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Sunday Worship Videos

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Select a link below to view past videos of sermons. Don’t forget to also check out Pastor Paul’s blog!

Sunday, February 28, 2021
The Sermon on the Mount – the Extensions 

Sunday, February 21, 2021
The Sermon on the Mount – the Beatitudes

Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Healing

Sunday, February 14, 2021
Love

Sunday, February 7, 2021
Making an Impact – Hunger

Sunday, January 31, 2021
Making an Impact – Homelessness

Sunday, January 24, 2021
Everyday Joy – Grace

Sunday, January 17, 2021
Everyday Joy – Power of Praise

Sunday, January 10, 2021
Everyday Joy – Sharing Joy Every Day

Sunday, January 3, 2021
Everyday Joy – Reflecting God’s Light Everyday

Sunday, December 27, 2020
Worship Service presented by the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area

Christmas Eve, 2020

Sunday, December 20, 2020
The Wonder of Christmas – Joy!

Sunday, December 13, 2020
The Wonder of Christmas – Anticipation

Sunday, December 6, 2020
The Wonder of Christmas – Surprise

Sunday, November 29, 2020
The Wonder of Christmas – the Promise

Sunday, November 22, 2020
The Challenge for “Go-Eps”
Rev. Brenda Alexander

Sunday, November 15, 2020
What Do You Believe? Chain of Lakes Church

Sunday, November 8, 2020
What Do You Believe?  What is the church?

Sunday, November 1, 2020
What Do You Believe? Who are we as humans?

Sunday, October 25, 2020
What Do You Believe? Who is the Holy Spirit?

Sunday, October 18, 2020
What Do You Believe? Who is Jesus?

Sunday, October 11, 2020
What Do You Believe – about God?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Local Impact

ARE YOU AVAILABLE TO VOLUNTEER AT FOOD PICK-UP LOCATIONS?
 

Hope for the Community 
Every Thursday, Hope for the Community at Hope Church, 1264 109th Avenue NE, Blaine, provides food for approximately 700 families. The third Thursday of each month is designated as Chain of Lakes Volunteer Day. 

Volunteer any time you are available Thursday between 9am –  5pm, or choose one of the suggested shifts: 10am – noon; noon – 2pm; 2pm – 5pm. Once you are there, ask for Jeff – he will give you instructions and get you started

Volunteers are also needed on Wednesdays, noon to 2:30 to prepare for Thursday.

Manna Market
Substance Church,
8299 Central Ave NE                   
Spring Lake Park, MN 55432  
 

Mondays ~ 2:30pm – 8pm
Thursdays ~ 2:30pm- 8pm
Fridays ~ 2:30am – 8pm        
Saturdays ~ 8am – Noon                                                      
Enter Door 5, Go to Registration Desk

Wear work clothing, comfortable shoes, bring your own mask and gloves


ARE YOU ABLE TO DONATE MEALS?

Stepping Stone Emergency Housing

3300 4th Ave N, Cronin Building #14, Anoka, MN 55303

Provide food for 66 people

For details ~ call 763.208.8049

Sharon Pederson will return your call

This is a great service project for an entire family

___________

 
 

 ARE YOU IN NEED OF FOOD?                   

Drive Through Food Pick up Locations

Substance Church,  Manna Market
8299 Central Ave NE                   
Spring Lake Park, MN 55432      

Food Pick up Times:
Mondays ~ 4pm – 6pm
Thursdays ~ 4pm – 6pm
Saturdays ~ 10am – 11:30am

Hope Church, Hope for the Community
1264 109th Ave NE
Blaine, MN 55434

Food Pick up Times:
Thursday ~ 10am – 5pm

If you are in line before the end time, you will receive food, while supplies last

ANOKA COUNTY TRANSIT LINK IS COORDINATING WITH FOOD SHELVES TO DELIVER FOOD FOR FREE

Contact your local food shelf and ask them to have your goods delivered by Anoka County Transit Link. More information at Grocery and Goods Delivery – Metropolitan Council (metrocouncil.org)

GET A FREE FACEMASK

Wearing a facemask in public areas, along with social distancing, helps prevent the spread of the corona virus. Volunteers at Chain of Lakes are sewing masks, and offering them free of charge to anyone who needs one. Call the office to make sure the church will be open – 763.208.8049.
 
Printed instructions for sewing a mask, and for making a mask with no sewing, are also available at the church, or get the PDF from the Center for Disease Control.
 
ENDING HOMELESSNESS THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS
The Local Impact team wants  to be part of a movement that ends homelessness among youth and adults in Anoka County. The team does this through partnerships with groups who directly help serve homeless youth and homeless adults.
 
Since its existence Chain of Lakes has established partnerships with the following schools:
  • Blaine High School
  • Anoka Regional High School
  • Anoka Technical High School
  • Spring Lake Park School District
The Local Impact Team has organized many events to help serve at:
  • HOPE 4 Youth
  • Stepping Stone Emergency Housing
  • Feed My Starving Children
 

Daily Devotions

Daily devotions, organized by week. Comments about the devotion can be emailed to pastor@colpres.org

Monday, March 1

Read Matthew 5:17-20

Jesus changed the direction of the Sermon on the Mount to share that he came to fulfill the Law, not to abolish it. The Law that Jesus was referring to was the Law from Moses. It was the ten Commandments and the many regulations that had developed by the Jews between the time of Moses and the time of Jesus. Jesus was a Jew himself, so he grew up understanding the Law and being taught the Law.

On Sunday Pastor Paul shared the example of a magnifying glass. Think of Jesus as a magnifying glass when we read the Old Testament laws and regulations. We understand these laws and regulations through the life, the example, the teaching, the death and resurrection of Jesus.

So when we read Scriptures from the Old Testament we naturally ask ourselves how Jesus would teach us to live by them? How did the life and example of Jesus illustrate these Scriptures? Did Jesus teach about these Old Testament Scriptures? How did the death and resurrection help us understand these Scriptures?

Seeing the Law and other regulations through this lens is a way to understand what Jesus meant when he said he came to fulfill Scripture

 

Tuesday, March 2

Read Matthew 5:21-26

Jesus started out this teaching by saying that the Law says not to murder, and then Jesus extends the teaching by discouraging anger. The extension is helpful for if a person knows how to live with anger, that person will not murder someone.

It’s fair to ask about the attitude of Jesus towards anger.

Jesus was angry himself (John 2:13-22)

Anger is a human emotion meaning that in many instances people do not have control of an experience of anger. Anger happens to people whether they want it to happen or not.

