Tiny Testimony: A God Always There

Hi everyone,
I hope your week is going well, and if you live up north, that you’re driving through the snowstorms safely!  

I just wanted to give a tiny testimony of the Almighty Father: 

God is there.  He might be in Heaven with Jesus, but his Spirit roams the Earth, covering us like a blanket.  His arms are always wrapped around us when we pray (whether we pray on our knees or by paper) and he brings continual comfort to us.  Since God is Spirit, he lives in us as we are His Temple.  We are never far from God.

The reason I wanted to share this testimony is because I’ve struggled with knowing if God was there, and if he was, where was he?  I have always known God was there in Heaven, but I didn’t understand that he is ALWAYS near us via his Spirit until I realized GOD is spirit.  True to Biblical Unitarian form, God is present always because his gift to us at baptism is in us.  Not only that, but God roams the Earth as Spirit to breathe life into everything as Creator.  

God is wonderful.  God is Spirit.  And he is our holy mystery and intimate Father.  

Alleluia and Amen.

Love, Leigh Todd

Thanksgiving Day Sermon

Almighty Congregants,

Blessed be our God, and His Son Jesus Christ, in communion with His Holy Spirit.

Yesterday was thanksgiving.  Yesterday, we commemorated the day of giving thanks for all that we have, in expressing gratitude for our loved ones who are here physically and those in spirit, and for the wonderful food we might have eaten.

May we ever be grateful, folks.

In one of our readings from yesterday, Joel, who was a minor prophet in the Old Testament, spoke of being thankful of having food, of winning battles, for the LORD being faithful in his covenant with the Israelites.  And in 1st Timothy, it is written that we should give thanks, praise, supplication, and everything in between when we worship the Almighty.  For we have one mediator of our prayers – Christ our Lord.  And then in the Gospel of Matthew, it is written that we should not worry about anything, but rely on the LORD for everything.

If it isn’t obvious now, it should be: The LORD is for us, and we should be thankful for that – each and every time.  

An attitude of gratitude is always needed, folks.  We live in a country where we don’t say thank you enough, we swear at people more than we love them, and we consider people “others” if they are not like us.  But, we should live with an attitude of gratitude for our loved ones; we should be grateful and appreciative of people of different backgrounds and cultures and languages.  We live in a fantastic country, but our people aren’t appreciative of what we’ve got!  We’ve got people who can look at things from different angles and viewpoints, and THAT my friends is a blessing, not a curse.  

As we move toward Advent and Christmas season in the church, let us being thankful for our loved ones and neighbors, and yes, even our electronics that make our lives easier.  Simply because they are a creation of the LORD, we should value them with highest honor.  And if you’ve got friends or family who abuse their free will, love them anyway.  You can love others even if you disagree with how they use their free will.  Still invite them to the dinner table and treat them with dignity and respect!

We’ve got one mediator, Christ our Lord, who talks to God the Father on our behalf, advocating for us when the Father sees sinners.  In 1 Samuel, it is stated that during the Judges/Kings period, there was no advocate between God and the Sinner.  But we have a priest and King and Advocate on our side. 

So even if we are heartless sinners, Christ sees a chosen people who have decided, in one way or another, to follow Him.  Let us prove Christ right by how we treat our friends, families, and neighbors.  

“Love one another, as I have loved you.” – Jesus.

Alleluia and Amen.

