Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

Joy

Posted: June 23, 2013 in Faith, Family, Grace, Life
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Okay, I will admit it – there are times I get depressed. There are times I feel down and the happiness and joy of life seems to be missing. There are also times that I am passive about trying to feel better, just waiting for someone or something to come by and pick me up.

 

I read a quote from Joyce Meyer today – Stop giving others the job of making you happy.

 

Too often, I think, we are passive when it comes to joy and happiness. Too often we expect others to come to our rescue and make things better. When, instead, we need to take the step forward ourselves. We need to do something a little different, look at life from a  different perspective, and realize that they joy, the happiness, the blessings of life are there and have been there the entire time.

 

So now, when I get in a funk and feel a little down, I take a look at my girls (like in the picture above) and my wife and my friends and my life and see all of the blessings that I have been blessed with. I also physically move myself to another place to get a new perspective and I don’t rely on others to make me happy.

 

So today, what are you going to do to see the joy in life?

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Ever get in a funk and just can’t seem to get out of it?

I’ve had days like that. Days when it seems like no matter what I do I just cannot get out of the bad mood I am in, and even the littlest things set me off.

I don’t like those days. I want to be able to change my mood.

I had been reading through some stuff and ran across a line from Tony Robbins: Emotion is created by motion.

Basically what he is saying is that if you want to change your mood, your emotional state, many times what you need to do is get active, to do something.

Michael Hyatt, a leadership expert, said if you don’t believe this then try this little example:

Slouch in your chair.
Round your shoulders.
Take shallow breaths.
Close your eyes.
Frown and then sigh.

If you do this there is a good chance you will start to feel down right away. What you do physically can effect how you feel emotionally.

And it is the same for feeling positive, for changing your mood for the better. Here are a few things I do to help get me out of my bad moods:

1- Get up and get out for a walk. Just leaving the space I am in and doing something different, even if it is just a walk around the sanctuary on a cold day, makes a huge difference in how I am feeling.

2 – Think back to a good thing that has happened during the week. No matter how bad or tough my week has been, there is always at least one thing that has been good and positive. I take some time to focus on that moment.

3 – TAPS prayers – TAPS stands for Thanks, Ask, Praise, and Supplication. I take a moment to pray through the TAPS prayers because it helps to move me away from focus on self only and lift up the good things and others that are in my life.

4 – Music – I crank up my i-pod with the most upbeat music I can find. Again it takes me out of that moment and brings me to a different place where things are better.

So if you need a change of mood, push yourself to do something a little different, a little more physical, so that you can make the move into a more positive area. May your eyes always be opened to the blessings of God in your life.

Today, our family bids farewell to an institution that’s been a part of our lives for almost 9 years. Today is Scarlett’s last day at the Angel Academy, a day care center/preschool that has taught and looked after our daughters for their whole lives. The Angel Academy is closing in a few weeks, since its host congregation is changing locations and will no longer have space for the day care. It’s going to be hard for us to say goodbye to the people and place that have cared for our children for so many years.

 

I remember the first time I took Sierra there, a 7-pound pipsqueak in the infant room. I was sure this tiny baby would cry the whole day. She didn’t. She was cared for well. I’ll remember chuckling as my children chastised me over the years for saying the words “stupid” and “butt,” because those were “bad words” at school. I’ll remember hearing “I’m Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee,” and “Jesus Loves Me” sung over and over after school. We’ll always have the handprint crafts they brought home to us. I’ll remember how Scarlett, at 3-years-old, declared that her school friend Ayden was her boyfriend. Today we say goodbye and thank you to the Angel Academy, because they helped shape our children, and the things they learned and the memories we have, will last forever.

 

This is the time of year when we see a lot of things coming to an end, and a lot of new things beginning. Winter has finally come to an end, trees that were budding just a few weeks ago now have leaves, our spring flowers are giving way to the flowers of summer. And students are preparing to transition from one level to another. And some are graduating, in Commencement ceremonies. “Commencement” doesn’t mean, “The End,” but rather, “The Beginning.” Because when one facet of our lives draws to a close, a new part begins. Life is full of endings and new beginnings. Even when we’re done graduating, we all experience “commencements” in life – new jobs, new homes, having children and grandchildren, new opportunities, new relationships, and retirement. Scarlett is already looking forward to her new beginnings – the new schools she’ll attend, the new friends she’ll meet, the new adventures she’ll have. Saying goodbye and moving forward isn’t always easy, but as we make transitions, we remember that our God is a God of new life, who goes with us, blessing our journey and making all things new.

Pastor Jennifer

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Isn’t it interesting that one’s faith story does not stand alone?  All of us are influenced by the lives of other Christians who have come before us or stood around us.  These individuals not only guide us as we walk through this life, but they give us a model of Christ among us.

