Monday, March 31, 2008


It is raining today. One of those great spring rains that cleans the air and the ground wonderfully.

When I was a child rain meant it was time to get muddy. Go out, jump in the puddles, splash with friends. Get good and wet.

As a teen, rain meant that baseball games were cancelled and football practice was muddy and fun.

At the last church we served, rain was a rarity. We lived in a drought struck land, and half and inch of rain in a month was a true gift, esp. for the farmers.

My view of rain has changed over the years. Depending on the situation, the experience, the place where I was. Different thought patterns for the same gift, for the same rain.

And for me, that is how it is with my faith as well. Over the years, my faith, how I view God and what he is doing in my life and in world, has changed. From the innocent child-like faith, to the searching to find meaning, to the challenege to share it. As I grow, learn more, and experience more, my faith grows and changes as well. Not the foundation - not my view of Jesus - but rather how it impacts me and the people around me.

Over the past year or so I have been nicknamed "Pastor Opportunity." This nickname came because I would present different "opportunities" for people to share their gifts in and through the church. This has become a cornerstone for where my faith has led me as of late. Knowing that I have certain gifts, and others have different gifts. All are needed for us to grow as a church and as individuals. So, when I see gifts in people, I offer them the chance to share their gifts in new ways.

And, over time, gifts change. Just as my view of rain has changed over the years, my gifts, and the gifts I see in others, change. They adapt and grow as God empowers us in different ways.

So today, as the rain continues to come down, I am thinking of the different ways God has used me in the past, and praying about the ways he may use me in the future. For God keeps coming to us, blessing us with gifts and his never-ending love, and empowering us to find opportunities to share those gifts with others.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Reckless Love

As we journey through Easter, I keep thinking about the love that God has for us. I mean, just look at everything God does to love us, and how he keeps coming back to us, even when we might try to run away from him. This is something we clearly see throughout scripture, and it is something we see in our own lives as well.

If I named this kind of love, I would call it "reckless love." For God comes to us, loves us, with reckless abandon. God doesn't let the human emotion of pride get in the way. He doesn't let our desires for control or power get in the way. He doesn't let our pushing away from him get in the way. Instead, he just continues to love us, come to us, and forgive us. This kind of reckless love always amazes me.

In seminary I had a professor who, with his wife, adopted a child. As the child grew up, he pushed against the adopted parents in many ways. One day, the professor came home and as he opened the door he noticed that the carpet was very wet. He rushed through the huose to try and find the leak that was soaking his floors. As he stepped into the living room he saw his son standing there, with a water hose in his hands, watering the carpet. The professor turned off the water and walked up to his son. The son looked at the father and said, "I guess I am in big trouble now." The father knelt down in front of the son and said, "You are my son. I love you. Nothing you ever do will change that. You will always be my son. I will always be your father. You will always be loved by me."

God loves us so recklessly that no matter what we do, no matter where we go, he will love us. He demonstrated this on the cross and as he came out of the tomb. He promises the same to you - you will always be his child, he will always be your God - and you will always be loved.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

God Moments

One of the things I have tried to do over the years is slow down and look for those "God Moments" that pop up every once in a while. These are the times when you see God at work in wonderful ways - sometimes they are big moments, other times they are small little things. But they are always moments when God shows up and does something that is either unexpected or very much needed in our lives.

These God moments are a continual reminder that God has a deep interest in our lives. It is not like God is out there, just sitting in heaven, watching everything take place with amusement on his face, but rather he is active and present in our lives. God cares about us. He has a deep, loving, parental desire to be involved in what we do, and he wants to be invovled with us. God moments are those times when we see the face of God appear - sometimes through others, other times just out of the blue.

But sometimes we miss these moments. I have written about this before - sometimes we are so busy with everything going on in life that we miss seeing God at work right in front of us. We get so consumed with the daily grind that we miss the loving touch and gift of grace that God gives to us.

So, we are called to slow down. To take time to look at the beauty of creation around us. To call an old friend. To share a gift of grace with another. When we do this, we are more apt to see what God is doing around us, to us, and through us.

