Mt. Pleasant Lutheran Church

Archive for the ‘Faith & Life’ Category

God is in the Transitions

June 29th, 2017 by Holly Hess

God is in the Transitions

by Holly Hess

Wisconsin, with our glorious four seasons, is a good reminder that the world is in a continual state of transition. With the 4th of July bearing down on us, summer is in full swing. Warmer weather, longer days, more relaxed schedules, late nights and lazy mornings make our days stretch on in a way that only summer can. I love the transition to summer. For one thing, it’s much easier to get out the door in flip flops than a cumbersome coat and boots. The stress of the school year has washed away and everyone is looking for opportunities to have fun. Neighbors who hunkered down for the winter are outside and we are connected again. Everything is green and blooming and fresh. My windows are open!  Yet, by the time it’s over, when the air starts to get just a little crisp, and the green on the trees shows a hint of yellow, I start to look forward to the next transition, and the order that autumn will bring. Suddenly, something on the grill doesn’t sound as enticing as homemade soup in the crock-pot. An outdoor campfire isn’t as appealing as a night in front of the fireplace. Transitions – they happen all the time. They push us to look at things in a new way, to take on a new pace, to teach us that life is not stagnant. We change. Our circumstances change. A full house becomes an empty nest, new opportunities present themselves, we experience loss, we experience growth. In all of this change, God is constant. Whatever transition you might be experiencing, and whatever emotions are attached to it, God is steadfast in your life. Come to church. When your world seems unstable, lean on our steady God. We are in transition, but we are not alone.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Don’t Forget to Live a Little Today

May 28th, 2014 by Holly Hess

Don’t Forget to Live a Little Today
by Holly Hess

It’s easy to get bogged down. After all, there’s a lot to do in a day. How many days do you go through all the motions without ever being in the moment? I sometimes do. It often takes something to shock us out of our blurry existence to see each day as an opportunity to live life to the fullest. This week I got the devastating news that a dear, lifelong friend had died in a tragic accident. In my sadness, I am reminded that life is not to be taken for granted. God gave us this glorious day, it’s up to us to make the most of it. Don’t let this day slip away. Say, “I love you”, take a walk, play with your kids, call an old friend, watch the sunrise, be a voice for someone who doesn’t have one, love the ones you love, make peace with those you don’t, take better care of yourself, try something new, laugh, say a prayer. Today is a great gift from God. Go live it.

I came that they might have life, indeed so they could live life to the fullest.
-John 10:10

 

Home Base

April 5th, 2012 by Holly Hess

Home Base

By Holly Hess

 

 

For about a year now I’ve been longing to spend time in the woods.  I grew up in “God’s country” – Wisconsin’s beautiful north woods, surrounded by trees and wildlife and northern lights.  As an adult I’ve lived in several parts of our state but lately, the woods have been calling.  The smell, the quiet, the peacefulness.

Last week I participated in the women’s retreat at Lutherdale Bible Camp.  During our personal time, I went into the woods.  What I realized is that it’s not so much the woods I miss as it is my roots.  This past year, busy schedules have kept me away from my family in northern Wisconsin more than any other year since I left for college.  Being in the woods gave me this clarity.

Lent offers the same clarity.  In Lent, we walk into the woods and get to the core of our faith.   In Lent we strip away any of the frivolity of our spiritual practices and see the real and raw meaning of it all.

Holy Week reminds us of who we are as Christians.  It is home base.

This year, I’ll journey through Holy Week in the small, Northern Wisconsin church where I was baptized, confirmed and married.  Home base.

Holy week is where our past, present and future are folded together in God’s love and grace.  It’s where a cross draped in purple becomes a cross draped in white.  It’s where we learn that nothing can separate us from God.

It’s Holy Week.  Invite God to be at home in your heart.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:38

 

Have you Prayed as Much as You”ve Talked?

March 29th, 2012 by julierossman

Have You Prayed As Much As You’ve Talked?

By Guest Blogger Karen Magee

Note: Karen is a member of the MPLC Writer’s Group that meets the 3rd Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m.

 

My birthday came in December, and everything went downhill after that, it seemed.  Along came aches, pains, and maladies that I had never experienced before.  They were nothing life-threatening, and I knew that in time they would subside, but they were nonetheless inconvenient and unwelcome stressors in my life.  However, these aches, pains, and maladies gave me the opportunity to do what I do best–complain.  So complain I did. . . to anyone who would listen.  Woe to the unsuspecting victim who unwittingly asked, “How are you?”  I seemed to feel that I would get better faster if I talked about it all, and I have never been one to suffer in silence.

Then one day, quite by accident, I came across a post on Facebook that asked, “Have you prayed about it as much as you’ve talked about it?”  That truly brought me up short, because in all honesty I had to answer, “No.”  It was time to change my tune.  Wouldn’t talking to God about my issues be far more productive than burdening my friends?  So every time I complained after that I also made a conscious effort to pray as well.  I didn’t magically get better instantly, but I felt calmer and more accepting of what was happening in my life, as well as more assured that things would improve.

Now, when I find myself talking about problems that arise, I also find myself offering a short prayer about them. And the best news here is, it works!

“Dear Lord, help us to remember always that you are here for us, and that you are willing to share our burdens, hurts, and cares.  Help us to pray about it more than we talk about it.  Amen.”

Do Not Grow Weary or Lose Heart

March 20th, 2012 by Holly Hess

Do Not Grow Weary or Lose Heart

By Holly Hess

Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.  Hebrews 12: 3.

I’ve always wanted to be a runner.  I watch enviously as people run past my house with perfect form and long, smooth strides.  On paper, running sounds great.  It’s excellent and efficient exercise, it doesn’t cost much, and you can do it just about anywhere.  I tell myself these things and I get excited to start.  I lace up my running shoes and head out the door.  The problem is, I don’t seem to be designed for endurance.  As soon as I get started my lungs hurt, my knees ache and about two blocks into it, I’m ready to stop.  I quickly grow weary and lose heart.

In life, we are continually facing challenges that require patience, persistence, and a willingness to press on.  That’s true for all of us, including Jesus, who endured pain, fear, heartache, and uncertainty.

In Hebrews, we are reminded of the perfect example of Jesus, who came to show us the way.  It makes me think of the line from the song Jesus Loves Me that says, “They are weak but he is strong.”  During Lent, we acknowledge the strength and endurance of Jesus.

What gives you strength to go on when you are tempted to stop?  In those times when we can no longer draw from our own reserves, we are invited to turn to God through Jesus, who lovingly endured more than we could ever imagine.

For me, it’s running.  After years of running to the neighbor’s driveway and calling it quits, I’ve committed to sticking with it, step by step, block by block.  For you it might be something else.  What goals have you set for yourself and not attained?  What roadblocks are keeping you from living your best life?  What race have you started only to stop? Surely, if Jesus could hold up against all that he faced, we can show courage against our own challenges.

Each day is a new starting block in our lives, our relationships, our faith.  On your mark, get set, go.

 

God of Strength and Endurance,      

You sent your son as the truest example of endurance in faith and life.  Give me strength so that I do not lose heart or grow weary today.

Amen.

Space Ship Church