I am blessed because I was raised in a Christian home.  My parents took me to church every Sunday, served as president of the church council, helped fund all of my youth trips, and just encouraged me along the way.  I am also blessed because I was given the opportunity to go to a Christian college.  Through my four years at Luther College I was given numerous opportunities to grow in my faith and to work in fellowship with others.

But all of that aside, my faith story starts with my Grandma Joyce.  I love my grandma so much and we’ve always had a great bond.  This might be because I’m the only granddaughter or that I’m the oldest grandchild or that we live only 15 minutes away from each other or that we both have a passion toward the field of education.  But I think the main, underlining reason we are so close is because of our faith.  My grandma knows so much about her faith and is committed to living out her Christian life to the best of her ability.  She plays the organ at church (for free!), leads church services at the local retirement home, participates and leads Bible studies, and so much more!

But she has affected me so much by allowing me to be a part of her spiritual journey.  I have sung along to hymns as she played the piano for the nursing home residents.  I have participated in her Bible studies and I have joined her Christian book club.  But more than that, I have discussed and debated Christianity with my grandma.  I go to her with questions.  I go to her when I feel alone.  I go to her when I need support.  And she is ALWAYS there for me.

My grandma has also taught me that faith is not talking, faith is doing and showing God’s love to others.  My challenge for all of you is to consider how YOU help others on their Christian journey.  How do you show God’s love to others?  How do you support others when they need some of God’s compassion in their lives?  How do you lead others in their faith?

God is here!  That is the message of Easter.  He is here among us!  He lives in us and through us.  How are WE sharing this life-giving love to others?

I wish you all a blessed Holy Week.  May God’s love shine in you and through you always.

Change – Amy Smith

Posted: March 19, 2013 in Faith
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amyChange…it is never an easy transition because there is the excitement, but in turn there is the uncertainty. It is leaving what is comfortable to something completely unknown. I recently switched career paths from teaching to working for a radio station in sales. Talk about a 180! Through the difficult decision to change my job direction, I found one constant and that was my faith. I continually searched and prayed for some kind of peace because of my frustration with my job, which I never thought would come in the form of a new career path or during the middle of a school year. I found my faith stronger than ever in making the decision because it was what I was being led to with God. It was a tough decision to leave the kids but I knew this change was for the best for me and I know God has wrapped His arms around them and cared for them, just as He does with us all in our times of uncertainty and change. As my mom has always told me, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger and God won’t give you anything you and He can’t handle.” So yes change stinks and is hard, but if God didn’t want us to change….He wouldn’t have sent Jesus to die for us SO we could change and learn to follow His way. Jesus changed his life to save ours so I challenge you to find a way to change your life to follow that saying WWJD- What Would Jesus Do? With being in the season of Lent, many people give up something. Instead of giving up something, try making a permanent CHANGE like Jesus did to make us all closer to God.
Best blessings,
Amy

 

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I don’t know which of the four worship services at Our Savior’s you tend to gravitate towards most often, but I usually find myself in a pew at the 11 a.m. service. For me it’s not a preference of style of music, or even the ability to sleep in on Sunday (which I secretly enjoy), but I appreciate the small group and the laid back nature of the service. There’s a beautiful way we share the creed that’s unlike what I’ve experienced before – it’s sung in an upbeat fashion that is unique yet sacred. It’s refreshing.

 

Yesterday we had an overwhelming experience at the 11 a.m. service. There were six children gathered at the font to receive the waters of baptism. I’ve seen and experienced countless baptisms over the years. But this was the first time I noticed how awesome it was to see the light. There were so many children up there it took three people to prepare the candles to share with them and their sponsors. It looked a bit like a miniature candlelight service. What a gift their presence was to us yesterday.

 

Eugene Peterson’s translation of Matthew 5:14 is beautiful. He writes, “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.” Yesterday was a good reminder for me to pay attention to the light. And to wonder, for myself, and to invite you to consider in your life, how am I carrying the Savior’s light in my heart? Even though I miss the mark sometimes, and maybe you do too, I trust that the Savior’s light is at work in the tapestries of our lives “bringing out the God-colors in the world.” I love that baptism is just the beginning.

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Here at Our Savior’s we love to share our stories of faith; stories about the ways God has entered into our lives and stories about the ways we can share our gifts and bless others.

This blog is one that will be filled with stories of the people of Our Savior’s. We will strive to put up weekly posts that talk about our faith, our joys and struggles, our blessings and our pains.

And we want you involved, too. This blog aspires to be interactive – a conversation where we can join together in an online community, walking the walk of faith with one another.

We look forward to traveling this journey with you.