So take some time today, slow down, and ask God - what are you doing today, and how can I be a part of it. I am sure you will be amazed at the answers you get.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Play With Me

Yesterday our daughter woke up from her nap and was sitting on my lap as she tried to fully wake up. All of a sudden she blurted out - I want someone to play with me! She was half awake, but wanting to get up and move right away. It was another one of those moments where sitting for a few minutes in between meetings and running around for work stuff would be nice, but also knowing that when my child wants to play, I needed to take advantage of that time together.

And I think that is a key to our relationships. it is easy to get into a rut - to sit around, do the same thing over and over again, and miss opportunities to get involved with the lives of friends and loved ones. We let the busy-ness of our lives get in the way of spending time, that precious time, with others. We let the world slip by, and 20 years from now we may regret not getting off the couch and playing.

The day before we had a wonderful spring day, really the first of the year, and I played all afternoon in the backyard with our daughter. At one point she decided to be the mom, I was the child, and she took me to school. Then she rushed to the edge of the deck, looked back at me and said, "I need to get to work fast, a grandfather died and I need to take care of him."

Two thoughts came rushing to me at that time. First was - I hope that is not how she sees me and the work I do here - having to rush away from the family all the time. Time with her has to be intentional - because it is so precious.

Second was - my dad, her grandfather, cannot play these games with her. He died last summer and she is going to miss getting to know this great man and the many gifts he had in life.

So, needless to say, when she said she wanted to play with someone yesterday, I got off the couch. We pulled out the legos and started to build all kinds of strange bridges, steps, and towers. We didn't have a lot of time, because I did need to go back to work for a meeting, but we spent that precious time together, playing.

Celebrate the time you have with your loved ones, however short or long it may be. Try and make the amends that need to be made - for who knows when that time may be gone. And always, take time to play.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Every week or so I scan a few of the blogs of people I have met or listened to over the years. As I read these blogs I see God doing amazing things in a variety of ways - using different people from different walks of life as his hands in the world. I am always amazed and in awe at how God uses such diversity - but it also makes so much sense. People are wired differently, and we need this diversity to reach out to others.

So this morning I started thinking about how we are wired. Now I am not talking about the "wired" part of life that comes by sitting at Starbucks, guzzling mochas, and having a body filled to the limit with caffine (you now know one of my weaknesses:), but rather wired in the sense of how we were created. We were all made differently - given different gifts with different experiences in our lives. Scripture talks about this in the form of the Body. As the Body of Christ we all are a different part - head, toe, finger, arm, etc. Each part of the body is essential - none is more valuable than the other when it comes to making the Body complete.

What this tells me is that we are essential and needed to God and to others. We may not see how valuable we are, but in order for the Body to be whole, we are extremely necessary.

And the gifts we are wired with are essential as well. God gives us these gifts for a reason, for a purpose, and part of our calling in the body is to discern what that purpose is and then use the gifts we have been given - rather than letting them sit on shelf collecting dust.

Another part of being wired differently is respecting the gifts of others. We cannot do everything on our own. The Body has different parts, different uses, in order to make the body complete. This part of being wired differently is also a humbling experience for us because it requires us to say - I cannot do it on my own, I need the help of others and of God. It shows us that we are not all powerful. But it is also wonderful because we can see how God uses others to complement our gifts and do more work in the world.

So my question this morning is - what has God wired you with? What are some of the gifts you have been given? And how can this Body work better by complementing those gifts and do new things to reach out to others?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


What are you afraid of?

This week the issue of fear has come up in a number of conversations with people, and in the gospel lesson for this coming Sunday as well. We have talked about fear when it comes to understand different aspects of faith, fear when it comes to living out our lvies of faith, fear of the unknown, and even fear of change. There is a lot of fear in the world, and this fear can either paralyze us or it can challenge us to grow.

