Pastor Tom and I are continuing the conversation started on Reformation Sunday. Our hope is that this framework for thinking will inspire you to share how you receive, respond, rejoice to the Trinity’s movement in your lives.

“What do you have that you did not receive?” ~1 Corinthians 4:7

I remember a moment on choir tour when I was a junior in college. We were somewhere in South Dakota and we were driving through some pretty heavy forest and in that moment, I became overwhelmed with emotion. What I have learned throughout my life is that I receive so much from

God, the creator, when I am connected to creation. When I hike Mt. Pisgah, those moments ground me and help me to recognize the vast wonders of God. I also receive God through music. A moment, a situation, will so often bring a song to mind. Music, for me, gives me words and a melody to sometimes speak when I cannot come up with the words on my own. Music is bigger than the notes on the page just as creation is bigger than what can be seen. When we let music into our being, the space becomes bigger. There is a scientific explanation but I also believe that this space makes room for us to receive the presence of the Holy Spirit.

“Readily recognize what [God] wants from you, and quickly respond to it.” ~Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)

Living in response to God’s action isn’t easy. Sometimes, I don’t want to give God credit for the gifts that I have been given. Sometimes, I don’t feel like those gifts are good enough. My own anxiety about being who God has called me to be can make me want to “hide my light under a bushel.” I’ve had many people in my life that have helped me to share more about how God is active in my life.

Your stories and struggles inform me as well. How can we fully respond to the One who has given us everything? This is why we are the disciples of Christ. It is through Jesus that we learn what true response looks like. It is to Jesus that we turn to when we fall short in our response. Thank goodness that we have a forgiving God, who knows we will stumble, but will put us back on our feet over and over again.

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!” ~ Philippians 4:4

This is where I struggle the most! It could be the Norwegian in me that expresses exuberance with a slight smile. It could be that it’s easier for me to recognize the things that need correction and not feel the freedom to give thanks whether the moment lived up to it’s full potential or not.

One thing I have recognized about myself as a leader is that I am not a good cheerleader. There is an eternal optimism in a cheerleader that will cheer for victory whether their team is up by 40 or down by 40. I’m just not that optimistic. But, thanks be to God that God doesn’t give up on us. No matter how many times we turn away, no matter how many times we stray, God continually comes after us. I’m working on this. So if you see a slight smile, know it means something more. My prayer for you is that you receive God’s gifts in your life and respond to those gifts and rejoice in those gifts.

God’s Peace, Pastor Steve