God is present and active in every situation of our lives. Sometimes we don’t always recognize God’s presence and activity within us and around us. But occasionally we catch a glimpse of what God is doing, and that can propel us forward in our journey of following Jesus. I had one such experience toward the end of our mission trip to Guatemala earlier this month. Continue reading

My friend James died this past Sunday at 10:45am. He died of a rare and aggressive form of leukemia that whittled away at his strength for the past couple of years. James did not want a funeral or memorial service. He will be cremated, and the world will move on.

Most people would not care to know James. Let me introduce him to you. James was an ex-con, incarcerated on three separate occasions: once for statutory rape, once for breaking and entering, and once for check fraud. His last conviction was his “third strike,” and he spent twelve years in prison as a result. Continue reading

Old friends

photo by E>mar

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to catch up with an “old friend.”  Now, before you stop me and say, “Pastor David, how could you have an old friend?  You’re not old enough!” – maybe you can just grant me this one.  Ashley and I were good friends in college, from which we graduated ten whole years ago.  Now that we are both married and that she and her husband have just had their first child, I appreciated the opportunity to catch up with them while they were in the area.

There is something refreshing about old friendships.  People who have known us for a significant period of time, have seen us change and grow, and have watched us make important life decisions:  these people can provide a stabilizing presence in our lives.  When I spend time with Ashley, I am reminded that I have been on a journey of faith for a long time, and my life experiences form one cohesive unit.  I am one person, although I have had many different kinds of experiences.  The presence of a long-term friend helps me remember this truth.

God, like old friends, has been present in our lives for quite some time.  Unlike old friends, God has been present since the very beginning – and even before that.  If our lives are to make any sense at all, perhaps we should find meaning for our lives in our relationship with the one who has known us from our earliest days.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13 NIV)

Perhaps your relationship with God is very old, from your perspective.  Maybe you have known the Lord for most, if not all, of your life.  Give thanks for this great saving friendship that you have with the Creator of the universe!

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24 NIV)

Or perhaps this talk of friendship with God seems new, strange, or altogether foreign to you.  Take a moment to think about the value and meaning that could be added to your life through an intimate friendship with the one who formed you in your mother’s womb.  It’s certainly possible to go through life without such a friendship – just as it is possible to go through life without old human friendships.  But why not trust in the one who makes sense of an otherwise confusing existence?

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Jesus, in Matthew 28:20b)

–Pastor David