Knowing Christ and making Him known, serving Christ by serving others



Expectations are wonderful and terrible things. Expectations can give us a glimpse of hope, such as looking forward to a new child or the beginning of a school year. Expectations can empower us to rise above limitations, help us to see that we are gifted and can grow in wisdom and service. I know I never expected to find a faith community so driven by the desire to serve as Shepherd of the Hills is, but oh my, what a spot for discovering how to make the world a better place!


waveringIn my many years of ministry, however, I find that expectations tend to enslave and cripple, even to the point of wounding souls and keeping them from finding peace. Expectations are far too often the burden we place upon others, the refuge of our personal disappointments unresolved and unclaimed, and these unrealized expectations of what “others did not do for us” culminate in our own emotions being unresolved. When expectations go unmet, we never pause to ask if the expectation was realistic or possible, but instead become rabid accuse rs of those who “let us down".

Jesus predicted this, and understood that even when the gospel of mercy and love was at hand there still would be unreasonable, self -centered and unhappy people. He faced them regularly, those who would accuse him of not being present, perverting the laws of God and failing to lead the people of Israel to triumph of its oppressors. Yet Jesus never wavered from his purpose, bringing the power of the kingdom to the people of God. Jesus presents a power that would bring healing and restoration to all who would seek it. But seek it we must, not blame others for not providing it. And this means expectations will inspire and t hey will go unmet. Expectations will transform, and they will lead us to frustrations. Expectations will lead us to hope, or they will enslave us to our emotions and anger or our sense of entitlement and it is then that we are crippled in life and in faith. 

One of my favorite quotes goes like this: “Always remember that the only common feature of all your dissatisfying relationships is you.” As James says, the struggles that come our way should not be about what someone else is doing wrong, but how we examine our faithfulness, our expectations . And Jesus is there to help us see that the place where the matters of spirit begin is with ourselves. Then expectations are not about what others will do, but what I will do to make the world around me better . Be steadfast in joy, and let us hope in Christ together!

See you in worship,
Rev. Michael




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