FaithBits

 

A weekly digital publication called FaithBit:

FaithBITs will be:

 


September 21, 2020

 

 

 

Called to Make a Difference

By Sophie Flom

Sophie, a high school senior, shared this opening devotion for REfuel on Wednesday, Sept. 16.  She based her devotion on Micah 6:8, "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."  


September 14, 2020

 

 

 

God is with us in our pain

By Paul Erdmann

Watch as Paul Erdmann, Immanuel's Youth & Family Minister, shares a devotion that was originally a part of our first REfuel.

 


August 31, 2020

 

 

 

Active Online Worship

By Kim Rathjen

Sunday mornings have been quite different for most of us for the past six months, and probably will be for some time into the future.  The ritual of gathering for worship in our sanctuary and the fellowship before and after are an integral part of who we are as a community of faith.

Since March I have been attending worship in front of a screen (as have many of you!).  We are fortunate that as a congregation we have the technology, staff and volunteers who make online worship possible and I am grateful for that!  But I do miss interacting with others on Sunday mornings.

Worship has always been an active practice of faith for me. That has become more difficult while worshipping alone and it is easy to become passive in our worship practice.  As we gather (some in person and many online) for worship this fall around the theme ReNew, I am hopeful that we can re-engage with God and each other through our worship. I have some suggestions for actively worshipping from home:

I’d love to hear from you if you have ideas about how to make the online worship experience more active and interactive.  Join me in worship on Sundays as we always have – and let me know you are there! More importantly, let God know you are there by being an active worship participant from wherever you are.


August 17, 2020

 

 

 

Cairns of Faith

By Martin Rathjen

Last week I climbed Bomber Mountain in the Bighorns of Wyoming following cairns to the top.   Cairns, little human-made stacks of rocks on a mountain trail are navigation aids added by passersby over the years, and in many situations, added by people over several generations.

So, dozens of people over several decades people have affirmed that if you follow these markers you know that you’re on the right path, that it’s a safe and trusted route, and that you’re headed in the right direction, giving you confidence that you’ll arrive at your hoped-for destination.

When looking for cairns I’ve learned that I need to slow down and spot the next cairn in the chained sequence, rather than forging on blindly and hoping that I’ll stumble upon the next cairn.  If you miss just one or two cairns on a mountain you can get a long way off track very quickly!

Following cairns up this mountain reminded me that we follow “cairns of faith”, faith-markers left by people who have traveled this life of faith before us.  We read their stories in the Biblical narrative, we learn from the saints of the church, we follow Sunday School teachers, Confirmation Guides, pastors, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and others.  The ultimate faith trailblazer for us is of course, Jesus.

Who are the people of faith that have added cairns of faith for you to follow?  What acts of faith are you laying down as markers for others? 

God’s blessings on the journey of faith!


August 3, 2020

 

 

 

Feeling Sheepish

By Cindy Paulson

I was recently reminded, while learning to felt a rug from a full sheared sheep fleece, of my complicated relation with sheep. Yes, sheep!

Several years ago I was tasked with preaching at a Lenten service on the story of the Good Shepherd. This caused me great angst, not because of the public speaking part (if you know me you know I’ll talk to anyone at great length!) but because I have never liked the idea that I was a sheep. Sheep are dirty, dumb, and really smelly—all things I don’t want people to think about me!

I was driving down to see my youngest at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and was stewing about how to handle preaching on this text. I couldn’t exactly be honest about disliking the comparison to sheep. As always on that drive, I stopped at a wonderful little farm that sold hand-spun and dyed yarn. When I pulled in it occurred to me I could ask the owner, whose name I learned was Ida, about her sheep. Ida was probably in her 80s but as spunky as could be, and it turned out she was very familiar with the story of the Good Shepherd. When I told her about my dilemma, she brought me out to the pasture. She started calling her sheep in by name and they came running in to nuzzle her. “See,” she said, “I know their names and they know me.” Touché, Ida.

We went back into her shop and she handed me some stinky, dirty, unwashed wool and then led me to where a couple of women were carding clean wool and spinning it into yarn. The difference between the dirty, smelly locks of wool and the cleaned, carded wool was stark. “Isn’t that what Jesus does with us?” Again, point well made.

So last week as I went through the process of turning a dirty, stinky, and honestly quite ugly raw fleece into a beautiful wool rug I thought about Ida and the impact she had on my perspective and faith. As I washed the dirt, gunk (a nice way to say urine and dung), and smell out of that fleece I thanked God I am a part of Jesus’ flock of sheep and that he knows my name. And I thanked God for Ida.

 


July 27, 2020

 

 

 

Light in the Darkness

By Paul Savereide

A few years after moving into our house, we lost power after dark.  Since this had not happened before for any length of time, we fumbled around finding flashlights and candles so we could see again. 

