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Simply Seek God

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;the darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.  When other helpers fail and comforts flee, help of the helpless, O abide with me.

These words from verse one of the church hymn, “Abide with Me”, were written by Henry Lyte. God is described as the “help of the helpless,” the one who can and will help when all other helpers fail. In my life experience with God, that’s an appropriate description of who God is and what God does. How about you?

It’s interesting that in the opening verse of this classic hymn of the church, not once is God, the help for the helpless, ever asked to help. Rather the request, made multiple times, is for God to simply abide and stay with the one singing the words. 

In my life, it’s usually the other way around. More often than not, I reach out to God to receive some benefit from God; help, healing, guidance, strength, peace. I often seek God’s help, but less often do I just seek God. Sound familiar?

So, I want to encourage you to simply seek God. Just seek God to be with God. Maybe you can use these words from “Abide with Me” to help with that. Sing, or say the words to verse one and then stop, be still, spend a few moments in God’s abiding presence, and just see what happens next. 

Click here to listen to more (June 28 sermon). 

You partner on the journey,

Pastor Steve 

Let God Be God

Several years ago, my 8-year old son and I were riding in the car when the song “God Is in Control” came on the radio.  When it came around to the song’s chorus he loudly sang along, “We know… Oh God is in control. Oh God is in control!” 

As the song ended, I sensed a teachable moment.  “So, you really like that song, don’t you?”  “Oh yeah Dad, it’s a great song!”  “So, what do you think those words mean, that God is control?  My son, thought for a moment, “Well,” he said, “it means God is in control of everything… God makes everything happen.” 

After a bit I said, “So, if God is in control of everything, what was going on this morning when you were fighting with your little brother?  Was God in control then?” My son just smiled and said, “Dad, everybody knows God has to take a break sometime!” 

 As with my young son, so it is with us.  It’s just a whole lot more convenient to be in control of our own lives when we want or to let others feed us with what to think, say, and do. 

But God is to be the ultimate authority in our lives. God alone is to be God!  This is a non-negotiable of the life of faith and of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus said it this way, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be loyal to the one and have contempt for the other…”  (Matthew 6:24, CEB)

Let God be the ultimate authority in your life.  Let God be God!  Click here and listen to more (June 21 sermon). 


In my experience, concrete moments of complete clarity are rare. 

I can remember exactly when and where I was, when I first thought that a good friend named Natalie (my wife now of 35 years) was someone I could share the rest of my life with.  Took me 6 weeks to muster up the courage to ask her out on a date, but I knew, in that moment.  

There are a few other moments in my life like that, rare moments of complete clarity that seem to come from out of the blue.  In hindsight, I can see they are the culmination of months, or even years, of conscious and subconscious of “tumbling things around” as I like to say. 

Clarity when it comes to the call or will of God, sometimes seems agonizingly elusive. But one thing I’ve come to know is that this elusiveness comes more as a result of me and my actions rather than of God. In fact, God is relentlessly resolved to break through and be heard. 

Just ask Samuel.

In the story found in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel 3, God calls out to Samuel three times, waking the young boy up in the early morning hours. The boy’s spiritual mentor, the priest Eli, finally recognizes it’s God who’s waking Samuel up.  Eli’s advice?  The next time that happens, say “Speak. Your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10, CEB). 

When God called out as before, “Speak. Your servant is listening,” came Samuel’s response.  Then God shares with great clarity, a “ear tingling” new thing that’s about to happen!  Click here to listen to more (June 14 sermon).  

Receiving clarity from God, seems to go hand-in-hand with our desire to really listen for God speaking into our life. So, take a cue from Samuel and use his sentence prayer to sincerely make the time and space in life to clearly hear from God… “Speak. For your servant is listening.” 

God's Keynote

“Have we learned to sing after hearing God’s keynote?” Oswald Chambers

Recently as I was reading from Oswald Chambers’ classic daily devotion book, My Utmost for His Highest (June 5 reading).  The question above jumped off the page! 

What does Chambers mean here by using the word “keynote?”  The online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines keynote as: 1) the fundamental or central fact, idea, or mood, or 2) in music the first and harmonically fundamental tone of a scale.

It’s the second definition that Chambers seems to apply here. Can we hear the first and fundamental tone or note that God is singing over us?  If so, what is that keynote?  And if we know God’s keynote, have we learned to sing our life’s song in a way that’s in harmony with it?  These are great questions!

Are we making the intentional time and space to really listen to what God may be singing or saying into our lives?  Singing or saying?  Take your pick, but personally I love the idea of God singing over me or singing into my life (Psalm 32:7, Zephaniah 3:17). Either way, hearing God’s keynote normally takes being intentional on our part.

