Monday, June 23, 2008


We are heading out on vacation in the morning, it should be a great, and needed, break. This year we decided to rent and RV and go camping for a week. At the end of this week, a couple of friends, Sierra's godparents, will be joining us as well. We are all looking forward to it, and since it is the first time in an RV for any of us, it should be an experience.

So, since I am mentally already on vacation, this post will be brief. My prayers for the upcoming week is that we all may find that time and place needed to refresh and renew us. When we get back, there should be a newly designed Prayer Room in the church, with a Prayer labyrinth to walk and pray with as well. I look forward to putting more up about that later.

Have a great week everyone.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Web

Over the past few months, the church has been working on ways to reach out to others on the web (one of the resons this blog started). Well, as we have been doing that I have been learning more and more about what is available out there, and it is pretty amazing.

One of the more recent additions has been a "Facebook" page for the church. This is a place where we can go and connect with others on the web. We can use it as a social network, or even to send out messages about what is going on in the church or plan events with others. All of this is really helpful when trying to connect with others.

So after our intern, Amy, got the facebook up and running, I decided to set up one for myself. So I went through all the steps, and started inviting "friends" to join with me. It was amazing - in a matter of minutes I was getting e-mails and notes from people I haven't seen in 15 years. Reconnecting is becoming a lot of fun.

When reconnecting with others, I have had many memories come flooding back - some good, some not so good, and some very embarrasing. It is one of those that when we look back on life and see everything we have done, it is a wonder how some of us survived.

The good news is that not only did we survive, but hopefully we learned from it as well. And this learning, this growing, has helped to mold us into the people we are today.

So today, my prayer is that you will celebrate your memories and friendships, that you will continue to learn and grow in your lives, and that you will always remember that you are a blessed and loved child of God.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Empowering Leadership

We are in the third year of the Natural Church Development process here. Every year we have a group of people take a survey that helps to give us some guidance as to areas the church can grow in, and then we spend the year working on one of the areas. For the past two years the area we spent most of our time on was Passionate Spirituality. At the July board meeting we will get the results from this years survey and start the process again.

One of the areas that we have scored high on for the past two years has been Empowering Leadership. Basically, this area has to do with how we empower different people in the congregation to grow in their leadership abilities. it all has to do with finding out what things people are passionate about, and then finding ways to use that passion in the life of the church and the world.

I think one of the struggles that the big "C" Church has had in the past was that that pastors did everything - and in the process the laity were left out of leadership roles. In my opinion, this goes against the very grain of what it means to be the church. We are all blessed with a wide variety of gifts in our lives, and these gifts vary from person to person. We need other to make us complete, to make the church complete. So empowering leadership is essential as we look at ways to help others experience the love of God in their lives.

So today, my challenege to you is to take time in prayer to discern what your gift are. What are you passionate about? What do you love to do? And how can you focus these passions to show others about the love of Christ? May we all be blessed by knowing that we have been given gifts and find ways to us these gifts to build up others.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Summer Day

Today has been one of those wonderful summer days - the sun shining, the birds singing, and having the time to get out and play.

I spent most of the day with Sierra. We went to the Farmer's Market, checked out some books at the library, then went home, got her bike, and went down to the park by the river so she could ride somewhere other than the driveway.

As we started out, it was a nice little ride - then we came to the spot between the river and the lagoon, and we saw that the water had risen so high that the there was only a narrow sholder on either side of the bike path.

Well, that didn't stop us, and she rode the entire path around the lagoon - she napped very well this afternoon!

But as we walked and rode, I started thinking about the two extremes - such a great day, and so much destruction by the water around us. This water has flooded many homes and places of work. it has caused an amazing amount of damage. And yet, we were having such a wonderful time in the midst of it all.

And you know, that really is like life. Some people are having the greatest times of thier lives, while others are struggling with unbelievable difficulties.

Isn't it reassuring to know that when we are both celebrating and struggling we have a place to go and a people to gather with. You see, the church is such an essential part of life because it is a gathering of people like us - broken, in need, and searching. It is a gathering of those who are both joyful and sorrowful. It is a gathering where we can celebrate and mourn. It is a gathering of people on the same journey that we are on. What a blessing it really is to have this Body of Christ to gather with.

So today, may you be strengthened on your journey with the blessing of others. May you be lifted up by the Body when you are struggling. And may you be united with others in your times of celebration.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Last night we had a group from the church go to the local baseball game. It wasn't a great game the Snappers got beat handily, but it was a nice night out. There was a break in all the rain we have been getting, and the weather turned out to be perfect.

