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, May 29, 2016

where is the Truth?

Today we have a lot of opinions.  In fact, thanks to the internet, everyone and anytime can have an opinion on anything and everything.  That's right.  I might not know anything about a subject and after a search on the internet I may feel like an expert.  I might not know anything about a news situation but after listening to the radio, I feel like I know enough about a situation to get into an argument over it.

I hope you are reading this and feeling the underlying tone of the above, this line of thinking is silly!  I am not an expert on anything that I have just learned from the internet, I am certainly not a medical doctor.  Likewise, just by reading or hearing a news article I shouldn't feel I know everything about a situation. 

And YET, my social media sites are FULL of opinions.  People making concrete and hard-nose decisions about everything from political to parenting, from dog owning to house building.  I wish I could remember where I read this, but I read somewhere that people this days are more likely to believe their own experience / opinion even when they are presented with FACTS that prove otherwise.  And I am sure there are people reading that and completely disagreeing ;-)

I am not sure if we have always been this way and the increase in accessibility of information has made it seemingly worse or what but I really have to question why are we allowing ourselves to act this way?  Why are we allowing for division and negative rhetoric?  Why are we allowing this to give us the right to seriously abuse each other and warp real problems?   Why do we talk at each other instead of listening to each other to truly find the truth? 

We have created environments in which it is not safe to actually work through real problems.  We have allowed negative rhetoric to create a perception of the world - that is NOT correct!  And this is not just because of one political candidate - this is all and both sides!  We do not live in a black and white / Christian and nonchristian world.  In fact at this moment we don't live in a very Christian world at all!

We should be looking into our own reality.  Instead of calling others out, we should be calling ourselves out.  As Christians we are not called to judge but instead love.  As Christians we are NOT called to judge.  But lately that is all we are doing, judging and taking sides.  Hearing someone confirm a fear we already have only gives way for us jumping to bigger conclusions instead of us finding the truth. 

Really this post should be named: What is Truth?  Because today "truth" is used to create realities and division that is not always there.  "Truth" is used to put up walls and divide us into sides.  We are called by God not to BE God but to be the BODY of Christ in this world.  We are called not to make decisions individually but instead as a whole for the good of the world.  We are called to work together to bring to Earth the Kingdom of God. 

If we continue at the pace we are working and with the ignorance of false reality we, as those proclaiming to be Christians, will bring the end times and realize that all along we were working for the wrong guy.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

trinity - let's take a look

God - a three in one trinity of parent, son and holy spirit is probably one of the hardest things as Christians to not only explain to others but to try to connect with ourselves.  It can make us look foolish and perhaps put doubt in our own belief when we can't readily explain what is at the center of our faith.  So today, I'm going to give you a picture to think about - perhaps not 100% theologically correct or translatable but a jump start to understanding the greater that is the Triune God. 

Let us envision God as a beautiful art piece, perhaps say a nice summer field of flowers.  The greater painting is God, the creator of the world.  Since God has three parts - parent (often referred to by the single gender of Father, which to this blogger does not represent the whole), son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit.  There are three primary colors - Red, Yellow and Blue.  These colors put together make up all the rest of the colors and also this beautiful art piece.  Let's thus call each of God's parts one of the primary colors. 

First let us say, what beautiful things can come when all the primary colors are put together - creation is truly a marvelous thing.  But we cannot so easily say it is just by putting the colors together that we get this piece of art.  First we have to remember the rule of primary colors - if you mix all three primary colors together you get a gross mucky color of mud.  That is what we do when we confuse and down play the importance of the trinity.  That is what happens when we go to explain something so much bigger then ourselves and our words fail us - we get muck!  And we create muck!  We shouldn't be in the business of creating muck.  Instead we should be in the business as Christians as helping to point others in the direction of God.  Helping others understand the difficulties of our faith and to grow in relationship with Christ.  It is hard to trust God if you are blindly following from far away but with a close relationship we can trust without prejudice.

Ok, back to out painting - God.  Within this painting might seem like every color but the reality is that each only made up of the three colors.  Even white itself is all colors from the color spectrum.  What is important to color theory (which most artists use to give more depth to their paintings) is that to encourage more of a 3D look, you often layer, using all the colors but not mixing them together, making muck; instead allowing the colors to enhance and deepen the way in which you see the third.  For example if you want to make the blue sky look like it is deep within the painting you would first paint the background orange, spreading the blue on top of the dried orange, thus giving the appearance that the sky is further back.  Likewise to make something pop out you would put first an opposite primary color and then layer.  Sometimes our relationship with the trinity is enhanced and deepened because of our relationships with the aspects of the trinity.  If we think of the layer effect, the trinity brings to life our relationship and understanding of God.

