Category: Meditations

Meditations – February 26, 2020

By Pastor Robert Holdorf    St. Paul United Methodist Church, La Porte City
Have you had opportunities to tell your God experiences and do you have the tools to tell the stories when given the chance? Another question may be why are these stories so important? We are not always given the chance to remember and tell our God stories. When our faith can be shared, it is illustrated by our God experiences; God is alive and at work in our lives. When faith is alive, Jesus is alive. Our bible becomes alive and the experiences of God, recorded in the bible begin to describe our experiences, we are then empowered. We need the opportunities and the tools to tell our God stories.
Your church is that place. There you will have the opportunities to tell your God stories and there you will have people eager to hear your stories. In telling and hearing our stories our faith comes alive. Last month, news agencies were telling bits and pieces of Martin Luther King’s messages. As I heard those messages, I asked myself, where is that voice today? We in the church are not too proud to say to you who may not be in the church, we not only want to hear your God stories, we need to hear them. The good news is you need to tell them. Take every opportunity to tell your God stories and use what images you need in order for the story to be told. Most importantly ask to hear others tell their God stories. We will be the better for it and so will our community. See you in your Church.

Meditations – February 19, 2020

By Pastor Robert Holdorf  St. Paul United Methodist Church, La Porte City
Have you been asked to remember and to tell your experiences of God? The last several weeks we have been saying that we have little opportunity to tell our experiences of God and when we may have opportunities; these experiences are difficult to tell, unless we have biblical images to help. I believe that the reason biblical images work for our God experiences, is because biblical stories are experiences of God from others. As I studied the Bible over the years it has become clearer and clearer to me that the Bible is a collection of stories of God told by a people who had opportunity to tell their experiences. They too, found it difficult, so they used images borrowed, remembered by the community, to tell their experiences of God.
We have a tendency to put the people of the Bible on a pedestal and to think of them as giants of the faith. But they too had the same experiences of God that you and I have had. They had opportunities to tell of their experiences and opportunity to have their experiences written down. One of the miracles is that those stories are for us today. One of the miracles is that those stories are available for us to use as our language for ourselves and one another. One of the miracles is that these stories, those recorded and ours as well, are a source of God’s power for our lives today.

Meditations – February 12, 2020

By Pastor Robert Holdorf St. Paul United Methodist Church, La Porte City
Have you been asked to remember and to tell your experiences of God? We do not find a lot of time to remember experiences of God because our world and culture has a way of keeping us from remembering. But even more difficult is to tell, to share our experiences. Over the years as Pastor I have had so many opportunities to hear these stories. All of them are wonderful, heart-warming, and many are really life changing or at least life guiding. In most cases these experiences are difficult to describe and difficult to put into words.
So difficult that many times people will begin to use biblical images to tell their story. Perhaps you have experienced that also. It takes a peculiar language to tell a peculiar story. You need the language and the biblical image to put your story into words. That is why it is so important for our children to learn the biblical stories not only for the story of God’s love and promise to be with us but also as a means of sharing our experiences of God with one another.
One of the stories that are so meaningful for me is the Jonah story where Jonah is going west when God wants him to go east. This story is so meaningful for me because it describes one of my experiences of God perfectly. When a biblical story begins to reflect us it becomes even more of a source for power to change our lives and give us the healing we all need. Even the gospel of Matthew uses Old Testament stories and images to help explain who Jesus is. Our openness to God experiences provides common ground over the centuries.

Meditations – February 5, 2020

By Pastor Robert Holdorf St. Paul United Methodist Church, La Porte City
Have you been asked to remember and to tell your experiences of God? The St. Paul United Methodist Church here in La Porte City has been in our community for about 165 years now, with the primary task of challenging one another to do just that. We are all different and our experiences are all different. Sometimes they are very dramatic and life changing and sometimes as simple as sitting by the Christmas tree or watching a sunset. Yet these times allow us to reflect and remember and be reminded whose we are and, who the one who spoke all of this into existence is.
We have just completed a Christmas season with family get-togethers and perhaps a memory or two shared and enjoyed. These times of food and celebrations are times that offer all kinds of opportunities to experience the Holy One in our midst. While we remember the season’s events, we quickly forget what ever experiences of God may have been there for us. We forget because our culture really does not encourage us to remember and so we forget. The question remains, have you been asked to remember and to tell your experiences of God? Find a place where you will be encouraged to remember and find a people who will listen to your experiences of God. Hopefully, that place will be your church. It is difficult to have the opportunities to remember your experiences of God but it is even more difficult to tell your experiences.

Meditations – January 29, 2020

By Christopher Simon
Crooked timbers
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” ~ Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV
When one considers the evil that has been done in the name of religion, it is understandable that many give up entirely on organized religion. The sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic church has probably done more to drive the faithful from the pews than “secular humanism” or other worldly philosophies. Likewise, when people see that Islamic extremists are willing to kill innocent people in the name of God, this is a repellent to almost all religion.
The history of the world is awash in the blood of innocents killed in the name of God, and when we look closely at the history of any religion, we almost always see that right from the start strife, division, and schism are there. Read the Acts of the Apostles and see that the early church was beset by division. There were disputes over whether the Gentile converts to Christianity were required to follow the dietary and other restrictions of Judaism (cf. Acts 15). We see also that the Hellenistic Jews complained that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food (cf. Acts 6:1).
Rumblings of discontent show up early in every organization and continue throughout its life. The philosopher Immanuel Kant remarked that “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.” Understanding this should make us humble, and tolerant of the foibles of others.
We are all weak and by nature sinful, but we can improve, with the help of God and a sincere desire to be better persons.


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