Category: Meditations

Meditations – May 20, 2020

By Pastor Chad Adelmune, Heartland Community Church, La Porte City
Savage Jesus – Part 2
As we pick up this week in our savage Jesus series we will be touching on the topic of validation and we need to remember, God’s love for you is never based on your performance.
Before He ever performs His first miracle, the Heavenly Father speaks a word of validation, and maybe you need to hear that God’s love for you is never based on your performance. Before He ever did anything. It’s kind of like He got the trophy before He even showed up for practice. It’s kind of like God does not validate how people validate, because people will validate you based on what you do for them. People validate you based on the value that your actions carry that will contribute directly to their wellbeing, but God does not validate based on performance. He validates based on relationship. He did not validate what Jesus would do, He validated who He was.
I am writing this after our Mother’s Day service and I had two moms give the message this week, their testimonies were the proof of validation we seek from people that is not from God. They talked about how moms compare themselves to each other and they notice things other moms are better at than they are. We do this all the time and we start to change who we are to receive validation from other people. The problem with this is, God didn’t make us to be like anyone else and we lose our identity when we start acting and living like other people. You are who God made you to be, flaws and all. Embrace this truth and don’t conform to this world and who people say you should be.
And just in case you haven’t heard it in a while, and you feel dirty, and kind of ashamed of yourself, and you feel like you don’t belong in the presence of God. And kind of like you’re not one of those good church people. I want you to know you’re still His child, you’re still made in His image, you’re still bought with His blood. And you don’t have to stand here ashamed, and look forward to one day when you know the bible better, you stop drinking or smoking, you get yourself better. Listen to me! If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, God will never love you any more than He loves you right now! You’re free right now! Loved right now! Cleansed right now! Healed right now! You are His child!
And if you haven’t accepted Jesus yet, He is here right now and you can lay everything down in this moment at the cross. If that’s you, say this prayer with me, “Jesus I need you.. I confess I am a sinner and I need your forgiveness. I believe you died on the cross to offer me this forgiveness and a new life. I believe you raised from death on the third day. I give my life to you right now and promise to follow you all the days of my life.
If you prayed this for the first time, know there is a celebration happening in Heaven right now you can’t begin to imagine! Come back next week as we continue our Savage Jesus series.

Meditations – May 13, 2020

By Pastor Chad Adelmund   Heartland Community Church, La Porte City
Savage Jesus
I decided to write about our recent series called “Savage Jesus.” One reason I wanted to use the term “Savage Jesus” is because I knew that religious people wouldn’t like it. We typically like our heroes better safe, one that doesn’t offend us. When we do that, though, it’s almost like we make them a mascot.
I’m afraid we have done this same thing with Jesus. We just describe how much he loved everyone, we picture him carrying a lamb on His shoulders, or playing with little children. We just think about the nice, comforting Jesus, telling us the nice things we want to hear. But Jesus was more than free hugs, and warm feelings. Jesus was a Savage! He would let the Pharisees run their mouth, just setting them up. With just a word or a question he would blast them and leave them stunned and silent!
So let’s get started in this series. Mark 1:1-15 records these words:
“1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way” 3 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ 4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
A lot of us do. We worship a certain version of Jesus. Well, Mark isn’t going to give us that portrait of Jesus. Instead, Mark writes with a paintbrush. He would rather show you than tell you. Demonstration is so much more powerful than Proclamation. Living out your Faith impacts people around you much more than talking about your faith, but giving no evidence of it. For example: Some people can explain all about Salvation and Redemption, Compassion and Love, but they’re so mean to their wife that why would I want a Jesus that can’t keep you from treating your family like crap? And so Mark is going to show us portraits of Jesus.
I’ve broken this introductory message into a couple sections, preparation and validation. This week, I’ll address preparation.
Great things come from small places
They had a saying about Nazareth. They would say, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” They said that about Jesus because the authority that He spoke with did not match the background that He came from. And the works that He would do so outstripped the expectations of the people. He taught with authority, and not as one of their teachers of the law.
Jesus came from Nazareth. Not from Jerusalem. It would have made sense for Him to come from Jerusalem, the center of the temple cult. It would have made sense for Him to have come from, perhaps a place in the Roman Empire that was more important. But Jesus came from Nazareth. It was His place of preparation.
New beginnings come from dead ends. Jesus came from Nazareth, it was His place of preparation. Preparation is kind of the opposite of the primary value of our day. We live in the age of instant validation instead of thinking an issue through, we post it immediately to see if we can get someone to agree or disagree with us just because we want attention. There is nothing off limits, we will even stage our kids. We’re staging them for the approval of people. “I know I have been yelling at you all morning but stand there and smile, it’s the first day of school and I need people to think I’m a good parent.”
Our problem is that we want validation before obedience.
We will look at this validation more next week.

