Friday, August 26, 2011

Bible Reading Plan - Luke 11 to 17

This week’s Bible reading plan is to read Luke chapters 11-17. In about five to ten minutes per day, you can read through the entire New Testament in one year. If you didn’t start on January 1st, start today and set a goal to read through Luke 11-17 this week. Stay consistent and make focused Bible reading a daily habit. 

Read the selected verses each day. 

Spend some time in prayer reflecting on how God spoke to you through the reading. 

Read the study guide for the day to dig a little deeper into a few selected verses. 

Respond to the questions and prayer guides as you apply the biblical teachings to your life. 

By the end of this week we will have read through Matthew, Luke 1-17, John, Acts, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Timothy, 1 Thessalonians, James, 1 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John.

Monday, August 29th – read Luke 11 

Reread verse 28: “But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’” God desires blessings for us all, and tells us just how to obtain them; hear the Word of God and keep it. Pray and ask God to make your heart receptive to his word and fill you with the grace to walk in his ways. Meditate on Matthew 5:16. Ask God to use you to encourage another with his word. 

Tuesday, August 30th – read Luke 12 

Reread verse 2: “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” Excusing ourselves from our hidden sins, rather than addressing them as the word of God teaches us will never benefit anyone. Sometimes we tend to compartmentalize our lives, giving only certain days and times to God, not allowing God’s presence into all the rest. Are there any hidden areas in part of your life? God is already there, and he knows all. Ask God to give you the grace to give all to him, and bring your whole life into the light of his love. Encourage another with this truth today. Meditate on 1 Peter 2:12.

Wednesday, August 31st – read Luke 13 

Reread verse 35: “And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’” Living in a world where “seeing is believing” can be a subtle but constant tax on our faith. What are circumstances or difficulties you face that cause you to be anxious, worried or fearful of the outcome? Fear is the enemy of faith! Give your cares to God today and ask God to help your unbelief, so that you might take him fully at his word, and exercise an invincible faith for your situations and circumstances. Meditate on Mark 11:24. Nothing is impossible with God! 

Thursday, Sept 1st – read Luke 14 

Reread verse 26: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” The word “hate” in this passage, in the original Greek, actually means loving less. Now reread the scripture above inserting that meaning. Pray and ask God to examine your heart and reveal anything that you love or treasure more than him, and ask him to set your love priorities in the right order. Meditate on Luke 12:34. 

Friday, Sept 2nd – Luke 15 

Reread verse 24: “‘For this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” Regardless of the life we’ve have lived and the mistakes we’ve made, God throws a party when we humbly turn and give our lives to him. Pray and ask God to reveal the depth and breadth, the height and width and weight of his great love for you. Meditate on Romans 5:8. Spread the love of God everywhere you go today! 

Saturday, September 3rd – Luke 16 

Reread verse 10: “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” Following God is not just a “spiritual” journey, but a whole life commitment. Do you follow him in every aspect of your life? Ask God to reveal any areas in your work life, relationships, habits, or behaviors that fall short of faithfulness. Specifically, give them to God and ask him to be made strong in your every weakness. Meditate on 2 Corinthians 12:9. Ask God live large in every aspect of your life! 

Sunday, September 5th – Luke 17 

Happy Sunday! Reread verse 5-6: “The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’ And the Lord said, ‘If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” If we could manage to wrap our minds around the power of faith in God, we’d find it is beyond any power ever known to humanity. The power of God is miraculous! How complete is your faith in God’s ability to work his miracles in your life, and the lives of those you pray for? Ask God to increase your faith today. Meditate on 1 John 5:14-15. Pray for The Water’s Edge; blessings on all the volunteers, staff, and lay leaders, peace and grace for those wrestling to get out the door to come to church today, and for God’s life-changing power as we are brought the message today. See you at worship!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

This Week's Column

I remember September 17, 2006. It was our second Sunday worshiping at The Water’s Edge. We worshipped at Russell Middle School back then and had about 75 adults and 25 kids present. AJ was a one-man band. Our bulletin was a front and back 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. We had lots of leftover donuts.

