Feb. 21: Money

What if money ruled over your life?

Money is a big talking point in our society and culture. It seems that every decision we make is influenced by how much money it will cost us or how much money it will make us. Why is it so important to get good grades in school? To get a good job. Why is it so important to get a good job? To make money! Paul writes in 1 Timothy, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some have wandered away from their faith and have impaled themselves with a lot of pain because they made money their goal.” How do we then reorient our goals away from the pursuit of wealth?

Today, think about what hold the “hunger” for money has on your life?

Bryce Miller

Feb. 22: Beauty

Our society is consumed with the pursuit of physical beauty. Award shows now spend at least an hour before the show on the red carpet, asking the attendees what designer they are wearing. The next morning the main topic of discussion on all of the morning shows is “Who looked the best? Who wore it best? Who was the most beautiful?”

Google lets me know that skincare is the largest category in the cosmetics industry, accounting for nearly 35.3% of the global market in 2014. The products in the global skincare segment create a $121 billion industry. Hair care products represent a large segment of the beauty market too, with sales reaching $11.6 billion in the U.S. in 2014.

Contrary to pop culture, the importance of beauty for us as Christians is the “beauty within”. 1 Peter 3:3-4 reads “3 Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing; 4 rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight.” A gentle and quiet spirit is where beauty lies in God’s eyes.

What can we do to cultivate that inner beauty? Spending time in prayer, spending time in reading God’s word, spending time in worship – spending time in the disciplines of our faith. You may not be the topic of discussion on tomorrow’s morning show, but in God’s eyes your beauty will shine.

Spend time during Lent cultivating the beauty within.

Judy Oguich

Feb. 23: Prestige

Webster defines prestige as “a high standing achieved through success or influence or wealth etc.” As humans, we are social beings wanting to belong to a group. We look for ways to get approval of others by going to a prestigious school, having a prestigious job, buy a house at a prestigious address.  These are all successes that will get you admiration and approval from others but will it fulfill you?  To have prestige is to be true to yourself and hold strong to your values and beliefs. Prayer and a relationship with Christ is what helps me have a prestigious life! What does prestige mean in your life?

Katie Swartz,
Preschool Director, Trinity Preschool and Parents’ Morning Out

Feb. 24: Clothing

When I was growing up, I hated the times I had to go and buy a suit.  We could only go to certain stores, because we had to shop at one that had a portly or stout section.  It was always a pain and more than a little embarrassing.  Through my 60 years on this earth, I’ve learned to have multiple sets of clothing. 

Fortunately, I haven’t had to buy from the Big and Tall section in a while.  Of course, I’ve never had to buy from the Tall section, only the Big!

I only “hunger” for clothes when I’m hungering for food – that is, on a diet.  When I’m down a few pounds, I love to buy clothes. When I’m up a few pounds, I buy them only out of necessity.

But what about those times when we just must have a new tie, scarf, pair of shoes?  Wouldn’t we look wonderful in THAT color?

Or, have you ever heard yourself say, or think – Oh My God, does she think she looks good in that outfit.  Or maybe, he really ought to dress more like someone of his age…

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!

Maybe, during this season, we might consider not only giving our old, worn-out clothes to the needy, but what about something we really like.  Maybe a couple of warm coats to a homeless shelter.

And remember, we may look on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.

Charles Staples

Feb. 25: Community

Sabbath: February 25, 2018

In 2004, I filled a backpack with clothes, grabbed my guitar, and hopped on a plane to Scotland. It was an adventure. I bargained for that. What I didn’t bargain for was the aloneness. Though I traveled on planes and trains to exciting locations with brilliant people, I still didn’t really know anyone very well. It was six weeks before I made a friend in the middle of a high church service in an old stone abbey. We were singing in a choir. We both messed up. We both started giggling. He couldn’t stop because he thought it was funny. I couldn’t stop because it felt so good to laugh with someone so far from home.

This week, we’re going to focus on our hunger for relationship. This is a deep hunger for so many of us. Social media connects us instantly and almost effortlessly, yet people in our part of the world feel more disconnected than ever. This makes church a rare gift today: a place where people gather across generations on a regular basis. We gather, we greet, we sing, we pray… we’re different, you and me, in what we do as church together.

Today, just think of a time in your life that you’ve felt alone. Now think of how this connects you with Jesus this season. I daresay that Jesus felt alone pretty often, especially as he drew closer to Jerusalem. Read the gospels and you’ll see that even in the middle of a crowd, Jesus had a knack for being misunderstood, marginalized, and maligned. Yet Jesus shared his aloneness in community with us, and so we share in community with each other in the Body of Christ. We are never alone, even in our aloneness. Even when we feel far from home. Thanks be to God.

Drew Willson

Feb. 26: Companionship

As a young child, my daughter never liked being alone.  She hungered for companionship all the time.  She wanted someone with her when she colored, played, ate, watched a movie and even until she was asleep at night.  Today, 30 some years later, Kelley still loves having people around her, but in contrast, she cherishes her time alone on her back porch.

I knew my dad as strong, independent and self-sufficient. (Along with many other excellent and enduring characteristics). He seemed to like being alone and never seemed to need companionship, but of course, most of the time; Mom was not very far away.  With the passing of time, (he just turned 96) he has become much more dependent on others.  Since Mom’s passing in 2013, my Dad seems to want companionship more and more. 

During Lent, some people decide to sacrifice something.  They may give up chocolate, fast food, computer games, etc. This practice can free up time to focus on Jesus, which is so important.  Lent is also a time of giving and service.  There are so many ways to give back to God and to serve others in need.

Do you know people who hunger for companionship?  Maybe you can give up some of your time to serve God this Lent by visiting someone who needs a friend or just someone to talk with.

Hebrews 13: 16

16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Have a blessed day!

Leila Denton