Growing up my greatest fear was snakes - I still hate the critters. I always had fears of being bitten (growing up in rattlesnake country) and what might happen if I was. For a while this fear kept me from playing on the Rims (some rock formations that surrounding Billings that were breeding grounds for rattlers) and exploring with my friends. Because of this fear I kept from having a lot of fun. Finally, a friend of mine pushed me out of my comfort zone and got me up on the Rims to explore. The snakes were still there, but if I was careful, and respected the snakes and their space, things were fine.

If we let fear dictate our lives, we miss out on a lot. We miss new experiences, we miss time with friends and family, we miss growing in a variety of ways.

I think one of the keys with our fears is to face them - and to do so with the support and care of others. The disciples were afraid of what might happen to them after Jesus was raised from the dead - and they holed themselves up in a locked room - paralyzed to move. But after they were blessed by the risen Jesus, and given the gift of the Spirit, together they faced their fears and continued the mission, the opportunity, that they were given to form the church.

We need to do the same thing when it comes to our fears - to gather with others and face the fears we have. We still respect the fears - as I respected the snakes - but we do not let the fears govern our lives. In doing this we are freed to experience the great gifts of God in new and exciting ways.

So my question today is - what do you fear? And how can we, the Church, the body of Christ, help you to face those fears and continue to grow?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I always think that once Easter is over, things will slow down in the church for a while, and every year I am wrong. There is always more to do, more meetings, more activities, more ministries, more, more, more.

Now, being busy is good - it is the sign of a healthy church and it shows how much God is doing through the many people here. The problem I run into is balance. Trying to balance everything that is going on with my own spiritual and physical health. As many of you know, I am a boarderline workaholic, so I have to be very careful not to overextend myself and make the time I need to rest and spend time in prayer and devotions.

And the way the world is today, I think many of us fall into this category. We always get so busy with activities we are running to that we need the time to slow down. God talks about this as well - it is one of the reasons that he created the sabbath. We need that down time. We need to rest and enjoy the beauty of creation. We need to recharge our batteries and stop running through life so that we can enjoy life.

Balance is the key - and sometimes balance takes work. It takes work to take time away from work. It takes work to make time with God. It takes work to slow down because it is too easy to get caught up in the river of life.

So I am going to try to pracitice what I preach - to make more time with family and friends. To take time to enjoy everything that I have been blessed with. I still have a lot of activities to do here, and I love doing them, but if I am rested then the activities seem to go smoother and I enjoy them all the more.

So my prayer today is that you will make the time to slow down and enjoy everything you have been given. Call a friend or family member you haven't talked to in awhile. Take you child out for a walk. Spend time playing with the cat or dog. Celebrate your life, for you have been blessed, and we all need to celebrate these blessings.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

New Life

Alleluia - Christ is risen!

On this Easter Sunday we celebrate the gift of new life - the gift of eternal life.

I love Easter - I love the celebration, the services, the egg hunts, I love all of it. I love it because this is the heart of what I believe - Jesus gave his all for us, and then destroyed the power of death so that we might live, and live eternally with him.

So it is time to celebrate. In a few minutes we will have the first of four services on this easter morn. We will watch the light shatter the darkness and come face to face with the risen Lord. We will sing and pray, experiencing the amazing love of this God who created everything - the God who knows us and loves us so much that he was willing to die so that we could live.

And we will go out into the world, back to our homes, schools, and palces of work, with the easter promise resounding in our hearts.

For Christ is risen - He is risen indeed. Alleluia

Friday, March 21, 2008


On this Good Friday (which is very snowy and not all that good:), we remember the word "gave."

After Jesus had taken, blessed, and broke the bread, he then gave it to the disciples. This is significant because Jesus gives us everything we need to make it in life and to grow in our lives of faith. His gifts are amazing, his love is unending, and this is shown in the fact that he gave his life for us. Even after he had died and was raised from the dead, he kept giving to us. He gives us the Spirit, so we can be empowered to be his Body, the Church, here on earth. He gives us the gift of forgiveness, so that we can forgive as we have been forgiven. He just keeps on giving.

