Changing Seasons and Seasons of the Spirit

    Each year as summer begins to give way to fall and the days get shorter, I can’t help but have a mix of emotions.  Just over the horizon of the year stands the busy fall.  The beginning of school, the kick off of fall ministries, fall sports and many more things are looming.  Today I sit and wonder why it is that this is the image of the future I hold.  Should the future be a burden?  Perhaps personal and corporate history says yes, but it doesn’t have to be so.

    Looking to the future with dread is not a healthy or faithful response to the world.  Our God has promised good to us and we should hold that hope out in front of us not as a reward for suffering but a current reality.  Far too often we use the “pie in the sky” as a motivation rather than reveling in the goodness God has provided around us. 

   As you begin to look forward to what the fall holds, I pray that you will be blessed with a deep and abiding knowledge that God is present in your life.   I offer these questions as way to help you discern God’s presence in your life.

  • In what events or experiences have you felt God’s presence in your life this summer?
  • What are you most looking forward to this fall?
  • How can you open your heart to God’s presence?
  • Are there things in your life that are not spiritual blessings but instead spiritual drains?  Can these things be eliminated?
  • How can the spiritual community of the Church help you find ways to celebrate the blessings in your life today?

I pray that God will help you to find blessings in your life.  I also invite you into conversation about how the church and I can help you grow in discipleship. 

Holy God, as we transition from summer to fall, we seek your guiding spirit in our midst.  Help us to recognize your blessings in the midst of the chaos of our lives.  In our recognition of blessings, may we find strength and hope.  Finally Lord, guide us to make our lives conform to your will and help us to make decisions about our time with your loving Spirit. AMEN

 

The Christian Life Means More Than Minimum Code

             I have talked about Mike Holmes from the HGTV series Holmes on Homes in sermons before.  Mike is a burley man who is most often seen in a pair of simple overalls.  His exterior image is very different from what you find out about him by watching the show, for he is in fact a caring and almost soft-hearted individual.  The premise of the show is that he goes into homes of people that have experienced either poor building practices or unscrupulous renovation contractors.  Continue reading

Chasing the American Dream vs. Taking Time to be Holy… A video follow-up

This is a video post of “The American Dream” by Casting Crowns.  I have posted this to Facebook a few times but think that it’s a great follow up to last week’s blog post about “Taking Time to Be Holy.”  Being a father, mother, child, neighbor and friend provide many opportunities to share Holiness with the world.  Are we spending our time chasing the American Dream or are we finding ways to have balance and sharing ourselves with those around us.

A responce to the viral video of Middle School boys bullying a 68 year old woman. Over coming evil with good.

   I’m sure that many of you have seen the viral video of middle school student’s bullying a 68 year old bus monitor.  The video, which I didn’t watch all of because I don’t want to allow such poison in my heart, has been viewed by over one million people (you can find it on YouTube.  This has sparked a conversation about kids and how they are raised to treat others.  For some this video has a voyeuristic appeal as they enjoy the meanness they watch.  Others are being moved by this video to have conversations about civility and the practice of parenting. Continue reading

This Summer, “Take Time To Be Holy”

             As the summer season begins, I was considering how over the past few years worship attendance at Christ Presbyterian Church hasn’t trailed off as much as it had historically.  I hope that this reflects a positive spiritual reality in our worship.  I have always been uneasy with the fact that during the summer you will find many Churches almost drop off the map. 

             During the summer, worship attendance falls, Sunday School shuts down and even pastoral calls seem to taper off.  On one level, this is a very good thing.  Giving teachers and students time to renew themselves can be a positive thing.  Our practice of going to one service at 10 AM serves more than just a numerical need.  Yes, it is true that as folks travel, our attendance drops, and by offering one service we have a larger congregation.  More importantly, it allows the participants of our two services to worship together for two month in a unified service. Even the amount of pastoral calls or visits I make seem to lessen during the summer, even though it is a great time for such visits since I am freed from many of the other concerns that take my time. Continue reading

The Power of Pentecost

    This past Sunday we celebrated Pentecost.  Often we tout Pentecost as the “birthday of the church.” This is a great image and an easy way to connect kids with the concept that the coming of the Holy Spirit marked a special event in the life of those who follow Christ.  On the other hand, this birthday image can fall short.  There is more to Pentecost than what our contemporary birthday celebrations mean.

    I have heard more than one person say at the occasion of a birthday, “Congratulations, you survived another year.”  Birthdays mark a chronological advancement, but Pentecost is more than the fact that the Church has made it through another year of Christmas, Easter, Sunday School and all the rest of the things we do in our life together.  Continue reading

Six ways to help your Pastor (and other worship leaders) worship

    In a conversation last week, I was told by someone who is a recent addition to a church choir how much they appreciated being “upfront” during Easter.  This person had discovered that as a worship leader you must reorient your approach to worship in order to be both participant and leader.  It is easy for those who are in worship leadership to become doers of worship.  By that I mean that a leader can often find themselves in a place of making sure worship is right for everyone else and miss their own opportunity to worship.  Continue reading

Taking a trip down memory lane or Why do I still have this stuff????

Cialis best place to buyemory_lane.jpg” alt=”” width=”381″ height=”315″ /> I find it interesting the way that life sometimes takes turns you don’t expect but that turn out to be the right path. Yesterday, I installed new anti-virus software on my computer and ran a full scan. Seeing that this was going to take a considerable amount of time, I decided to “clean” my office. This is always a noble goal that is often not attained. This time was no different. While I can now see the top of my desk, I didn’t make the type of progress I had hoped. On the other hand, the time I spent took me in a direction I hadn’t expected. Continue reading

Spiritual Passions and Spiritual Gifts

#000000;”>This past Saturday the Session of Christ Presbyterian Church met for a leadership development activity. I call it this because it didn’t fit into my definition of a retreat. After all, we were in the church building and were not removing ourselves from our normal reality to a place of respite or retreat. Instead, it was an interesting time of discovery and discussion.

Click here to go directly to the online Spiritual Gifts Survey

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“What Colin Has Taught Me” or “A Child-like Faith Role Model”

no prescription cialis=”” width=”300″ height=”165″ /> Last Sunday someone spoke highly of my eight year old son, Colin. This person said, “there is something spiritual about Colin.” I, of course, took this as a complement and was glad to hear that folks have a positive perception on my child. On the other hand, I quickly asked the person if they would like to come to the house at homework time. Colin is not unlike every other child who at times seems to have horns, not a halo. Continue reading