Monday, July 28, 2014

Day #209

July 28, 2014

Today was another time for planning an upcoming retreat for women in ministry. This has proven to be a wonderful opportunity (one I sure am thankful I didn't miss - see Day #208). What a joy to work with three fine women, one of whom has probably done enough retreats she can accomplish them with her eyes closed. How gracious she is to help us, encourage us, pray for us, and even host us today for the meeting.

Thank you for those who so willingly share their gifts and talents - and cheer on those who are trying!


Day #208

July 27, 2014

As peaceful as the day was yesterday, today there is frustration. Three congregations have been planning a youth mission trip for weeks, actually months. At the outset there was much enthusiasm, much excitement, and much willingness to participate where I serve. As the time to leave has gotten closer, there is disinterest, apathy, and withdrawal. The attrition rate has been, dare I say it again, frustrating.

Well, the trip is still a go; the plans are being finalized; and I am anticipating a marvelous experience, perhaps an opportunity of a lifetime. How sad there are those who will miss it simply because they just did not want to go. I suppose it is like anything that comes our way in life, be it an opportunity to share about Jesus, a calling God is asking of us, or simply a fun and service oriented adventure, we miss out by hesitating to take a risk and step out of our comfort zone.

By the way, just in case someone has the thought, wow, she sure is pointing fingers, I realize there are three are pointing right back at me. And believe me, I’m listening!


Day #207

July 26, 2014

The word for a day like today is: peaceful. And I certainly am thankful for both the day and the feeling!


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Day #206

July 25, 2014

One of the hardest parts, as I have mentioned before, of pastoral care is not being able to “fix” a reality. Especially the reality of aging. As our bodies age, the things we could once do with ease require so much more effort and patience. And we just cannot control some of the functions of our body the way we wish we could. Listening to folks as they experience this reality is difficult, especially knowing there is often not much that can be done, except accept what is happening. Which is not always easy to do, or easy to hear (after all, we are all one day closer today than yesterday to experiencing these “fun” things about getting older!).

As I worked at demonstrating compassion today (see day #204), I said something I have before: I wish I could fix this for you, make it all better, but I cannot. I do not have the magic wand of healing I would like to have, but I do have something for you; the sharing of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the sacrament of Holy Communion.

What a privilege to bring this healing element, this assuring element, this reminder of love and grace to those whose hope for things to be different may be fading as quickly as the virility of youth can fade. What a privilege to witness the power of this reminder, too, as the person receives the assurance and blessing. For many, it truly is the epitome of hope. Thanks be to God!


Day #205

July 24, 2014

A fun way to introduce kids to church camp is a program called Agape Day Camp. Counselors from nearby Camp Agape ( copy.html) bring the experience to the kids, instead of the kids going away to the camp. The typical day runs from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, with all the fun, music, crafts, play, etc. of camp away, except the kids get to sleep in their own beds at night.

This week the experience came to us, and the church where I serve, along with about five others, have helped make the event happen. Tonight was the annual cookout - a time of celebration, review, and fun. Even in the midst of torrential rain and thunder storms, the enthusiasm of those who were able to participate this year was evident. What a joy! And what a great way to celebrate the sharing of Jesus’ love! Thanks Camp Agape!!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Day #204

July 23, 2014

Yesterday I posted: people never truly understanding something until it happens to them. What initially came to mind from that statement was that our lack of understanding is perhaps a good reason to leave the judging to God.

As often happens, this then came up in conversation today, but with a slightly different slant. What may be just as important as not judging is having compassion. When something happens to us, we can better understand what the experience feels like, realize what is helpful to hear, and certainly know what is NOT helpful.

Henri Nouwen wrote about this in “The Wounded Healer,” (although a quick Google indicates Carl Jung coined the phrase). The point being, those who have walked a certain path can be compelled to show compassion to those now walking a similar one, keeping in mind we can never experience something exactly the same way as another person does (hence the need to avoid, “I know exactly how you feel…” We don’t!). And with that, the hope that we would stop and think about what we are about to say before we say it, showing compassion to others who may be experiencing something, but keeping it to themselves. We never really know what someone else is going through.

The Good News is, that while we humans often fall short in showing compassion, we have a savior, Jesus, who understands what it is like to experience the things we do and felt all the emotions that can come with it: pain, abandonment, fear, joy, anger, sadness, loneliness, grief, and a myriad of others. It makes him the ultimate “Wounded Healer,” and the ultimate in demonstrating compassion. Thanks be to God!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Day #203

July 22, 2014

Saw this today on someone’s page on Facebook:
If this isn’t ever true. And a good reason to leave the judging up to God.


