â€‹God does not help those who help themselves. God helps those who abide with him, those who walk with him in faith. Our efforts were never the impetus for God's transforming grace. They will not be the impetus for our changed hearts either.

Mike Ashcraft, My One Word



Do you have a desire to change in 2017? I sure hope so, changing and growing is part of living. God is a living God, who calls us to a life of change and vitality. Of course change comes in many forms and not all change is good change. Most of us resist change as the familiar becomes comfortable. Unfortunately some of the things we have become comfortable with are not Christ like habits. Some of our ways are not God's ways. So how do we change?


All change takes Vision, Intensity and Means (VIM). For any change we need a vision of the benefits of the change, we need a desire and heart to change, and of course we need the means to change. 


I encourage you to seek one area of change for 2017. Choose one word, one trait God is seeking to instill in you. Create a vision of how your life would benefit from this change. See the change in you, see the benefits, pray about how this one attribute would positively affect your life. Next, get serious about this one word change. Pray about it, set your heart to following through, and create reminders so the word is before you each and every day. 


The means of change for people of faith is in fact God. We use the vision and intensity to put us in a position to change, but God does the actual changing. As we ask God to change us, God gives us the grace to change what we cannot change on our own. God gives us the means of grace. For Lutherans we see the means of grace revealed in God's word and in the holy sacraments. As our faith life grows and is nourished by God's word and sacraments, we experience grace and change. 


God seeks to transform us, to make us more Christ like, to invite us to live in the bountiful Kingdom of God; today, tomorrow and for eternity. Start with one word. Lose the long list of resolutions, and do something about one thing this year instead of nothing about everything.


My one word for 2017 is drink. Folks tend to laugh when they hear this, but I am drawn to the image of Jesus as the living water.  Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink (John 7:37). I choose this one word because it reminds me to receive what God is already offering to me, the living water. God provides what I need, I just need to slow down and drink. 


I invite you to share your One Word with me for 2017, we will have a large One Word bulletin board in the Narthex. Take a moment and add your One Word for 2017 to the board. It will be inspiring to see all the ways God is leading and guiding us here at St. Luke. 

On a personal note, I want to add my heartfelt thanks for the very generous Christmas gift that was given to me on Christmas Eve. I am very blessed to serve as your pastor and I look forward to working with you in the coming year. Thank you for your generosity to me and my family.


Grace and Peace,

Pastor Cliff