Life Update: Advent Approaching

Hi everyone,
It’s been a little while since I’ve given my last life update, so here it goes:

  1. I’m growing closer to Catholic salvation theology and mysticism. I’m enjoying studying about Heaven and Hell (and even Purgatory!), and how we can fall from grace.  See my latest “Informal Thoughts” post for that.
  2. Advent is getting closer, so I’m studying up on Matthew and Luke and preparing for Christ’s coming to Earth.  I’m really excited for Christmas, since it’ll be my first with a Christmas tree in FOREVER! Jacob and I had been evicted before we celebrated our first Christmas as a married couple with a Christmas tree.  This year will be a first for both of us.
  3. I’ve been listening to Classic Christmas music on my Pandora/Spotify for the past month now!
  4. The job at Walmart is going good – I love working with Don and Jimmy!
  5. School is…okay.  I wish I could do better on my assignments, though.  I need to devote more time and energy into my papers. I don’t want to be the student I was in high school/undergraduate who always did everything last minute (and terribly).
  6. I got my own desk and marker board finally!!  Productivity for the win (also organization!).
  7.  I’m hoping to study Mormon studies and Pastoral Theology at Seminary!  I’ve decided to be both a rural pastor and rural chaplain!

Well, that’s all I got!

Thanks,
Leigh Todd

Informal Thoughts: Falling from Grace

I just posted this on my informal thinking-cap blog: thebiblicalunitarianchronicles.tumblr.com.  I thought you guys would like this!

Hi everyone,

Today I am going to try to dismantle how we fall from grace and what it means to actually fall from grace.

First, falling from grace means breaking that friendship with God and Christ, with whom you might have had even if you didn’t convert to Christianity – you might have been following Christ in deed and thought, even if you were an atheist.

Second, how we fall from grace is simple: we commit mortal sins. As 1 John 5:16-17 states, there is A mortal sin, which we should not pray about. I’m not sure what that sin could be (and neither does the Vatican know). I can imagine John was talking about either a sexual sin or apostasy, or an un-repented sin. But, since we don’t know, the Catholic church (which I loosely connect with faith-wise, as well as BiblicalUnitarian.com and LDS.org) covers all serious sins that Jesus/Paul/Other Apostle covers in the New Testament.

Falling from grace is pushing Christ and God away by our sins. It’s denying Christ and God, essentially, by our actions. We can do this by treating the poor terribly, terrorizing others, murdering others. In essence, not being Christ-like and being an overall terrible and shitty person. To come back to grace, all we must do is repent. We must turn away from being a shitty person to other people or committing harm to ourselves and come back to God and Christ.

I’m terrible at explaining this, as I’m still learning myself.

But we can’t just repent and say we’ll change. We must actually change.

AND if you are wondering, yes I believe we can fall from grace by our works. But I’ve struggled with this idea, as I’ve wondered about my eternal security and assurance of salvation. It would be easy to believe in just grace, but Jesus was pretty clear in the Bible that we can lose our salvation by poorly treating the least of these. Read Matthew 25 and the whole of the Gospel of Luke!

May we ever be conscious of how we treat others. As Amos 1:8 states, God the Father keeps a record of how we treat others, as he did on how the Israelites (Northern Kingdom) treated the poor.

Thanks for reading!

Alleluia and Amen.

Aim to be just like Son!

portrait-jesus-christ-heinrich-hofmann-186512-wallpaperAs a Unitarian Christian, my biggest aim is to be just like Jesus.  Jesus is our ultimate teacher, and we can learn a lot from his in the Gospels.

For one, he was self-sacrificing.  He gave up his life in love.  He carried all our sins with us to that cross, so that we can be redeemed at baptism.

While I believe we can fall from grace, it is ultimately by grace that we are saved at all!  Christ did so much for us, and we will never be able to repay him.  All we can do is follow Him!

Seco

nd, he called out hypocrisy.  When the Pharisees and religious leaders were self-centered and full of pride, he called out to them to be humble.  He called out them to worship God and love their neighbor as themselves.  Instead of sitting at the head of the table, he asked them to sit at a lower seat until the Son would exalt them himself.  Jesus even flipped tables to call out wrong-doing and hypocrisy in the name of the Father.

Third, he loved.  He cherished each of disciples and followers, and blessed them and asked them to have faith.  It all starts with faith.  With faith, you must care for the orphan, the oppressed, the hurt.

Be like the Son!

Alleluia and Amen!