Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Tuesday, November 14, 2023
Thursday, November 9, 2023
Tuesday, October 31, 2023
Monday, October 30, 2023
Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Wednesday, October 18, 2023
Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Thursday, October 12, 2023
Tuesday, October 10, 2023
Thursday, October 5, 2023
Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Thursday, September 28, 2023
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Thursday, September 21, 2023
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Thursday, September 14, 2023
Monday, September 11, 2023
Wednesday, September 6, 2023
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
This weekend we are getting ready to welcome our neighbors from Mt. Zion Baptist Church to worship with us. It will be a wonderful service with an opportunity to 'be the church.'
As I begin preparing for Sunday I came across the words of Scott W. Sunquist. He was the mission professor at Pittsburgh Seminary when I worked on my M.Div a number of years ago. In the book that I reading, Scott addresses the meaning of the gospel.
As part of his reflection, he said this:
"The gospel takes on particular cultural expressions, and speaks to the particular needs [of a person]. Some give witness to the coming of the gospel, saying that they were freed from the power of the spirits or from the ancestors. For others, the gospel came and liberated the poor from oppression and hunger. Others have been liberated from idolatry and materialism, or from bondage to alcohol. All, however, are giving testimony to the heart of the gospel, the work of Jesus Christ for the redemption of creation."
This is a powerful statement when you stop and consider it.
So if Scott and his statements are is correct, then I wonder about how the gospel has transformed and remade you? If you had a need, regardless of what it was or how it was manifested, and the gospel of Jesus Christ spoke to you and help you find the Lord, then what does that transformation ask you to do?
Perhaps take some time today and consider this, and as you consider it, share the gospel with someone who needs to hear it speak to them.
Thursday, August 31, 2023
While getting ready for worship this weekend, I came across a story that I want to share with you from the Desert Fathers. It is a story about attending to the needs of another person in our community and church.
The story goes like this. . . Some older men go to see Abba Poeman, and they ask him what should they do if they see a brother fall asleep during divine worship. "Shall we wake him up?" they inquire. The Abba smiles at them and offers his brothers this response:
"As for me, when I see a brother who is falling asleep during the Office (during worship), I lay his head on my knee and let him rest."
This is a story about attentiveness and our willingness to care for those who need just a quiet place or moment. Attentiveness stretches out toward care--deep care. I don't know a single Christian who has not told me that they are worn down by the burdens of life and faith. Yet what are we called to do?
As the Body of Christ we are full of love; full of the revelation of it. We are full of the experience of being loved by Jesus in such a way that the hustle and bustle of the day meets the warmth of God. As Jesus taught us by his very presence, ministry stop, ministry holds, attends to all the fatigue and struggle. This the place where God is found.
So as you get ready for worship this weekend, and as you finish another week, perhaps take a second and notice who needs your attentiveness? Who needs your care?
Thursday, August 24, 2023
Monday, August 21, 2023
Thursday, August 17, 2023
Wednesday, August 9, 2023
Wednesday, August 2, 2023
Your pain does not disqualify you from love."
Monday, July 31, 2023
Thursday, July 27, 2023
Wednesday, July 19, 2023
Monday, July 17, 2023
Thursday, July 13, 2023
Wednesday, July 12, 2023
Monday, July 10, 2023
Thursday, July 6, 2023
Wednesday, July 5, 2023
Thursday, June 29, 2023
Tuesday, June 27, 2023
Monday, June 26, 2023
Today my mind is cluttered. . . a bit more than normal if I am honest. And this 'cluttering' is having an impact on how I engage my faith and practice today. Let me explain:
Yesterday was a full day; a blessed day. I taught a Sunday School class on why we read God's Word and what it teaches us. I wondered if the Bible helps not only reveal God to us, but I wondered if the Bible helps reveal us to ourselves? We had a thought provoking discussion in class and as I headed into worship there was a lot swirling in my mind that I wanted to think on.
Worship was meaningful for me. We commissioned VBS leaders for the program that starts tonight. There is still a significant amount of work to do and that too is floating around in my mind.
My afternoon was filled with the work of the presbytery and a great deal of important conversations and reflections that I was borough into. I got home later than I imagined that I would, but still I felt that God was with me and with our presbytery in the work that we did.
Then this morning as I prepared my weekly prayer request email, I was stuck by how long the list can grow at times and also how significant each of the needs of God's children are here at Bethesda.
The overall affect of these last 24 hours has been a deluge of thoughts and reflections--a deluge of information. Somehow I need to sift through all the noise that is living in my mind and focus on who God calls me to be and how I might help 'be the church' for the community I am living in.
Into that space I read the words of author and professor Yuval Noah Harari. He wrote these words:
"In a world deluged by. . . information, clarity is power."
And so I wonder today how you and I might gain clarity in the work that God calls us to? How might we focus on what is necessary and life-giving when we are constantly bombarded with information and choices?
When we are clear prayer flows easier.
When we are clear the Word of God can open up to our hearts continue to help transform and remake us.
When we are clear our union with Christ is more readily felt and accessed.
I wonder what it looks like to find that clarity in your day today? Perhaps take some time and consider what practical steps you might to take to gain clarity in Christ Jesus?
Thursday, June 22, 2023
Monday, June 19, 2023
Tuesday, June 13, 2023
Monday, June 12, 2023
Wednesday, June 7, 2023
Tuesday, June 6, 2023
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