From: Rich Carlson
Date: January 16, 2020
Subject: It's January 16; Good Morning Union

“When they couldn’t find Him they went back to Jerusalem to search for Him there.”  Luke 2:45

I have to thank my son Brian for today’s insight. (He’s smarter than me! He blogs in one verse and one sentence his spiritual encouragement each day; I still write a page! I should take a lesson from him!) This was his verse; and his sentence: “Ever feel like you are missing Jesus in your life? A good place to start looking is to go back to where you connected with Him last.”

The story is of Jesus’ first trip to Jerusalem as an “adult” (for the Jewish community that was age 12!)  Mary and Joseph had taken the trip from Nazareth to Jerusalem for this holy holiday and were on their way home. Ellen White suggests that for safety and companionship they would make the 60 mile trip in groups. They came as a group and they headed for home as a group. Groups can be good things, but they can also distract from the better things.

I like the strength and spiritual support of my family and friends, but I benefit even more from my quite time with God- no distractions, no expectations, nothing but Him and me. When I miss that quiet time I can get distracted, even with good things.

Mary and Joseph were probably (because I’m the eternal optimist and think the best of everyone I can!) having a good time with their friends until the evening of the first day of their return trip. “Where’s Jesus?” They looked around and couldn’t find Him in their company of friends. My most important ah-ha from this text today was that they didn’t lose Jesus because they were in rebellion or rejection-- they were in distraction! They didn’t mean to lose Jesus, they just got distracted by good things at the expense of the better things. And to THAT I can relate in my life.

My second ah-ha was that it took them three days to find Jesus again. I don’t see that as a punishment from God for losing His Son! But it is a good reminder that I can’t have everything I want exactly when I want it. THERE ARE LESSONS LEARNED IN LEARNING TO WAIT. If, or when, I get distracted I don’t always notice it right away, so I should expect that it might also take time to get it back. The good thing is that they got Him back; the challenge was that though they had to wait three days, but they didn’t give up the search. That’s a good life lesson for me. Don’t give up the search.

But the best ah-ha was from my son. Go back to where you last had Him. Parents tell children, “If you get lost, stay put. ‘Hug a tree!’ We’ll come find you.” The challenge is that often a child, or anyone else, doesn’t always know when they are lost so they keep wandering. My life lesson is- don’t keep wandering! Stop! If I’ve lost my connection to Jesus I need to retrace my steps if necessary, but don’t give up; I need to go back to the last place I had Him.

I need to ask myself, what are the distractors that caused me to lose Jesus? And how can I retrace my steps back to the last place I knew we were together? THAT’S a good place to start if I don’t seem to have Him as close as I want Him.

And one final ah-ha-- Jesus’ parents found Him in the temple!! Maybe going to church is the best place to find my best Friend! Church was far from perfect then and it’s far from perfect now, but it IS where Jesus was and it IS where His parents found Him again, and I would suggest that could be a good place to start the search for Him again if I’ve gotten distracted and lost Him!! He didn’t leave them and He doesn’t leave me. They found Him right where they left Him. My guess it the process hasn’t changed!

Have a great day finding Jesus again in your life today,

Pastor Rich

Quote for the day:      “Christianity can be condensed into four words: Admit, Submit, Commit, and Transmit.”

PS        uGather, our weekly chapel service and community gathering happens each week on Thursday @ 10:35 in the church. See you all there!! This week our speaker is Sam Leonor, former chaplain at La Sierra University and current head of chaplains for Advent Health West. He’s been here before and has been one of our favorite guests. Don’t miss him today, tomorrow night for Family Worship, and at CVC on Sabbath. His topic for today is “Withered Hands and Withered Hearts” from Mark 3:1-6


PPS      Just an FYI, Pastor Deneil’s farewell, from College View Church as he transitions to the Northside Church here in Lincoln, will take place this Sabbath afternoon from 4-5:30 in Heartland Hall at the church. All are welcome!!


PP..S    A friend’s wife is having a cat scan this morning to determine the effects of her chemo treatments for cancer. They asked if the Union College family would pray for them. I told them we would. Thanks.


PP..S    Now would be a great time to go to your uWorship app and register your personal spiritual involvement for the week!!


PP.S     Please remember our own Kailey Eckhart in your prayers as she deals with the loss of her cousin. And Bri Galloway’s father died yesterday. Our hurting family members need our prayers and support now.