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.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Balm of God

There is a hymn call "There is a Balm in Gilead" and the refrain is pretty powerful: There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole, there is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul...

A great hymn.  For those who have been in church recently you may have heard a sermon on Job, currently lectionary is following this fun-loving fellow (note the sarcasm).   Job is a righteous man in God's eyes, perhaps more so then Abraham and he lives in Uz, which is translated as to reflect or meditate.  This book is one meant to be reflected on and to give us pause.  In Job we meet a man who because of Satan experiences a lot of pain and suffering in a short period of time and begins to ask the question that still plaques us today "WHY? WHY is there suffering?  Why do bad things happen to people who seem to be good?" After several days of being good pastoral care friends, his friends lose ground when they finally speak with him and try to get him to admit to living a bad life.  They are assuming that if these things are happening then Job must not be as righteous as he says he is, there must be hidden things.   Perhaps the judgment we find ourselves offering others?  But Job in desperation pleads to God. 

As faithful people - or people searching - the good news is that there is a balm for our agony - Christ our Savior.  This balm doesn't mean that our life is going to be all about the "easy" button or that our desires will be ours.  Believing in Christ and following God does not entitled us to either an "easy button" or a "name that price tool" it does however entitle us to GRACE.  And through grace our souls can be made whole or sin-sick soul can be saved. 

Recently I had a raise Jewish, Communist, Russian and who studied Christianity ask me why there was evil in the world.  When I took the easy way out and answer if there wasn't evil we wouldn't be able to know the shear wonder of God's love she kissed my hand.  In her years no one ever tried to answer that question.  Job asks this big question, why is there suffering and more importantly why is there senseless suffering.  We are reminded in Job that even in the suffering God is there.  God does not abandon but is instead there. 

We cannot understand all that there is to know about our world or about God.  We cannot proclaim to know the goodness of our lives or the blessing to be the only measure of our righteousness.  However, we can know that God is there always for us.  We can as faithful people find God even in the midst of our struggles but more importantly we can find grace!  Through our faith in Christ, we can be whole.  Sure we may still carry a scare around with us - but who doesn't?  Christ is here to heal our souls to give us wholeness and to offer something not found on Earth - GRACE. Now that is something to rejoice in. 

As everyone is getting ready to celebrate Halloween and the demons or scary things remember that the scariest and deepest places for us are those furthest from God's love.  But rejoice in knowing that God does not abandon us, instead God continues to encourage us, strength us and give us hope.  Let us know that our souls can be healed and made whole through Christ the Savior.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

God Winks

God winks are when we our lives are touched by God and a blessing is felt.  Daily I feel that God winks in my life and except for sharing with my husband and occasionally on Facebook I usually don't share my winks with everyone.  Some days I feel like Mary who "pondered all in her heart" at the birth of Christ, for the blessings bring great meaning and joy.  Some days I feel like the Christian world may not be ready for my blessing as it calls into question some of the norms and I just don't feel like fighting with people about God and other days I just don't share because it reveals more about my personal life than people want to know (as a Pastor one must remain in a certain view by the public, which can and does change based on who is viewing and although you might feel like you may never, you should still try to remain this way). 

Either way, I think I should stop living in such a way.  As God continually shows me that we learn through testimony and example.  That people come to faith through testimony - look at the Bible!  And so I will begin sharing my winks with you, when God has truly touched my life and reminded me that no matter where I am at on a giving day, God is with me.

As a chaplain I experience God throughout the day. I feel God's presence as I pray with people and as I hold Holy conversation.  I know God is working throughout people's lives and I am often brought to someone because of God's push or pull instead of my own desires.   One day I visited a man who had left the church several decades ago.  Mostly in anger over politics, a story that I hear daily.  As this man wonder the world - literary he traveled for a living - he experienced great things and many religions.  He was left with a feeling of doubt and yet belief.  He knew there to be a God, he had experienced that in war; yet he didn't know he could believe in the God of the church.  So he was left to sitting in a state of "unbelief" and yet "belief."  We had a very deep conversation about the God he had experienced in his life and perhaps that being the answer in itself.  He joked that if he got to heaven, which he wasn't sure there was one or that he was good enough for, he would let me know.  I joked that if I got there first, I would let him know.  (we both knew he was going first).  The night he died, I had a dream of him.  I usually don't remember my dreams.  As I usually don't get much sleep, I often don't dream and yet I woke up with a profound feeling of that dream.  I shared with my husband that morning I had a dream I needed to share.  I didn't know the man had died until later, except when I heard it, my dream made sense. 

