Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Favorite Blogs

The Friday Five from RevGalBlogPals asks the question: What five blogs do you visit regularly, and why do you like them?

First of all, I'm not sure if there ARE blogs I visit daily. Most people don't post daily. I use Bloglines so I don't have to go check blogs to see if they have been updated -- my Bloglines list just gets updated, and then I go check.

But there are a few that I always go read when they have an update:

  1. The Yarn Harlot -- This is a knitting blog. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, who knits and writes, updates about 5 times a week. I love it because she's so funny. If you are interested, read this post.
  2. I always check out Living Stones and The Lyght House. The first one is the Conference blog and the second one is the blog for our Bishop. When I read the Lyght House, I can hear the Bishop's voice. Isn't that strange?
  3. Voyages of the Artemis is a blog written by Diana Galbadon. She is the author of the Outlander series of books. Her blog talks about writing and life in general, and I enjoy it.
  4. A new one to my list is Brooklyn Tweed. This is another knitting blog. I enjoy reading it, but most of all, I enjoy LOOKING at it. Photographing knitting is not easy. It's hard to get good images (If I compare the images on this blog to my knitting blog -- I have much better images here!). Jared has great images of knitting. Knitting eye candy.

My list of blogs changes often, depending on my mood, but these are the ones I'm enjoying now.


Monday, March 30, 2009


Have you ever had an encounter with one of your children when that child was being STUBBORN? Not just stubborn, but CAP LOCK STUBBORN? Our youngest son can be stubborn like that. He can hold an opinion past all reason, past all convincing, past all negotiations. He can be STUBBORN.

I read in the Disciplines today that there are times when we need to have a stubborn faith. Have you ever encountered a situation in which you needed a stubborn faith -- faith even in the midst of logic and reasoning?

Henri Nouwen says calls that a Jonah faith. Jonah wanted to run away from what he did not want to do. God called him back, and required him to practice a stubborn faith. It is a faith which doesn't run from suffering, but walks steadily THROUGH it to reach the other side. It is a faith motivated by the hope of life beyond suffering.

In Jesus we have an example of stubborn faith. His was a faith which walked right up to death and suffering for the hope of life.

Most of all, I think God has a stubborn faith. His stubborn faith is in US. His faith in us believes in us and the potential we have to do his work in the world. Even in the face of logic and reason, his faith in us never waivers.

Are you being called to a stubborn faith?


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Water of Life

Sunday School today was about Ezekiel 47:1-12. We've been studying Ezekiel for the past month, and I've made no secret of the fact that I don't like Ezekiel; in fact the general dislike of this prophet has become a joke in our class.

But take a look at this passage. It's about Ezekiel's last recorded vision of water flowing from the temple. It is at first shallow and then deeper and deeper, forming a river that cannot be crossed. Trees grow along the river, the water turns the sea to fresh water, fruit grows all year round and even the leaves of the trees are good for healing.

Life giving water. Christ is the water of life. He provides everything we need -- nourishment and healing. That which makes ocean water unfit to drink -- salt -- is removed. We are cleansed and redeemed.

We live in the Kingdom of God, and from him flows the water of life, abundant.

Every once and while Ezekiel is OK.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Flowers and Bee


Friday, March 27, 2009

Promise of New Life


Thursday, March 26, 2009

And yet...

I know that I am a child of God
I know that I was claimed by God
the day my parents brought me
to the altar
to be baptized.
I know all of this,
and yet... *

And yet.

God daily convinces me of his presence.
He makes my path clear
He walks beside me
He protects me.
God provides for me
through his love.
He leads me to where I need to be.
and yet...

And yet.

I know that Christ died for my sins
He suffered a horrible death
because of me.
For me.
He paved the way to my acceptance
He was sent by God
To become human.
Even though he was God.
and yet...

And yet.

I am claimed by God.
His child.
He will love me into eternity**
I am an immortal being
A parnter with God
In the work of his kingdom
He relies of me.
He counts on me.
and yet...

And yet.

I confess that I still do not obey.
I am selfish and unkind.
I do not show love when it is needed.
I fail to be the light of Christ.
My time and talents
are not used for the work of his kingdom.
His grace is not often evident
in my life.
and yet...

And yet.

I am loved.
Given a new chance every day.
Every morning.
Every evening.
To let his light shine.
Thank God he never gives up on me.
Thank God for grace.

