Friday, May 31, 2013


In every era, the church has done its best work when it has looked outward. All of the best theology is empty without an ethic of service, an ethic that Jesus so explicitly instituted. Thousands of missions, hospitals and universities have been founded to serve in Jesus' name. Millions of Christians have taken the call to servant hood seriously and stepped out of normalcy and cultural comfort. Innumerable billions of acts of kindness take place every year as followers of Christ serve with no intention of seeking recognition or repayment.

Richard Foster writes that Jesus leadership was not with a scepter, but with a towel. When Jesus washed His disciples feet at the Last Supper, He was performing the ultimate act of service to them. Then, after rising, He said to them, "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you" (John 13:15). There is no wiggle room in that statement or in the declaration"...whoever wants to become great among you  must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be your slave." (Matthew 20:26-27) Jesus makes no bones about it. Christians serve. Period.

Let us be about the service of our fellow man in the Name of Him Who holds us in His hands.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Happy Birthday!

GK Chesterton's 139th birthday was yesterday...Happy Birthday to a man who has been called the "Apostle of Common Sense"  and thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!

"We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong."  GKC


Hebrews 4:12-13 tells us: "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

Close your eyes and see the sword described. Instead of a blade that is sharp only on one side and as such is limited in use, this sword is a formidable weapon no matter what direction you swing it. God's word is just such a weapon, But it is not a weapon for dealing death but LIFE.

Sin whispers through the desires of the flesh and rationalizations of the won't have a chance in the future if you don't cheat on this test. You won't be noticed if you don't dress a certain way. You won't have job security if you speak up about dishonest practices at work. Your life will be wasted in this relationship, you should just get a divorce. Only a fool would go around looking weak instead of getting revenge.

All of these statements are lies. It is the deceitfulness of sin. Those lies sometimes lodge themselves very deep in the heart as thought and intentions. They can seem unshakably true because of the hardness of the heart that encloses them like a dark, sealed casket. In that condition, unbelief has the upper hand. We are not believing the promises of God, we are trusting in the promises of sin. The Word of God is living, active and sharp and it will penetrate deeper than the deception of sin has ever gone and reveal what is truly worth trusting.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I realize that children in worship is a contentious point in many congregations. Strike many and substitute most. When my children were young I desperately wanted to sing in the choir but I hestitated...sure they could go to nursery to a point but then I felt guilty. Until one day an elderly lady in our congregation came up to me and told me how much she enjoyed seeing my smiling face in the choir. She mentioned that she knew I was struggling (although it had to be from Divine perception as I hadn't discussed it with anyone) with leaving my little ones in nursery. Then she asked one of the most beautiful questions I've ever heard (did I mention everyone KNEW what a loving heart she had?)..."My grandchildren are so far away, would you mind if they sat with me while you are in the choir?"

They did, and learned that the vows that the congregation made to nurture them in their faith were not just words. They got to see me do something for God that I loved (and both joined the Adult Choir at 12), and this lovely woman of God had the joy of young people sitting on either side of her.

I believe in children in does this person...

 You are doing something really, really important. I know it’s not easy. I see you with your arms overflowing, and I know you came to church already tired. Parenting is tiring. Really tiring.

I watch you bounce and sway trying to keep the baby quiet, juggling the infant carseat and the diaper bag as you find a seat. I see you wince as your child cries. I see you anxiously pull things out of your bag of tricks to try to quiet them.

And I see you with your toddler and your preschooler. I watch you cringe when your little girl asks an innocent question in a voice that might not be an inside voice let alone a church whisper.  I hear the exasperation in your voice as you beg your child to just sit, to be quiet as you feel everyone’s eyes on you. Not everyone is looking, but I know it feels that way.

I know you’re wondering, is this worth it? Why do I bother? I know you often leave church more exhausted than fulfilled. But what you are doing is so important.

When you are here, the church is filled with a joyful noise. When you are here, the Body of Christ is more fully present. When you are here, we are reminded that this worship thing we do isn’t about Bible Study or personal, quiet contemplation but coming together to worship as a community where all are welcome, where we share in the Word and Sacrament together.When you are here, I have hope that these pews won’t be empty in ten years when your kids are old enough to sit quietly and behave in worship.I know that they are learning how and why we worship now, before it’s too late. They are learning that worship is important.

I see them learning. In the midst of the cries, whines, and giggles, in the midst of the crinkling of pretzel bags and the growing pile of crumbs I see a little girl who insists on going two pews up to share peace with someone she’s never met. I hear a little boy slurping (quite loudly) every last drop of his communion wine out of the cup determined not to miss a drop of Jesus. I watch a child excitedly color a cross and point to the one in the front of the sanctuary.  I hear the echos of Amens just a few seconds after the rest of the community says it together. I watch a boy just learning to read try to sound out the words in the worship book or count his way to Hymn 672. Even on weeks when I can’t see my own children learning because, well, it’s one of those mornings, I can see your children learning.

