Pastor's Page

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.”  1 John 3:1-3 NRSV  
              Sometimes I get a word stuck in my head and it just rolls around and around in my thoughts for days – sometimes weeks!  Often, I feel as if God is trying to teach me something and this repetition and constant reminder of the word or concept is a way God is driving the concept deep into my soul. 
           I have been working with a word for the past few weeks that comes back over and over to me.  The word is “EXTRAVAGANT”. 
ex·trav·a·gant /ikˈstravəɡənt  adjective

  1. Lacking restraint in spending money or using resources
  2. Costing too much money.
  3. Exceeding what is reasonable or appropriate; absurd.

That last definition seems to be the one that has me hooked.  Exceeding what is reasonable or appropriate; absurd.  As I have read and studied the scriptures that will lead us through the balance of Lent and into our celebration of Resurrection Sunday I am struck, overwhelmed by the unreasonable absurd extravagant love of God for us! 
              I think John may have been wrestling with the same words as he wrote this portion of his first epistle.  See what love (what extravagant, absurd, unreasonable, costly love) the Father has given us, that we should be called Children of God!! And that is what we are!! 
           I hope that you know today that the God of all creation, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, that Almighty Sovereign loves you!  We celebrate this Easter Season the gift of love that went to the greatest expense to redeem us – the gift of God’s own Son Jesus, his suffering, death and Resurrection – all because of this extravagant love. 
           I hope that you will plan to join us as we celebrate this amazing love together.  You are loved, and you are welcome in our family of faith, no ifs ands or buts – ALL are invited, loved and cherished!  Walk with us through Lent and the passion of Holy Week, come and join us for worship this Sunday at 9:00 or 10:30A.M. - we'll save you a seat!is not noted here, and we have no way of knowing, but I can't help but notice that Matthew comes to faith very soon after the Sermon on the Mount of chapters 5,6 and 7. I can't help but wonder if Matthew was in the crowd on that hillside a couple of chapters ago. Perhaps he heard Jesus Rabbinic teaching, and found the teaching transforming and irresistible! That would make sense that days later as Jesus passes by he quickly leaves everything to follow.Take a look with me at a subtle development that usually goes unnoticed in the Gospel of Matthew. We are in chapter 9 - roughly a third of the way through Matthew's Gospel account and someone gets invited to the party! Why, it's Matthew himself!Take a look with me at a subtle development that usually goes unnoticed in the Gospel of Matthew. We are in chapter 9 - roughly a third of the way through Matthew's Gospel account and someone gets invited to the party! Why, it's Matthew himself!It makes me wonder and recreate some of the story in my imagination. I wonder what Matthew's life as a tax collector was like before this day when Jesus invites him to come and follow. Apparently Matthew was a devout Jew -- at least he carefully couches all of his Gospel account in context of the Jewish heritage.As a tax collector, he would have been outcast and hated by all of his Jewish nation, and yet he would have been rich and powerful.It is not noted here, and we have no way of knowing, but I can't help but notice that Matthew comes to faith very soon after the Sermon on the Mount of chapters 5,6 and 7. I can't help but wonder if Matthew was in the crowd on that hillside a couple of chapters ago. Perhaps he heard Jesus Rabbinic teaching, and found the teaching transforming and irresistible! That would make sense that days later as Jesus passes by he quickly leaves everything to follow.What is your salvation story? What led up to you hearing the invitation to come and follow Jesus? Perhaps today you and I will be a part of another persons call to follow our savior and friend Jesus of Nazareth!PRAYER: Lord God, thank-you for the circumstances, the sermons, the pastors and people that went into our call to follow you. Use us this day and everyday to invite others to come and follow! Amen.

In Grace and Peace, Bill Mudge