapidly dividing cells of a baby growing up... 

We're celebrating not only the marvelous, if not mysterious exchange of nutrition designed by the Creator, but also how this process serves as a wonderful, visual metaphor for the way our God has designed us to be nourished at levels deeper than cell division -- all the way to the soul. 

Jesus offers soul food (if you will) that he provides from now and onward into eternity. He calls it, "food that will endure to eternal life..." (John 6.27) It turns out, it can be defined and described in similar terms as the feeding of an unborn child. 

Come to celebrate moms and the process of being nourished by God through moms - in more ways than you might be thinking right now! 

Oh, and by the way, this is your reminder if at all possible, "Call your mom."
Thursday, 27 April 2017 08:43

A Good Thing That Burns: Passion

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Passion tends to fade, doesn't it!? 

Motivational speeches stir for a while and then fade over time. Physical passion for a beloved over the years is often cyclical at best, gone dormant at worst. Excitement for your new (fill in the blank) you just purchased is high at first, but stuff gets old. Passion tends to fade as we tire of the rush of natural stimulants, like adreniline, or wear out from the unnatural boost of a Red Bull (or its competitors).

Passion tends to fluctuate when it is externally generated.

Passion continues to "burn" when it is inserted into your soul!

Such is the nature the post-Easter walk with Jesus. With the assurance of death defeated; with the promise of the Spirit in powerful way comes the red-hot glowing embers of confidence in Christ.

It is the gift of baptism that inserts this fire into your soul. It is fanned into flame by the work of the Spirit in the receiving of his Word. It is stoked in communion.

Paul told his protege Timothy, this, " into flame the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit - not of fear - but of power and love and self-discipline."

There it is, not a spike of energy from a can, but passion continuously burning, glowing inserted into your soul.

Come Sunday for the stoking of God's Spirit!    
Wednesday, 26 April 2017 16:32

When "Burning" Is A Good Thing

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There aren't many connotations and references that refer to burning as a good thing, but there is one in particular. 

Now I'm fully aware "burning as a good thing" in the context of our recent fires in Collier county can be perceived as foolishness. Indeed, either in Biblical conversation or in Biblical context, "burning" is usually bad/destructive. Our county has had over 7000 acres and a number of homes scorched. Metaphoically, people can often be in trouble when "burning" with lust. In fact, when practiced immorally, relationships can receive the same scorching we've seen recently in Collier county. 

Yet...allow me to introduce a Biblical example illustrating when "buring" was a good thing - even something to be experienced today. 

Two disciples are out for a walk when Jesus joins them (while veiling his identity to them for reasons worthy of another post). To make a longer story short, Jesus ends up illustrating the Bible to them; showing how the Messiah is the center of the whole story. As He's talking the two (unnamed) disciples hearts are kindled to "burning." Their emotional and spiritual fervor rises. They're clinging to the message, hanging on every Word. 

In this instance, "burning" is a good thing - really something I long to do as well. "Burning" with an elevated passion; an increased urgency and strong sense of desire for more is more than a good thing - it's a God Thing. 

It's not really something you do. It's more of something that happens to you. It's what happened to two disciples on the way to Emmaeus and still happens today when we "walk" with Jesus. Read the story in Luke 24.13 and following as a place to bring your kindling wood. 

Worship on Sunday to begin to light the fire... 
Wednesday, 19 April 2017 10:50

Why Would Jesus Say, "Stop Clinging to Me"?

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I remember "losing" our son David when he was about five years old. 

We were at a festival near downtown Fort Worth, TX, walking as a family with each of the small kids, roughly 9, 7 and 5 years old. 
Suddenly Marilouise and I looked down and then at each other to discover that Dave wasn't walking with us in the crowd. I can still feel the difficulty in suppresing the parental panic. 
Long story short - we found him in less than 5 minutes, but I aged 10 years in those five minutes. 

The Biblical point? 

When we found Dave I held him so tightly I was making it difficult for him to breathe. He looked at me with 5 year old eyes as if to say, "Okay, already, Dad." 

I'm certain Mary had that feeling on the morning of the resurrection - only magnified multiple times! She was not going to let him go again...

But Jesus is recorded as saying, "Do not cling to me for I have not yet ascended to my Father..." The present tense verb, "cling" could be read, "clinging." Like I with Dave, she was not going to let him go again. 
Jesus explanation, "...for I have not yet ascended to my Father..." is designed to give her assurance. (John 20.17) You can let go, because I've not gone away yet..... He may also be implying, his ascension is upcoming, but not here yet.... 

Jesus was already engaging the next phase of his mission - to send the Spirit in a powerful way to distribute the grace and forgiveness won on the cross and guarnteed in the resurrection. 

Personal lesson? No need to cling to the moment, let it go, trust that Jesus' plans have you in mind in bigger ways than you think! 
Tuesday, 18 April 2017 09:06

What Replaces Fear's Restrictions?

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The Easter Event - the Resurrection Celebration - unlocks the restrictions of our greatest fears. Yet, it's not enough to "not be afraid;" the vacuum must be filled with something or restrictions and constrictions slowly grab ahold once again. 

The Easter Season is designed for the breath, wind and Spirit of God to breathe into us inspiration for The New Era - for our journies ahead! 

Jesus' comforted Mary next to the empty tomb - and immediately sent her on a mission. "...go to my brothers and say to them..." He didn't say, "Let's hang out" but, "Let's get going." (John 20)

Where, to whom and why are you being sent!? Our New Era at Peace church or your new era in life finds inspired purpose in loving people in your context; your relationship and from your fear-less witness. 

Where are you being sent? 
The restrictions of fears and the constrictions of hopelessness have met the freedom & flow of the resurrection. 

Living in the glow of the emptiness of the cross and tomb provide for the fullness of living out the joy of the resurrection. 

Welcome to the Resurrection lifestyle where restrictions and constrictions of life are loosed to the freedom and flow of the resurrection. 

"For l delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures!" 

 - St Paul (1 Co 15:3–4)
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