I know how hard it is to do what you’re doing, but I want you to know, it matters. It matters to me. It matters to my children to not be alone in the pew. It matters to the congregation to know that families care about faith, to see young people… and even on those weeks when you can’t see the little moments, it matters to your children.

this is the link...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


This should have posted yesterday. I'm sure it was something I did wrong with the scheduling that made it not show, even though it's late, here is a Memorial day Retreat from Busted Halo...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Still, small voice

1 Kings 19:11-13
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

I absolutely hate it when people refer to natural disasters as "Acts of God". People have died, others are injured and traumatized, homes are totally destroyed...and who is to blame? Would you say God decided to destroy a good portion of Moore, OK and anyone who got in the way? Why? Spite? Anger? Vengance?  No, you will not find God in this mighty wind anymore than Elijah did. This is no one's fault. It's weather, and any scientist can explain what happens to cause storms such as these. 

No, God did not cause it, but He is there:
In those searching the buildings for the missing, hoping to find them alive,
In those who gently and reverently carry the dead,
In the hospital staff tending the wounded,
In those who sit at the side of those whose hearts are broken,
In those who keep calling until they reach those they love,
In those parents who struggle to assure their children that they are safe,
In the people around the world who send their prayers , their love and their money to
people they will never meet.

God did not cause the wind. He wasn't in the wind. He is in those people who see suffering and choose to act out of love, compassion and the hope of a better world to come.

Monday, May 20, 2013

More beautiful

Bravo to "Dove" for this commercial...their premise is "you are more beautiful than you believe"...oh, if we could just teach all our young people to believe this...or to at least see themselves as we see them.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Come, Holy Spirit...

Acts 2
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Like a strong and driving wind...

The author of this article read the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit as Lectio Divina and then interpreted it in her own words...words worthy of thought.

"I am still mourning Jesus’ death, even though I believe the Resurrection wipes away that pain. But as one of the women who follow Jesus, my heart is sore from his loss. I still wish to see him in the flesh and hear his marvelous words, which healed my wounds instantaneously. I am here in the house with all of my comrades, waiting for something. I know not what. I am fearful, though I wish I were not. I had hoped for comfort, being together, but so many bodies pressed close to me chafe, as if I were wearing a hot, rough garment.

A sudden noise outside makes me look up. “Is it the wind?” I ask a woman next to me. She shakes her head, eyes wide. The noise continues like a storm, but the kind of storm that brings rain after heavy heat and drought. It rushes into our room, and suddenly each person there stands straighter, as if courage were being poured into them. I see flickers of fire about the room — now on that one’s head, now on Mary the mother of Jesus’ head, and suddenly, that fire is on me. It burns and refreshes. How can something be hot and cool as water at the same time?

“My fearful heart collapses like an empty wineskin and instead is filled with certainty, love and belief. I want to run outside and tell the whole world what we know to be true.”
In that moment, all my doubts are washed away. My fearful heart collapses like an empty wineskin and instead is filled with certainty, love and belief. I want to run outside and tell the whole world what we know to be true, so I join the others pouring out into the streets, speaking in different languages. Words rise within and flow out of my mouth, words I didn’t know I had. It is some other language but I understand it. The language of my heart says, “Everything I told you is true. I was dead yet now am alive. The works of power I did, now you can do. Do not be afraid. Go out into the world and preach my words.

I fall to my knees when the words stop, but my strong heart remains. I am ready to rush off into the streets, proclaiming the truth, but some older members of our community caution us saying, “It is still dangerous for the disciples. Be careful.”

Some of the women and I look at one another. We know how to be careful, but we also know how to raise a child, one word at a time, one lesson at a time, one thread of discipline at a time. We are uniquely prepared to preach the Word, and no one would think us dangerous because we are only women."

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What is a Methodist???

If you were asked to define what it means to be a Methodist, what would you say?
the author of this article did not use this for a reply when asked at dinner:

“What’s a Methodist?”

The source for my reply to this simple question is one of Wesley’s most popular tracts, “The Character of a Methodist.” He begins by saying that Methodists are not distinguished by doctrine or opinions. The mark of a Methodist is his or her love for God. Their devotion to God is complete. Methodists center their lives upon God who became one of us in Jesus of Nazareth. His life and teachings provide the way Methodists live their love for God in all aspects of life. No part of life is untouched by their devotion to God and the things of God. This means that the Methodist’s love for God compels him or her to love those whom God loves. Their daily life is shaped by obedience to the teachings of Jesus.