In the last five years we have fed a lot of hungry people, new friendships have been created and existing friendships have been strengthened, children have learned about God, people have been supported though hardship, dozens of babies have been born, people have been baptized, marriages have been strengthened, we have laughed a lot, we have prayed a lot, we have run marathons and raised tens of thousands of dollars for kids in Africa, we have supported missionaries in Africa and Omaha and many places in between, we have worshipped in three different schools, we have been challenged and affirmed, and we have done our best to be God’s people together.

Last week we had over 550 adults and 135 children present in a crowded high school. The stage was full of musicians. The bulletin was 12 pages long. We ran out of donuts before the second worship service started.

We have come a long way and I sense that God is just getting started with us. I know much greater things are still to come.

You are the reason The Water’s Edge exists. The growth, grace, friendships, forgiveness, service, and salvation that I am most concerned about is the growth, grace, friendships, forgiveness, service, and salvation that happens in your life. The Water’s Edge exists to help people grow in their relationship with God and with others and to help us serve our community and world. I hope The Water’s Edge is making a difference in your life and I pray The Water’s Edge continues to make a difference in your life for the next five years and beyond!

I am more excited today about the next five years than I was five years ago about the first five years…and I was pretty excited back then! I know we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg about what God is going to do in us and through us.

Today is an important day for The Water’s Edge and for Faith-Westwood. After the 10:30 worship service we will hold a Church Conference to seek approval for the recommendation for The Water’s Edge to become a United Methodist Church separate from Faith-Westwood. It is my hope this approval is widely supported and embraced by people at both campuses. It is also my hope that no two churches in Omaha work more closely together in the future. I believe this proposal is best for The Water’s Edge and I believe it is best for Faith-Westwood because both churches will have the opportunity to focus externally on ministry (instead of inward on what it means to be one church), implement best ministry practices for their own unique setting, and create and live out their own unique vision of what it means to be the church.

The best is yet to come…


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Forgiving Others

Listen to this morning's message.

What forgiveness is not 

1. Forgiveness is NOT Forgetting 

It’s kind of like this: You have done something unspeakable to me. By all rights I should call it quits between us. My pride and my principles demand no less. I probably can’t forgot what has been done and will most likely carry scars for life, but I refuse to let the past stand between us and still want you as a friend. 

2. Forgiveness is NOT an Act of Weakness 

The weak have a tough time forgiving. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

3. Forgiveness is NOT Permission to Continue Self-Destructive Behavior 

That is called enabling. Quite a bit different than forgiveness. 

4. Forgiveness is NOT Conditional 

Sincere forgiveness isn't colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. That would be call for-earn-ness and not for-give-ness. 

5. Forgiveness is NOT necessarily a fully restored relationship 

Sometimes it’s best and sometimes it’s only possible to forgive from a distance. Sometimes forgiveness says I’m going to try to be your friend again and sometimes forgiveness has to say goodbye. 

6. Forgiveness is NOT usually a single event. 

Forgiveness is usually a process. It is usually not a switch. It is usually a journey. It takes time. The deeper the offense; the longer the journey. 

7. Forgiveness is NOT primarily for the other party. 

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and the prisoner is usually you. We can either forgive or relive. 

Types of hurt 

1. Unintentional – misunderstanding - busyness 
2. Intentional – betrayal 

What I pray is for us to learn, embrace, and practice the biblical model of forgiveness so that we can deal with others the way God deals with us. 

What is impossible by humans is possible with God. If there is unforgiveness exists in our lives – that God – through the power of the Holy Spirit will work in our lives to make the impossible happen and we can forgive those who have hurt us. 

Why forgive? 

1. Unforgiveness continues to hurt the person who was hurt. In other words…unforgiveness hurts us. 

Revenge, anger, getting even -- they all seem like a good idea at the time. Until we realize the pain directed at the person who hurt us is like a boomerang: the animosity and hostility returns to us and smacks us on the head. Unless you like being bitter and resentful...try forgiveness. It's God gift to you. 

Hebrews 12:15 (NIV) 

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 

Unforgiveness is a bitter root. 
We live with a bitter root. 
We may or even may not be aware of the presence of the bitter root. 
And the bitter root defiles. It causes trouble. It contaminates. 

Love keeps no record of wrongs. 
Bitterness keeps detailed records of wrongs. 

