Posts

Helpless

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Helpless
I have what can best be described as a "hideout,"an establishment in town where I can sit, drink coffee (it is a coffee shop), study and write.  Normally, it is my safe place as my office can sometimes seem more like Grand Central Station.  This morning it was not my safe place.  As I entered a woman sat at the counter, saw me and motioned for me to sit down next to her.  Used to having people recognize me before I recognize them, it took a few paces for me to realize I did not know this woman.  One or two more paces and it was very obvious this woman was clearly disturbed.  Too late, as by this time I had arrived at my "spot."  Funny how we are such creatures of habit, like church folk have their favorite spots in church service, I have a favorite spot.  The unfortunate aspect to my "spot" this day was that it was next to the counter at which my new friend sat.  I went around the counter and placed my order with my favorite bartender/barista.  …

Beautiful

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Beautiful
A young woman in our congregation posted, "I just want to say that I love my church family. You are amazing," on her social media account shortly after services this morning.  I've been thinking about them quite a bit lately and I would have to agree.  The young woman in question has a father suffering from stage 4 cancer - he also happens to be one of our elders.  As this congregation pours out love to her and her family, it is no wonder she has come to such a conclusion.  I am amazed, because their family is not the only family in this small congregation facing a major health crisis.  In each situation, they have responded with phenomenal outpourings of love.
As a preacher, it is encouraging to hear such compliments about one's church.  But then, that made me think how incongruous part of that statement is with reality.  Consider how often we say something like, "my church."  As minister I serve - a congregation entrusted to me.  More important…

Timing

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Timing March 21, 2017
When it comes to patience I am consistently inconsistent.  For example, I just do not get bent out of shape when made to wait as a customer.  I can be very patient as some poor clerk struggles to get through a transaction - usually with a difficult client.  I can wait - there are far more important things to fret about in this world.  However, such patience is not always evident.  I have a rather large, complicated program I use for sermon prep and study.  Several thousand texts are resident in the program and on start-up it can take several minutes, especially if a program update is underway.  It is not unusual for two or three other programs to be going at the same time on the three screens attached to the computer.  I will start a process on the Bible program but quickly become impatient with the slow response, switch to one of the other programs on another screen and quickly realize by doing so I inadvertently cancel the process started on the Bible software…

Prayer

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Prayer March 10, 2017
en·ig·mat·ic enəɡˈmadik/ adjective
difficult to interpret or understand; mysterious.
"he took the money with an enigmatic smile"
synonyms: mysterious, inscrutable, puzzling, mystifying, baffling, perplexing, impenetrable, unfathomable, sphinx-like, Delphic, oracular; cryptic, elliptical, ambiguous, equivocal, paradoxical, obscure, oblique, secret.
It's hard for even me to believe, but I've been in church leadership for over 40 years now.  That means countless sermons, thousands of Bible lessons, one-on-one question and answers, counseling, guiding, leading, teaching and sharing.  What never ceases to amaze me is how so many people - churched and unchurched alike - are intimidated by prayer.  Perhaps a few object, "Not me!  I pray all the time."
Really?!
Be honest.  When was the last time you led prayer in church?
My experience and observation - the last is obviously subjective, I do not know the heart of man except my own, and evidence w…

Tap Dancing in Roller Skates

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Tap Dancing in Roller Skates February 28, 2017
If you are old enough to remember, and I AM old enough, roller skates had a primitive ancestor to today's evolutionary masterpiece.  In those bygone days, it could be said that roller skate design was intended to weed out the weak - an intentional survival of the fittest.  Early designs were all-metal, with cleats on the front and straps in the back in order to clamp them onto your street shoes.  The rich kids, and I was NOT a member of said category, could afford to have actual shoes designed for skating.  The wheels were still metal, but you did not have to rely upon thin leather straps, and two half-inch cleats to hold the wheels onto your street shoes.  When new, the leather straps worked extremely well.  Invariably though, the cleats on the front would slip off the soles of my shoes and dangle by the leather strap around my ankle.  Normally, this was the cause of a spill, I would be on my back, blood oozing from several wounds a…

Raised Up to Look Up

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Raised Up to Look Up February 7, 2017
I guess it's understandable.  After all, we are basically a sponge at birth - soaking up the stimuli afforded by the world around us.  We learn how to trust those around us to guide our way in the first years of life.  Then we spend the remainder of our lives learning how to distrust others.  This life is often contradictory in that manner.  Love is often the field upon which we battle with trust.  We learn to love and speak highly of it, yet as much as is written about love is equally testified to broken love, betrayal and withdrawal of trust. Still, we pursue love.  In the same way we pursue heroes to save us, kings to lead us and idols to inspire us.  Yet the same cycle exists, we discover or heroes have torn capes, our kings often lead where we are unwilling to go, and our idols are tarnished and brittle.  So, as trust is destroyed, we discover a new casualty in humanity's pursuit to create paradise on earth - truth. 
For this reason,…

December 19, 2016

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December 19, 2016
If you consider the Bible from beginning to end, it's a pretty interesting journey.  The beginning - literally - The Beginning starts with beauty, grandeur and hope.  In those first few pages the universe is created, the earth is populated and God gives man a prime spot in creation..then man messes up.  A good portion of what follows is humanity making sure they are consistent in their rebellion.  The New Testament is like the first Star Wars movie - a new hope - His name is Jesus.  For the first time in millennia things have changed.  Still, things were going to be grim for humanity outside of Christ, and those in Christ were promised a tough job continuing Jesus' ministry of the Gospel.  So, we were given the final chapter - Revelation to motivate us through the mess.  I particularly like the final pages of Revelation - today's verse is especially inspiring.  Jesus is coming again...soon.  That was written 2,000 years ago.  I guess that when time is me…