In some cases, anger is appropriate. It certainly would make sense for a person to be angry that youth are homeless or that many people experience hunger.

Jesus would teach that it is important for people to come to terms with their own anger. When do we experience anger? How do we respond when we are angry? Are our actions in response to anger a reflection of loving our neighbor or is it a reflection of hurting our neighbor?

Jesus wouldn’t condemn people for experiencing anger, but he would encourage people to come to understand their anger and to use their anger to help create the Kingdom that God desires.

 

Wednesday, March 3

Read Matthew 5:27-30

When we read the Scriptures it’s important to understand the form of what we are reading. Jesus was using hyperbole in these verses. He was exaggerating a situation to make a point.

Of course, Jesus would not want a person to rip out their right eye if that eye was looking at someone with lust or covets any person.

Similarly Jesus would not want us to cut our right hand off if that hand had caused us to sin.

Jesus would want us to take his message seriously, not literally. If he were teaching us today, he quite possibly would encourage us to think about how we view other people. Do we view them for our own interests? Do we look at them in terms of how they can serve us? If that is the case, then we are “coveting” the person for our own interest.

In a contrary way, are we thinking how we can bless a person? Are we thinking about how we can help a person and love a person? When we are doing this, we are coming closer to living out what Jesus intended in these four verses.

 

Thursday, March 4

Read Matthew 5:31-32

These verses have caused great consternation among many people who are divorced and have been misused by some in the church to encourage people to stay in loveless marriages.

It’s important to remember the context of the world in which Jesus lived. It was a polygamous society, meaning some of the men to which Jesus spoke to in the Sermon on the Mount were married to more than one person. Women were also seen as property of men. They did not have legal standing when Jesus lived.

So if a man was going to divorce a woman, he was going to cause great pain to that woman. He was sharing these words to protect women from the callous treatment that could happen by a man who was divorcing her.

Certainly Jesus would want every person to take marriage seriously and to get a divorce only as a last resort. But to take this teaching by Jesus as a prohibition against all divorce would be a great misinterpretation of what Jesus intended.

 

Friday, March 5

Read Matthew 5:33-37

Once again knowing the context of this passage is important. Jesus wouldn’t want a person not to take an oath. He wouldn’t prohibit someone putting his or her hand on a Bible in a court and promising to tell the truth.

Instead, Jesus was speaking against people who were casually taking God’s name to justify their actions. Jesus would only want others to take action in the name of God after great thought and reflection. God was powerful and holy. In the Old Testament God was very reluctant to even share God’s name with Moses when Moses asked God for God’s name.

For people to invoke God’s name to justify a simple action would be inconsistent with how God wanted to be identified.

There would be times that invoking God’s name would be appropriate. To say “in God’s name do not murder this person,” or “in God’s name do not go to war” or “in God’s name love this person as you would love yourself” would be appropriate.

Take some time to reflect on how you would use God’s name in the way you talk.

 

Saturday, March 6

Read Matthew 5:38-48

Many of the Jewish men in the crowd who were listening to the Sermon on the Mount had enemies. Some hated the Romans.

How did Jesus want these people to treat the Romans? He wanted them to love them, to pray for them.  He wanted them to understand that God loved them—just as much as God loved the Jews.

When we are in a serious disagreement with someone it’s helpful to get out of our own emotions and reflect on how God views the person. God loves that person deeply. Trying to see this person through the eyes of God can help us see the humanity in the person.

This week we are reading some of the most important Scriptures in the entire Bible – the beatitudes. Nine beatitudes exist, but we are looking at six in this devotion. Pastor Paul preached on three beatitudes in his sermon this past Sunday.

Living out and understanding these beatitudes is a life-long process. It’s a wonderful journey where the best parts of ourselves come out.

 

Monday, February 22

Read Matthew 5:4

Another way to paraphrase these beatitudes is “if you have ____, then you will have experienced blessing. Blessing is happiness or experiencing favor or good fortune. To use this form, we would say, “if you have mourned, then you will have experienced blessing.”

A natural reaction is, “I don’t want to mourn. To mourn means I’m sad, not blessed.”

Jesus would probably respond by saying a person can be sad and experience blessing. To mourn means a person loved someone deeply. We don’t grieve or experience loss when we don’t have an attachment to something. So to mourn means we’ve had an attachment. And that attachment is a blessing.

Winnie the Pooh paraphrased blessed are those who mourn by saying, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Today give thanks for the possibility of mourning!

 

Tuesday, February 23

Read Matthew 5:5

Someone who heard this beatitude, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” might have thought of Psalm 37:11, “But the meek shall inherit the land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.”

Moses was known as very meek. Read Numbers 12:3

A meek person is devoid of pride. And in reading the Sermon on the Mount one quality that is not mentioned is pride. Actually the entire Sermon on the Mount can be seen as the antithesis to pride.

Meek people are humble and gentle. They are strong people who will not give up on their beliefs. But they don’t come across as strong. The strength of a meek person is an inner strength that becomes apparent through a long-lasting relationship.

It’s hard to know exactly what Jesus meant when he said that the meek would inherit the earth. Perhaps he was talking about the final consummation of the earth when Jesus returned.

What we do know is that a meek person experiences blessing. A meek person doesn’t need to impress others, or to take pride in an accomplishment. A meek person is authentically human—and that is a blessing.

 

Wednesday, February 24

Read Matthew 5:7

In the gospel of Matthew we find many examples where mercy was lifted up. Read Matthew 9:13 and 12:7 where Jesus prioritized mercy over sacrifice. Sharing mercy with others is just as important as our prayer life or our worship life.

When we share mercy we are sharing a quality of God. God describes God’s self as “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Exodus 34:6

The beatitude is not suggesting that God only extends mercy when we humans share mercy. But we can see that we will often receive mercy when we extend mercy. We receive back from people what we share with people.

Do you want to experience mercy from others? Then share mercy with others. And in the sharing of mercy a person will be blessed.

 

Thursday, February 25

Read Matthew 5:8

Nobody has a pure heart as everyone is corrupted to some degree. Jesus was talking about those who have a clean heart—for a short moment a person is free of that which weighs a person down. This beatitude brings to mind Psalm 51:10-12 which explains the beatitude.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and sustain in me a willing spirit.”

A person with a pure heart is not defined by purity. Instead the person is defined by their devotion to God. When the Spirit comes into our heart and fills our heart, then our hearts are clean (pure.)

This could be a powerful prayer to share during Lent. Try praying this prayer every day during Lent. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.”