I took one of these candles upstairs and set it on a ledge above the stairs.  It immediately lit up the surrounding area, nearby rooms and cast its light down the long upstairs hallway.  Over the next couple hours, I kept finding more places in the house, upstairs and down, where the light from that single candle found its way even if it was just enough light to see where I was going. 

As I think about that candle, I think about how when we lovingly reach out and support others, even in seemingly small ways, there is potential to spread God’s love in ways we cannot imagine.

 

 

 

 


July 20, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahhh....Minnesota

By Kelly Meyers

Ahhh … Minnesota.  The land of (over) 10,000 lakes.  

Many of us make a point in the summer of getting to ‘the lake’.  Either a cabin, resort, local beach, the majestic north shore, the list goes on.  Every summer my family goes to Pelican Lake for a week of nothing but being outside and on (or in) the water.  I look forward to it each year not only because it’s time away, or because the heat of summer is my favorite time of year (I know, I'm crazy!), but because of the water.  Water is healing for my soul!

My favorite time each day is coffee at the beach.  The air seems fresher.  The sound of the loons is mesmerizing.  And the sound of the water as it rolls into the beach causes me to stop and LISTEN.  I don’t do enough listening – I’m a talker!  But my yearly time at Pelican Lake causes me to just listen and reflect.

This year our good friends joined us and we spent each morning at the beach, coffee in hand, doing the d365 devotion.  And each day God spoke to us through Word, reflection, and the water!  We were cleansed just by the sights, sounds, and smells.  Our friendship deepened in our faith discussions and holding hands in prayer.  And we were surprised daily how timely each verse of scripture was for us. 

I need to make more time to enjoy God’s creation and the healing water He provides.  I’m thankful I don’t have to go far!

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.  Isaiah 58:11 (ESV)

 


July 13, 2020


 

 

 

 

Buy someone a muffin

By Anna Nelson (Anna is a Student Leader and first shared this message at Youth Rejoice in February)

As humans, none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes, and we all at times try to walk on our own path rather than the path God wants us to walk. But the never-ending love of God eventually leads us back to the correct path and reminds us that we never have to walk through this life alone. 

John 13:34 reads, “Love one another as I have loved you.” As Christians, God calls and equips us to love the people around us and serve others in any way we can. No matter how long you’ve been attending Immanuel you’ve probably at some point heard the words, “Called to care. Sent to serve.” These words describe what I believe to be a large portion of what being a Christian truly means. We are called to care for others in the way God cares for us, and we are called to serve one another to create connections and relationships. 

But believe me, I know how hard it can be to constantly keep up the connections with people and try to keep a positive attitude when inside we feel like we’re falling apart.

If you know me, you know I can be kind of a hectic person to be around at times. Growing up, I’ve always strived to be this happy person all the time, and I had this expectation for myself to keep a positive mindset 24-7, and if I was doing anything less than that, if I felt angry or sad or anything other than my 100%, I felt like I was failing myself and the people around me. I still needed an outlet to express the hurt and the sadness I was feeling, and in my case that took the form of self-deprecating humor. I thought that if I could show my pain in a way that made people laugh, it would become easier to deal with. My friends began telling me how much they appreciated and admired my positive mindset, which made me even more scared to let people down. Being positive like this worked for a little bit, but pretty soon my emotions became so massive, that they weighed me down and I became numb. I started believing the self-deprecation that was spilling from my mouth. I didn’t want to, but my words became my thoughts, and my thoughts became my emotions, and I became so broken. I was walking through life with this fake positivity, constantly and consistently slipping up and praying nobody would notice how much I was hurting. 

But people did notice. My friends began asking if I was ok; they said I didn’t seem like myself, and as much as I wanted to open up to them and tell them what was wrong, I didn’t know how to talk to them. And then one night I was sitting on my bed, procrastinating from doing my homework, thinking about my life, and asking God what it was that I needed to do to stop feeling like this. And then my dad walked in. My dad had just walked in to say goodnight, but he walked in at the exact right moment, and upon his entrance I burst into tears. He sat down on the edge of my bed and he listened as I melted into this puddle of all the emotion I’d been holding back for months. After that night, not everything was fixed. I was still hurting. I was broken. But I knew I wasn’t alone. 

God gave us the people we have in our lives so we can work through the hard times together. Nobody’s perfect. We all have bad things happen to us, we all experience hurt and pain. So, let’s grow together. Serving isn’t always about life changing moments. Serving is about showing up for others in little ways every day. Serving is about letting others know that no matter how hard life gets they don’t have to walk through it alone.

Show someone God’s love through your actions this week. Show up for someone, have a genuine conversation with someone you don’t normally talk to; call or text that friend from a couple of years ago that you’ve been meaning to check up on, buy someone a muffin. I don’t know! Show someone that you love them because love is the most powerful connection that we have.

 

 

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