Day #202

July 21, 2014

One more tidbit from the book, The Mission Table. This quote helps define the basis for “The Daily Intersection” in more succinct terms: “A mission leader connects the Word to our journeys on the road.”

Dear God, help me grow in helping us all see how your story intersects with our story - on a daily basis. Amen.


Day #201

July 20, 2014

Then there was more reading alongside Quiet. The other book is by Stephen P. Bouman, leader of the domestic mission unit of the ELCA since 2008, entitled, The Mission Table: Renewing Congregation and Community. There is much to consider in this book. He puts forth many ideas, many challenges, and much food for thought as he ties together scripture and life situations.

An example I found most powerful came under the heading: “a congregation in mission faces paralysis with courage.” He began with the story in John 5.1-9 about the man near the pool, Bethesda, in Jerusalem who for thirty-eight years had been lying on his mat waiting to be put in the pool when the water was stirred so that he could experience a miracle. Thirty-eight years he had waited, unable to make a move!

When Jesus saw him, his question to him was, “Do you want to be made well?” Stephen Bouman goes on to talk about the man’s reaction to this question, how he was stirred into action, probably through frustration, even anger. Then he writes: “Do we want to be made well: it’s the only question for congregations stalled in their ministry, timid in their stewardship, lax in their discipleship, stifled in their imagination about the future, afraid of the changing communities outside their doors.”

He continues by explaining that grief over “the way things used to be” can keep us from acting now. It can make us apathetic. He writes, “Jesus’ question stirred him to grieving anger,” explaining that putting voice to our grief can break our hearts open again and make them open to God’s work, God’s direction, God’s renewal.

Summarizing this heading, Stephen Bouman writes, “The call to healing does not make light of the divisions among us, of what our congregation has been through, of what we have lost. It is a call to walk away from apathy and also from hot anger. It is a call to cool “angr,” the grief of the gulf between what was and what has become, between what is and what should be. It is a holy longing to be well. It is a resolve to turn our gaze from the pool that is reflecting back our paralysis and apathy and to look into the eyes of Jesus standing with us in our paralysis - Jesus, the one who calls us to the place of anger transformed to healing grace for the life of the world.”



Day #200

July 19, 2014

One of the perks of having some time away is reading. I started a new book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. This was recommended to me months ago by someone I met at a retreat.

Often I have lamented about being an introvert, especially a shy one, wishing I had the knack of walking into a room full of folks I did not know yet and leaving having spoken to everyone, learned a little about them, and made many new friends.

However, just in the introduction to this book, Susan Cain has helped me see that being an introvert has advantages. Often I have been one to remain calm in the midst of chaos, helping others to do the same so that listening, conversation and healthy decision-making can take place. She explains that is one of the positive traits of introverts. Who knew?!

Susan Cain writes: “They [introverts] listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation.” Well, dear blog readers, there you go. :-) Thank you for “listening” where I often "talk" more freely.


Day #199

July 18, 2014

The prayer for today in the “Moravian Daily Texts” was like it was written just for this blog:

"Father, if we pay attention, we can clearly see you on a busy sidewalk, in a quiet wood, in crowds, and in solitude. We see you in those we love and in the eyes of strangers. We give you our deepest thanks."

Guess that is ‘nuff said!


Day #198

July 17, 2014

My husband and I have an opportunity to be away for a few days. I am excited and busy, getting last minute things accomplished like laundry, packing and taking care of details. It seems there is as much work to do in getting ready to be gone as there is fun in doing so. Not complaining, just saying. :-)

So my intersection for today is anticipation: will everything be accomplished (probably not, but I will try); will time away be refreshing (can’t imagine it being anything else); will all be well while we are gone (praying that it will and being thankful for colleagues who will cover “just in case”).


PS Don't be surprised if there isn't anything posted until we are back, July 23rd. Again, just saying. 

Day #197

July 16, 2014

 A question that seems to weigh on many of our minds is, “How do/can I make a decision?” Caught between two possibilities, it is often difficult to decide what to do and we can be stymied from making a decision out of fear of making a mistake. Will the decision I make be the wrong one? Which is the way God desires me to take? How do I know which is the best, or right, way?

