bible study
Where Is God?


Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the Lord. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug.   --Isaiah 51:1


Remember where you have come from, O people of God. Remember who made you and gave you life. When times are tough in life especially, we are reminded where our strength and hope really come from. They come from the Lord. 

Rejoice Now?


4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  –Philippians 4:4-7


It says “Rejoice in the Lord always.” But how does one rejoice in the midst of the daily grind, let alone when things are going absolutely down the drain? Some periods in life are just plain awful, and there are many circumstances in life that are certainly NOT joyous. Why would someone even consider rejoicing then?

Respond; Be Renewed - Breathe In; Breathe Out


Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw it was the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has send me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”            --John 20:19b-22


What comes first? The chicken? Or the egg? Which comes first? Renewal of spirit or response to God?


Of course the answer is “They go hand in hand.” Jesus came to them and they rejoiced. Jesus assigned them a task (sent them) and then breathed renewal into them. The Divine Spirit touches us in ways we are not even aware of, as light as a breath.  God breathes power into us; calling us to faith, inspiring us to life, enthusing us with a desire to serve. As we live day by day, exercising faith, seeking truth, serving those in need and being a blessing to those around us, we are strengthened in faith, renewed with a vitality, wisdom, serenity and hope that then inspires further service, deeper living and more powerful joy.  It is an unending cycle. It is a wonderful perpetual motion machine. The life of faith is kind of like breathing; taking in a breath allows us to function, but we must let out the breath before we can take in another. We must respond to God’s presence before we can be renewed and filled again. If we try to live off the initial “breath of the spirit given” we will eventually suffocate. Take a deep breath and live. Breathe again and serve. It is really living.


blessings to you,

Pastor Karla

August 4, 2011

Renewal: When, Why, How?



Psalm 51’s opening phrase is a plea for mercy. When is mercy needed? When there is an overwhelming opposing force, when there are stresses and strains in life that seem too much, when temptation has been too strong and forgiveness is needed, to name a few.  We get depleted easily enough in this life. When our fuel tanks are empty life feels empty, whether it is or not. When we have been crushed by life, all the things that usually sustain us are in danger of leaking away. We need to know how to recover. It really doesn’t matter if the damage was caused by our own unwise choices or someone else’s mean spirit or by circumstances whose cause cannot be traced or for any other reason; we need to know how to make sure we get filled up again; filled with energy, vitality and spirit.


So how does one recover our joy in life? First thing is to recognize who has the power. When we are crushed, it is easy to recognize that we do not. However, in our 21st Century American Culture the prevailing attitude is that we are supposed to be able to do things ourselves.  It is, after all (according to our society) all about us. If we cannot maintain “the perfect life”, advertisers are quick to tell us what product we can purchase so that we can. The problem is, there is no “stuff” that will do it. No manufactured item, no product, no material element has the power to give life or to give meaning to life, nor can it restore either one previously given. Only God has that power.


The heart of Psalm 51 is “Create in me a clean heart, O God, put a new and right spirit within me.“ (Psalm 51:10) There is the key. Only God has the power to put things right within us. Only God can cleanse us from the inside out. Only Divine Love can purify us. We only open ourselves to receive it, make space for it to flow in, and then work to maintain it in our lives.


Renewal is a gift of grace. Receive it and be glad. When you are overwhelmed: Breathe deep, for the love and power of God’s creative and life giving spirit is as close to you as your next breath. When you are stressed out: Close your eyes and feel the love of God surrounding you, supporting you and blessing you. When you are in need of forgiveness: admit it and receive the transformation that repentance brings. 

blessings to you from Pastor Karla



Quality of Life and the End of Life


We are meant to be actively answering God’s calling for us throughout our lives. At any given moment, we might not recognize how what we are doing fits into the fulfillment of our baptismal calling (to trust God, proclaim Christ through word and deed, care for others and the world God made, and work for justice and peace*) but if we are to be true to God, we can’t help but fulfill it. 

Quality of Life and Sanctification


Quality of Life and Sanctification


Last week I said, “Life is good because God loves us and gave it to us, and Jesus gave his life to redeem ours.” The value of one's life is different, however, than our perceived quality of life. Some have become confused. 

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