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Life On Loan – Wildwood This Fall

Here we are at the end of September!  The weather is cooling down reminding us the crisp, cool days of Fall are upon us.  The leaves are just beginning to change color and miracle of miracles the Cubs are preparing for the postseason!  What a great time of year this is.  As we enjoy the change of seasons we are also in the midst of a sermon series at Wildwood PC – Life on Loan!  Here is a refresher to remind us what it is all about.

“A life on loan- like every loan- is given with the expectation of a return.  We are to return more than we are given.  One day we will be held accountable for how we spent or invested our lives.”  So begins their book, Living a Life On Loan, written by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson.  They continue, “Life begins with- and is accountable to- God.  Though we often speak of life and all it comprises as gifts from God, they are unique ‘gifts’ in that, technically, they still belong to him.  It begins when we think of our life as ‘on loan’ rather than as a life ‘you own.’

We began our series two weeks ago passing out puzzle pieces.  Each one of us is a piece of God’s redemptive work in the world.  Our piece is integral to the overall puzzle, our story, our lives matter.  Hold on to that puzzle piece – we’ll bring them back in November and assemble the whole puzzle!

This past Sunday I challenged us all to the 4 x 1 challenge.  In short, we are invited to spend four hours a week choosing intentional Christian practices that shape and transform us into the people who experience “Abundant Life” as Jesus spoke of it in John 10:10.

1 Hour of Worship

1 Hour of Study/Devotion

1 Hour of Community/Fellowship

1 Hour of Service

It adds up to only 2.5% of our week and yet if we commit to these practices it will change who we are for the best!  What will you choose to do with your time?

I look forward to hearing how the 4 x 1 challenge impacts our lives in the days to come!

Blessings

Pastor Erik

After the verdict…

When I was in ninth grade in the early 1970s, I lived in a medium-sized city in Indiana that was required by a judge to integrate the schools. The decision was made to close the downtown school where most of the black kids attended, and bus them out to several schools in the city and suburbs.

I was on the basketball team, and I would like to tell you that the sport brought us together in an inspiring way. It didn’t. What we had was a mostly uneasy situation, sometimes tense, occasionally with the beginning of something like friendship across racial lines. After growing up playing in the driveway with my white friends, dreaming of the days we would play high school hoops, I was now the only white starter. This was not going to be the schoolboy basketball career any of us had been waiting for.

One of the things I remember was leaving school after practice to walk the seven minutes it took me to get home. I would pass my black teammates who were waiting in the parking lot for one of their parents to make the forty minute round trip to the school to pick them up.

I was vaguely aware, but only vaguely, that something wasn’t right. Only later did I wonder why it was the black school that closed. Only later did I think about what it must have been like to be forced to attend a different school in which you were suddenly the minority. Only later did I think about how disappointing it must have been for my black teammates to have their boyhood team divided, just as ours had been. And only later did I think about how unfair it must have seemed to watch your white teammates walk home while you waited for somebody’s father to get off work and pick you up.

On Friday President Obama said a few things about the Trayvon Martin verdict. He did not question the jury but he did try to explain why what happened is of great concern to many African-Americans. It took me back to my 9th grade basketball team, and something I began learning in ninth grade and have to keep learning. About how important it is to step out of my own Converse All-Stars and try to think about what it’s like to live in someone else’s. About the black experience in our country being very different than my own.

In the New Testament, the apostle Peter tells us that people of faith are to be stewards of the grace of God. Think about that image, try it on for size, tie up the laces, and see how it fits. You are a steward of the grace of God. What makes us different as people of faith in divisive times? What sets us apart as followers of Jesus when people so often see things so differently? I hope it’s that we see ourselves as stewards of God’s grace. As people who are intentionally trying to spread that grace around our homes and our neighborhoods and our country. As people who pray, as St. Francis prayed, not so much to be understood, as to understand. From Abraham Lincoln to Nelson Mandela, the best among us are able to firmly work for the right as God gives us to see the right, while at the same time walking in the other guy’s shoes.

We’re called to be stewards of grace, Peter says. If the shoe fits, wear it.

Greg Bostrom