A colleague shared something today that David Lose wrote in his blog reflecting on the gospel reading for this coming Sunday (Matthew 13.24-30, 36-43). His blog is called, “ the Meantime” ( and is worth a frequent read, but this excerpt from July 14, “Pentecost 6 A: On Wheat, Weeds, and Ambiguity,” spoke to me strongly about decisions:

“...I hear in this parable Jesus’ promise that in ambiguous, challenging situations we have the promise that, in the end, God will sort things out. Which doesn’t mean everything will turn out just fine. Sometimes we don’t choose well. Sometimes things go wrong. The promise here isn’t that Christian faith prevents hardship; the promise is that we are not justified by our right choices but rather by grace through faith. And knowing we have God’s unconditional regard in spite of our poor choices frees us to live in the moment. The thing is, you see, that we don’t live in an ideal world and each week we’re faced with a myriad of challenging decisions, some small and others large, to which there is no clear answer. Some decisions we’ll get right, others wrong, and still others we won’t know whether we were right or wrong for months or years to come. But we still need to make them. And then, each week, no matter how we fared, we can come back to church on Sunday morning to be reminded that God loves us anyway and promises that, in the end, God will hold all of our choices and all of our lives together in love.”

These words may not help in making the decision when it is facing us, but it does help to know that God’s love, forgiveness, and reconciliation is there forever. And that maybe our decisions aren’t based on right or wrong, but on trust: knowing God and trusting in God’s relationship with us. Which is definitely food for thought.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Day #196

July 15, 2014

It’s Tuesday and, no surprise, there is another “nugget” from Bible Study.

We were discussing the final chapter of Galatians and began with the verses about the fruits of the Spirit. When you are talking about love, joy, peace, patience, etc., it is hard not to also talk about the antithesis - envy, greed, etc. A question was raised about the degrees, if you will, of sin. I haven’t done any of the “worst” ones, I remember telling someone once. In response, they tried to explain to me that sin is sin; the “small” or the “worst” are still sin.

Here is the intersection moment. Have you ever dropped a bit of mustard or ketchup down the front of a white shirt? It may just be a little speck, but the shirt is still dirty. You might as well toss it out, because that little speck is as noticeable as if the whole shirt were stained. Until something takes the stain out - some sort of stain remover - it’s unwearable. It doesn’t matter if the stain is small or large, it takes something from outside it to make the shirt clean again.

That’s what Jesus did for the world through his life, death and resurrection. “Small” or “worst,” sin is sin, yet God will/does forgive. Through Jesus, no one need be tossed out. All are loved and worthy.


Day #195

July 14, 2014

A video came across my path today that gave me reason to pause. There is much to ponder in these few seconds. This is the link:

How often do I hesitate to share what I consider to be “mine?” How often do I wonder about the motive behind a request? How quickly do I make judgements about the person asking? How have I forgotten the generosity others have shown to me over the years?


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Day #194

July 13, 2014

It was a wonderful time of celebration at worship this morning. A baptism is such a joyful time. It is certainly today’s intersection!

Welcome to God’s family, Cooper!


Day #193

July 12, 2014

There is a restaurant in town that inspires me. Well, I should clarify. There is the plan for a restaurant in town that inspires me. The original restaurant burned a while back and a different kind of place was coming. also burned, before it even opened.

So what is the inspiration? Let me explain. It does not come from the restaurant, necessarily, but from the sign out front. You have to admire the persistence, the sense of humor, even the glimmer of hope in advertising:

There has to be something to learn from that sense of humor and expectation. All the best to the owners. Let’s hope third time is the charm. And may we all learn to keep working toward our dreams. They may just be God’s way of inspiring us.


Day #192

July 11, 2014

Some days the "Intersection" is more simple to see. Today it was hearing from folks I have known for a long time, but have not been able to talk with in a while. Maybe it is the memories that are the reason to give thanks to God. Maybe it is the comfort in familiarity. Whatever it is, thankful is the feeling.

A motto attributed to the Girl Scouts, that has been stated in varying forms, seems appropriate:
     Make new friends and keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Day #191

July 10, 2014

One of the most amazing gifts of being a pastor is how folks welcome you into their lives. What a blessing to hear their stories, their frustrations, their joys, their fears, their hopes. Lots of visiting today gave me many opportunities to hear about others, and then to pray with them. It truly is amazing. It truly is a gift.

Can you imagine how much God must love hearing from us?


Day #190

July 9, 2014

Today there was time to get caught up on some things. People were waiting on me to respond to emails, write letters, take care of business. It’s been busy, sure, but that dreaded “procrastination” (see Day #186) has been rearing its ugly head more often recently. How do I get so far behind sometimes?

Guess it really is true - we make time for the things we really want to do. Like this blog. It is such a joy to keep up with it. I’m finding it is quite fun to discover God’s intersection each day.