* -- First stanza is from Rev. Amy Shanholtzer's sermon at this week's Lenten luncheon at St. Marks. Great great message. I may not have quoted it exactly.
** -- From Debbie McGinnis' devotional.

Image: Creek at Ritter Park

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Regrettable Fear

There was a time, near the beginning of 2007, when I wrote down every prayer I was going to pray in public. This meant that I didn't like to be surprised by prayer -- I wanted preparation time. A woman in a class I was teaching challenged me on this habit -- although I don't think she was specifically challenging ME (maybe she was!) -- and I gave it some thought.

I decided that I believed that I was serving God by being Lay Leader of my church, and that he had called me to that job. If I believed that, then I had to believe that he would equip me to do that job. I believed that the gift of praying in public, with no preparation, was a necessary one for a Lay Leader. If I believed all of that, then to not believe that God to lead me to this gift was to fail to trust him. I started purposefully not planning prayers -- going by the "seat of my pants" on purpose. In class, when I knew I had to open or close with prayer, I started not planning it. It was amazing (to me) that what I needed to say would come to me -- in the middle of praying. The prayers might not be as polished or as poetic, but they were real.

Now, I don't even think about it. I love to be asked to pray, and I just do it. I find it a joy. Perhaps it is an even sweeter joy because God helped me to overcome fear to do it.

Yesterday, I backed away from doing something that I should have done, and I backed away out of fear. I regret that.

I will come to you in the silence,
I will lift you from your fear
You will hear my voice, I claim you as my choice,
be still and know I am here.

Do not be afraid, I am with you
I have called you each by name.
Come and follow me, I will bring you home;
I love you and you are mine.

(Hymn lines from "You are Mine" -- Words and Music by David Haas)

Image: More from the park.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Turn Around

I was reading this morning out of Henri Nouwen's book, Show me the Way. Take a look at this quote:

The mystery of God's love is not that he takes our pain away, but that he first wants to share them with us. Out of this divine solidarity comes new life.
I think that's amazing.

The most obvious example, of course, is Jesus' incarnation and death. He loves us enough -- more than enough -- to share our life as one of us, and then to suffer through our death, as one of us. From that comes new life. For us.

There is a less obvious example, though. Consider repentance.
Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Luke 5:31-32.
God calls us to repentance. I think, though, that this call to turn around and face God is not the way that we earn grace. We can never earn grace; we can never do enough. That's why grace is free. Repentance is not a prerequisite. Repentance is not some test we have to pass, and it is not something God requires of us to level the balance sheet of our sin.

The call to repentance is God's call to allow him to love us. He wants to share in our sin so that we can have new life. Until we give him even that pain, we aren't free to accept grace. Repentance is how we accept the love of God into even this darkest place in our lives.

God doesn't require it; we do. God loves us so much that he will share in our pain so that we can have new life. Turn around and see God.

Image: Flower and bee from the park.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Ask me

Ask ye what great thing I know,
That delights and stirs me so?
What the high reward I win?
Whose the Name I glory in?
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

It's not my fault.
I am not to blame.
I declare my innocence.
Whatever problems they have
Whatever difficulties they face,
are of their own making.
They should sink or swim.
I am not to blame.

What is faith’s foundation strong?
What awakes my heart to song?
He Who bore my sinful load,
Purchased for me peace with God,
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

My sinful load?
I am not to blame.
The Romans, the Pharisees, the zealots.
They killed him.
They hung him from a tree
Nails through his hands
Blood dripping from his feet.
I am not to blame.

Who is life in life to me?
Who the death of death will be?
Who will place me on His right,
With the countless hosts of light?
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

How is it that we can sing both songs,
One stating our faith,
One stating our actions?
How is it that we can sing both songs,
One claiming forgiveness and redeption?
One disclaiming the need for it?
How is it that we can sing both songs?

This is that great thing I know;
This delights and stirs me so;
Faith in Him Who died to save,
Him Who triumphed over the grave:
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

The fruit tells of the tree.

Inspiration: Worship yesterday -- sermon by Rev. David Johnson. Hymn quoted in italics is Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know, words by Jo­hann C. Schwed­ler.

Image: Tree from the park yesterday.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Do we believe?

Sunday school today was based on Ezekiel 37:1-14. It's the Valley of Dry Bones passage. If you haven't read it in a while, click on that link, and give it a read. I'll wait.

