February 25, 2016

New Year’s greetings and prayers for a blessed year ahead in 2016! For LFL leaders, this is a great time for prayer and planning and reaching out to other leaders and Life Team and Life Chapter members to reconnect after the holidays. Take the opportunity to invite someone you haven’t spoken to in a while to come to your next meeting. The message of Created • Redeemed • Called is one of great comfort and encouragement. It reminds us that each one of us is handcrafted by God. No two individuals are exactly alike. Each of us was created with a purpose—no matter if we are man or woman, rich or poor, black or white, young or old, single, married, have a family, or are considered “beautiful” by the world’s standards.

It is comforting in a culture dominated by hyper-sexuality, money, power, influence, intrigue, materialism, and just plain “shock value” to know that we don’t have to go along with the crowd to matter to God. He loves us no matter what. He sent Jesus to redeem us no matter what our past looks like. Jesus paid the price for all of humanity and also for each of us uniquely on the cross. Through Him, we have forgiveness and the promise of eternal life. That is Good News!

We are called through our Baptism into relationship with Him and into relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. I thought about that as I recently drove through a poor and somewhat chancy area of Chicago to get to an Owen’s Mission presentation at one of our Lutheran schools. It was a day of spring-like weather and, as such, a sea of humanity was eager to get outside. I found myself praying for folks on the street as I drove along, encouraged by the many small churches in an area where folks were clearly worried about crime. In some neighborhoods, barred windows and doors and abandoned buildings were at every turn. I thought about those who might be the perpetrators of crimes and wondered if they had ever had anyone tell them they were special—uniquely handmade by God to be in relationship with Him and that, because of that, their lives matter. I prayed that I could somehow make a difference for them. It was a humbling reminder that as people called into relationship with Christ we are also called to share that Good news with others—especially in our families and out into a community that, like us, desperately needs a Savior. Please take a moment to ponder this and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you reflect on what this means for each of you in 2016.

Once I arrived at the school, I was further convicted by the young aide who thanked me so much for our ministry and how we share the message that all life is precious to God. She shared with me how touched she personally has become visiting schools where young girls aged 12-17 routinely become pregnant and face what can seem like insurmountable challenges. She talked about how our presence at the school encouraged her to recommit to helping serve by teaching them about caring for themselves and their babies, encouraging them in any way that they could to finish school and to have the fathers stay present in the lives of their children. She said they were “too young” and often in seemingly hopeless situations. Where to even start?  Yet it is so important that we do and not get caught up in difficult circumstances and give up. Imagine if Jesus had given up on us in the difficulties He faced.

Prayer: Father, help us to remember what it means to be Created • Redeemed •  Called, and daily to reflect Your love, mercy, and compassion for others in all that we say and do. Help us to pray without ceasing for Your wisdom and strength in all circumstances and to persevere For Life. May Your holy name be honored and glorified. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

To learn more about how you can start a Life Team or for help with your Life Chapter, please contact me at 708.839.1200 ext. 225 or ltrinche@lutheransforlife.org.