In my dream, my church (which is very welcoming) was having a potluck and the elevator door opened and this man, who had never stepped foot in the church before, was there and was greeted with a warm welcome.  Wheeled the front and offered a meal.  I know that his entrance into the Kingdom was one in which God warmly welcomed a searching believer who finally found his home. 

You see, it takes more then just going to church to be a truly righteous believer.  It takes looking at the church and struggling when you see it do wrong.  It also takes realizing the good and uplifting it.  This man didn't struggle with God, he struggled with the church and with the teachings.  He struggled with his own worthiness because he did't fit into the box that the church likes us to check.  He struggled with God most of his adult life not because he didn't believe but because he cared enough to believe the God he had experienced which was different from the God found in some churches.

Jesus reminds us that we must "cut off" our limbs that are sinning; 43If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. (Mark 9:43). 

In this case, this man felt his church was causing him to sin as he did not feel he could uphold all its teachings.  And yet, he never felt he could "find" another church.  He felt disconnected from church and considered himself disconnected from God.  What a way to live your life.

Don't make this mistake!  There are churches out there that are teaching things you would like! But more importantly, there are Christians out there you can join in fellowship.  Where 3 or more are gathered in Jesus' name, God is there!  Let us go out then and be the church.  Let us welcome all and most importantly let us testify to the God winks in our life.  For if this man had heard from others their love for not just their church but also God, he may have found a church home instead of living his life searching until his death.   Although he was welcomed home, let us strive to live a life in which we feel and know the Kingdom in the here and now.

Let us spread our God winks!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Let's Be REAL

Sitting in the recliner with a hospital gown draped on each side of his body sat a middle-aged Christian waiting for a Chaplain visit. He was happy I arrived and began to express his journey to believing in great detail.  At the end of his upbeat tale, I asked him what led him to the hospital.  He proceed to tell me his story, which was pretty trying for anyone.  A wife diagnosed with a long-term illness and after many years trying to manger her care at home he finally placed her in a Nursing Home, which was finically crushing him; after years of already being crushed by her medical bills.  They had no children and so he was now alone.  His parents were gone, her father was alive but also in a Nursing Home and most of the time didn’t understand why his daughter never visited.  On top of this, the man had recently lost his job and was in the middle of selling his house.  Deciding to find a hope for his dog was the finally straw and he ended up having a heart attack and was now here at the hospital.  In tears he told me his story, but the funny thing was this wasn’t the same man who just told me about this beautiful relationship with a God that provides and offers blessings to those who believe.  So I asked him about this clear divide and his response hit me to my core.  “Oh I can’t be mad at God for any of that, or God will abandon me.”

My God is certainly not a God that abandon’s anyone! We do a good job of abandoning God as humans, but seriously where did this guy get this philosophy.  Surprisingly from Church; was the church teaching this or was this the man’s own interpretation I’ll never know, but to come away from Church with this kind of view was pretty heart breaking to me.

A relationship with the Holy, is like of that found in Eden – intimate.  God knows our thoughts, our plans, us at our worst and at our best.  God knows.  And so we are called to in relationship with God lift up all our burdens.  Moses when in the dessert with the Israelites yells to God (numbers 11) something like: “you stuck me with this people, called me to do this and this is what I have to put up with.  I am at my wits’ end! Do something!”  God does not just abandon Moses, he gives him 70 men to help shoulder the burden. 

When we teach reward – consequences in our ministry, or that only those who are righteous are reward then we get into a very bad pattern of allowing good people, who are going through bad things to feel abandon by God.  This man was essentially “hiding” his worries from God and not lifting up his burden’s in prayer all because he thought that if he did, worse would happen.  All because he thought he wasn’t living a thankful enough life or doing everything right when it came to praying and devotionals.  If only he prayed more, read more or studied harder then he would be able to see what he was doing ‘wrong’ and make it right. 

