SHALOM – More than Peace

Peace.  We tend to equate this word with a lack of violence or a feeling of quiet.  It’s a word that can be applied in our individual lives or to the world at large.  The concern about Covid-19 has reduced our feelings of peace as our levels of stress have risen.  Peace then, has been reduced in most of our lives recently.

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you…” John14:27 (NASB)

If we follow this word “peace” back through history to the word that Jesus used we find that in Hebrew, the word is shalomShalom is an amazing word that encompasses far more than the simple ideas we hold of peace.

Shalom is used in reference to the well-being of others, to treaties among nations, in prayer for a range of needs from individuals to entire countries. It also includes the concepts of harmony, wholeness and completeness. Shalom was, and is, used as both a greeting and farewell.

When Jesus told his disciples that He gave them His shalom He was offering so much more than a quiet feeling or lack of violence.  Jesus was giving them the wholeness and completeness of His relationship with God.  He was giving us the opportunity to have this same relationship. 

At 11:15 a.m. on Sunday Pastor Ann will be bringing God’s current message to us about Shalom.  We will not be having our regular service but will livestream again this week due to the current situation with Covid-19. 

Please note that the church will be open, so if you have no sniffles, coughing or fever you are welcome to join us in the sanctuary.  PLEASE remain at home and join us on Facebook if you feel ill or have concerns of contagion.  THANK YOU for continuing to learn and grow in God’s word during this time.  His church will only grow stronger through this.  Shalom!

Boldly Connecting

Connections are all around us.  Nothing on earth functions in isolation.  God designed our world so that everything in it and on it works together.  Even an amoeba needs something to float in. It is an amazing feat of creation.

Humans seek connections with others from the beginning of our lives.  We cannot survive without others.  We are designed to function in social groups, but for many people the bonds that help us thrive have broken down.  Those we are designed to depend on have shown themselves to be less than dependable, leading us to distrust others. 

I heard recently that the generation coming up is the least connected generation in recorded history!  Given the technological opportunities in our country today that is a confusing statement until we look a bit deeper.  Rather than true human interaction and human connections, we have learned to use our technology as a buffer to make us feel safe while imitating the relational connections we need.  We can see people on our screens.  We can communicate with them by talking, texting or sending cute little emojis.  When we become uncomfortable, we can just turn the screen off or “unfriend” that person.  We can build an entire community of “friends” online consisting of people that we have never met or spent actual time with.  This is convenient and safe because we will only see or share the bits and pieces of ourselves that make us look good in the moment.  People won’t ever really know who we are, so we are protected from disappointment.

This shallow attachment diminishes us.  It stifles our joy.  It blinds us to all the amazing connections in the world around us and how we are designed to fit into that plan.  Ultimately it leaves us empty and hungry and sad.

Our God is a God of relationship.  He designed us to be connected to Him.  When we are outside this core connection, nothing is quite right in our lives.  We lack that joy and peace that only He can bring. He is the root and trunk of the tree of life.  We are branches.  When a branch or twig falls from a tree, it dies.  It becomes food for the littlest creatures.  The branches that are attached to the tree continue to grow and thrive.  They provide shade, shelter and fruit because they remain connected to their purpose. 

Pastor Ann will be speaking to us this week about BOLDY CONNECTING.  If you’re wanting a deeper connection, please join us Sunday at 10:55 in the sanctuary (964 W. Hwy 190) or online as we live-stream on Facebook.