But we are also given. We are given to others to be a light in their lives. We are given gifts so that we may share those gifts with the world. You see, we are blessed to be blessings to others. Christ desires to use us as his hands and feet in the world that he has created, and we are the ones chosen to do this task. The beauty of all these gifts we are given, and the fact that we are given to others, is that each of use was created differently - we were created as unique individuals with unique talents and called to use them in unique ways. We are special in God's eyes, and if we do not give ourselves and our gifts to others, then the body is incomplete.

This day, let us all reflect back on the gifts we have been given and how we have been given to others, and let us have open eyes to celebrate the gift of Christ in our lives.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


The third word is broken - broken for you. As we celebrate Maundy Thursday this word takes special meaning. Jesus tells us that his body is broken for us - his children. We are starting to see how Jesus gives everything he has, including his own life (which we remember tomorrow esp.) for us and to us.

But I think there is another part to this. We too are broken - in two ways. First we are broken people. None of us are perfect. We have parts of our lives and parts of our bodies that are in need of healing. It may be something physical, emotional, or even spiritual. We are broken in many and various ways, and we need God's healing hand to touch us and make us whole once again.

The second way we are broken is in that there are parts of our lives that need to be broken out of us. Our desires for power and control, our wants to put ourselves above others - to get ahead of the Jones'. In other words, we need to be humbled. We need to be reminded that there has only been one perfect person in the world, and we hung him up to die on the cross with our sins.

And yes, we are broken down at times in our lives so that we may be humbled and see God in a new light. Luther referred to this often as the "theology of the cross." We meet God at the lowest place possible - we meet God in the pits and valleys of life for it is here that our eyes are opened to the amazing power and love that God has for us - even though we are broken. God gets down and dirty, he meets us in the pits of life, and then he pulls us up with his grace and love for us.

Isn't it amazing that the God who created all, who has such power, is also one who cares so much about us - little creatures that we are - that he is willing to die for us?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


When I wake up in the morning, I realize how blessed I really am. I have a wonderful family, a roof over my head, and a great church I am a part of. Blessings come in so many ways, the hard part is seeng the blessings as they are given to us, for sometimes we are too focused on the negative, on the what-might-be, rather than the blessings we have been showered with.

After God takes us - claims us - as his children, he then blesses us. The baptismal liturgy in our worship services ends with the entire congregation, the Body of Christ, welcoming the newly baptized into the family of God. This is our first blessing - we are part of God's family, God's body. We have brothers and sisters than span time and place, we are supported, loved, and cared for by people of all races and ages, we are blessed because we know that we will always be God's - no matter where we go or what we do, because God will never abandon his children.

Then the blessings keep coming. We are blessed with gifts that we can share with others. We are blessed with relationships. We are blessed with the opportunity to grow closer to this God who knows everything about us and loves us without fail. We are blessed, period.

What blessings have you been given in your life?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Took, Blessed, Broke, and Gave

I was at a conference in Texas a few weeks back and heard Bishop TD Jakes speak a couple of times. In one of his talks he looked at the Lord's Supper and the four words that are in the title for today's blog - took, blessed, broke, and gave. I have been reflecting on his talk since returning, and want to look at how Jesus walks us through these steps in our lives.

Today I want to look at the word "took." When Jesus was in the upper room with his disciples before he was handed over to be crucified, he shared in a special meal - a meal we now call the Last Supper. He took bread and a cup. If we look back through scripture we see that God "takes" his children many different ways and many different places. Abraham was "taken" from his home and led out on a journey to the promised land. Joseph was taken by his brothers and by some bandits to a new land. David was taken from caring for sheep to become a king. Even Jesus was taken from the waters of baptism to the wilderness.

The same happens to us today. We are "taken" from the waters of baptism into a new life - a life where we are blessed and strengthened with God's grace and love. Other times in our lives we are "taken" from what is comfortable to things and places that are new, and sometimes uncomfortable. And when we are "taken" by God to something or someplace new, we need to watch and see where it is God is leading us - taking us - to go. For God opens doors for us in ways we can never expect, giving us the gifts we need to enter into this new journey of life, and of faith.