 

Friday, February 26

Read Matthew 5:10-11

A person who is reviled or persecuted will probably not feel blessed. Instead the person might feel endangered or afraid.

Jesus was saying that there is a special place in God’s heart for a person who is persecuted for their faith. In the previous verse Jesus talked about the blessings for a peacemaker. A person who is committed to peace will often experience persecution. A peacemaker is committed to a set of values that is often in contrast to the values of a ruling power.

Think of people you know who are committed to peacemaking. They most likely have experienced some sort of “persecution” from agents of the world.

It’s important not to have a persecution mindset. Just because a person disagrees with you or says something untrue about you is not the same as what Jesus was teaching about in these verses. Persecution is when a person’s life is in danger for our beliefs. It’s more than being maligned. It’s when our existence is at stake.

 

Saturday, February 27

Read Matthew 5:13-16

These verses are well known, and the metaphors are important for people of faith.

“You are the salt of the earth.” Our faith gives us a saltiness that sustains us. When we lose our faith or become lukewarm in faith it’s as if salt has lost its taste.

“You are the light of the world.” A person who has a faith cannot keep this faith to themselves. They are willing to share this light with others. A bushel basket cannot keep this light in darkness.

Today pray that your faith can be described as salt and pray that it can be described as a light that cannot be hid. And pray that this is the type of faith that people at Chain of Lakes have.

This week we have a wonderful opportunity to learn what the Scriptures teach us about responding in love.  Though our world is full of violence, you and I can step out of the pattern.  We can be part of the breaking out of heaven on earth. 

These Scriptures are powerful examples of what God desires.  

 

Monday, February 15

Read Genesis 4:1-8

This is the first story of life outside of Paradise.  Adam and Eve had two sons Cain and Abel.  Cain became jealous that Abel’s offering was accepted by God and Cain’s was not.  God pleaded with Cain not to be angry and told him that sin was always lurking at his door.

Cain could not overcome his anger, and killed Abel.

It’s not an accident that in this first story of life outside of Paradise an act of terrible violence took place.  Though we humans are programmed for wonderful good, we are also capable of terrible evil.  This is the world we live in.

God’s counsel to Cain is helpful to us.  We know that sin is always lurking at the door of our own heart.  By staying connected to God and receiving the gift of grace from God we can resist the lures of sin.  Violence in the world originates from this sin.  God doesn’t want to see violence in the world, but through free will it does happen.  One of the consequences of free will is the possibility of violence.

 

Tuesday, February 16

Read Isaiah 58:6-9

God was upset with the people of Israel because they were ignoring the needs of their neighbor.  They were fasting and doing the religious rituals of their day, but their hearts were not connected to people who needed help.

God was upset because the religious rituals of the people were not consistent with the service that God desired.

God wants us to worship, and God wants us to serve the poor.  Our worship is empty without a willingness to help people who are suffering.  Verses six and seven remind us of this:

“Is not this the fast that I choose;
To loose the bonds of injustice,
To undo the thongs of the yoke,
To let the oppressed go free,
And to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And bring the homeless poor into your house;
When you see the naked, to cover them,
And not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Isaiah 58:6-7

 

Wednesday, February 17

Read Matthew 5:38-48

The Jews were waiting for a liberator who would lead the charge against Rome.  In their history many leaders had fought the Romans in an attempt to overthrow the government.  None had been successful.

Jesus knew this history—and he challenged his followers to a different way.  He wanted his followers to respond in love to their oppressors.  If the Romans forced them to walk a mile—go another mile; if someone slapped them on the right cheek, offer the other.

These teachings inspired Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.  They can inspire us too.  When we are hurt by an oppressor the oppressor wins when we respond in a violent way.  If we step out of the pattern that the oppressor establishes by responding in love, care, and compassion, we are powerfully setting a new pattern.  At a minimum we are de-escalating a pattern of violence.

Today think about someone who has hurt you lately.  Instead of feeding resentment, pray that the Spirit can treat the person with love, care, and compassion.  In doing so you are responding in a powerful way.

  

Thursday, February 18

Read Proverbs 25:21-22

Proverbs are short snippets of wisdom.  They are like folk sayings that are passed down—like “a stitch in time saves nine.” 

These two Proverbs are similar to the reading from yesterday.  Heaping coals of fire on our enemies sounds like a violent act.  The Proverb writer—and Paul in Romans—meant it as an act of victory.  We win over our opponents, our enemies, when we love them.  We step out of a pattern of violence.

Our love and kindness is a declaration of victory.  We declare that we are not giving in to violence, but are choosing to live our lives by another way.  We resist conflict and choose peace. 

This vision is one that disciples are called to follow.  Jesus could have responded with violence.  In chastising Peter for cutting off the ear of his slave, (Matthew 26:51-53) he acknowledged that he could call upon legions of angels to do his work.  Instead, Jesus chose another path—one that we still talk about today.

If we want to be remembered in the future, we will choose to feed our enemies and give them something to drink.  Not only will we heap coals of fire on their heads, we will be a lasting model of God’s love

 

Friday, February 19

Read Romans 12:9-21

This passage from Paul is consistent with the passage from Matthew and Proverbs that we read this week. 

When we love our enemies we are not saying that their actions are right or should not be punished.  We are saying that we are letting God be the judge or as Paul wrote we are “[leaving] room for the wrath of God.” Romans 12:18

The last verse in this passage is worth committing to memory:

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Romans 12:21 

Take some time today to memorize this teaching.  Put it on a card, carry it with you, put it on your refrigerator.  It is a teaching worthy of dedicating our lives!

Saturday, February 20

Read Revelation 21:9-27

This vision of the New Jerusalem is a promise that God gives to us in the future.  It’s a vision where everyone knows God and one where the glory of God is our light. 

We don’t have to wait for heaven for this vision.  God wants to break into our world so we can experience a taste of heaven.  This taste happens when we love our enemies and act with love, care, and compassion.  In responding with such strength we are winning and experiencing the final victory that God will have for our world.

Imagine what would happen if disciples of Jesus from around the world committed themselves to loving like Jesus!  Heaven would break out on earth!  Alleluia!

 

This past Sunday Pastor Paul shared a sermon on helping those who are hungry.

The Bible is very clear about how people of faith are called to treat those who are hungry. This week we have the opportunity to read some of these stories.

 

Monday, February 8

Read Matthew 15:29-31

This story on a mountain is a remarkable example of how the people who followed Jesus were not privileged or beautiful or powerful.  The people who came for help were the lame, the maimed, the blind, and the mute. They were people who had serious problems and people who needed help.