What might God’s keynote be? To be true to the use of the word in the devotion I was reading, Chambers was sharing how God’s constant assurance to us is: “I will never… forsake you.”  I believe God’s keynote can just as likely be something unique to a specific situation or time. 

Lately a keynote I feel God's been singing into my life are these words of Scripture.

“He (God) has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8, NIV)

Maybe that is a keynote God is singing into your life too.  My prayer for us, is that we learn to tune ourselves to it and sing life’s harmony well!

The Spiritual Practice Of Sleep

May the grace and peace of Jesus Christ enfold you this night.

Several years ago, my wife and I loaded up our two young sons and moved a 12-hour drive away from all both our families’ home base.  The food plant I’d been working in had closed and this looked like the best option for a next step in my food industry career.  I started a 2nd shift supervisor job there.  This new role soon consumed many more hours than expected, with 6- and 7-day summer work weeks. 

Thankfully we had found a good church connection.  But for the first time in my life, I was not able to be involved very deeply in church and couldn’t always attend worship on Sunday mornings.  At one point, exhausted and loosing connection with those I cared for, I got together with our pastor. 

I shared how working night after night and getting precious little sleep was negatively affecting all of my life… including the spiritual side of things.  He already knew of my sporadic connection with the church.  I also confessed how I rarely prayed or read the Bible anymore.  

When I stopped talking, my pastor said something I will never forget.  “Steve,” he said, “sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to sleep.” 

In our workaholic, image-barraged, overcaffeinated, entertainment addicted, and super-charged culture… we need to embrace ceasing and relaxing into sleep as the act of reliance on God and the spiritual practice that it is. So, whatever anxious thoughts, worries, or unfinished tasks seek to prevent or interrupt your much-needed daily sleep, I encourage you to use the blessing prayer above to embrace sleep.

God's Work or Ours

Making a distinction between “God’s work” and “our work” comes all too easy.  Prayer, reading the Bible, gathering for worship, being on a church committee… that’s “God’s work.”  Mowing the yard, doing a job for an employer, giving the kids a bath, balancing the checkbook… that’s “our work.” 

Tish Harrison-Warren shares that “the Christian faith teaches that all work that is not immoral or unethical is a part of God’s kingdom mission” (Liturgy of the Ordinary, p. 92).  I was reminded of this the other day as I was trying to empty my email inbox.  More accurately, I was just trying to read all my “unread” emails.  Reading and responding to emails is not something I normally consider all that “pastoral.” It’s just something that has to be done. 

That particular morning, I’d received an email sharing concerns and a question about “re-opening” our church building to activities in the current COVID-19 situation.  My initial response was to quickly answer the question, hit the “send” button, and move on to the next email.  But something made me wait. 

Where is God?  What is God doing?  Who does God need me to be? 

I looked again at the email sent to me.  I could see the love this person has for our church.  I could sense how God was working in them to be a part of us appropriately moving to “re-open.”  So, I went back and rewrote my response in a way that to the best of my ability was being the person God needed me to be.  In all of that I was blessed. 

And I wonder… If God can work in something as ordinary as email, what might God be able to do if you and I saw all that we do as “God’s work?”  



“They forgot God’s deeds as well as the wondrous works he showed them… God split the sea and led them through, making the waters stand up like a wall…” (Psalm 78:11-13, CEB)

We forget.  We need something to help us remember the most important things.

In Psalm 78 and the other 149 psalms found in the Bible, a consistent drumbeat is the need for God’s people to remember.  Throughout the Old Testament… the part of the Bible that comes to us from before the time of Jesus… the call is often to remember what God did to save the ancient Israelites from the Egyptian army at the Red Sea (see Exodus 14). 

In the New Testament… the part of the Bible that comes to use from after the time of Jesus… most often the call is to remember Jesus Christ’s life, words, death, and resurrection.  That’s nowhere more striking than when Jesus establishes the Lord’s Supper.  “After taking the bread and giving thanks, he (Jesus) broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me,’” (Luke 22:19, CEB).

The breathtaking experience of God bringing the people through the Red Sea on dry ground (think Charlton Heston and The Ten Commandments or DreamWorks’ Prince of Egypt).  The heartbreak-to-joy journey of God saving us through Christ’s crucifixion and empty tomb.  Surely these mighty acts of God are etched into the hearts and minds of God’s people.  Scripture’s repeating call to remember would argue the contrary.

We forget.  We need something to help us remember the most important things.

May this Memorial Day serve its intended purpose of helping us remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their life in military service to our country.  And may we be grateful.