Monday, January 30, 2017

Galatians 5:22-23
"By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.  There is no law against such things.”

Colossians 3:12
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”

At our last youth group gathering, we discussed kindness.  Most of us associate kindness with an action such as opening the door for someone or helping another in some way.  As we dug deeper into the lesson, we talked about what it means to clothe ourselves with kindness in three ways:

1. Kindness with your words.  It is easy to be unkind with our words, especially when we do not take the time to think about what we say before we say it.  We often speak words that are unkind because we often speak without thinking.  Before we speak, we can ask ourself if the words we are about to speak are kind.  If not, then we should change our words so that they reflect kindness.

2. Kindness with your actions.  Although this might seem like a no-brianer, we often act out of selfish desires.  It is much easer to look out for ourselves than it is to be kind to others.  Our actions can reflect kindness to others when we become more intentional as we think about the needs of others.

3. Kindness with your attitude.  Having a kind attitude is not easy and many struggle with it.  When someone gets on our nerves, wen someone is unkind to us, or when things don’t work out the way we want them to, we struggle to have a kind attitude.  But the only one who can control our attitude is us.  So we have to be the ones to take control.  When something happens and you feel irritated, selfish, or any other unkind emotion, take a deep breath and choose to react with kindness.  Ask for God’s help through prayer when needed.

What would it be like in our world today if everyone clothed themselves in kindness?  If kindness wasn’t just about an action, but about a whole way of being?  While we can’t control the whole world, we can control how we live, act, and breathe.  We can choose to build up a kinder world by starting with our own lives.  So as you live each day, make kindness a part of your whole being—kind words, kind actions, and a kind attitude.

Faithfully in Jesus,

Pastor Cheryl Bourne

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmastime is one of my favorite times of the year.  It brings warm memories of shared family time, hanging lights, decorating the tree, plenty of food, and flying popcorn.  It is a joyous time celebrating with family—and even remembering fondly loved ones who are no longer alive to celebrate Christ’s birth.

But as wonderful as Christmastime is, I’ve noticed that most persons, (myself included) like to jump straight to Christmas because we don’t want to go through the waiting.  Christ’s birth didn’t just magically happen without notice.  Predictions of his coming began centuries before he was born.  For this reason, this time before Christmas we enter into a season of Advent. Advent is about anticipating the coming of Jesus.  Advent is about expecting and waiting.  Just as a pregnant woman has to eagerly await the birth of her child, so too, we have to eagerly await the celebration of the birth of Christ.  

Therefore, during this time of advent, we are offered a chance to wait, anticipate, and expect with excitement the coming of Christ.  We can enter a time HOPE:  Hope for our ultimate salvation.  Hope for an end to war, pain, and suffering.  Hope for a day when there is no more weeping.  Hope for a day when joy and love will be all around us.

We can enter a time of PEACE: We hope for a day when peace shall reign.  When there will no longer be countries fighting, neighbors bickering, or children arguing.  A day when the wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and cow and the bear will all get along.  A day when peace will reign.

We can enter a time JOY:  We hope for a day when joy will surround us.  A day when we will no longer cry over the death of loved ones.  A day when we are no longer inflicted with illness, loss, sorrow, or pain.  A day when we can praise God will the fullness of our hearts!

And we can enter a time of LOVE:  What greater love is there than this… that a father lay down the life of his son for us.  We are reminded of the great love that God has for each one of us even though we don’t deserve it.  What an amazing love that God has for us that he would give us the greatest gift of Christmas: the birth of his son.

So during this time I wait and anticipate with you!  May you take the time to stop to reflect on hope, peace, joy, and love, as you make preparations to celebrate the birth of Jesus!

Faithfully in Him,

Pastor Cheryl Bourne

Monday, August 1, 2016

In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment it. Jesus responds, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’"

It saddens me to think that there is so much hatred in the world. War, oppression, neglect, violence, abuse, racism, and trash talk all stem from hatred. As Christians, we should be practicing what Jesus teaches us, simply put: love God, love others. Yet all too often, we get swept away by the social talk of the day and pulled into to living and acting in ways that are contrary to God’s love. While I recognize that not everything can be solved by loving others and loving God, I do know that it can make a difference in our own lives and in the lives that are around us. If we can live our lives exemplifying love to God and neighbor, its effect on others will be noticed.

A friend of mine from years ago once told me how he had this coworker with a bad attitude. Everyone at the office either ignored him or dismissed him. He was not a nice guy to be around. As part of a challenge program at church, my friend decided to be nice to him and start treating him like he would want to be treated. It didn’t take long until this guy actually changed his attitude toward my friend and they ended up being friends. Yet had my friend not made the effort to be kind to him, the other man would have never changed his attitude. Loving others and loving God can and does make a difference! I think of the song line, “let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” We need to take this one step further and say, “Let there be love on earth and let it begin with me.”