Jesus never asked the people if they deserved help. He never put a litmus test on whether the lame, the maimed, the blind, or the mute should receive healing. He healed them without asking a question.

Surely Jesus would have done the same for a person who was hungry. (Read more in tomorrow’s devotion.) He wouldn’t have put a litmus test on whether the person deserved to receive food. He would have fed him.

The next time we think that hungry people should have to earn the food that they receive, go back to this story of Jesus. Jesus freely and without hesitation healed those who needed help. He would do the same for those who are hungry.

 

Tuesday, February 9

Read Matthew 15:32-39

The feeding of the 4,000 is almost the same as the feeding of the 5,000. Some people think it’s the same story.

The important part of the story is how Jesus viewed the crowd who was with him. Jesus had compassion for them.

The English word, “compassion” comes from the Greek word, “splanchizomai.” It literally means guts. The guts or the innards or the heart of Jesus went out to all of those who were hungry. The action of Jesus in feeding people came from his own compassion.

We are called to have this compassion for those who are hungry.

We are not called to ask whether a person deserves to be fed; we are not called to put litmus tests on whether a person receives food; we are called to treat the hungry with compassion.

This compassion is a profoundly spiritual act. It is not necessarily natural, but it can be developed. In fact praying daily that each of us can grow in compassion for those who are hungry can be a profoundly spiritual act.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with ten being the highest, how would you rate your own compassion for those who are hungry? Pray today that your number can increase.

 

Wednesday, February 10

Read Exodus 16:31-36

When God saw that the Israelites were hungry in the wilderness, God responded quickly. God gave them manna.

For forty years while the Israelites were walking to Egypt they were fed by manna from God. God would not let them be hungry.

Eventually the Israelites protested what they were receiving. They got tired of the same old manna every day. God was not happy with this, but kept feeding them manna. Even when the Israelites were not worthy of being fed, they still were fed.

We are not God when we help people who are hungry, but we can take the lessons from this story to inform how we treat them. We are called to share food in extravagant ways. God provided an example when the Israelites were in the wilderness.

Thursday, February 11

Read Exodus 3:16-17

When God called Moses to go to Egypt to help release the Israelites, God gave Moses a vision. The Israelites were going to go to a land flowing with “milk and honey.” (Exodus 3:17)

The land, of course, was not flowing with milk and honey. The “slogan” that God gave to Moses was a vision for what God wanted people to experience. God wanted people to experience the best of food that was available. He wanted the experience of this new land to be rich with sustenance. God was giving the people a vision of the overwhelming richness of the land.

This is what God wants for everyone. God does not want people to be hungry. Instead, God wants every person to have an experience of milk and honey—really to understand the richness that God has to offer people.

Perhaps you can share “milk and honey” with someone who needs to experience the richness of God today. How can you be an agent of “milk and honey?”

 

Friday, February 12

Read Matthew 4:1-4

Jesus understood what it was like to be hungry. At the beginning of his ministry he didn’t eat for forty days and forty nights. He was not only hungry; he was famished.

Jesus understands what it is like to be hungry.

We have no reason to think that Jesus enjoyed experiencing this level of hunger. He chose not to eat for forty days and forty nights, but he didn’t enjoy being famished.

Jesus has no desire for any person to be hungry or to be famished. He understood the pain of the experience. He would want others to help those who are hungry.

 

Saturday, February 13

Read Matthew 25:31-46

Just as we read this passage this past Saturday, we read it again to reflect on how Jesus wants his followers to treat people who are hungry.

Right away Jesus expressed what was important to him. “I was hungry and you gave me food.”

Our attitude towards those who are hungry is essential as a follower of Jesus Christ. 

Too often we can fall into the trap of thinking that people don’t deserve to receive food. That people who go to Food Shelves haven’t “earned” that gift. 

Jesus was never concerned about whether the poor “earned” the food they received from others.  He was most concerned that those who were hungry were fed.

When we judge those who are poor, we are really judging Jesus—which none of us would think of doing. The next time we find ourselves judging someone who is hungry, instead look at the person and discover the face of Jesus.

This past Sunday Pastor Paul began a new sermon series called, “Making an Impact.” For two weeks Chain of Lakes is going to look at how the faith community can make an impact with people who are homeless and people who are hungry.

The Bible is very clear about how people of faith are called to treat the poor. This week we have the opportunity to read some of these stories.

 

Monday, February 1

Read Acts 4:32-37

This is the second time in the book of Acts that Luke, the writer of Acts, wrote about the connection of the community. The other place is Acts 2:42-47. If you have an opportunity read that story along with this story in Acts.

In both places that connection of the community to each other is very strong. We can feel the love that people had for each other. Luke wrote that the whole group was of one heart and one soul. This level of unity is a reflection of the command of Jesus to love your neighbor as you love yourself. This love that people had for each other was able to unite them together. We’re not told much more about their unity, but it’s fair to think that this unity wasn’t in their beliefs. It’s very possible that the believers disagreed about parts of God or how to conduct their lives or other issues.

This unity helped the community care for people who were poor. People were not going to tolerate poverty.  Their care for each other compelled them to help each other.

Helping the poor is an action, and it starts in our hearts. Imagine a faith community that had this type of unity. The people would not tolerate poverty in their own community. They would do whatever it takes to help others. This is a vision of what it means to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

 

Tuesday, February 2

Read Exodus 22:25-27

This reading from Exodus need not be taken literally. It was shared in a specific situation. This passage was not making a statement on interest on a loan to those who are poor.

However we can learn about the heart of God for those who were poor. And that principal is long lasting.

God didn’t want the people to suffer from unscrupulous lenders. God cared so much for the people that God commanded the Israelites not to charge interest on loans to people.

The reading went on to share that if a person was experiencing poverty that person could cry out to God. God would listen to the fervent prayer because God was compassionate.

It’s this compassion of God that God wants each of us to share with those who are poor. God does not want us to judge people or to look for mistakes or reasons that someone is poor. Quite the contrary! God wants us to share compassion. This compassion is a reflection of grace.

Think of someone you know who has made some mistakes or who might be poor. Today pray that instead of judging that person that you can share compassion.

 

Wednesday, February 3

Read Amos 4:1-5

It’s risky to write about God’s anger because it’s easy to fall into stereotypes that have been created about God and God’s anger. That somehow God is an angry God or that the God of the Old Testament is angry and the God of the New Testament is full of love. Neither of these is true.

