Tag Archives: Love

A Father’s Forgiveness

Greetings my lovely blog followers!  For the next few posts in the faith section I am going to be sharing with you some papers I wrote in my theology course, freshmen year of college at St. Benedict’s.  I really enjoyed that class and would love to share some of it with all of you!

The following piece was written, October 24th, 2005.

A Father’s Forgiveness

     “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance”(Luke 15.7).  This quote, taken directly from the scripture written by Luke, is a foreshadowing of the story of the prodigal son previewed in the following section.  It speaks of the great joy God receives when a person finds their faith, is able to truly believe in God and seeks forgiveness of their sins.  That person now has hope in a sometimes hopeless world, and purpose, in a world that questions the purpose of humankind daily.

     Luke 15.11 – 15.32 is a story displaying God’s compassion and grace for those who will repent and return to God.  While the father in this parable is very appreciative of his older son’s obedience, the younger son’s return to life must be celebrated.  His son could have been lost forever, but he found the strength to return and admit his mistakes.  It is a humbling experience to admit you were wrong to anyone, especially your family.  The older son is essentially being celebrated everyday because everything that belongs to his father belongs to him as well.  The younger son may have fallen into temptation, but the father understands that he has already received his punishment from shame and starvation.  It is a fatherly duty to welcome him back into his home and rejoice.

     The father in the parable is a parallel to our Father, God.  God is all-knowing, and will forgive us when we repent.  His patience and understating is unfathomable to the human race, but greatly appreciated.  To those in dire need of redemption, this story is a light, a beacon of hope.

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Short & Sweet

Let’s keep tonight’s post short and sweet and simply look at an awesome Bible verse from Roman’s.

Romans 12:9-19

   “Your love must be real.  Hate what is evil, and hold on to what is good.  Love each other like brothers and sisters.  Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves.  Do not be lazy but work hard, serving the Lord with all your heart.  Be joyful because you have hope.  Be patient when trouble comes and pray at all times.  Share with God’s people who need help.  Bring strangers in need into your homes.

     Wish good for those who harm you; wish them well and do not curse them.  Be happy with those who are happy, and be sad with those who are sad.  Live in peace with each other.  Do not be proud, but make friends with those who seem unimportant.  Do not think how smart you are.

     If someone does wrong to you, do not pay him back by doing wrong to him.  Try to do what everyone thinks is right.  Do your best to live in peace with everyone.  My friends, do not try to punish others when they wrong you, but wait for God to punish them with his anger.”

Happy Bible Reading!

Photo: http://lissetteflores.com/2011/04/19/hope/

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Substance Church & My Faith Story

Substance Church.  No, this is not a church that focuses on substance abuse.  It is about living a life with substance, with God at the center.  It is a life filled with purpose, love, balance, adventure, and most importantly, God.  I figured that if I am going to be writing about faith, I should probably mention my faith background.

While I was raised Catholic, I would now simply consider myself a Christian.  Growing up,  I went to mass every Sunday with my family.  We even went when we were on vacation in Hawaii, and anywhere else for that matter!  There were parts that I loved, parts I did not understand, and other parts that were just painfully boring.  I would have to say that it wasn’t until I was in college at the University of Minnesota that I started to question why I was even going to Sunday mass in the first place.  I had always had a personal relationship with God, but for the most part He seemed pretty distant in relation to my everyday life.  The only reason that I could come up with for why I was going to church every Sunday was because I wanted to uphold my good Catholic reputation.  When I came to that ephipany, I realized that was probably one of the worst reasons for going to Church; status, reputation, and my ego.  I immediately stopped going to church until I could come up with a better reason.  I still prayed and thought about God a lot, I just wasn’t making it to church on Sundays.

It wasn’t until the Spring of my Sophomore year at the U of M in 2007 that I started going to church again.  I was in a public speaking class and one of my classmates, we can call him John, was doing his presentations on the history of Christianity.  I was talking with John after class and I asked him where he was currently going to church.  He explained that he was going to a church called Substance and he asked me if I would want to try it out sometime.  At this point in time I was feeling pretty lost, and I knew I needed to get myself back on track.  I remember thinking that the name sounded a little silly, but he was really cute so of course I said yes! (I just love it that God used whatever it took to get me back into a church!)

                         Pastor Peter

At this point in time, Substance was a teeny tiny church that held its services at the University of Minnesota – St. Paul campus.  We went to the 8am service, and I think there was about 20 of us in the room.  Pastor Peter not only led the message, but I also think I remember him playing guitar in the worship band as well!  (Now the church is at 4 different locations and has 7 different services you can attend.)  This service was completely different than any Catholic mass that I had been to.  There are three things in particular that I remember about my first time visiting Substance church.

1. It didn’t feel like “church” to me, but I really liked it.

2. The band was absolutely amazing, and they played Stand by Hillsong, a song that I immediately fell in love with.

3. I had never talked more about a message the following week in my entire life.

It wasn’t until Thursday of the following week, when I was telling someone about the message for the 10th time, that it suddenly dawned on me.  Wow.  In my entire life of attending church, I had never shared anything about the messages I had heard at church, let alone several times throughout the week.  This was something different.  This was about to change my life forever.

I began to attend Substance church regularly and started to realize they were saying pretty much the same thing my Catholic church had been teaching.  They just taught it in a way that I could understand and relate to.  The most important thing that Substance church, and specifically Pastor Peter helped me to realize, was that God was present in my life right now.  He cared about the life that I was living, and He was alongside me every minute of every day.  All I had to do was draw close to Him, because He was already there for me, all that time.  It is so funny how such a simple truth can completely change the way you look at everything in life.  Now, God is a part of my day, all day and everyday.

That pretty much concludes the beginning portion of my faith story.  Of course I still have my ups and downs in my relationship with God, but now I recognize more quickly if I am started to drift from God.  Substance church just happens to be the catalyst that helps me to connect with God on a deeper level.  I have an extreme passion for music, and that is something they put a lot of work into for their services.  I also love the amount of time they spend on the messages.  I get a huge chunk of new material every week to lead me, challenge me, and steer me onto the path of Life.

Every denomination worships and learns in a different way, but the important thing is to find the one that helps you to grow with God the most.  At the end of the day we all hear and should extend the same message of the Christian church and that is LOVE.  Leave all the judging up to God, and love your brothers and sisters.

Happy Loving!

Substance Church: http://www.substancechurch.com/

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