What an amazing thought to translate into our relationship with God.  God the creator is a vast being who is often hard for us to connect to.  The three aspects of God - parent, son and Holy Spirit in different ways show us a deeper relationship with God and the boarder picture of God.  Without them we would have an even harder time understanding.  God would be just a blank white Canvas, so vast and out of reach.  Yet because of God's love and desire for a relationship with us, instead of  a blank canvas we have a beautiful creation.  In each aspect of God's creation we are drawn to a deeper understanding of what God is offering us and where God is in the world.

With each new day we are brought to a deeper and more full understanding of the trinity, when we allow each aspect to intertwine and reveal more not just about its self but about the rest.  Just like in color theory when we are exploring say the Holy Spirit, we can certainly benefit from exploring how Jesus interacted and how the parent sent the Holy Spirit, thus deepening our understanding and our relationship with the spirit.  

I hope that through this blog, you may come to understand God on a deeper level and seek out a relationship with our creator beyond just the mucky relationship of doubt and uncertainty.  Spend some time getting to know the Parent, Son and Holy Spirit, separately and yet understanding how they work not only together but in the greater whole of Creation bringing us closer and closer to a trusting and powerful relationship with God.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Envoking the Power

This was written last Pentecost, the funny thing is not much as changed except the now much more verbal 3 year old believes he must go to church as Batman or on RARE occasions Bruce Wayne.

Evoking Power of Pentecost
Out of the slits of the batman cape / hat you can see the gray eyes of my two year old.  He is no longer the loving two year I named but is instead Batman!  Dare you call him by any other name and be prepared to hear "NO! Batman!!" When he is batman he is fearless...jumping off tall buildings with a single bound (ok our jungle gym) and of course using his "tool belt" to find ways to beat the bad guys - aka his sister.  On Sundays he particularly likes to be batman and one Sunday morning informed me that "people like batman church."  In his two-year-old lingo I think that means that church people like to see batman?  And well they have been extremely patient and gracious about batman's appearance on Sunday mornings that for years to come they will have quite the story to tell about this PK (Pastor's Kid). 
But when he proclaims himself as a hero - batman, superman, spiderman and TMNT are his favorites - he is evoking a power greater then himself.   What two year old doesn't want to be stronger, faster, smarter and better then everyone else?   When his world revolves around him, why shouldn't he be the hero of his story? 

As adults we know that just by adorning our lives with superhero costumes and tools does not actually make us a superhero, kids do not.  In fact, we know the true realities of the world, which can be difficult to find solutions to the big problems we face.  And yet, we are called as Christians to remember the power of God's Holy Name. 

On Pentecost we read the story of Ezekiel (37 for those who want to know) and the dry bones.  Not just the catchy kids song about what part of the bones is connected to what but a powerful story about evoking God's name!  Ezekiel in the name of the Lord God brought bones back from the dry pit to flesh with human life.  Now this isn't like those crazy zombie shows were they are half dead and the flesh on them is still exposed from their death, but is instead a story of God's power bringing them back into the fullness of who they were. 

The power of evoking God's name! 

Imagine what the power of evoking God's name can do for our lives if only we let it.  Let us not live to the point that we must be dry bones before God's word can touch our soul.  Let us not lose such sight of the power of Christ's name that we hit bottom before we can finally open our ears to hear God's message.  Let us allow God's word to ring in us and through us - evoking the power of the Divine to transform our lives.

On Pentecost Sunday we read this back to back with our Acts 2 reading of the very first Pentecost Sunday - when the tongues of fire allowed people to understand and listen to each other.  Through the power of God, people were brought together. Through the power of the Holy Spirit people who spoke different languages were able to understand each other and feel God working through them. 

Wouldn't it be a wonderful Pentecost if we too through the power of God's Holy Name found the ability to come together?  Wouldn't it be amazing if God's name could bring forth peace and love instead of strife and hate.  Wouldn't it be amazing if our dried up churches that sit in the pits of failing buildings could hear the Word of Christ and in a blaze of wonder and love and finally understand each other?  Putting away difference in order to bring life to Christ's message? 

I don't think that hope is too lofty - in fact it is right here on this day available to all our Churches.  As we celebrate Pentecost let us ask ourselves how do we as a church emerge from the pit to bring people together in God's name?  The Holy Spirit on that morning, did not come in flaming tongues to bring forth arguments or to challenge each person but instead to bring them together in God's love. 

Let us pray for our churches, let us pray for people and most of all let us pray that the Spirit's power can be felt in the pit of each person bringing ablaze of passion and God's message so that all may know and here the power of God's name.

Let us evoke God's name not to separate but to join us in love, strength, compassion, grace and forgiveness.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day

Mother's day is a day full of ---------- emotion!  I could have written love or I could have written appreciation but really it is a day full of emotion.  From children to adults from mothers to fathers from women without children to children without mothers this is day that our greeting card companies really can't make enough cards for.