So where is God taking you? What possibilities is he opening up for you, and what gifts is he giving you as you enter this new land?

Sunday, March 16, 2008


This weekend we announced to our congregation that we are expecting our second child in September. We are all very excited about this, and our daughter asked today how she could help with the new baby. We told her there were many ways she could help - from playing with the baby, to helping us take care of the new one, to reading and singing to him/her.

One thing I have noticed over the years is that whenever I get to share something joyful in my life, it often helps others to see the joy in theirs as well. Joy is contagious - and it brings light into those sometimes dark places. We have been truly blessed, and it is wonderful when we get to share our blessings with others.

Tomorrow we get to go and hear the heartbeat of the our new child for the first time. I remember that day four years ago with our daughter, and I am as excited now as I was then.

My prayer today is that you will see the joy and blessings in your life, and find ways to share that joy with others.


Today is Palm Sunday, a day when we start that final earthly journey with Jesus as he travels to the upper room to share a meal, is betrayed in a garden with a kiss, carries his own cross to a hill, dies a painful death, and then grants us the gift of new life as he is raised from the dead.

It is a powerful week we embark on in the church, for it is a week that is central to our faith as Christians. This week is the heart of what we believe - that Christ came for us - gave his life for us - and gives us new life through his death and resurrection.

It is also a week that reminds us of the steps that we take in life. Every step leads us somewhere - even if they are steps that lead us in circles, we are still in motion. Our lives are filled with a wonderful variety of steps - first steps, steps to school, steps down an aisle, steps into a nursery, steps into a hospital room - all steps we take on this journey called life.

And the beauty of Christ and his love for us, is that he takes these steps with us. It always amazes me that this God who is so great and so powerful knows everything about me and continues to love me, care for me, and walk the steps I take with me. The steps he takes on this last week of his earthly life remind me every year that he takes these steps for me, for you, his children, his creation.

So as you go about taking different steps, always remember you are not taking them alone. Christ is right there, walking with you. And even though you may be taking so difficult steps right now, Christ has walked that path, those steps, before. He will take the same steps you take with you and bless you with his love and compassion. He has taken steps for you, and now he takes steps with you.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Who Are You?

Over the past month or so I have talked with many people and heard many stories from people who are questioning their direction in life. Some of these people are young, some are in transition in their lives, others are entering into their retirement journey. They are all searching - searching for meaning in their lives, searching for a purpose.

So much of the searching that I see today revolves around the question, "Who am I?" Am I defined by my work? Am I defined by my family? Am I defined by the activities that I am involved in? Who am I?

But, I think, this is the wrong question to ask. Instead of asking, "Who am I?" why not turn the question around and ask, "Whose am I?" When we ask this question, we start to see with opened eyes that we are special, needed, and cared for people. We can answer that question in this way: I am God's. I was created in God's image. I am his child, and he is the loving parent who will always be there for me.

You see, God has created you as one-of-a-kind. He has created you with specific gifts and talents. He has created you out of love and compassion. He has also created you to be in relationships - relationships with him and with others. These relationships, while sometimes a struggle, open us to see the blessings that God pours out on all of his creation.

It is also through these relationships that we start to discern the gifts that God has given to us. We discover our passions, our loves, our talents, and we are even given opportunities to use these gifts in amazing ways. And when we do this, when we share our gifts and grow in our relationships (with God and others) we start to see more clearly what our purpose is, for God gave us these gifts to use, not to have them sit on a shelf and collect dust.

My prayer today is that you would discover your gifts, and in the process discover what God is calling you to be and do. For you are one of God's beloved, and he continues to shower you with blessings and love.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


My life of faith has involved a number of different steps and is something that I am always trying to grow in. Part of this growth has been trying to make time daily to spend in prayer and Bible reading. Some days I work this time in, other days I miss it. On the days I miss it, I can really tell as I seem to be more worn down and less prepared for everything the day has to offer. In short, I miss what God is saying to me. So today, I thought I would write a little bit about prayer.