As Marv was reading it today, I was struck by the image of hope that it creates. In the beginning of the passage, when God is showing Ezekiel the dry bones, he asks Ezekiel, "Can these bones live?" I love his answer, which roughly translates as, "Only you know, God." Then, God reassembles the bones, and makes them come alive. Life out of death.

I think that sometimes we are in Ezekiel's position. We face a situation, and we don't even know if there is hope or not. We can't even state our faith in God enough to affirm that he can make a difference. And I would follow that statement with an assumption -- if we don't believe that there is hope, then we will act as if there is not.

God isn't just building bodies in this vision; he's building hope. He's building in Ezekiel the belief that through God all things -- even the impossible things -- can happen.

We depend on ourselves, and we reach a situation in which we cannot -- under our own power -- make a difference. The weight of the world is on our shoulders, and we don't even have the faith that anything can change.

God is building hope.

God is building the realization that HE can make a difference.

It is through God's power that the bones are reassembled and through his breath that they are brought to life.

Ezekiel goes from not even having the faith to make a statement of trust to witnessing the impossible, made possible through God.

Do we believe it? Do we truly believe that God can make a difference? Do we believe it enough to let go of our burdens and give them to God?

Image: I took the "big camera" to the park today and played, watching for signs of spring.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009



Friday, March 20, 2009


I've heard the question asked -- "Why did Jesus still have the scars on his hands and in his side after he was resurrected?"

Have you ever felt grace through someone else's scars?

I watched our pastor, in a sermon, tell a story about the death of his son, and the pain associated with it. He showed us one of his scars, and we felt the grace of God because of it.

A few years ago, when I was having trouble with forgiveness, a friend told me a story of a time when he had faced a similar problem. Through that scar, I knew grace.

I belong to a group of women that meets every other Saturday morning. We share our concerns and our worries. We talk about our shortcomings. Through their scars, I find grace. I hope that I share grace, as well.

Perhaps that is why Jesus kept the scars. Seeing his scars, we know grace.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lent Questions

A Friday Five on Thursday -- Lenten questions:
  1. Did you give up, or take on, anything special for Lent this year? Actually, I didn't. I have in the past, and I've stuck with it, but I didn't this year. I think I come to the conclusion that I should pick something up for Lent, but I haven't done that, either. I think I miss this discipline
  2. Have you been able to stay with your original plans, or has life gotten in the way? I think life got in the way BEFORE I made any plans.
  3. Has God had any surprising blessings for you during this Lent? I am the coordinator of a ministry at church that sends out daily Lenten devotionals, written by members of our congregation. We've done that for several years, and it's almost automatic for me each night. Still, I am constantly surprised when God uses this ministry to bless people. Why am I surprised? For instance, I assign dates WAY ahead of time. It turned out that one of my date assignments had special significance. I assigned one author a date. She found out later that she had a malignant tumor. The day her devotional went out was the day of her surgery. I included a prayer request with her devotional, and I got a response from one of our readers several hours away. She added the author to her prayer chain at her church. I forwarded this email to the author, and God touched her through it. Amazing.
  4. What is on your inner and/or outer agenda for the remainder of Lent and Holy Week? I would love to get involved in some kind of Bible study or Spiritual Growth study. I haven't found an opportunity yet.
  5. Where do you most long to see resurrection, in your life and/or in the world, this Easter? As of Palm Sunday, 5 people will have joined my church in the past month. I think this is resurrection in many ways, and hope and pray that it continues.
    Bonus: Share a favorite scripture, prayer, poem, artwork, or musical selection that speaks Lenten spring to your heart.


    Wednesday, March 18, 2009


    Grace is
    Love alive
    Love reborn
    Love resurrected
    Guilt removed

    Grace is not
    Given with strings attached
    Given regretfully
    Given out of obligation

    Grace is of God
    Grace is love
    Grace is yours

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    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    The Expectation of Grace

    A friend and I were talking today about the difficulty of being graceful to those who expect to receive grace. I didn't say so then, but thinking about it, I think it's fair to day that we resent it.

    Is anticipation the antithesis of grace? When we anticipate an act of grace, does it negate the grace? Or does it at least reduce our appreciation of it?

    Have you ever anticipated what you hoped would be an act of grace from someone else, and then were disappointed - either by the act or by the absence of the act?

