Salt of the Earth

Salt of the Earth

Feb 22, 2017

by Karissa Bornemann Milton SDB church, WI   “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” —Matthew 5:13 (NIV) This past January, 35 young adults traveled to Milton, WI, and braved the below-zero temperatures for our Young Adult Retreat. We started on Thursday night with some get-to-know-you games and ended the retreat by breaking off into groups where we were able to pray and talk through questions about what we discussed during the weekend. Our theme this year was “Salt of the Earth.” Pastor Steve Osborn preached about what it means to be the salt in the stew that is our world. He explained that God calls us salt for a reason: if something is missing salt, you notice it. Salt doesn’t do anything sitting in the shaker. As young adults, we are at a really great age when we have great opportunities to meet so many different people. This retreat encouraged us to get out of the shaker and salt up the world around us! We are the salt of the...

We Are Not Doomed

We Are Not Doomed

Feb 22, 2017

by Katrina Goodrich In the course of my college career I took a psychology class called Motivation and Emotion. The goal of the course was fairly self-explanatory — learn about emotion and motivation and how they work together. I can’t recall exactly what spurred the discussion — if there had been a recent crisis or if it was brought up in the flow of course material — but my professor started lecturing about evil in the present world and how it affects a person’s outlook on life. This was several years ago and things were different at that time, but I believe what she said is no less relevant today. She said something like this, “Many people say that the world is more evil than ever and is going in a downhill spiral. Don’t allow them to dictate the future to you. There are many ways in which the world is a better place than it was even 30 years ago.” She then gave a brief summary about why she held this view. To say this is not a popular worldview is an understatement, particularly coming from a credible Christian source. Hearing that the world is spinning out of control, irredeemable as it gets ever closer to its demise, is routine. The crux is that the view is not incorrect. The world will end. While my professor’s words have stuck with me, I find myself immersed in skepticism. We are more informed about the evil of the world and it affects us on a more personal level. Rather than succumbing to ignorance, we are now forced to acknowledge the evil around us. All you need to do is look at news headlines or glance at your Facebook feed to be up-to-date on the terrible happenings around the globe. So how is it that an intelligent, educated, Christian woman can stand up in front of a room full of young adults — who’ve had a front row seat to the depravities that have been committed in the world — and say, “It’s okay, the world isn’t irredeemably evil and you should stop looking at it that way?” Evil doesn’t change — it is still bent...

Times Like These

Times Like These

Feb 22, 2017

By Erin Inabnit What are “Times Like These”? We’ve all heard the sayings — the same sentiments worded slightly differently along the two general themes: self-reliance and depending on God. “In times like these, we need to band together!” “In times like these, you have to rely on God’s strength!” “It’s times like these that make us stronger!” “Its times like these that better teach us how to trust Jesus!” But what are “Times Like These”? I had a hard time sitting down to write this. I wrestled with the topic, thinking, “What could I possibly have to share that people haven’t heard yet — especially when I can’t even define exactly what those times are when we most need God?” I admit that I have led a blessed life. I’m married to a man who both understands me and loves Jesus. I have happy and healthy kids. My parents are retired and enjoying their lives. My job as a teacher (while difficult and exhausting at times) is rewarding and fun. We live in a politically divided climate, which I certainly have my own opinions about. Bills keep coming that can sometimes be difficult to pay. But still my life plodded on, seemingly untouched by all those disturbances about us. “Times Like These” seem to be something I can’t quite identify with, let alone write about. And then, in the midst of my struggles with this question, a very dear friend died suddenly…unexpectedly…and I was immediately thrown into the middle of a “Time Like This.” The rug was torn out from under me. All of a sudden, I was dealing with a level of grief that I hadn’t known for decades. A person who had, for 30 years, been a constant in the ever-changing fabric of my life, had been a steady anchor in the middle of my whirlwind, a sounding board when I needed one, and who I had seen grow into an amazing woman of God, was abruptly torn away. My world had been rocked, my sure foundation was suddenly shaky…but I still had to get up the next morning and assure my husband and kids that I was doing better, while...

The Lord’s Prayer: Holy is Your Name…

The Lord’s Prayer: Holy is Your Name…

Feb 22, 2017

by Phil Lawton I didn’t sleep well last night. I woke up this morning to the news that one of my friends had died in automobile accident. I was crushed. Not just because a friend was gone, but because it just seemed like one more thing. Lately it seems like the world is falling apart. The news is never joyful. My Facebook feed constantly reminds me that humans have more care for animals then they do for each other. My job is full of conflict. It seems that everywhere I turn I cannot escape the pain and the sin in this world. So this morning when I heard the news I cried. I cried in bed. I took a shower and cried there. I got out of the shower and I cried. And I realized one thing. This world is shifting and untrustworthy. But I serve a God who is holy. I serve a God whose very name is a rock. And this morning I clung to that rock. Most commentaries on the Lord’s Prayer spend little time on this phrase. They quickly gloss over it as a given. Of course the name of God is holy. Some may note that this was a phrase used in a time before Jesus to talk about the nature of God. They may say that calling God holy is defining who God is — but they will spend far less time on this than they will on other parts of the prayer. I have chosen to devote an entire section of this series to this phrase. If I am honest I felt like I put myself in a corner. I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about. I regretted not doing what everyone else had done. I could have just included this in the section on Heaven, but I didn’t. Now I am glad I didn’t. More Than Just Sinless Sometimes when we think of the word holy, we think that it means that God is sinless. It is true that God is sinless. It is true holy means this, but it means so much more. We live in a world that is consumed by...

Searching

By Katy Elliott Alfred Station SDB Church A remarkable trait among humans across the globe is a searching, curious nature. While the questions they ask vary as greatly as the people who ask them, there is always one common question that haunts every individual: “Why are we here?…What is the purpose of life?” Sadly, there are many who go through their entire lives searching and never finding the answer because of where they tried to find it. There are people who think that the purpose of life is to find your own purpose — to find whatever makes you happy and do that for as long as you can. They think they will find the answer if they just look into themselves deep enough. However, the problem with this idea is that people are rarely satisfied, and they will never find the answer inside themselves. You never find the instructions to a device inside the machine itself; you have to consult with the inventor. So when circumstances go awry (as they often do) this sense of purpose dissipates. Some people look for meaning in things. They think that the meaning of life is to be wealthy and successful and to have everything that they could ever want. They think that this will bring them satisfaction or happiness. I have seen bumper stickers that say things like “He who dies with the most toys wins.” This is a tragic philosophy to uphold because it will always end in emptiness — and so far away from the reason why we are here. I have always wondered, what do they think they will “win”? What sort of good comes out of focusing all of your energy on obtaining things that you can’t keep? Jim Elliot once said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” These words are very true, but how many people have this idea backwards? They give what they cannot lose (their eternity in heaven) to gain what they cannot keep (possessions). So many people waste their entire lives collecting things that they won’t be able to take with them when they die. Every person on...