To be honest we have to acknowledge that God is capable of anger—in both the Old Testament and New Testament. Anyone who doesn’t think that God wasn’t angry in the New Testament has never read the story of Jesus overturning the tables in the Temple. (Mark 11:15-18)

It’s important to remember that God is slow to anger, gracious and abounding in steadfast love. (Psalm 103:8)

What makes God angry? God is angry when people exploit the poor. This is what was happening in this section of Amos. The rich were exploiting the poor. Look at how God responds!

The lesson for all of us is very clear.

 

Thursday, February 4

Read Proverbs 14:21, 19:17, 21:15, 22:22

These four readings are a litany of how people are called to treat the poor. These readings are similar to what Jesus taught in Matthew 25:31-46.

“Happy are those who are kind to the poor.” Proverbs 14:21

Sometimes it’s easy to take out anger on people who are poor. They are easy targets where people project their own insecurities or anger.

These readings turn around these worst of how humans can act. Happy are the people who treat others, especially the poor, with kindness or mercy or compassion.

Today focus on treating others with kindness. Treat others with kindness not only in how you treat them, but with how you view them with your mind or heart.

 

Friday, February 5

Read Luke 4:16-21

These words from Jesus are the first words that he shared in public. We can think about it as his first sermon. If he was running for office this was his opening announcement.

Look at what Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because God has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.”

Right away we read about how loving the poor and sharing kindness with the poor was a priority for Jesus.

This declaration by Jesus does not mean he didn’t love all people. But we can see that he had a special emphasis for those who were poor.

To be the hands and feet of Jesus, the body of Christ must treat the poor the same. One of the ways to measure the congregation is by asking the question how the congregation is making an impact with the poor. Is the poverty rate lower because of the church; is the number of people who are homeless or hungry going down. These criteria are measuring sticks for the effectiveness of congregations and consistent with the very first public words of Jesus.

 

Saturday, February 6

Read Matthew 25:31-46

This passage from Matthew is a magnificent summary of how followers of Jesus are called to treat the poor.

“Whatever you do to the least of these my brethren, you do it to me.”

None of us would every think of treating Jesus with judgment or scorn or ridicule. If Jesus walked into the room we would most likely get on our knees in a spirit of reverence and worship.

And though we are not called to worship someone who is in poverty, we are called to treat them with deep reverence. And certainly we are not called to treat them with criticism.

The next time you feel yourself judging the poor, think about whether you would say or think the same words regarding Jesus.

All throughout the Bible we can read stories and examples of grace. In fact, one way to think of the Bible is to think of it as a manual for grace.

This week we have six opportunities to connect with the Bible’s teaching on grace. May your reading help you go deeper to be a person of grace and ultimately joy.

Monday, January 25

Read Romans 5:1-5

These five verses from Paul share the message of the death and resurrection—a significant part of the message of grace. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus everyone has access to grace. 

The English word, “grace” comes from the Greek word, “charis.” In addition to grace, another way to think of charis is kindness. Because of what happened to Jesus everyone has access to the kindness of God.

Grace is more than a transaction between God and humans; it is a force or spiritual energy that was unleased and exhibited through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Grace has entered into the world. We can’t see it, but we have access to it.

Part of the beauty of faith is to see grace and illustrate grace. We don’t have to invent grace, but we share grace. Just as if we were playing a musical piece we don’t put the notes onto paper, we play the notes so others can enjoy the sound.

Today think of your day as an opportunity to communicate the music of grace. Pray that the music of grace will be illustrated through your thoughts and actions.

 

Tuesday, January 26

Read Romans 5:6-11

Grace is a gift. This is what the apostle Paul was communicating in these verses. While everyone was weak and at the right time Jesus died for the ungodly. While everyone was a sinner, Jesus died.

Pastor Paul talked quite a lot on Sunday how it’s natural to want to earn grace. We do good things in our faith and expect that God will bestow favor or grace on us. We might go to worship or pray a lot or do some good deeds or give away our money. Because of this we want to receive God’s grace.

But the relationship with God doesn’t work like this. Every if we didn’t worship or pray a lot or do good deeds or give away our money, God gives grace. Grace is a gift with no strings attached.

On Sunday Pastor Paul shared a definition of grace that is attributed to Philip Yancy. Grace means that there is nothing we can do to make God love us more; it means that there is nothing we can do to make God love us less.

Pray that you can strip away any thoughts of merit when it comes to God and grace. Instead see that grace is a complete gift. Your spiritual life will go much better if you can grab hold of this message.

 

Wednesday, January 27

Read Philippians 1:1-2

The Apostle Paul started out this letter to the people who lived in the village of Philippi with a greeting of grace. Many of the letters of the New Testament shared a greeting of grace in the first three verses. In fact sixteen of the twenty-two letters have a greeting of grace in the first three verses. If you have some extra time, find out the six letters in the New Testament that do not have the word “grace” in the first three verses.

It’s remarkable that Paul could extend grace in this letter. At the time of the letter Paul was in jail sentenced to death. It would have been understandable to think that Paul would be focused on himself. His life was in danger! Instead, Paul was willing to extend grace or favor to the people to whom he wrote this letter.

His example is one for us. No matter what is happening in our life, we can always extend grace. Our own challenges and struggles need not prevent us from sharing grace.

Pray today that you can extend grace. Pray that your own emotional situation doesn’t stop you from sharing grace.

 

Thursday, January 28

Read Luke 2:39-40

Luke wrote that as Jesus grew he was filled with wisdom and the favor of God. Another way to translate the favor of God is “grace.” In fact the Greek word that is translated as favor of God is translated in other places as grace.

Grace is to experience the favor of God.

The favor of God is a free gift. We don’t earn it; we don’t deserve it; we don’t merit it. And the favor of God or grace is given to us.

You have received this favor of God.

Spend some time today thanking God for this free gift of favor. Praise God for extending grace to you. Perhaps you can pray today the following prayer of praise.

“God, I praise you for extending your favor to me.”

 

Friday, January 29

Read Psalm 103:6-14

These verses from the 103rd Psalm are worth reading over and over. They describe the inner character of God and how God views humans.

The highlight of these verses is in verse eight.

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

In the past month we’ve learned that when Moses wanted to know the identity of God, these words are the ones that God shared with Moses. 

Who is God? God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

This character of God makes grace possible for each of us. When we extend grace we are extending these beautiful characteristics of God.

Pray today that you can extend grace. But before you do extend grace, pray that you can connect to God’s character. You can be a representation of God to the world. The way to do this is to extend grace.