    I think that we sometimes anticipate grace from God. We expect it. Perhaps it is only when we realize that we do not deserve grace and that we have no right to expect it from God that we finally are overwhelmed by its effect when we receive it.

    That said, unlike us, God gives us grace even when we expect it. Instead of reacting like we do, with resentment, God loves us anyway. THAT'S grace -- undeserved and without resentment.


    Monday, March 16, 2009

    Prayer of Sir Francis Drake

    At Rotary today, the person who led the invocation used the prayer of Sir Francis Drake. I really like it: take a look.

    Disturb us, Lord, when
    We are too pleased with ourselves,
    When our dreams have come true
    Because we dreamed too little,
    When we arrived safely
    Because we sailed too close to the shore.

    Disturb us, Lord, when
    with the abundance of things we possess
    We have lost our thirst
    For the waters of life;
    Having fallen in love with life,
    We have ceased to dream of eternity
    And in our efforts to build a new earth,
    We have allowed our vision
    Of the new Heaven to dim.

    Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
    To venture on wilder seas
    Where storms will show Your mastery;
    Where losing sight of land,
    We shall find the stars.
    We ask you to push back
    The horizons of our hopes;
    And to push back the future
    In strength, courage, hope, and love.
    This we ask in the name of our Captain,
    Who is Jesus Christ.
    Food for thought.


    Sunday, March 15, 2009


    I talked the day before yesterday about the Discipline author's concept of hell as a place in which we end up because of our own inability to release ourselves from our own concepts of our guilt and sin -- our inadequacies.

    We were talking today in Sunday school about justification -- in order to be justified, is repentance necessary. Here is my reasoning.

    • Grace is free. There is nothing we can do to earn it and there is nothing we can do to lose it. It is a gift, freely given from God. Grace is what saves us, it is what heals us and brings us to eternal life. It is there for everyone.
    • God's grace -- his prevenient grace, his justifying grace and his sanctifying grace -- is at work in all of our lives.
    • Our repentance is a fruit of God's work in our lives. We repent because God has led us to it. I don't think that we would respond in that way except for the grace of God.
    • Not everyone says yes to God. They are still forgiven; they are still children of God.

    Do I think God sends people to hell for not repenting? No. I think we send ourselves there.


    Saturday, March 14, 2009


    Daffodils are one of my favorite flowers. They have such a short season -- when the daffodils bloom, you know spring is here or at least close. They are a March flower and look cheerful and lovely.
    These are all daffodils from the St. Marks church yard.


    Friday, March 13, 2009


    I read a devotional this morning that described hell as a place of our own making. The author said that hell is composed of our, and I'm paraphrasing, inability to accept the forgiveness of God. As I understood his theory, we would be in hell, not because of a punitive God, but because of our own actions. God doesn't "send" us there; we send ourselves there.

    The first four questions of the ordination vows for the United Methodist church are:

    "Have you faith in Christ? Are you going on to perfection? Do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life? Are you earnestly striving after it?"
    Why are we afraid to say "yes" to a question like that? Do we have a wrong idea of Christian perfection? Do we really think that God is going to make us mistake-free? Do we think anyone would believe us if we said we are moving on to a mistake-free life?

    What about thinking of it a whole? Made whole and healed in love certainly is more believable. To be made Holy -- sanctified. Don't we believe in that?

    And could that be the opposite of what the devotional writer was talking about?

    And is that not a resurrection faith?


    Thursday, March 12, 2009


    Growth. We think of growth in the spring as beautiful and a welcome change from winter. We look at our kids in amazement -- how fast they grow and how surprising it is to turn around and see your baby as a 15 year old.

    When we think about it, though, I think we would all agree that growth is not effortless. Growth involves struggle. It involves pushing against barriers. My youngest son is pushing for more freedom (he'll have to clean his room first. I'm determined!). There are barriers to change.

    As we think about spiritual growth, what are the barriers? What do we struggle against? What is holding you back from growth? What is standing in my way of "growing toward perfection?"


    Wednesday, March 11, 2009


    I walked around the church where I work today and took pictures of doors. The reason I picked this church is that it is the building where I work -- my comments below are not meant to infer anything about this particular church!

    Doors are interesting. We say in the Methodist church that we have "Open Doors." I know that doesn't literally mean that our doors are always open, but I wonder what our doors say about our church. I invite you to walk around your church and think about your doors.