Prayer is the name we give to the experience of being in communication with God, it is our way of talking and listening to God. The reason it is called an experience is that prayer involves our senses, minds, souls, and spirits.

Prayer is also called communication with God because it involves both giving and receiving, and it is shared between two living beings, you and God. In prayer you share all of your deepest desires, needs, concerns, and feelings; and God responds to them. God answers all prayers with his presence, comfort, insight, and, at times, change. Prayer is the heart of a deeply personal relationship between you and God. Now this does not mean that God will always answer your prayers in the way which you expect. Rather, God will answer prayers according to his will and purpose. Sometimes the will and purpose of God is different then what we expect, but it is always to benefit our relationship with God and our neighbors.

Prayer is the centering of our life in our relationship with God in Christ and allowing that center to be present in all we do. Christ will satisfy the hungering soul. Christ will bring relief to the pained heart. Christ will respond to the cry for mercy or the complaint for justice. Christ will be there when we simply need to feel that our relationship with God is warm and real. Christ will be there for rest, guidance, joy, love, and hope throughout our lives. In prayer we present our whole life and the lives of others to God, so that God may be known and the lives we pray for may be touched by the grace of God.

A professor named Walter Wangerin wrote that prayer is made up of four acts or parts. Two of these acts are ours and two are God's. The parts are broken down in this way:

- First, we speak,
- while, second, God listens.
- Third, God speaks,
- while, fourth, we listen.

What is sometimes hard for us as humans to believe is that God speaks back to us in prayer, but that is the way a conversation goes, and prayer is no exception. So when you pray, make sure you take time to not only tell God what is going on in your life, but also make sure you take time to listen to what God is saying to you. God will speak to you, sometimes in strange and different ways, and you just have to make sure that you are listening.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


There are some nights when I battle against insomnia. I lie in bed, staring at the ceiling, thinking of everything that needs to get done and trying to figure out ways to get it done rather than falling asleep. These can be long nights and the mornings always come way too quickly.

Quite often, during these nights, my mind turns to dreams - dreams I have for the future - dreams of what I want to accomplish - dreams of what I want to see during my journey here. Some of these dreams are realistic, and others are just pipe dreams, but I dream them anyway.

Dreams are important. They help all of us to set goals and look beyond the immediate nature of today. It is good to have dreams, and to make time to try and find ways to achieve these dreams. But, as I have come to notice, sometimes we get so caught up in dreams for the future that we neglect the gifts we are given today. We are looking down the road and miss seeing what is happening right here and now. So the question is, how do we combine the life we live today with the dreams we have for tomorrow.

Back in college, my friends and I always talked about what we would do when we graduated. After graduation, we talked about where we would be in ten years. Now, some of my friends talk about what they will do when they are retired. But what about now? Are we trying to just make it up another rung on the ladder, or are we rejoicing in the blessing of today? There needs to be a happy medium somewhere.

For me, the key has come with the issue of time. We only have so much of it, and we need to take full advantage of what we have been given. Taking time to be with the people we love and to do the things we love to do. When we do that, the other dreams fall into place, for we see that all the other stuff - trips, cabins in the woods, etc - are made so much better when we live those dreams out with the people we love.

Humans were created to be in relationship with others. Those relationships take many different forms, but are all important. We need to make time to help these relationships grow in the healthiest ways possible, rejoice in the gift of them, and celebrate the dreams we have with others.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Our daughter loves to dance. Every once in a while she asks for one of her favorite CD's (currently it is one with music from a variety of Walt Disney movies) and then jumps up and wants to dance with us. Yesterday she wanted to dance almost the entire evening - and after two CD's I was ready for a break, so I sat down and let her dance by herself. After every song she would run over, grab my hands, and say "Daddy, dance with me." By the end of the night I had danced to the theme from Lion King a number of times and was ready to kick back as she went to bed.

But, instead, I ran out to Culvers for a snack Jennifer and I would share, and on the radio I heard a song, I believe it was by Steven Curtis Chapman, and it had to do with dancing with his daughters. The basic message was, they grow up fast, enjoy the dances, and never put the dances off until tomorrow, because tomorrow they will be grown up - and you may have missed the chance.