Unforgiveness is a cancer to the soul. 

It eats away at us. 
It hurts our relationship with others. 
It hurts our relationship with God. 
It prevents us from becoming the self that God wants us to become.

Unforgiveness is like squeezing broken glass. It hurts us. 

Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping it kills the other person. -Anne LaMott 

2. Because I’ll need forgiveness again. 

Matthew 6:14-15 

If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 18:32-35 

Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.

God’s grace and forgiveness is not conditional on our forgiveness of others. God is talking about something a little different. 

The pride that prevents us from forgiving others is a twin sibling to the pride keeps us from accepting God’s forgiveness. And may God help us do something about it. 

The forgiving becomes the forgiven 
The forgiving doesn’t let hurts from the past to destroy the future. 

How in the heck do I do this? I don’t know how. 

1. Pray for those who hurt you. 

Pray the way Jesus prayed when creation turned on the creator. As Jesus was dying on the cross – as people were hurting and humiliating him – he prayed: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” 

Jesus taught clearly in Matthew 5:43-45 

You have heard the law that says, "Love your neighbor" and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.

Some of you are thinking I don’t want to pray for this person. I don’t feel like it.

We all need to understand this: 

Right action leads to trigger right feelings. 
Right actions to come first. 
If you wait for the desire…you will be waiting for a long time. 
But, if we start praying, right feelings will follow right actions. 

My prayers for others may or may not change other people…but my prayers for others always, without exception, change me and my reaction to the other person. 

Start small 
Know it may be painful 

2. Then forgive as you have been forgiven. 

We forgive the same way God has forgiven us. 


Colossians 3:13 

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 

Forgive as you have been forgiven.

Friday, August 19, 2011


The young woman is starting her last year of college. She is going to make the most of it. She has her tickets for the home football games. Her and her friends have a spring break trip planned to Florida. She and her three roommates went out tonight. They had so much fun. Her first class is at 8:00 tomorrow morning. It’s 2:15 in the morning. She can’t sleep. 

On the other side of the city is a man. 2:15 in the morning is a time he is all too familiar with. He steps out on the front porch for some fresh air. The air is cool, but heavy. The only sounds are the locusts and a delivery truck making the rounds a few blocks away. His wife is sleeping. He walks back inside and looks at an old family picture. His heart turns heavier than the humid Nebraska air.

Heavy is the way the young woman would describe her heart. Her parents were divorced when she was very young. It worked okay. She had a good relationship with each parent and they even seemed to get along with each other. Then one day, her mom started dating a man. They eventually got married. The young woman acted happy for her mom, but it was an act. As an eleven year old, she sensed the man was trouble. And she was right. The man was verbally abusive to the mom and then to her. He moved out a week after her graduation. She wishes he had never moved in. He left a path of devastation: shattered dreams, emotional scars, and seven wasted years. The man lives in Louisiana now and has moved on, but it’s 2:15 and the girl isn’t sleeping. 

The man puts the picture down. A tear flows down his cheek. He sees his 20 year-old boy with a big smile on his face. The boy is 35 now. He has a couple kids of his own. The man hasn’t seen any of them for about five years. Well, he actually has watched a few soccer games from afar. He would give anything to give that granddaughter a hug after she scored that goal. He wouldn’t mind giving his son a hug either—just like the old days—but that isn’t going to happen. A fight over money took place and the two stubborn men haven’t spoken since.

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. –Ephesians 4:32 

The young woman and the man live in the same city and a different world, but they desperately need the same thing: to forgive. Not for the sake of the offending party, but for their sake. Forgiveness, at its core, is an act of self-interest. Not forgiving allows the offending party to continue to hurt. Forgiving allows the heart to heal. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting or letting off the hook. Forgiving means to letting go of the past and its pesky travelling companions: anger, anxiety, and bitterness. Forgiveness is God’s idea for God’s children. And it’s a choice God gives us: we can remember and resent or we can forgive and live. 

The best is yet to come… 


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bible Reading Plan - Luke

This week’s Bible reading plan is to read Luke chapters 6-10. In about five to ten minutes per day, you can read through the entire New Testament in one year. If you didn’t start on January 1st, start today and set a goal to read through Luke 6-10 this week. Stay consistent and make focused Bible reading a daily habit.