    What do your doors say about your church?

    Are they symbolic in any way? Are they open, like the gate in the middle of this collage? Are the figurative doors to your church clear glass, offering welcome and openness? Do your doors nurture and care for people, like the one with the portico? Are your doors far away and hard to reach? Do they require warnings, like the one with the cone? Are your figurative doors under a cross? Are our doors only windows where entrances used to be?

    What are the "doors" to your church like?

    Isn't it time to open our doors so that God can enter? And so that he can bring his children into the church?

    Image: Collage created by Picasa. What a cool tool that is!

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    Tuesday, March 10, 2009

    After a long winter

    This is a photograph of Capitol Market in Charleston. During the summer, this area will be filled with vendors, selling locally grown fruits, vegetables and flowers.

    Just now, though, the outdoor area of the market is empty. Waiting. Dead, in a way.

    As I stood looking at it the other day, I was thinking of what it would be like in a few months. Full of life. Full of the produce of the area. Full of people shopping and selling. Lively. Alive. Awake.

    Resurrected after a long winter. I know that because I saw and experienced it last summer.

    Faith in God is harder than that, but offers the same reassurance.


    Monday, March 09, 2009

    How You Serve

    We were working today on a newsletter, trying to edit a sidebar that explained a few highlights of what the Foundation does. It was the last article of the newsletter to receive intense editing; it was close to the end of the day; the room was hot, and we were out of steam.

    We decided to set it aside and return to it the next day. Before I put it away (and after I turned on the air conditioning), I took one more look at it.

    The first phrase was "The Foundation offers..." I thought about it, and changed the phrase to "The Foundation serves..." That one word of change made everything else fall into line. Instead of listing our offerings, I listed those we serve ... individuals, local churches and the Church, and in what ways we can serve them.

    I think there might be a lesson in that. It's the people that come first. When we remember that what we are doing -- no matter what we are doing -- is service, then everything else falls into place.

    Pick up your cross. Not because it is something that you offer, but because it is how you serve.

    Image: Driving across the river at sunset.


    Sunday, March 08, 2009



    You may not know me

    There was a time
    When God said
    You may not know me,
    So let me tell you about myself.
    I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
    I am the God of your father
    And of your mother.
    I am your God,
    And you are my child.

    I am your God.
    In case you do not know me,
    Let me show you who I am.
    I sent my son
    To show you how to live.
    To show you how to love.
    To show you who I am.
    I am.
    I sent my son, so that you would know
    That even if you were the only one
    I would die for only you.
    You are my child.

    Then God took a breath.
    A holy pause
    And waited for my response.

    My life was changed.
    It’s no wonder that songs are written,
    Sung about grace amazing,

    Grace greater than sin.
    For a love such as this
    Changes everything.
    For a love such as this
    Erases sin and shame and selfishness.
    Only by his grace.

    There was a time
    When God said
    You may not know this person,
    This child of mine,
    Standing in front of you,
    But let me tell you about him.
    You know he is addicted.
    You know he is lost.
    You may even know he is grieving.
    Do you know how his heart yearns for me?
    Do you know how a word from you
    Would show him my love?
    And that his life could be changed?
    This man in front of you
    Is a child of mine.
    I am his God.
    If he were the only one
    I would die for only him.
    He is my child.

    There was a time
    When God said
    You may not know this person,
    This child of mine,
    Standing in front of you,
    But let me tell you about her.
    You may know she is alone.
    You may know she has a child of her own.
    You may even know that she is struggling.
    Do you know how lonely she is?
    Do you know that kind act from you
    Would touch her with my love?
    And that her life could be changed?
    This woman in front of you
    Is a child of mine.
    I am her God.
    If she were the only one
    I would die for only her.
    She is my child.

    There was a time
    When God said
    You may not know this child
    This child of mine,
    Standing in front of you.
    But let me tell you about him.
    You may know that he can’t read,
    That he has been ridiculed and humiliated.
    You may even know that he has been beaten down
    By words and deeds.
    By your own words and deeds.
    Do you know how hungry this child is?
    Do you know how he thirsts for me?
    Do you know that one affirming word from you
    Would flood him with my grace?