As a mother to young children, I understand the desire for a "Mother's Day."  Raising children comes with moments of trial and tears, moments of frustration and joy, moments of exhaustion and more moments exhaustion.  Yes, our children should appreciate all we do each day but unless we teach them how to show appreciation that doesn't always happen.  Just this week I ran upstairs for only a few moments to come back down to my 5 year old running around with a dripping wet toilet paper roll that her 3 year old brother had tried to flush down the potty after using the potty! I could only laugh at this moment! 

As a pastor, I have sat with many people who wanted to have children and yet never could or the ones they did have died.  Motherhood was never within reach and yet they so desired to be one.  For many of them they found a way to "mother" anyway.  They were the best aunts or school teachers or sunday school / youth group leaders.  They "mothered" everyone and in return touched more lives then they probably know.  These woman should be honored on mother's day too.   One church I work at as a youth leader honor all woman on mother's day every year. The children / youth would hand out flowers and thank the woman.  It was very nice.  I remember one youth coming up to me and giving it to me and saying thank you. 

The emotions of mothers day go beyond the woman being celebrated and into the men/ children celebrating.  For those who have difficult relationships with their mothers or those who didn't have mothers this can be a time of grief.  So, yes we must be aware of all that is going on around us on mother's day.

With all that acknowledge and with the premises that we are going to look at this holiday with a boarder then what fits in the hallmark cards, then we should no matter our situation with our biologically mother or biologically children be able to find JOY in this day.  Life throws us circumstances, in life there is never a promise for things to be easy.  Yet we can with life's challenges find joy and ways to shape our own outlook that brings the good instead of the bad.  We can see God's blessings in life's misfortune, if only we have faith. 

For those without mother's there are plenty of others - people who helped make you who you are today, people who stepped up and did all the "mothering" and on this day you can celebrate them.  You are who you are today, not because you had a mother but because you were still able to find love in the world - a blessing from God. 

Or perhaps this is your moment today, to realize that you don't always need the perfect life that Hallmark greetings cards say you do but within the crazy mess of the life you have there is still blessings abound.  Instead of sitting today on what you don't have or missed out on, turn your emotions to what you did have/ what you do have. 

As our families change shape and our society continues to advance, mothers day will continue to expand to not just the woman who birth us, but to those who spend their days caring for us.  To those who love us and show us how to love.  To those who teach us about unconditional love.  To those who tend to our needs and those we call when we are in trouble.  Today is a day for us to honor the person who helped make us who we are! 

In this day let us thank God for mother (or mother figure) in our life!!! 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

What is holding you back

John 5: 1-9 is about a man who is waiting at the side of healing pool and had been for 38 years.  People had rushed by him and in healing jubilee never helped.  So he sat on his mat and waited for help into the pool.  Jesus comes along and asks this man "do you want to be made well?" (v.5 NRSV) and the man putting them on never being helped explains how for all these years no one helped him.  Jesus command him to get up and walk and at once he could. 

It seems to me that if he really wanted to get into that pool he could have.  How did he come to be sitting on the mat on the edge of the pool in the first place?  I am sure the pool wasn't built up around him.  I just can't believe that in 38 years no one could have been asked to put the man in the pool.  I just can't imagine.  Unless he was happy were he was.  If not happy comfortable.  If not comfortable content.  If not content afraid. Afraid of what his life would be life after he was healed.

Jesus must see this too, so he asks him "do you want to be made well?"  Not do you have faith / believe like he has asked so many others but instead he puts it on the man.  When the man answers, he still doesn't fully exclaim "YES" instead he gives excuses as to why he hadn't up to that point be made well.  Later we still see him making excuses.  Even after he had "gotten" what he "wanted" I am not sure that he did. 

For 38 years he sat at that pool, for how ever many years before that he lived crippled.  This is what he knew.  Change is hard for us.  Change is fear into the unknown.  Yet it is in change and transformation that better comes.  It is in change that hope is confirmed and grace is found.  For 38 years he lived so close to the cure and so close to the change he wanted and yet he never took it.  He didn't live into his potential. 

How many of us live on the side of the pool instead of rolling in?  How many of us proclaim we have hope and yet don't live into the hope offered?  How many times do you proclaim the miracles of God without accepting the magnificent grace of Christ?

Don't waste your time watching everyone else become whole through a relationship with the Divine. Don't waste your time saying "you want" something that you aren't willing to actually accept.  Push yourself forward.  Take the leap into the unknown and trust that the Holy will be there.  Imagine the life this man could have had had he only gotten in the pool 38 years before, instead he watch as others allowed themselves to be transformed.  Instead he watch as others live out good lives.  Don't waste your time on the outside, jump in. 

Don't let fear, reason or whatever it is that is holding you back stand in your way.  Take this day to allow the change you have been waiting for, longing for, to take hold and wipe the old away and start anew transformed.