3rd Sunday of Easter: Forgiven Leaders

We are forgiven leaders.  Sinners by nature, saints by grace.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus asks Peter, three times, whether he loves him, and if he does, to care for His Sheep.  Each time coincides with the times Peter denied Jesus.  Each time, Peter seems to be forgiven on the account of his repentant love for Jesus.  Each time, Peter is reinstated as the Rock and Leader of the early church.  He is also reminded of his future death: on the cross, upside down.

We are sinners by nature, saints by grace.

As for my sin, I’ve dealt with serious rage.  Anger that could hurt others and damage my relationships with all.  While God looked down on my rage, as I did not love my neighbors, friends, loved ones, myself, as I should, he did not cast me from his presence.  Instead, he lovingly opened his arms to me, enveloping me in his grace in the waters of baptism.  There, I was rinsed clean, even if it was just by pouring.  Even by baptism of pouring, every sin was poured from my head into the baptismal waters, forever erased like bleach to stains.  I was forgiven.  I was and am considered a saint.

Worthy was the Lamb to receive honor and blessing and wisdom.  And worthy are believers who accept the Lamb, too.  Because when we join God’s people, we receive, albeit slowly, all the honor, the blessings, and the wisdom.  We gain new insight into the Kingdom of God in the here and now, seeing others as Beloveds of God no matter their spiritual status.  All are Beloved.

How many times I’ve cried for help from the Lord, and he has healed me.  He was erased all my fears and their monumental desire to kill my spirit.  He has, having already wiped my slate clean from his eyes, helped me grow in relationship with Him and further work on my anger issues.  He has helped me become medicated, work through therapy, and work on not just apologizing, but making those apologies count the first time.  

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Saul is one of those forgiven leaders.  

He sinned greatly against God’s people, but Christ saw him on the a road to a larger city.  Paul was on a mission to destroy the church, and God’s mission was to destroy Paul’s ego, pride, anger, and prejudice.

God does that to a lot of people.

God used Paul and created in him a better man than ever, more than his previous religion could.  

Because it isn’t religion that saves us – it is God in Christ.  We are sinners by nature, but by grace, Christ saves us and endows us with all the wisdom, love, honor, and a multitude of blessings.  More than any person could handle.  

God loves that much.  Jesus, the God in the flesh, loves us so much.

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Today, in church, we sang about how much Jesus loves us, and how much we love Jesus.  In the multitude of hymns we sang today, we learned that we love Jesus because he first loved us!  As future Christians, we might have cried to God to heal us.  Before we were Christians, we were sinners, but Jesus loved us so much that he helped us enter the waters of baptism on our own free will, eager to join the church’s covenant. 

We are still eager to serve Jesus, by loving God and loving others. 

Alleluia.  How could you be a forgiven leader in this day and age?

Love,
Leigh Todd

Life Update: Enjoying the Sun

IMG_20180812_160521294Hi everyone,

Today marks another Sunday of me skipping church.  I was really tired this morning, so I slept in.  Other than Home Church, I’ll be going to my Mom’s and chilling with family.  I’m also hoping to enjoy a home-made frappe in the sun as I do Bible study.  Currently, I’m studying the topic of Prison and Paradise in the New Testament, and how Jesus preached the Gospel to those in Prison (Gehenna; not Abraham’s Bosom).

It’s a frustrating study, as Catholics teach that Jesus preached to those with Abraham (even though 1 Peter 3-4 says he preached to those who had been disobedient to God at the Flood).  And then there’s the Mormons, who don’t believe believers go to Heaven after they die.  I’m very conflicted on different churches’ teachings.  The only thing I can do is stick my studying and beliefs, as I believe Jesus preached to both the disobedient and those with Abraham, and brought paradise to Heaven (Ephesians 4:8-10).  The only thing to remember is that when we die, we go to be with Jesus and God.  When Jesus preached to those in the Underworld, he allowed Old Testament characters to hear the Gospel and be redeemed as well.  While they will be judged in physical form at the Resurrection, they live in Spirit with God (1 Peter 4).

Nowadays, it’s up to us to spread the Gospel everywhere so that every soul will be saved.  And to add my own personal note, I believe Hell is only temporary – it’s like a refining fire for those who rejected the Gospel or didn’t hear about it beforehand.  I believe in a God of justice, but also in a God of mercy!

(As you can tell, I go against practically every other church’s teachings and forge my own way!  I encourage you to do the same!)

As for a life update, I’m waiting to hear back on a job, to see if I got it or not.  I’m praying and hoping I do!  I’ve also decided to attend First Christian Church in York again, this time with my Mom.  I won’t always be able to attend FCC in Lincoln, because 1) the distance, 2) the cost of gas, and 3) the weather.  Any winter storm will be keeping me home this Christmas season.  So, I’m hoping against hope that I’ll be welcomed in York’s church.  With my Mom coming, I’m hoping she’ll add some encouragement and strength my way.

That’s all!

Thanks,
Leigh Todd

Proper 12: Food, Water, and God’s Miracles

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My view at Miller Park

Hi everyone,

I overslept, so I didn’t go to church, which has kind of ruined the whole Sunday for me, but I’m also hopeful.  I’m doing church at home, where I can read the weekly Gospel reading (John 6:1-21) and think of faith on my own terms.

Today’s home church consisted of going to Runza to get a blended cappuccino drink, walk to Miller Park to write to God, and then come home to study the lectionary.  It’s been a simple day, especially since I can’t do anything on Sundays – all the shops are clsoed!  Even the library!

In Gospel reading, it is not a calm day.  Jesus finds himself in the need to feed his 5,000 (at least) followers as they have traveled very far in a very long day.  Relying on God, Jesus gave thanks for the fish and loafs of bread and miraculously, all were fed with leftovers!  Then at night Jesus was no where to be found, so his disciples traveled across the waters toward Capernaum.   Suddenly, the disciples saw that Jesus was walking on the water in the midst of a storm!  The disciples were frightened, but Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid, I am here!”

As God’s servant, agent, King, prophet, and Son and Savior, we can rely on Jesus.  As Jesus said, “don’t be afraid, I am here.”  Thanks to God, we have a Savior that can perform miracles and be by our side even when we are frightened by the storms of life.  Not only is Jesus a Savior from our sins, but he is also our Savior in our daily life.  God gave Jesus all authority in Heaven and Earth to be our Lord, and that he is.

Jesus relied on God, so we should we rely on God in all things.  Then, Jesus gave the most comforting saying, “don’t be afraid, I am here.”

So when life gets tough, rely on the miracles of God.  Rely on God and our Savior Jesus Christ when the storms around us are raging, because they will always provide and they are always here to help us.

Alleluia and Amen.

Love,
Leigh Todd