 

Saturday, January 30

Read Numbers 6:22-27

These words in Numbers are known as the “Aaronic benediction” Like the verses we read yesterday, they exhibit the character of God.

Perhaps you could memorize the verses today. These verses are worth carrying in our own spirit.

“The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

(Numbers 6:24-25)

Last week Psalm 145 was studied in the devotion. This week we have the opportunity to go deep into the next Psalm, Psalm 146.

This is a Psalm that provides the rationale for praising God. Each of us can experience the power of praise when we become very familiar with this Psalm of praise.

 

Monday, January 18

Read Psalm 146:1-2

Starting with Psalm 146 the last five Psalms in the Scriptures begin with the word, “Praise.” In fact, all five begin with the phrase, “Praise the Lord.” The word “Praise” is translated from the Hebrew word “Hallel.” Add “yah” (you) and the word Hallelujah is formed.  Hallel means Praise; yah means you.

Four times in these two verses a form of the word “praise” is used.

In his sermon this past Sunday, Pastor Paul encouraged people to be known as people of praise. He encouraged everyone this week to share the phrase “Praise the Lord” three times during the day. See if you can start by saying this phrase three times a day.

Expressing praise in an authentic way is a matter of the heart. We don’t think or analyze praise; instead we express praise. When praise is expressed it comes from our own heart or inner spirit.

Orient your day today around praise. Your life will most likely be better if you do.

 

Tuesday, January 19

Read Psalm 146:3-4

It’s a bit ironic that we read these two verses the day before the Inauguration in the United States when power is transferred between Presidents. 

The Psalmist was sharing in these verses that even though we humans can have deep sympathies for a political leader, our ultimate allegiance belongs to God. Leaders can do great things and can generate terrific allegiance, but at some point their authority will end.

Instead of putting our ultimate trust or allegiance with a political leader, how about putting our ultimate trust or allegiance with God? This is what these two verses encourage us to do.

Have you had a moment when you were disappointed by a political leader that you loved?

Nothing wrong in being involved in politics or having aspirations for a politician. But realistically our ultimate allegiance belongs to God. God is greater than any created person or ideology.

On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your own trust in God? What number would you give it? As you pray today, pray that the number can increase.  

 

Wednesday, January 20

Read Psalm 146:5-7a

Verse 5 is a powerful verse that is worth committing to memory.

“Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God, …”

The writer of the Psalm shared that when we look to God for help and strength that ultimately we won’t be disappointed. Or as we read in Psalm 46:1,

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change.”

It’s not surprising to be afraid when hard things happen or the world spins out of control or the Capitol Building is overrun by a mob.

But even when it seems like the world is spinning out of control, we can still turn to God for help and support.

On this important day in the life of the United States, take some extra time to look to the God of Jacob. Spend some time praying for support and encouragement.

And no matter what your political views, take some time to pray for President Biden and Vice-President Harris. Pray that through their work the strong divisions and polarization in the United States can lessen.

 

Thursday, January 21

Read Psalm 146:7b-8

These four sentences share the extraordinary care that God has for those who live on the margins.  God wants to see the prisoners free; God wants to open the eyes of the blind; God wants to lift up those who are bowed down; God wants to love all who are righteous.

But God does not choose just to wave the divine hand to accomplish the intent of these four sentences. God looks to people to be divine agents of love, reconciliation, and justice.

Perhaps you can be that person!

Today as you pray, ask God to lead you to be an agent of love, reconciliation, and justice. May your day today be a reflection of these four sentences.

 

Friday, January 22

Read Psalm 146:9

Just like the four sentences from yesterday, this verse again shares the intent of God to care for those who are on the margins.  God has deep compassion for strangers, orphans and widows. God is disgusted by the way of the wicked.

The first part of the Chain of Lakes Purpose Statement says that Chain of Lakes will be a place where “strangers become friends.” Take some time today to pray for the strangers. In the case of Chain of Lakes, a stranger can be a person who is a stranger to God and/or a stranger to this faith community.

Pray that the people of Chain of Lakes will have a passion for strangers. Pray that the ministry of Chain of Lakes can be targeted for those who are outside of the community and not just for the people who are on the inside of the community. Pray that the Core Value of Outward Focus can be lived out.

Pray that the leaders and people of Chain of Lakes will keep the needs of the broader world before them and won’t only focus on the needs of the congregation. 

May this verse inspire every congregation to look beyond themselves. This is what God wants.

 

Saturday, January 23

Read Psalm 146:10

The ending of this Psalm brings back a reminder of the beginning. Just as the Psalm started out with “Praise the Lord,” it ends with “Praise the Lord.”

In the sermon this past Sunday, Pastor Paul shared that praise is all about God. In praise we compliment God for a quality of God. Praise is like thanks in that the person doing the praise is expressing gratitude, but it’s different than thanks. Praise is expressing appreciation about God; thanks is expressing appreciation for something that happened to us.

Keep spending time focusing your day on praise. Set the timer on your phone to go off three or four times. When it does go off, spend some time expressing a compliment of God. Your own spirit will thank you for this!

In his sermon on Sunday, Pastor Paul encouraged people to read Psalm 145 every day this week. Psalm 145 is a monumental Psalm. It is like Psalm 1 and 8 and 23 and 103 and 139. It is so special that when someone says the number, we are reminded of how powerful the Psalm is.

Take some time to read the entire Psalm every day this week. Then go back and read the particular verses for the day followed by the devotion.

In doing this, you will most likely have a sense of connection to God and have an experience of joy.

 

Monday, January 11

Read Psalm 145:1-3

The superscription of Psalm 145 shared the words, “Praise” and “Of David.” This is the only Psalm of the 150 in the Scriptures that has the word Praise in the superscription.

One definition of praise of God is when we praise God for a quality of God.

In the first three verses David wrote that he would extol God, bless God and praise God. The words, “extol” and “bless” are synonyms for the word, “praise.”

Verse three shares some reasons for praise.

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable.”

These words are worth memorizing.

Today as you pray praise God for God’s greatness. Say this prayer of praise, “I praise you God for your greatness.”

Say this prayer over and over again. Say it slowly. Most likely as you pray this prayer, your heart will be connected to God.

 

Tuesday, January 12

Read Psalm 145:4-6

Meditating on God’s work as in verse 5 will connect us to God.

“On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.” Psalm 145:5

One way to live out this verse is to get out into nature. When we spend time in God’s creation, we have a new appreciation for the world. Even in January when it is cold and snowy we can connect to God outdoors.