Read the selected verses each day.

Spend some time in prayer reflecting on how God spoke to you through the reading. 

Read the study guide for the day to dig a little deeper into a few selected verses. 

Respond to the questions and prayer guides as you apply the biblical teachings to your life. 

By the end of this week we will have read through Matthew, Luke 1-10, John, Acts, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Timothy, 1 Thessalonians, James, 1 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John.

Monday, August 22 – Luke 6:1-49 

Reread verse 37-38: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Do you have someone you need to forgive? Start with prayer, and confess your forgiveness and ask God to help you walk in love going forward, to heal and restore you. Meditate on Colossians 3:13.

Tuesday, August 23 – Luke 7:1-35 

Reread verse 9: When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” Believing in the authority of Jesus (that he is all the Word says he is) equals faith, and releases His power in your life. Are you seeking God first in all things, giving him everything in prayer? His authority is higher and greater than all other. Pray with faith in the supreme/overriding authority of Christ over your concerns, circumstances, and loved ones. Believe God for answers. Meditate on Matthew 21:22. 

Wednesday, August 24 – Luke 7:36-50 

Reread verse 47: “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Sin is sin, regardless of whether you think it’s a really bad sin or not. This makes us more deeply thankful to God for his forgiveness and gives us a greater compassion for others. Show our thankfulness to God. Let your words and deeds be your worship to Christ today, who has forgiven your every sin. Thank God for his forgiveness. Look for an opportunity to share this good news and forgive! Meditate on 1 Chronicles 16:8. 

Thursday, August 25 – Luke 8 

This chapter is full of amazing parables and miracles. Reread verses 11-12: “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God's word. The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved.” When we take God at his word, we are saved in every way we can be: heart, mind, soul, and strength. Live each day believing to the fullest that you are who God says you are, and so is he! Pray and thank God for the truth and authority of his word over your life today. Meditate today on Psalms 119:11.

Friday, August 26 – Luke 9 

Reread verse 9:23: “Then he said to the crowd, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.’” The cross is used figuratively to represent sacrifice in yielding our lives to Christ and symbolizing God’s infinite love. Our cross is to yield our lives to his will and carry his infinite love with us as we go about each day. How well do you take up your cross daily? Ask God to help you walk in humility and love toward him and others today. Meditate on Romans 12:9. 

Saturday, August 27 – Luke 10 

Reread verse 27: “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’” This scripture was the correct answer to the question, “What must I do to have eternal life?” God gives us the answer; Love! Sometimes we’ve forgiven others and known God has forgiven us, but we still struggle with forgiving ourselves. We become stuck in regret and self-condemnation. Love starts with you! Meditate on Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Ask God for an opportunity today to encourage another with this truth. 

Sunday, August 28 – Psalm 119:1-16 

Do you want more of His presence in our life? Put your lamp on a stand let God live big through you! Look for opportunities this coming week to be an encouragement to others. Ask God to let His light shine through you, to bear witness to the one who gave His life for the love of you. Remember, Luke 8:38 “Give, and you will receive…” Pray for God’s blessings on all the volunteers and all their families, lay leaders, Water’s Edge staff and Pastor Craig as he brings the Word this morning. Pray for God’s blessings on all who come to hear the word this morning; that God would open their eyes to see the wonderful truths in His instructions. (Psalm 119:18) See you at worship!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Getting Past Your Past

The forty-something year old man sits at his desk. He stares at the spreadsheet on his computer. The numbers he is crunching don’t look much different than they looked yesterday. He and his wife get along. Some of the passion from early in the relationship seems to be missing, but it could be worse. The kids are great, but they are growing up so fast. Life is usually busy, sometimes stressful, and passes by like an hourglass stuck to a table. Meanwhile, he is staring at a spreadsheet on his computer.

The woman in her mid twenties is walking around the lake. Her iPod blasts country music. She politely smiles at the people riding their bikes, pushing their jogging strollers, and walking their dogs. Her smile is more a surface smile. Inside she isn’t all that happy. She works in marketing and loves her job. She enjoys hanging out with her friends. Those things aren’t the problem. She walks faster, turns the music up louder, and keeps cranking out those smiles. 

