Saturday, December 9, 2017

I Have a Confession to Make

I had the honor of exploring confession with our congregation. Click on the link below to listen in. The sermons notes are included below.

Link:  I Have a Confession to Make

I have a confession to make
Sharon Collignon

There confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  (James 5:16)

Confession is communal and contagious.

• Because of this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you.  Then before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins. (Lev 16:30)
• Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. (Matt 3:6)
• Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. (Acts 19:18)

What keep me from confessing my faults and weaknesses?

• Pride -- Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Prov 16:18)
• Fear -- Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. (Pro 29:25)
• Unwillingness to Change -- They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who love the wages of wickedness. (2 Pet 2:15)

What are the benefits of confessing my faults and weaknesses?

• Humility -- Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the word to save sinners -- of whom I am the worst. (1 Tim 1:15)
• Fellowship -- If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.  If we say we have not sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:6-7)
• Healing -- Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. (John 3:20-21)

How do I receive the confession of my friend?

• Know your own need for God.
• Allow yourself to be quiet.
• Speak forgiveness and pray.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I am honored to have a voice in the Red Tent Living community! Their beautiful patchwork of stories invites women to discover and enjoy their unique femininity. I'm excited for you to read my piece that reflects my heart as I approached Taylor and Connor's wedding.  Enjoy! #RedTentLiving. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

He's a Good Good Father

My dad has forever impacted my life.  As the first man I ever loved, he set the stage for all relationships that followed.  For good or for bad, dads do that -- they leave an indelible imprint on their daughters.  

Simple moments of humor and love best tell of my dad’s legacy.  In the simple moments, Dad told us stories, beamed with pride at our accomplishments, and joyfully danced with us.

One of my favorite moments is when we were little girls and we would put dad’s shoes on his feet. What fun it was!  Before family outings, Dad would tell us we could leave once we put his shoes on his feet.  He would be freshly showered, clean shaven (except for the horrible beard season!), and smelling of Old Spice and Brylcreem.  My sisters and I would pile on top of Dad and try to guide (force!) his feet into his shoes.  Dad bent and contorted his foot so that it would not go easily into his shoe. We giggled, squealed and begged him to get his foot into the shoe.

After much effort, Dad would relent and we’d get one shoe on!  We then moved to the second foot -- more giggles, squeals and begging as we forced his foot into the shoe. Eventually, we would get his second foot into the shoe, celebrate our success and then realize he had taken his first foot out of his shoe!  And the adventure started all over again.

Four young girls, two freshly polished loafers, and one mischievous dad created moments where love and playfulness flourished.

As dads go, I got a really good one.  I’ve never doubted Dad’s delight in my mother or in his daughters.  We were (are) cherished, respected and loved by a strong and caring man. Without knowing it, Dad taught me some fundamental truths about love that has impacted me laterally, downward and upward.

His legacy shows laterally in the men that my sisters and I have married.  My husband, Ken, is compassionate, engaging, and wise. In the dark of the night when he reaches for my hand, the tender warmth of his touch tells that I’m cherished and loved.  His love, protection and care for our daughters display what a remarkable dad his is. He attended tea parties with dolls, baited hooks and taught them to fish, fixed their cars, and attended every single school performance.  Ken’s love, humor, and tender strength are an encouraging presence in our lives.  Our daughters are resilient and passionate women as a result of his imprint on them.  

Dad’s legacy continues downward as our oldest daughter marries the love of her life later this Spring.  While I don’t know what kind of dad her fiance will be, I see the love, playfulness, and steady strength he exhibits with our daughter.  It fills my heart as I anticipate the family they will build.  I believe the legacy will continue downward through their children too as another good man creates cherished moments with his children.

Dad’s imprint on me also significantly influenced my relationship upward with God.  I think when Dad reads this he will be surprised at his influence on my faith walk.  You see, Dad is not a ‘religious’ man.  He didn’t read to me from the Bible or pray with me nightly. He came from a generation where faith is a private matter so I’m not sure exactly what Dad believes.

But what I do know is that his love for me influenced my relationship with God.  The tender strength of Dad’s hug provides me with a sense of affection and safety.  Few things sooth my soul more than a hug that tells me of the warmth of Dad’s presence.

It’s not lost on me that those hugs teach me about God’s love.  It is said that relationships with dads directly influence how we see God.  My friends who have harsh dads are lead to believe God is rigid and oppressive.  Friends with absent dads fear that God will neglect and abandon them too.   And then there are those, like me, who have loving dads who demonstrate our Heavenly Father’s loving kindness.

My dad is not perfect.  There were times when he was silent that I wished he would have spoken.  And in my imperfection as a daughter, there were times when I kept Dad silent instead of inviting him to speak into my life.  Those times of quiet have also lead me to expect silence from God.  And in my sin, has lead me to ignore His voice.  

Even in the imperfection, Dad’s love is evident.  While he may have been quiet, his tender strength and presence provide me with a foundation to give and to receive love.  I know what it means to climb into my father’s lap to be comforted and loved.  It makes it easy for me to imagine doing the same with my Heavenly Father.  And I’m grateful that Dad’s legacy leaves an eternal imprint on me.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

From Heartsick to Hopeful

I'm feeling heartsick.  The feeling has overwhelmed me over the last few days.  I'm heartsick over the loss of civility and kindness that we offer to one another.  In recent days, I've seen posts or heard in person the following:

  • A Christian man call a female celebrity (whom he opposes politically) a "Stupid C__t".
  • A woman who abhors the bullying tactics of our president, shame and ridicule another woman for enjoying the inaugural balls.
  • The negative spin of observers to say that a 10-year old boy, who was playful and innocent at his father's inauguration, is part of the family's "marketing machine".
  • Repeated denials that a disabled man was mocked -- even though we've all seen the video.
  • One first lady is called ugly and the other is labeled stupid.
  • Peaceful protesters are called cry babies who are wasting their time and money.
  • Republicans are dubbed racists while democrats are called morons.
  • The list goes on....

Where has our civility and kindness gone?  I'm not talking about spirited discourse of ideas and views -- these are good and necessary.  I'm talking about name calling, denial of truth, bullying, etc. Each side sees the sins of the other other side but refuses to see their own. Hypocrisy runs deep.  

I confess, I too am a hypocrite.  I stand in the middle and judge and ridicule those on the far left and on the far right. I am asking for civility that I too have withheld.  In my sinful superiority, I am no different than those on the list above.

But, I long for something different.  

I long to be a person who listens to your thoughts and opinions without defensiveness.  
I long to be with others who listen to one another's thoughts and opinions without defensiveness.

I long to be a person who seeks to understand your point of view.
I long to be with others who seek to understand one another's points of view.

I long to be a person who thinks the best of you -- even when I disagree with you.
I long to be with others who think the best of one another -- even when they disagree.

I long to be a person who sees you as a child of God.
I long to be with others who see one another as children of God.

I long to be a person who lives with hope.
I long to be with others who live with hope too.

I can't promise I'll be perfect, but I commit to trying to be the person that I long for me and you to be.