One way people connect to God is through prayer walks. Take some time to go on a prayer walk today. As you are taking your walk, spend time talking to God. Be deliberate in your conversation with God. Or be silent and notice the wonderful majesty of creation.

 

Wednesday, January 13

Read Psalm 145:7-9

“The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Psalm 145:8

Many years before this verse was written by David, Moses wanted to see God. This was difficult as no one had ever seen God and lived.

God relented to the request of Moses and asked Moses to climb to the top of Mount Sinai. God then passed before Moses and proclaimed the following, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Exodus 34:6

After God passed before Moses, Moses bowed his head and worshiped God.

Other variations on this verse can be found at Psalm 25:7, Psalm 27:13, Psalm 100:5, Psalm 106:1, Psalm 107:1 and Psalm 118:1.

Write this verse down and carry it with you. This verse will help connect us to the heart of God and will help us experience joy.

 

Thursday, January 14

Read Psalm 145:10-13a

Four times the word kingdom is used in these verses. Many believe that heaven is God’s kingdom, that when we die and go to heaven, we will experience the fullness of God’s kingdom.

However, God’s kingdom is not something that we have to wait for until our death. David wrote that “God’s kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and that God’s dominion endures throughout all generations.” Psalm 145:13a

Being in God’s kingdom is a realm of joy.

Think about some recent times that you have experienced joy. Perhaps the experience was one of intense happiness. Or perhaps the experience was one of deep connection—either to someone we love or to God. That experience is a reflection of God’s kingdom.

God’s kingdom is something that all of us are called to create on earth. We work for justice and righteousness for all people—that is God’s kingdom. And God’s kingdom is something that can just come to us. God’s kingdom can surprise us in unexpected ways.

Being aware of God’s kingdom is a task of followers of Jesus Christ.

 

Friday, January 15

Read Psalm 145:13b-20

In his sermons on joy Pastor Paul has shared that people can experience joy through P.O.R.  The acronym stands for P-prayer; O—orientation to joy; R—recognize joy.

These verses in Psalm 145 share what happens when a person connects to God.

The people who connect have a sense of God’s justice and kindness. When they call on God, God is near. God hears prayers and saves them. God watches over those who love God.

The following verses express the sentiments in the preceding paragraph.

“The Lord is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings.

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

God fulfills the desire of all who fear him; [God] also hears their cry and saves them.

The Lord watches over all who love God, but all the wicked God will destroy.” (Psalm 145:17-20)

The result of these verses is connection and ultimately joy.

 

Saturday, January 16

Read Psalm 145:21

This last verse of Psalm 145 starts out, “My mouth will speak of the praise of the Lord” 

How often do you speak out loud of the praise of the Lord. Do you speak of the praise of the Lord once a day, twice a day, five times a day?

Perhaps today you can focus on speaking about your own praise of God. Be intentional about speaking of the qualities of God that you especially appreciate.

Your words of praise will undoubtedly touch another person’s heart. And it will form a perspective of joy on your day.

This past Sunday Pastor Paul started a sermon series on joy by looking at light. This light is not a physical light. It is a spiritual light that can guide us.

This week we have the opportunity to read about this light. The readings that are shared are excellent descriptions of God and God’s light. This light connects us to joy.

 

Monday, January 4

Read John 1:1-5

“What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:3b-5)

These words from the Prologue to John describe a foundation of life. We read about this foundation all throughout the Scriptures. We read about it in Psalm 23:4 when we learn that “even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil.” We learn about it on Easter morning when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to tend to a dead body, but instead discovered that Jesus was alive.

The relationship between light and darkness is not only a physical relationship. It is a spiritual relationship. “Even though” we go through hard times or see people suffer, the promise of light is that these hard times and suffering won’t last. The light can be muted for a while, but it can’t be extinguished. This spiritual reality defines the belief system of a disciple.

Reflect today on how you have internalized for yourself this spiritual message. Even though pain and darkness can come, to what extent do you have faith that the light will ultimately come?

 

Tuesday, January 5

Read Psalm 4:6-7

In a number of different places in the Old Testament we read about the shining face of God. If you have some extra time, read Numbers 6:22-26, Psalm 31:4-6, Psalm 80:3, and Psalm 89:15.

The face of God is a metaphor for God’s light. We don’t think that God has a face, but we can imagine God’s face shining light.

When a person has a sense of peace, we can literally see light shining in the person. The person’s expression shares light and energy, and ultimately peace.

The light of God’s face is not a physical light—it’s deeply spiritual. As you pray today, ask that the light of God’s face might be with you. Look for that light in other people’s faces. Pay attention to when you see this light.

 

Wednesday, January 6

Read Psalm 27:1

God’s light can give us a sense of confidence. This is what the writer of this Psalm was communicating – “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

God’s light gives us an assurance that we can’t receive in any other place. This light gives us a confidence, a sense of peace, and the reality of connection.

Even if we have moments of being afraid, we do not have to fear. These moments of being afraid are temporary and aren’t necessarily long-lasting. God’s light leads us to a far different place.

We can see the relationship of God’s light and joy. On Sunday Pastor Paul shared that joy is letting God’s light shine. When this happens, we enter a different realm. It’s a place of inner peace and serenity.

Today pray that you have confidence that these moments of being afraid won’t last for you. Pray that you can have this type of confidence.

 

Thursday, January 7

Read Matthew 5:14-16

In his most famous sermon Jesus said, “you are the light of the world.” The “you” in this phrase is plural. One way to interpret this is to say that communities of people reflect God’s light.

Faith communities can be known for this light—really it is a spiritual energy. When people come into contact with the community they sense that something is different about this place. Often in the first minute of a visit, people can get this impression of energy. Even if a person experiences a faith community in an on-line setting a person can get this sense of energy. 

 

Today as you pray, pray that congregations will be known as communities of light. Pray that Chain of Lakes Church will be known as a congregation of light. This spiritual energy can last with a person for a very long time.  

 

Friday, January 8

Read John 8:12

Seven times in the gospel of John, Jesus made an “I am” statement. These I am statements share the identity of Jesus. These seven statements are worth knowing.

“I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35)

“I am the gate for the sheep.” (John 10:7,9)

“I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25)

“I am the good shepherd.” (John 10:11, 14).

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)

“I am the true vine.” (John 15:1, 5)

And today we read that Jesus said,

I am the light of the world (John 8:12)

Followers of Jesus Christ are looking to be led by this light. It’s the light of life and love and wholeness.

Sometimes people make faith to be much more complicated than it really is. To know Jesus is to be willing to be led by this light. It’s a light that always shines in the darkness.