Meditations – May 6, 2020

By Christopher Simon
HOW to improve our lives
“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” ~Colossians 3:9-10 NIV
No matter how bad things are, they can usually be made better. How, you ask? By Honesty, Open-mindedness, and Willingness.
The acronym HOW is a nice reminder of how to get things on
the right track. Because while things can get better, they can also get worse.
By lying to ourselves (and others), by being close-minded, and by being unwilling to work through our problems we are on the road to disaster. On the other hand, honestly assessing our lives (and all of the problems that come with it), by being open to solutions and other ways of looking at things, and finally, by being willing to work at improving our lives we can almost always make things better. Another way to look at this is that people can change for the better, but it takes the willingness to look openly and honestly at our faults, and to be willing to do the hard work necessary to change them.
The practical application of intelligent planning and goodwill can actually improve our lives and the world we live in.

Meditations – April 29, 2020

By Pastor Mike Ashman
Zion Lutheran Church – Jubilee,  Rural La Porte City
Dear Friends,
While it might seem unusual, I have been extending our Wednesday worship services on our Facebook page until things start to look better. Our people are given another opportunity to engage Jesus’ resurrection appearances which they would normally get for couple of weeks – while it remains Easter on our church calendar, the lessons move on from the resurrection. One item which is not stocked on any store shelves is hope, while hope is exactly what these narratives offer.
We have Jesus calling Mary Magdalene by her name as she was weeping beside the tomb. We need to hear that reassurance that God does indeed know us by name, that calls us when we need it the most. In these times, we truly need to be given that sense that even though we are home alone for the past few weeks we are truly never by ourselves.
We have the scene that has comes infamous for doubt. And poor, poor Thomas who has gotten so little respect from so many interpreters throughout the years. But the truth be told, Thomas is not that much different from us. We want proof; we want facts. We want answers that we can see, feel, touch, taste and hear. We want more than mere words or slogans. For the past few weeks, it has been important for us to use our computers, our phones and yes, even our pencils and paper, to keep contact with the people we love. Hopefully in the near future, we will once again be able to hold our loved ones and share all of our stories. As Jesus did with Thomas, it is important for us to share all of ourselves.
Finally, we find Jesus along the seashore shouting out to his disciples in a boat. When it comes to fishing Peter, James and John should know how it was done like the back of their hands, but this was not the Sea of Galilee. After a whole night of work, they had nothing – nothing. But with Jesus calling them to change their approach, they were able to succeed.
Later on Jesus works with Peter, three times reminding him to tend the flock. We all have days when we feel like failures, that no matter what we try (or how hard we work), we feel like nothing. When we have hit the deepest pits of our own ambition, Jesus approaches to give us hope, sometimes even a slight change. Other times like with Peter, God keeps working on us, never giving up.
May God continue to bless you with hope and peace. Mix in a little joy and laughter. But most of all, may you be surrounded with love.

Meditations – April 22, 2020

By Pastor Mike Ashman
Zion Lutheran Church – Jubilee, Rural La Porte City
Dear Friends,
I am writing from what is called the darkest times in present history. Even though tomorrow’s weather will be 70 and sunny, I wish I could give a similar forecast for our world. Normally, I am a glass half-full type of person, but with every day that passes another drop falls from the glass. We are just finishing the Easter services here, putting the final touches of music.
Speaking of music, I am a child of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s – so my taste can be quite eclectic. I remember my brothers installing an 8-track in their AMC, belting out tunes from the late sixties and early seventies. As a grad of ’83, I also caught hold a new generation of music. The other day, these haunting lyrics came streaming through my head,
“And now I’m standing on the corner
All the world’s gone home
Nobody’s changed, nobody’s been saved
And I’m feeling cold and alone …. ”
Songwriters: Frances Claire Swan/Garry Allan Frost
Chills….. a mixture of emotions as a look out my window and listen to the latest news.
A couple of years later in my musical memory, I hear the lyrics to “In the Living Years,”
“I wasn’t there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say”
Songwriters: B.A. Robertson / Mike Rutherford
If these days in which we live teach us anything, they teach us the value of human relationship, something we should not take for granted. Take very opportunity to connect and to reconnect with those who you love. We never know when it will be too late. The one thing that the virus has taught us is that time is of essence.
So, before another drop falls from my glass, we remember we still have hope. Not the false hope given by various pundits of this cure or that remedy. Our hope comes from a more reliable source, one that does not disappoint nor waver.
“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
No merit of my own I claim
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name”
Songwriter: Edward More
Paul writes to the Romans…” hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (5:5) In our darkest days, in our darkest days, let us together lean on hope – because God will not disappoint nor fail.

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