    And that his life could be changed?
    His eternal life?
    This child in front of you
    Is a child of mine.
    Just as you are.
    I am his God,
    Just as I am your God.
    I am.
    I died for this child.
    I love this child
    Just as I love you.
    Just as I died for you.

    Then God took a breath.
    A holy pause
    And waited for my response.

    (Note: Poem used as part of a short worship time I led today at Covenant Council.)


    Friday, March 06, 2009

    When will be believe?

    Something to think about from worship this evening at Covenant Council:

    Do we look inward as a church? Or do we look outward?

    Do we think small? Or do we think big?

    Do we have an attitude of scarcity? Or abundance?

    Do we believe that we can act with the power of God if we are doing his will? Or do we rely on our own power?

    When will we come to act is we have a powerful God who can make all things possible through his grace and love?


    Thursday, March 05, 2009

    Communion Restrictions

    Go take a look at this post on Out of Ur, and determine your reaction.

    Theologian J I Packer is asked, "Do you believe that access to the Lord’s Table should be restricted, and if so, how does the church do that in a way that’s inoffensive?" Here is part of his answer:
    The second point of restriction is when individuals in the congregation are known to be living in sin. If the attempt has been made to wean them away from sin according to the rules of Matthew 18, and it’s failed, then the text says, “Let him be to you as a heathen and a publican,” a tax collector, someone beyond the pale. The pastor, with the backing of those who were trying to wean the person away, should say, “Don’t come to the Lord’s Table. If you come, the bread and wine will not be served to you. I shall see to that.”
    I have to ask -- who determines if the sin is large enough to keep the person from communion? Who determines what is sin? Are some sins larger than others? Don't we all sin? Are any of us worthy to come to God?

    Where is the grace? Where is the love?


    Wednesday, March 04, 2009


    I attended a Lenten Luncheon today at the church where the Conference Center Offices are located. After lunch, the senior pastor at St. Marks, the Rev'd Monty Brown, delivered the message. He quoted a song called Gethsemene:
    Then I was inspired. Now I'm sad and tired. After all, I've tried for three years; seems like ninety. Why then am I scared to finish what I started -- what YOU started; I didn't start it.
    How often do we feel that? How often are we tired of trying? How often do we want to just quit?

    I think we (I)need to be reminded. In ministry, we aren't doing a task that we started. We're doing a task that God has started. It is his mission -- his plan -- his goals. He has started it, and has asked us to come along for the ride. Surely, then, we can have the faith that He will finish what He has started.

    What do we need to do? Trust and obey.

    Image: Window in Calvary United Methodist Church, Ripley


    Tuesday, March 03, 2009


    I'm reading the book Beyond Money by Dan Dick.

    The book is subtitled Becoming Good and Faithful Stewards. I'm working my way through it, but I was interested in his model of stewardship.

    He says that discipleship is the process of learning to be a Christian (I'm paraphrasing). We sit at the feet of Christ, and learn how to live the life God would have us to live. Stewardship, on the other hand, is the next step. Once we have learned about Christianity, and how to follow God, we are called to use our gifts for the transformation of the world. It's the next step.

    I hadn't thought of stewardship that way, but I think it might be a good model. Discipleship is not the end -- it is the means to an end.

    I believe that too often we think of stewardship as the process of raising money for the annual campaign each year. Stewardship is so much more than that.


    Monday, March 02, 2009


    A cross at Valley Chapel United Methodist Church.

    I'll let it do the speaking today; I keep falling asleep with the laptop on my lap.


    Sunday, March 01, 2009

    From a son

    I learned a few things from my son this evening.

    For the youth meeting, the couple who is in charge of exploring the idea of a contemporary worship service at our church led the youth meeting, seeking input from members and the youth regarding this type of service.

    When asked what he had found at particular worship service to be meaningful to him, he mentioned two things which stuck in my mind. He attended a Southern Baptist service in Pennsylvania. When they went into worship, they were so thoroughly welcomed that he wondered if he knew the people around him.

    He talked about another experience, this one at Summer Youth Celebration. While he was at SYC that year, a friend of his died, and it upset him. He was supported during the worship service and told, "We don't care why you are crying; we care that you are crying."

    What impressed my son about worship services was love, offered in the name of Christ. I'm amazed by that.

    And then he closed the meeting with prayer. As he worked his way through the prayer, he said, "I'll be talking to you, God. Bye" Not your usual prayer closing, but so much more friendly and relationship building.


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