Do you know what it means to be a Methodist? Check out the article referenced above...
A summary of John Wesley's definition is here...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Bible's influence...

More than half of Americans think the Bible has too little influence on a culture they see in moral decline, yet only one in five Americans read the Bible on a regular basis, according to a new survey.
More than three-quarters of Americans (77 percent) think the nation's morality is headed downhill, according to a new survey from American Bible Society.

The survey showed the Bible is still firmly rooted in American soil: 88 percent of respondents said they own a Bible, 80 percent think the Bible is sacred, 61 percent wish they read the Bible more, and the average household has 4.4 Bibles.

If the Bible is so commonplace in America, wouldn't its moral teachings counteract the downward trend? Almost a third of respondents said moral decline was a result of people not reading the Bible, while 29 percent cited the "negative influence of America" and one in four cited corporate corruption.

So says a report called "American's love the Bible But don't read it much"
Here's the link to the Survey....

Once again, we know what we want, we know what we need, but we just don't do it...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Home Sweet Home

I live in a 3 bedroom farmhouse that was built 60+ years ago.

Suzy, our aging chocolate lab, lives outside, but the rest of us share the limited space inside. The rest of us are Vito & the Other Guy (2 parakeets), Linc and Dooley (2 cats) and 5 people aged 9 - 65. Cozy, but manageable (it does get a little cramped when daughter and SIL visit) but still, we make do. Given the population, this space can become (and usually is) very messy. But it's a place to be proud of because it's not a house, it's a home. 

Behind the house, there's a garden and an old chicken house. This year, the garden is a family affair and we're all praying for the sun and rain and warm weather required to grow what we've planted (squash, tomatos, corn, cucumbers, peppers, okra, corn, purple hull peas, onions, cabbage and lettuce)...can you tell we love fresh vegetables? Son is busy converting the old chicken house into a space where he can work a forge and girlfriend can have a kiln. I can't wait to see what wonderful things they will create.

Although I had never really spent time on a farm until after I married, it's a wonderful life. Although it takes long hours and hard work...and even though we're at the mercy of the weather, there is much to be learned about life there. More importantly, God can be seen everywhere. In the ups and downs He teaches us...but mostly, He loves us. We truly live a blessed life.  

It's not a life that all would enjoy, but I wouldn't want to be anywhere else...

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Peter Drucker, the late leadership guru, said that the four hardest jobs in America (and not necessarily in order, he added) are:
  • The President of the United States
  • A university president
  • A CEO of a hospital and
  • A pastor
Is that true? 
Pastors love God and love people. 
They get to pray for people, lead people to a faith in Jesus Christ, and teach the Word about God.
That’s the dream job! 
You can read the Bible all day, pray, play a little golf, and preach.
 I want to do that!
Here is the secret. Being a pastor is hard work. It’s not for wimps. 
This is the reality—the job of a pastor can be 24/7 and carry unique challenges.

This is excerpted from an article called "The Secret Pain of Pastors" should be a MUST READ for every member of every congregation...

I'm not going to list the problems Pastors face (read the article for that) but I will list what the author says WE, the congregation, should do for the Pastor...

Pray for the Pastor
Protect the Pastor
Encourage the Pastor

Are you doing this? The Pastor will do it for you (and not just because he/she is getting paid to do it), so why aren't you doing it for him/her? They are human after all, just like us...

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Hankies at the ready! A wonderful piece of performance art shown on "Britain's Got Talent" by the Shadow Theater Group...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Child Abuse

In an effort to provide abused children with a safe way to reach out for help, a Spanish organization called the Aid to Children and Adolescents at Risk Foundation, or ANAR for short, created an ad that displays a different message for adults and children at the same time.

The secret behind the ad's wizardry is a lenticular top layer, which shows different images at varying angles. So when an adult—or anyone taller than four feet, five inches—looks at it they only see the image of a sad child and the message: "sometimes, child abuse is only visible to the child suffering it." But when a child looks at the ad, they see bruises on the boy's face and a different message: "if somebody hurts you, phone us and we’ll help you" alongside the foundation's phone number.

The ad is designed to empower kids, particularly if their abuser happens to be standing right next to them.

Child abuse is insidious...The affects of child abuse will never go long as one abused child still lives and breathes, the pain is there. Kudo's for those who are at least trying to get the message out.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sleepy Duck

I know this feeling...check here, seems ducks try some of the same tricks we do to keep their eyes open!

The Miracle of Multiplication...