As the man stares at his computer, he goes back a decade or so to a time in his life when he was addicted to alcohol. With deep regret he remembers the days and nights he wasn’t home with his wife and kids. Even if he was home, he still has a lot to regret. He beats himself up over the night he was arrested for driving with too much liquor in his system. He wishes he could have found a more constructive way to deal with stress than a short-term reprieve of a few shots of whiskey and lots of beer. He is clean now and has been for some time, but the past has a tight stranglehold on him and the opponent’s grip is not getting any looser. He keeps staring at that spreadsheet. 

As the woman continues around the lake she looks at her index finger on her left hand. It is empty. A ring was on the finger for ten months—about five years ago. It was shiny and beautiful. It represented faith, hope, and love. She was engaged. Life was perfect. The wedding date was set. Then one day, he told her they needed to postpone the wedding. He had some excuse about this being a really busy year with his job. She believed him and supported him. A few months later he broke it off and broke her heart. To make things worse, a year later he married another woman. They say time heals all wounds. It’s been five years and she ain’t there yet. 

The man’s office and the woman’s lake are less than a mile apart. He is 45 and she is 25. Their lives are much different, but the issue they need to deal with is the same: getting past their past. They, and pretty much everybody else they know, need to heal from pain inflicted by others and by self. Things like forgiveness, getting over our failures, and not letting others define us are the first and most important steps to contentment, fulfillment, satisfaction and joy.

The past: we can’t change a darn thing about it. We can learn from it: the good, the bad, and ugly. And, somehow, we have to put it behind us. Doing things such as this sure beats the alternative. 

I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. –Philippians 3:13 

The best is yet to come… 


Friday, August 5, 2011

Bible Reading Plan - 1 Peter

Thanks to Stephanie Reinhart for this week's Bible Reading Plan.

This week’s Bible reading plan takes us to the book of 1 Peter. In about five to ten minutes per day, you can read through the entire New Testament in one year. If you didn’t start on January 1st, start today and set a goal to make it through the book of 1 Peter this week. Stay consistent and make focused Bible reading a daily habit. 

Read the selected verses each day. 

Spend some time in prayer reflecting on how God spoke to you through the reading. 

Read the study guide for the day to dig a little deeper into a few selected verses. 

Respond to the questions and prayer guides as you apply the biblical teachings to your life. 

By the end of this week we will have read through Matthew, John, Acts, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Timothy, 1 Thessalonians, James, 1 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John.

Sunday, August 7th – Read 1 Peter 1:1-9 

Peter opens this letter, addressed to the exiles that had been scattered and were being persecuted for their faith. He prayed for grace and peace to be multiplied upon them. He goes on to reassure them, and encourage them that their trials will serve to prove or establish their faith. Often we tend to allow trials to make us to feel shame, to retreat, grow angry, or even feel ineligible or barred from the peace and grace of God. Regardless of “why” trials come, God desires that we embrace His peace and grace. Ask God to give you His peace and grace for your trials, and to use you to encourage another today. 

Monday, August 8th – Read 1 Peter 1:13-23 

I love the way the New Living Translation puts verse 14, “So you must live as God's obedient children. Don't slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn't know any better then.” What are some areas in your life God is calling you to obedience; to live life His way? Write it down, then give it to God and ask for His grace to turn from your ways to His. Have you tried to make changes, break habits and walk in God’s ways without His help? 
God wants you to rely on Him for everything, even obedience! 

Tuesday, August 9th – 1 Peter 2:1-12 

God calls us to be like living stones and a holy people. He desires we grow up and mature, and truly follow Him in our daily lives. Verses in this passage refer to war being waged in our souls over the way we conduct our lives. In what ways are you are tempted, when no one is looking, to cut a corner, give into a craving, or handle something in a way you know you shouldn’t? Pray today and ask God to be to Governor of your heart, mind and soul, to infuse you with desire, willingness and His grace to live well. 

