top3 for October 23, 2020

Here are three things that I have been reading and thinking about this week. Have a great weekend!

#1


“It is easier to find guides, someone to tell you what to do, than someone to be with you.”  

Eugene Peterson


With Advent coming up in little over a month, it is good to be reminded that we are an incarnational people. Immanuel means God with us. That defines everything we do as the people of God.

#2


Washington Post article on former Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland


Everyone has setbacks. It is not a matter of if but when. And how we handle them makes or breaks whether setbacks lead to growth or bitterness. I am not attempting to make a political statement referencing the above article. I just thought it was one of the best examples of handling a serious setback with grace.

#3


For this reason I have said frequently that the works that come after faith should have the sole purpose and intention of chastising the body and serving one’s neighbor; they are not intended for earning a lot of merit or for making someone pious, for that must be present prior to the works. This is the real service of God in the works, if these works come about quite freely, to honor God. Otherwise what use does he have for your fasting, unless you quell thereby the sin and the flesh which he wants quelled?

Martin Luther – Works, Volume 52 (underline mine)

I am still thinking through this quote from Luther about the purpose of works. Chastising seems like a strong word to use but I can see his point. All works, if I read Luther correctly, either squelch the sin within or meet the need for others. Both of these fan the flames of faith. Giving purpose to our doing. Making sure our being doesn’t get left behind.

Published by Todd Nelson

I'm one of the pastors at First United Methodist Church in Lexington, Kentucky where I've served for the past thirteen years. The sub-title of this blog is "Grace is no accident" which happens to be the defining reality of my life. God's grace (gift) is the reason we have breath in our lungs and hope in our hearts.

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