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Chenal This Week

Posted 6 days 11 hours ago
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
 
Mourning is a part of life. That's what Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us. There is a time to laugh and a time to weep. There is a time to dance but also a time to mourn.
 
You don't have to choose mourning. It will often choose you. Life is full of gains and losses. To live is at some point to lose, and to lose is to mourn. Live long and we all deal with some kind of loss--loved ones, relationships, marriages, jobs, dreams, hope.
 
Posted 2 weeks 5 hours ago
At the end of every year, the Internet and airways are flooded with "top" lists that revolve around money--top earning athletes, actresses, actors, musical acts, etc. My hunch is if you asked the average person on the street to complete this sentence, "Blessed are ______," the type of people mentioned most often would be those who showed up in those kinds of lists. Would anyone say, "Blessed are the 3 billion people living on $2.50 a day or less?" It's the people who make the list as a name and not just a faceless number in a sea of humanity that are celebrated.
 
Posted 2 weeks 3 days ago
Language can be tricky. Words can have multiple meanings depending on the context, depending on the speaker and listener. This is certainly true with the beatitudes. Every one of the beatitudes found in Matthew 5:3-12 begins with the same Greek word, makarios. It's a word that is most often translated either "happy" or "blessed." While I prefer blessed, both are suitable. Still, both present problems, not so much from their translation, but their modern application.
 
Posted 4 weeks 5 hours ago
When the disciples try to shoo away people bringing little children to be blessed by Jesus, they were likely doing what they thought Jesus would want. They were certainly doing what reflected a common mindset in the ancient world. So when Jesus welcomes the little children and relishes the chance to bless them, he does the unexpected (which we have grown to expect). Over and over we see Jesus lift up the put down, identify with the powerless, include the left out. If we want to be more like Jesus, that's what we must do.
 
Posted 1 month 5 days ago
In describing the Christian faith as a race, Paul says, "Straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal." The word for goal is a word used to describe the finish line. In other words, it's the destination, the direction, the aim of the race. Paul says something similar in 1 Cor. 9:26 when he again compares the Christian faith to a race. He says, "I don't run aimlessly" (Without a direction or purpose). He knows where he is trying to get, and he aims for that.
 
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
In meditative reading, we approach the Bible expectantly, ready to meet Jesus there. He is the Word that we read, and we read to have his mind (Phil 2:5). Quality, not quantity is the goal. We intentionally slow down, reading manageable sizes several days or even weeks in a row, allowing the nutrients to soak deep into our hearts like a slow, steady rain. When we truly study scripture, scripture studies us for scripture is a double-edged sword, affirming and interrogating, slicing to the very core of our being (Heb 4:12-13).
Posted 1 month 2 weeks ago
A new encounter calls for a new response. In the Gospels, there are numerous examples of how people respond to Christ when meeting him for the first time. A starting point for this would be the shepherds in Luke 2. When meeting baby Jesus for the first time, the shepherds do something that they have likely never done before. They begin telling everyone they see about this new encounter. Something within these men has changed. 
 
Posted 2 months 3 days ago
In Luke 12:15, Jesus warns, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions." If you are looking to be more vigilant in your efforts to reduce greed and materialism, especially during this high consumption season of the year, then adopting the discipline of simplicity can help.
 
Posted 2 months 1 week ago
It's been a wonderful 2017 at Chenal Valley Church. God has done great things in and through us. You have been generous with who you are, what you have, and the gifts and talents you bring to the table, but let me encourage you not to stop. Keep going. Keep growing.
 
Posted 2 months 2 weeks ago

Ecclesiastes 2:22 asks, "What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun?" The answer Ecclesiastes repeatedly offers is that they get a big bag of nothing. Emptiness. Like chasing the wind. It's vain, meaningless. We could add that we get ulcers. Irritable. Short-tempered. Distant relationships. We get scattered, disjointed lives where we do a million things but nothing well. We get our priorities all out of whack. We get high blood pressure and higher risk of heart problems. We get sleep deprived and sanity deprived.