The opposite of a scarcity mentality is an abundancy mentality.  With an abundancy mentality we say:  "There is enough for everyone, more than enough:  food, knowledge, love ... everything."  With this mind-set we give away whatever we have, to whomever we meet.  When we see hungry people we give them food.  When we meet ignorant people we share our knowledge; when we encounter people in need of love, we offer them friendship and affection and hospitality and introduce them to our family and friends.

When we live with this mind-set, we will see the miracle that what we give away multiplies:  food, knowledge, love ... everything.  There will even be many leftovers.

Henri Nouwen

Monday, May 6, 2013


Conversations about change can and do make people, families and organizations nervous. Change is something that happens whether we desire it or long as we don't fixate on Calvin's way of doing it...

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Time Lapse

I just love time lapse photography and this one is really cool!

DEATH VALLEY DREAMLAPSE 2 from Sunchaser Pictures on Vimeo.

Filmed in Death Valley and using some techniques called "moonpainting" and "starscraping" it really makes me want to travel there and see the stars! Even though we live in an area that is very "low" light at night (which means we see more stars than you can in the cities), we can't see this many! Wow!!!

It even spends a little time showing the unexplained "sliding" stones in Racetrack Playa...
check it out!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Quote Day!

An apology doesn't necessarily mean that you were wrong, or that the other person was right. An apology can mean that your relationship is more important than your ego. (unknown)

Nothing so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength. (Indian proverb)

When God pushes you off the edge of difficulty, trust Him. Only two things can happen. He will catch you when you fall or He will teach you how to fly! (unknown)

Sometimes the wrong choices can bring us to the right places. (unknown)

The greatest treasures are those invisible to the eye but felt by the heart. (Maryanne Williamson)

May you never forget what is worth remembering, nor ever remember what is best forgotten. (Irish Blessing)

It's always nice to have someone in your life that makes you smile, even when they're not around. (unknown)

A relationship is not based on the amount of time you spend together, it's based on the foundation you built together. (unknown)

Being male is a matter of birth, being a man is a matter of age, but being a gentleman is a matter of choice. (Drake quotes)

It is easier to leave angry words unspoken, than to mend the heart those words have broken. (unknown)

If you want to know where your heart is, look where your mind goes when it wanders...(unknown)

If you do only what you know you can do - you never do very much.  (Tom Krause)

Fall seven times and stand up eight.  (Japanese proverb)

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Great quote from the people at

Worship is more than a preferred music style.  It’s more than a relevant message.  And it’s way more than an hour in any given week.  Worship is life.  It’s an existence dedicated to maintaining and relaying to others a connection with God.



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Noblesse Oblige

Noblesse Oblige: is the obligation of the nobility to the poor much like Luke 12:48 "...From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded;and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." When this first appeared in print the early 1800's, the concept was there, but not the terminology.

Translated from the French, noblesse oblige means "nobility obligates." Originally, the term was used to suggest that certain requirements of behavior could be legitimately imposed upon persons of noble birth. Noblesse oblige in modern English is a broad concept which implies that anyone who possesses special talents or gifts is required by society to make the best use of those gifts; that he or she is duty-bound to do his or her best. It is required by society, but, I put to you that it is even more so by God.

What if we took this principle to heart and believed that we are held personally accountable for our stewardship in all things. What if we knew there is a direct correlation between what we are given and what we give? That God looks not only at how well we open our heads, our hearts and  our hands, but also at the attitude with which we do these things.

In 1994, Forbes magazine profiled a man who lived in the USA but was the son of a Czechoslovakian aristocrat who fled the Republic at the age of 10. When the Czech government was democratized he was able to reclaim his family's wealth and estates. His holdings are vast and include castles, artwork by the masters, a phenomenal library, original musical manuscripts by Mozart and Beethoven, thousands of acres, a vineyard and a brewery (dating from 1466) and well, you get the picture. The surprising fact is, rather than sell off the bulk of these holdings and make himself obscenely wealthy, he has taken a different approach:   "We are merely custodians of the cultural treasures that must be preserved for future generations" (Berman, 1994). He feels it is his obligation to maintain all these irreplaceable objects for the people of the Czech Republic. Societal pressure here compels him to act selflessly and honorablythe very essence of noblesse oblige.

The strength and power of this concept can be rightfully applied to Christians. If we know the depths of God's love and mercy and if we know that His grace is available to all who will call upon His name, then we are obligated by His word and this concept to show the world "a life lived in Christ". Who among us can deny that to call ourselves Christians is the very definition of noble? ..."possessing outstanding qualities"...Not through any work we may have done but by the grace of God. Who can hold to such a gift and not share it with a hurting and troubled world? 
We are blessed to hold the key to locking up the evil that prevails in our world. We are called upon by God to gratefully share this key with anyone and everyone. We are obligated to share so that the world may know what manner of God we serve.