God doesn’t magically fix problems, but God can provide the tools needed for you to get through your problems.  Perhaps if this gentlemen was seeking God’s strength instead of avoiding God’s wrath he wouldn’t have had a heart attack.  He wouldn’t have kept all that in with presenting the face of happiness.  Let us all see if we can find a way to be real with God.  

Friday, October 9, 2015

A real family...

We arrived, we aren’t late, we aren’t early – we are here.  I rejoice!  It isn’t like this is a big deal, we have arrived at the YMCA for swim lessons yet it is in itself an accomplishment that we have made it.  The baby still doesn’t have socks on (I believe we have some in the diaper bag, OK I prayed we had some in the diaper bag as we walked out the door); the oldest combed her own hair and well I probably should’ve gone back over it; as we are walking into the Y with three bags I realize the middle child has breakfast left on his face.

YET we had arrived!

I am sure that each morning I hope for more; but I am not sure that is possible.  Some people have children that are seemingly perfect in dress and in general “put-to-gether-ness” not me.  Some days are much better than others and my diaper bag is probably stuffed with more things then yours (as I am often that parent who other’s borrow from); yet in general we are far from perfect.  But it is the little things that our children will remember.  The time I spent with them playing instead of matching socks.  The countless time I put face paint on them just for fun – they won’t remember the days afterwards when the said face paint didn’t come out and they went around with purple eyebrows or green chins.  Hopefully they won’t remember us a chaotic but instead fun.

Some days I look at other parents who seemingly have it “all together” and wish to be them.  But other days I am glad that we are just us.  We are masters at getting ourselves together enough to be presented in the world and have fun.  We may not all have socks on but we do have our feet covered and we are ready.  We enjoy each other’s company and most importantly we have a relationship with God.  Our children know God and I bet understand God to be a pretty unorganized ;)  after all the pictures of creation pretty much show the chaos that transformed into creation…

Life doesn’t fit into neat boxes or squares and neither does God.  God isn’t a one size fits all relationship – in fact Jesus enter relationship with his disciples differently.  He accept them just as they were and just where they were at.  Children have a remarkable sense of God and spiritual understanding they know the true limitlessness of God.  Jesus often said “let the children come” or “enter as a child” because children have a perspective on the world that we are adults have mostly lost. 

Yes, some might see our rushed walk into the YMCA with barely together children as a sign of how dysfunctional our family can be…however I see the story behind our rush in.  I know that we played instead of making our beds; I know we eat breakfast together and read about Joseph that morning, I know we, excited about swim lessons, took too long picking out our bathing suit and I know that we couldn’t find swim diapers.  But most importantly I know that God doesn’t care if we go to the YMCA disheveled; or church for that matter.  God doesn’t care because we are in relationship with the Creator. We are living our lives not for others but for God.  We are striving to teach our children to do right by following Jesus and living into the life God has called us to.  We are encouraging our children to have grateful hearts and giving lives.  We are hopeful that they won’t care if they don’t have the latest fades but instead satisfied for the blessing of God in our lives. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

World Communion Sunday

Today is World-Wide Communion Sunday.  On this day people across the globe all took communion.  That might not seem like a pretty big deal, especially to churches and people who take communion every Sunday but today we are reminded that there is more then just us and more then just our church but we are apart of the greater - Church of Christ.

One member of a church was told me how important it was for them to take communion in a pew, with the small shot-glass style cup  and the individual square of bread, as oppose to dipping or drinking out of the communion cup.  She reminded me, an avid fan in which you come up to the front and drip your bread in ONE cup, that communion in the pews can be very powerful!  She stated that she sits in the pew, which is in a church over 200 years old, and thinks about all the people who sat there before her and all the people who will sit there - here ancestors and those she isn't related to and it brings the communion to a deeper level, one that goes beyond just communion with Christ but with in which brings her into community with all those past, present and future.  Powerful reminder of what communion is really about!

We are reminded today that God is bigger and greater than we can imagine. That the bride of Christ - the Church is also called to not just look within our 4 walls but to go beyond our church and into the world.  We are the body of Jesus in the world and to be such we have to look beyond ourselves and to each other.  As we hold the bread and consume the wine we are touched by Christ in our lives and in the lives of all those who call him Savior. 

Let us remember today the number of people around the world who we share in community with.  That we will always have a friend out there in them and more importantly that on this day we share in the vision of Christ as Prince of Peace offering to all the grace and love that only God can give.