Letter from Adam (October 2, 2023)

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it:
‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 
- Matthew 22:34-39 
“Simple, but not easy!” These words ring in my ears whenever I am thinking about a problem that needs to be solved. My dad used to say it to me when he was trying to figure something out. He would start by saying, "There has to be a simple solution to this", follow it up with seven trips to Home Depot, four failed attempts at fixing whatever the problem was, an eventual reliance on Duct Tape or a bungee cord, and then end with, well the simple thing was the solution after all… Simple but not easy! Our brains are unique things, they are constantly looking for patterns and solutions and interestingly enough psychologists say that we all tend toward a complexity bias. We often believe that it can’t be THAT simple. Complexity makes us feel like it's somehow better, more, or even that we have a greater sense of control. What I find so interesting about this bent within us all is the way that it lives itself out in the religious community.

One day a lawyer comes to ask Jesus what he thought was a complex question. Jesus, what is the most important commandment? In other words, what’s the most important thing for us to do in this world? I imagine Jesus paused for just a moment to build the tension and then said the words above. Jesus condenses centuries of complex religious law and practice from 613 rules to 1a and 1b; Love God, Love Others. Come on now, it can’t be that simple, can it? We, like the questioner in Luke’s gospel, have all sorts of follow-up questions; what about, and who, and in what case, and it can’t be, and so on and so on. Our reality is not much different, we would love to come up with all sorts of ways to set ourselves apart and make it far more complex than it is but it's living SIMPLY that Jesus commends and points to time and time again.

This year I want to invite you to commit to living SIMPLY together. To take the words of Jesus and commit to living them out in real ways. To SIMPLY live a life of worship and connection by committing to be in worship whenever possible and engage with a small group of people to grow closer to God. But also to SIMPLY love by serving at least one area within our church and one opportunity within our community. Finally, to SIMPLY give out of what God has given to each of us. Live, Love, Give! Yes, it's that simple, and yes, it's not easy. However, when we commit to living in this way we find that it helps to clear some of the clutter. What I have found through the years is that God doesn’t want something from me, God wants something for me, a life of fulfillment. It’s like what Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but a life by what we give.”

This year we will take the whole month of October to talk through how we can commit together to live SIMPLY.
- On October 8th, we’ll hear about the importance of connection from Deanne Lynch.
- October 15th, we’ll hear about the power of service from Allen Hoskyn.
- October 22nd, I’m going to be interviewing my friend Ashely Quamme who is a licensed family             therapist and certified financial therapist about our complex connection to money.
- Finally, October 29th will be our commitment Sunday.

 We want to encourage each of you to spend time in prayer throughout the month about how you will SIMPLY live, love, and give here at LVfirst and bring your commitment card with you on the 29th! We are asking everyone who calls LVfirst their church to fill out a card this year as it will SIMPLY make our budgeting process less complex ;)

You are an amazing group of people doing incredible work for the Kingdom Of God and I can’t wait to see how we can SIMPLY engage in that work every day.

SIMPLY committed to this church,

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