Isn't it amazing how God moments pop up when you least expect them!

I started thinking about the things I treasure with our daughter, Jennifer, family, and friends. The blessings are poured out in my life, and sometimes I am just too busy to see them. Has that ever happened to you?

Life is busy. There is always something to do and somewhere to go. But the moments we have now will not necessarily be repeated in the future. We, I, really need to treasure these moments because before I know it, our daughter will be asking permission to go to her first dance, and the three-year-old I swung around the living room will be all grown up. I don't want to miss that chance.

So today, after running around all morning, our daughter asked for the same CD - she wanted to dance. I put the CD on and spun her around the room until dinner. At one point, I sat down for a break, but then was reminded that the chance to dance with her was a special one, and I got back up and we danced more. I am going to dance with her as often as I can. And, I am going to dance more with Jennifer, as long as her toes can handle it:)

I guess my point is - treasure the moments you have with the people around you. We all grow up too fast, and we need to rejoice in what we have been given.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Last night I stayed up late to finish reading a book, "The Senator and The Priest," by Andrew Greely. I know - it was time change night and I had to get up extra early to get to church, but I was drawn in and had to finish the book. I'm taking a nap this afternoon - that's for sure!

As the title states, it is about a senator and a priest who are brothers. I was drawn to the book because it has to do with two areas of life I have a lot of interest it - politics and religion. One part of the book was particularily interesting to me. The brother who becomes the senator decides to run his campaign with no negative ads. I was drawn to this because there is so much negativity in our society, and we have started to accept it as the norm. Some people seem to thrive on this negativity, enjoying tearing down others and feeling powerful because of it.

It is also easy for us to get drawn into this negative cycle - playing the same game as others, trying to get even when we are attacked, etc. The challenge is to rise above the negativity and rejoice in what we have been given.

When we look at our lives, esp. in comparison with the world, we are so blessed. We have so much - clean water, a roof over our heads, the freedom to live our lives (within certain bounds, of course), etc. Trying to focus on all our blessings, rather then the negative, is not always easy, but when I do I see so many more good things that are happening in the world and in my own life.

I am also reminded that I have been blessed with a family who loves me and a God who cares deeply about me. These blessings are so wonderful that no matter what negativity is out there, I always have people and a God who is going to be there for me.

What about you? Can you see the blessings in your life? I pray you can and you will continue to see them.

Friday, March 7, 2008


I have been thinking about trips today, not only because I am tired of the cold and waiting for all the snow to melt, but also because we are nearing the end of Lent and this seasonal journey will soon be over. I love to travel, see new things, and spend time admiring the gift of nature. Some of my favorite trips have been to the mountains in Montana, where I grew up. I remember one trip I took during a summer break from seminary. It was August and I did an overnight hiking trip by myself into the Beartooth Mountains. On the way up the mountain, I turned a corner and saw a wonderful waterfall that made me stop and take a break. The sheer beauty and power of all that water tumbling over the cliff was awe-inspiring. As I think back on the trip I am reminded that we are all on a journey in life. Sometimes on the journey we are struck with awe-inspiring wonder, other times we feel like we are being drowned underneath the weight of all that water.

As we near Easter, we travel a road that many have walked before us. We witness betrayal and loss, heart-ache and pain - all emotions we experience in our own lives. But in the end, there is hope and promise - hope and promise for the future, hope and promise that God will help pull us out of the pits and valleys we are traveling through, hope and promise that no matter how bad things seem to be, we are loved, cared for, and needed by God and by others.

Yes, the beauty of God is that he knows us and loves us. We are his children, and no matter where we go in life, whatever trips we may take, God is right there, walking with us, supporting us, and blessing us with arms of grace and love.


Welcome to my first attempt at blogging - I am excited to try this out and find ways we can interact on the web. My hope and prayer is that this blog will provide some ideas to think about and help all of us grow in our lives of faith together.