It was also a break that I needed. The day had been very busy, running from hospital to hospital, doing a funeral, leading services at two nursing homes, and the list goes on and on. I needed a little break, to kick back, enjoy a game, and munch on some peanuts.

The human body is a strange and wonderful thing. And far too often we take advantage of it. We keep running from activity to activity, adding stress to our lives, and thinking that if we can just get this one last thing done things will finally get easier.

But there is always another thing to do - when I got home from the game I ran upstairs and started paying bills and doing household chores. The relaxation of the fun game disappeared and I was up too late to get up early and go workout.

So I guess, todays blog is about balance. Balancing all the activities that we need to do, and making sure we take the time to get the relaxation we need to really enjoy the life we have. I know that I need to slow down and remember that everything will get done, but if I don't take the evenings out to enjoy the games and friends around me, then life becomes a whirlwind and I don't take care of the body I have been given.

So today, may we all make sure that we take care of ourselves. May we be blessed with the times of R and R that are needed in our lives. And may we all treat our bodies as the temples they are.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Some days, I think I have everything under control - enough time to get everything done, and then have some great family time before the day comes to an end.

Then there are the days when I cannot seem to get caught up - where my to do list never gets an item checked off and I keep running, thinking that something just has to happen, sometime.

Ever had days like that?

Summer is a time when things are supposed to slow down in the church, but around here that just isn't the case. We have so many new things going on, and planning for the fall, the I don't there really is a slow time in the church.

And that is a really good thing.

At one church I served we had summer worship hours. We would drop from two services to one, and basically told the community that in the summer, we don't really do much here.

But living out our life of faith - we never take a break from that. There are always people hurting, there are always people with questions, there are always gifts to share - we really cannot take a break because there is so much more to do - and it is so much fun to do it.

So tonight, as I get ready for bed, dreaming of all the things going on in the church, I am so happy and excited to be a part of this place and these people. God is working here, and it such an honor to be a part of that work.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Yesterday Sierra had another swim lesson, and I was blessed to be there and watch her. Near the end of the lesson, when all the kids were standing up and getting ready to jump into the water, Sierra stood, and started to dance. She was singing to herself, twirling around on the edge of the pool. I had to tell her to stop so that she wouldn't slip and fall in, and so that she would listen to her teacher.

But in the short time that she was dancing, I saw a look of pure joy on her face. Her she was, loving her time at the pool, meeting new friends, and dancing to some tune that was playing in her head. I loved watching it happen.

Joy is one of those things that we are short on in our lives. We see the negative, we see the problems, we see and hear things that tear all of us down. And joy is often lost in the rat race we call life.

Wouldn't it be great if we all had those tunes playing in our heads, and we could just stand up and dance, celebrating the joy of life?

In the book of psalms there is a line that says, "Joy comes in the morning." Quite often this line is used to help get us through the tough times in life. But you know what, the morning is here. The morning is now. We are given joy right now because of what Christ has done for us - and we are invited to celebrate God's many gifts with joy and celebration. Joy is here - but do we see it?

So today, may we all see the joy of life. May we celebrate and dance and sing, because we are so blessed and given so many opportunities in our lives. May we have our eyes opened to joy.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Swim Lessons

Yesterday Sierra had her first swim lesson. We thought that since she loves water so much that it would be good for her to learn the basics - make playing in the water a little safer for her.

Before the lesson, she was very excited. But when the lesson started, she was a little timid. The teacher was great, took her time with her, and by the end of the half hour she was having a blast and is excited to return today.

In watching her I was reminded about how new things scare us. We are frightened by the new and the unknown. It takes a while for us to get comfortable. But after we get there, it is a lot of fun and new things can enhance our lives.

Throughout scripture we hear God tell us that he is going to create something new. He is going to create us anew. This can be frightening - since many of us are comfortable in the places we are now in our lives. But when we listen to God, follow where he is leading us, even if it is some place new and unexpected, we see that God knows us better than we know ourselves.

A while ago a preacher in Texas did a sermon series on "Comfortably uncomfortable." The basic point was that God calls us out of the comfortable to the uncomfortable in order to reach others. That share his life-giving message with those who have not experienced it for themselves. It is not easy to do this - but it is our calling. For there are so many people who are searching, and we are invited to be a part of their search and show them, in our lives and our words, the powerful gospel and how that gospel changes lives.

So today, may we enter into something new. May we be blessed by stepping out of our comfort zones and trying something new. And doing this so that we may show others how much God loves them.