Mission Statement

Cyber Sabbath's goal is to begin to mend the division between Christ and the world (society) that Church has created through reflections, sermons and devotionals

Cyber Sabbath is a place for the stifled Christian voice to be heard. Media gives way to much time to the extremist - over looking the theologically educated and/or the moderates in favor of what sells their view point. Here, politics aside, a pastor reflects on God's voice in every day life.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

still trying to slove the religious problems


I posted a blog in my first year that is very similar to this one.  It was on trying to solve religious problems.  As we have experienced as a nation since that blog a true lost in mainline voice, I feel it is more needed now.  In the last few years my church the PC (USA) has only made the news for our big announcements on homosexuality and not nearly on the thousands of churches that are workings as God in the world.  Yes this announcements were important and I am proud of those moments but I am also proud of all the people who do God's work every day! 
My Spirit burns with passion over the problems with religion - established, institutionalized.

I am moved so deeply by the number of people I know personally who although believe in God and I would say are Spiritual (in tuned with God and the everyday interactions within their life) don't go to church or belong to a church family.  For many reasons people have moved beyond the church.  I claim, a lot, that it has to do with the fact that mainline church has lost its voice to the major conservatives.  But I think it is more then that, I believe that it is not just that our voice has become lost to the public but that we don't have voices.  Many mainline churches don't have voices because in believing that beliefs are personal matters - they don't take sides.  In being warm and welcoming excepting all - beliefs don't get discussed.  We have become clubs not places for spiritual renewal.  When fresh people come through our doors, we are signing them up to be one of us - part of this family of people without a sense of who we are - and yet we expect them to feel as if they belong.  How can a new person feel as if they belong to a place when they don't have history? When they don't know or understand what you believe? How can we prove to them that we are a different church, that we aren't stereotypical or we aren't hypocrites if we can't tell what we do believe?

When a seeker enters a church, they are looking for something. When they find nothing - no voice, no authenticity, no Spirit moving - they aren't going to stay.  This isn't to say that there is nothing for I assure you that at the core of every congregation there is something.  And even at the most club-like church there is a true Spirit of God moving. For those who believe especially they know and feel God.  The problem isn't that the Spirit has left or isn't there but that we have never learned how to give that Spirit voice.  In trying to be politically correct, in trying to be a place where all are welcome we have failed at one thing and that is defining our image of God beyond the European Male that wasn't Christ.  

The question isn't just how we make a more meaningful worship experience - that isn't how we get people to come to our church.  What is our voice and how do we let our voice be heard.  How do we go out into the community, teaching about Christ and encouraging people to worship with us.

We can't just sit around in our churches services not making any noise and allowing for the mainline churches to disappear.  We can't allow the more conservative voice speak only for God or allow the secular world to define churches by their requests for money and gossiping ladies. We must do ourselves better than that! We must do our God better than that!
 
As our election season goes into its finally months, as our country continues to struggle with racism, as our world continues to battle terrorism, as people go hungry and children witness evil we must ask ourselves is this really what God wants from us? To sit in our pews on Sundays and live in the secular world without a voice?  Or does our God want us to represent, to be an ambassador for Christ?  Does God's will include a voice for my theology?  My faith, your faith?!  It certainty does.  And wouldn't the world be a better place for it?  A debate of Christianity that actually includes all sides of it? 
 
Please take on your voice!  Speak about and use God's name not in vain but with the power to transform those around you.  Pray to God that our world comes to see that the true and amazing love of the God who offers us grace, no matter who we are!  We are neither Jew nor Gentile, slave or free, we are God's children!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

God is There

I have had an interesting week this week.  There has been mourning and celebrations.  There has been tough choices and laughter.  There has been time with my kids and time with the dying.  There has been cleaning and there has been mess.  There has been heart ache and there has been joy.  But most importantly there has been God.  God has worked through this week in ways that surprised me. 

I could not help but be reminded this week, as it started off with the unforgettable 9/11 to ending with a celebration of a WWII refugee, of the passage in which Jacob wrestles with God on the river bank (Genesis 32).  In this passage we have Jacob who is returning home after fleeing when he stole Esau, his brothers, birthright in a hoax with his mother.  He has sent message to Esau that he comes in peace and in hopes that he will find favor but his messenger returns to him saying Esau is coming to greet you with 400 men!  Jacob is afraid, worried that his brother in anger will kill him.  Unable to sleep he goes to the river bank and there he meets God.  He wrestles with God and Jacob wouldn't give up.  As daybreak comes, God says "let me go" and Jacob says "not without a blessing."  Jacob didn't give up wrestling God.  Even when he got injured he remained in the wrestle.  He was not only injured that day but his wound would follow him the rest of his life.  He would forever limp.  When his brother found him that morning, he embraced Jacob with open arms.  Not what Jacob expected.  God blessed Jacob with a new name "Israel" because he had struggled with both God and humans and won. 

Much of our life can seem like a struggle.  I was listening to NPR today and they had two guests who were sharing their life stories.  Both shared about the pains and joys of their life.  The host asked both if they thought they went through something "no one else" had.  I was surprised by this line of questioning.  We all go through hard times.  And we each have our own challenges.  High school, yearly 20's all the up through our life we face challenges and obstacles to overcome.  We struggle with God and where God is in not only our life but the world. 

In our times of struggle we have two choices - to give up and walk away or to stay and see God face to face.  We have the choice to walk away from God or to stick around coming to understand ourselves and God even more.  After the fight, Jacob walked away with a permeate reminder of his experience, he forever limped but also with a sense of peace as he walked into the unknown of the day.  He wasn't frighten of what his brother was going to do to him. 

We are all affected by the circumstances of our life.  And yet if we allow ourselves to see the God that is there we can come to a sense of peace.  We can come to find relief in God.  Perhaps we can realize that we don't need to self-medicate on the addictions of this world but instead we can proudly wear our scars as we walk in faith the chapters of our life.

Sitting with a women this week who wanted to put her lip stick on, she said to me as she looked into the mirror "look at how I have deteriorated." As my heart ached I wished she would see what I see and so I shared with her how I see her.  Her hair was beautiful and her wrinkles were few for her age.  She is still a beauty.  Sure she is older but she is that much wiser.  Sure she has some wrinkles but she raised several boys, who wouldn't?  Sure she isn't as young as she once was but her face tells her story.  Her story which includes faith. 

We are all affected by life's circumstances.  We all wrestle with God a time or two about the happenings in our own life.  But that's the point - God is there to wrestle with.  We all have scars both visible and invisible to others that prove our strength and our faith. 

In the moment of choice Jacob continued to wrestle, in his moments of fear (fear Esau was coming to kill him), pain (from his hip wound) and confusion (was this a dream?) Jacob did not back down from God.  He kept his faith.  We are all asked to keep our faith and to find God.  We are to seek God and know that God is there - in every moment. 

God proved to me the Holy's amazing presence was working in and through me this week as too many things just aligned.  I know that in all my moments - highs and lows - God was there.  Have confidence my friends and believe.  Don't worry about the wounds, they heal.  Just choose to stick it out with God for it is in choosing to stay that the reward is greatest!  It is in wrestling with the Divine that we come face to face with God and know the power of the Almighty in our lives.  It is in remaining in the faith that we are welcomed joyfully in God's loving arms as a beloved child.

God is here, God is there, From here to there, God is every where!