Recommit yourself to this light today. Pray that you can be on the lookout for this light.

 

Saturday, January 15

Read Revelation 22:1-5

The last chapter of the Bible is similar to the first chapter of the Bible in that light appears. In the Creation story we read that God said, “let there be light.” This was a physical light. In these verses from Revelation that God will be the light of all people and that this light will never be extinguished.

These verses are a description of heaven.

In his sermon on Sunday Pastor Paul shared that when people have near-death experiences they often remark how they saw a light. This light is wonderful and beautiful and very inviting.

This light is a profoundly spiritual illustration of God’s Kingdom.

Today as you pray, pray for the light of the Kingdom. Pray that heaven can indeed come into earth. And that when heaven comes into earth the words of this last chapter of the Bible will come true.

The season of Christmas is not over until Epiphany, which is Wednesday, January 6.  Until then we can still savor the Christmas story.

As followers of Jesus Christ we are always called to remember the “reason for the season.”

One way we can do this is by being open to receiving the gift of grace that baby Jesus brought to us.  We opened many gifts during Christmas.  Perhaps this week we can think and reflect on opening this gift of grace.  This week you’ll have the opportunity to read, study, and pray about receiving this significant gift.

Monday, December 28

Read Matthew 1:18-25

Christmas is celebrated because of this story. In the first part of his Christmas Eve sermon Pastor Paul explored this reading. He shared the challenges that Joseph encountered when he found out that Mary was pregnant. 

Most likely we’ve read and heard this story many, many times, but we can always learn something new. 

As you read this story today, ask God to share with you something new about the story. In particular, reflect on Joseph and the decisions he had to make.

This story was a profound illustration of the gift of grace. As you pray today give thanks for the grace that you’ve received. 

 

Tuesday, December 29

Read Matthew 2:1-12

The tradition of gift giving began when the Magi presented gifts to Jesus.  In his Christmas Eve sermon Pastor Paul looked at the Christmas story through the eyes of the Magi.

Even though most think that there were three magi, the story never tells us. The magi were from the east—they were known as wise people who interpreted dreams and were led by the stars.

When the magi found Jesus they bowed down in homage to him. This was an act of worship. These people who had traveled many miles had found what they were looking for. This was a gift for which the magi were most likely not prepared.

Be open to receiving the most important gift of the season—that is the birth of Jesus. It is a sign of spiritual maturity to always have in front of us that the message of the season is about receiving this gift.

 

Wednesday, December 30

Read John 4:7-15

In verse 10 Jesus identified that his message was a gift, and that he was a gift from God. 

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

His message and his presence is a gift.  We do nothing to earn it. The gift is presented to us because we have entered the world.

This gift doesn’t make a difference for us unless we open it. As the world prepares to celebrate Jesus’ birth pray that the world can be receptive to opening this gift from Jesus. Imagine a whole Christmas tree of gifts that never are opened. If we don’t receive this message and the presence of Jesus (his Spirit) the gift won’t make a difference.  It will be like a Christmas gift that is never opened.

 

Thursday, December 31

Read Acts 8:14-25

Peter became offended because Simon wanted to purchase God’s gift.

“May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God’s gift with money!”  Acts 8:20

One piece of the power of God’s gift is the reality that it is free.   No one can purchase grace with money. By definition it is a gift.

We humans sometimes try to put conditions on this gift.  We say a person has to go through a program to become a follower of Jesus, or a person has to memorize the Ten Commandments, or a person has to join a church. Programs, memorization or joining a church are important, but they are not prerequisites for being a follower of Jesus. The prerequisite is receiving the gift that God has given to us.

Think about the gifts you received this Christmas. How were you at receiving them? Were you grateful, did your heart burn with appreciation? Did you share thanks?

Simon saw this gift and wanted to purchase it with money. We might see a gift and take it for granted. In a similar way both acts are disrespectful to God.

 

Friday, January 1

Read Ephesians 3:7-13

Happy New Year!

Paul identified in these verses that grace is a gift. He identified himself as the least of all the saints, but even so he was given a charge to bring this gift to the Gentiles. Paul was asked by God to communicate the message of this gift to people who were outside of the religious community of the time.

This gift of grace is not something that we are called to keep to ourselves.

This doesn’t mean that we have to be shouting with a bullhorn that God has given the gift of grace to everyone. We’re not called to be obnoxious.

A vision that Pastor Paul has shared in the past is that Chain of Lakes will become a people of extraordinary blessing. We will go out of our way to bless people in an extraordinary way. 

If we are people who go out of our way to share blessings in an extraordinary way, then we are communicating this gift of grace. Our actions are consistent with the calling that God has given to us.

You have been given a gift of grace.  Consider blessing someone today in an extraordinary way!

 

Saturday, January 2

Read Romans 5:15-21

In these verses the Apostle Paul compared the gift of grace to sin or what he called trespasses. Earlier in chapter five of Romans Paul shared a central teaching about the death of Jesus and how Jesus’ death connected us to God. This chapter might seem confusing at first, but it’s worth reading slowly and carefully. An important message is in these words.

Paul wrote that the gift brought justification.  That word means we were brought into relationship with God. 

The message of Christmas is that God loved the world so much that he sent this gift of grace into the world as a baby. It’s an astounding story and one that is worth giving thanks for to God every day.

Events

This Lent Sermon Series by Pastor Paul runs from February 21 – March 28, 2021

  • Sunday, February 21
    The Sermon on the Mount –  “The Beatitudes”
  • Sunday, February 28
    The Sermon on the Mount – “The Extensions”
  • Sunday, March 7 
    The Sermon on the Mount -“Practicing Piety”

  • Sunday, March 14
    The Sermon on the Mount – “Our Father”
  • Sunday, March 21
    The Sermon on the Mount – “Finding Your Treasure”
  • Sunday, March 28
    The Sermon on the Mount – “Living into the Kingdom”

Church Calendar

Community Gardens

Chain of Lakes Church is excited to share the future home of Chain of Lakes, the church property, with the community in a Community Garden Ministry. The church property is just east of  Malmborg’s Garden Center on 125th Ave NE in Blaine or .8 miles east of Radisson Rd on 125th Ave NE, Blaine.
Contact the office for information at 763.208.8049 or info@colpres.org
If you are interested in a garden plot complete this form: Community Garden Plot Application 2020 – Chain of Lakes
Please print and complete application and mail to: Chain of Lakes Church,
10130 Davenport Street NE #160
Blaine, MN 55449

Event Photos

Some highlights from recent events in the community!