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count-the-starsThe text for the upcoming sermon is Genesis 15:1-6. God had made a promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 that he would make his descendants into a great nation and that through that nation all nations would be blessed.

Abraham had left everything to follow God’s leading. His father, Terah, moved them from Ur to Haran. Then God told Abraham to leave Haran and “go to the land that I will show you.”

Wow, Lord, could you be more vague?

And now, God’s promise to make a great nation seems empty and pointless. “Don’t you remember, Lord? My wife is barren and we are old. How can we have a child, let alone a great nation of descendants? Maybe you got the wrong guy.”

Sometimes I feel like Abraham.

The tagline for this blog is “following the cloud.” That has been my motto since the day I felt called to leave my high-paying job on the Las Vegas strip to go on staff at a local church. My wife and I jumped off a cliff and took a 60% pay cut. It seemed totally crazy, but God provided.

Our story has been one version of “go to the land I will show you” after another ever since that day. We left the big, successful church with a staff of 100 people to start a house church and freelance art business, with no support or back-up plan. That churched thrived and we did good ministry for four years. God provided.

When that experiment ended I felt like God called us to move back to Minnesota to pursue a PhD. We left everything, and lost our house in the housing crisis. I struggled for three years to make ends meet as a freelancer, with no idea how or where to get a PhD. Then my Dad introduced me to Pastor Mark and we were invited into the ELCA. Little did I know that the answer to the PhD question was inside those walls. God provided.

Now I find myself post-doctorate, almost empty-nesting, and wondering. Where is the cloud going?

Throughout our story there have been many times when we thought, “Really, Lord? Did you get the wrong number? We have no idea how we are going to get out of this situation.”

But then, something happened that we never expected.

Last week I listened to a podcast that talked about a Creation Piety. Douglas Ottati spoke of the vastness and wonder of the universe and how, when we honestly contemplate it, we are humbled. Life is a gift. God’s promises are beyond our comprehension.

If you feel like me today, and wonder things like: Did God really make a promise to me? Maybe I misheard God’s promise. Maybe I don’t deserve God’s promise, then do something with me. Look up to the stars. Remind yourself that the God who knows everything about every star and every planet that revolves around those distant suns, knows about your situation and mine.

Abraham believed God and it was counted as righteousness. The word believe is the Hebrew word awman. We would say amen. It has layers of meaning and comes from the root meaning of being carried in a mother’s arms. It is ultimate trust.

Let us look to the stars and simply say, “Amen.”

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