Wednesday, August 10th – 1 Peter 2:13-25 

Chapter two encourages us to live with integrity, respect authorities as well as one another. Peter reminds us not to allow our freedoms in Christ to be a cover-up, but to live as servants of God; honoring others and reverencing God. How does the word “authority” sit with you? Many of us have been subject to the abuse of authority by another at some point in our lives. This can often build a tendency to resist authority, rather than respect it. Ask God to free you from having a wrong reaction to authority, to help you keep focus on living in humility, with integrity and respect. 

Thursday, August 11th – 1 Peter 3:8-22 

Reread verses 8-9. Paul tells us to have “a tender heart, a humble mind and brotherly love for one another” and not to “repay evil for evil, but to bless”. Do you find it difficult to bless others, in thought, word or deed, when they’ve done you wrong? 1 Peter 2:21 reminds us that this is the way of life we’re called to. Christ lived his life as “an example, so that we might follow in his steps”. In every way He can, God desires to be a light for others through us. Pray blessings for those who have hurt you. Verse 3:9 “for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” 

Friday, August 12th – 1 Peter 4:8-16 

Peter shares, in verse 4:11, that it’s God’s desire that “in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ”. He’s not just interested in blessing us on Sunday, or at Small Group or Bible Study, but every day and in every circumstance. We’re to be good stewards of God’s grace regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves; sin or obedience, suffering or happiness. Have you given God your whole self, your whole day, your everything? Successes as well as trials come to us all in different ways and in different seasons. Pray with a thankful heart, that Christ is with you, has paid the price and paved the way for you to walk with Him all ways, and in all ways-every day. 

Saturday, August 13th –1 Peter 5:1-1

Regardless of where we are in our walk with Christ, Peter teaches us to clothe ourselves with humility toward one another. The Greek word used to describe humility in verse five is tapeinophrosýnē . It is defined as an inside-out virtue produced by comparing ourselves to the Lord (rather than to others). When we do this, it helps us have an inner revelation of humility that helps keep us from being self-exalting. How well are your clothes of humility fitting; in your relationships with your spouse or significant other, your parents, children, and coworkers? Ask God to cover your heart, mind, soul and strength with tapeinophrosýnē, and to cut away all pride that would stand in His way.

New Beginnings

New beginnings. It’s a significant and reoccurring theme in the Bible. 

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! -2 Corinthians 5:17

Wednesday is a day of new beginnings for students in the Millard schools. For students in Elkhorn, Gretna, and Omaha – your day of new beginnings will come soon. Some will be going to Kindergarten for the first time. Others are going to be seniors and have one year left. A new grade level, new classes, new friends, new teachers, new opportunities. Most things are new. Except the food. 

This morning we are going to pray for the teachers and other school employees who will be teaching, mentoring, leading, coaching, and serving students. Your calling is one of life’s highest. If I ever think of something more important in life than investing in future generations—I’ll let you know. But don’t hold your breath. 

I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. –Philippians 3:13

Students get a fresh start each August. The A’s and B’s and C’s from the previous year don’t matter. Many of us need that in life. A fresh start. Our past sins no longer hold us captive. Neither do our failures. Neither do our hurts. Starting next week, we are going to start a new sermon series called: Getting Past Your Past. We will look at breaking labels that bind us, forgiving those who hurt us, apologizing to those we have hurt, and getting past our personal failures. I invite you to join us and invite you to invite others to join us as we say goodbye to our guilt and pain and say hello to grace and hope. I have been praying these four weeks will be a major break through for many of us. I invite you to join me in praying that many of us will experience a fresh start this month at The Water’s Edge. 

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” –Revelation 21:5 

On August 28th, after the 10:30 service, both campuses—Faith-Westwood and The Water’s Edge—will be holding a Church Conference to support the proposal that The Water’s Edge will become a separate United Methodist Church on January 1st, 2011. The congregations will move forward independently, yet cooperatively. I hope no two churches in Omaha work more closely together than Faith-Westwood and The Water’s Edge. Having served at Faith-Westwood for six years and The Water’s Edge for five years, I believe this is the best future direction for both the Faith-Westwood and The Water’s Edge. I wouldn’t support this proposal if I didn’t believe it was best for both locations. I believe these things will happen at both churches: a more clear and focused vision, higher levels of ownership and commitment, and a more effective and efficient use of people resources. In short, I believe God will do a new thing. And that is something that excites me. 

The best is yet to come…