And there is time for the other stuff, too. Like today. Things are getting done and the “to do” list is shortening. Yea!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Day #189

July 8, 2014

Tuesday and Bible Study! It always seems to be an Intersection point. Today one of the verses we read and discussed was Galatians 5.9: “A little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise!” (NET). Out of context, that verse doesn’t make much sense, or elicits the response, duh?! Of course yeast does that; it's yeast's job.

As Paul writes this line, he is scolding the Galatians over their recent tendency to argue and disagree with one another about certain expectations for new Christians (actually this book of the Bible is thought-provoking and contains important learning). We recognized in our discussion, however, how just one point of negativity in a group can shoot down an idea and block further creativity. It’s amazing how fast one naysayer can derail a previously productive brainstorming session.

Yet, on the other hand, an encouraging or loving response can turn a group around just as quickly. Folks who may be feeling depleted and dejected can find themselves feeling loved and encouraged and of value by just one person turning the situation around.

As it often happens, later that day I had an experience that reinforced the idea. While on a visit to a place where a large group of people were gathered, I found myself enduring many stares and expressions that said “what is she doing here?” It was uncomfortable, especially as a couple of folks spoke to the person I was talking with while ignoring me completely.

After a few minutes, a young woman came toward me with a picture she had been working on. She handed it to me and helped me understand she wanted me to have it, wanted me to take it home, and demonstrated her acceptance of my presence by hugging me.

My entire experience was transformed. This young woman was the leaven in the lump, the yeast in the dough, for my visit -- and my day. Amazing how God uses folks (us) in ways they never even notice or realize, isn’t it?!


Day #188

July 7, 2014

Sometimes there is only one word or phrase that summarizes a day of Intersections. Today that phrase is “being blessed with time to read.”

Even though I often fill my time with things other than reading, or it is filled for me, I so enjoy where the imagination can go through the written word. Film, television, and even books on tape impose the interpretation someone else has of facial expressions, voice intonations, etc, where reading allows your own mind to fill in those blanks.

It is a joy to read. What a great opportunity!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Day #187

July 6, 2014

Just another one of those “let’s be silly” moments. Having a playfulness moment, my husband thought he found things “very interesting!” (Remembering Arte Johnson!)
Can’t help but love him! And be thankful for how he makes me smile. Every day!!


Day #186

July 5, 2014

Procrastination. Such a nasty word. One that conjures up ideas of rushing, making mistakes due to trying to get things done quickly, and even laziness. Where does it come from? How does one get caught up in the web of “I can do that later?” And, most importantly, how does one overcome it?

Anyone have any ideas? How did you learn not to put things off? And who thought up that old, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today?” Did they never get any rest?

Just saying - rather, just asking!


Day #185

July 4, 2014

A bit of humor for the day - saw this add for fireworks the other day and couldn’t help but chuckle.

Having watched plenty of Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons growing up, can’t imagine trusting the Acme company, can you?! Surely wasn’t wise for Mr. Coyote. :-)

Suppose putting my trust in the one who is Truth would be much wiser. Just saying.


Day #184

July 3, 2014

A new to me resource for daily devotions came across my email today. The Book of Faith folks in this synod recommended it. As you can see, there are five parts for each day:
     pause, listen, think, pray, and go.

Brief and yet to the point, I liked it immediately. 

Here is the website address: (there is also a free app for IPhone called d365)

Check it out!


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Day #183

July 2, 2014

Perhaps one of the best ways to combat worry (after turning things over to God, of course, see Day #182) is learning to find humor and playfulness in the midst of life. One of the people who best knew how to work hard and play hard was my father-in-law. EW, as we called him, was a master at finding humor (or creating it) in life and enjoying life to its fullest. But he worked hard, too. Really hard.

Today would have been his birthday. My husband posted this picture of him in the service on FaceBook in EW's honor.
And this is what I commented. These words come from a flip devotional for the day. It seemed appropriate as a tribute to him:
          Give me a sense of humor, Lord
          Give me the grace to see a joke
          To get some happiness from life
          And to pass it on to other folk.

These words are a good reminder for all of us. And what a great teacher we had. Happy Birthday, EW. We miss you!


Day #182

July 1, 2014

The calendar turned on another month. And another Tuesday Bible Study full of great conversation and faith growing.

Today’s focus came down to a popular topic and a common concern many of us have. WORRY! What is worry? What is the difference between worry and concern? And, if we are worrying, how do we stop? After all, worry keeps us up at night, sends our blood pressure soaring, puts unwanted stress on our systems, and generally can shut us down from living or at least enjoying life.

A while ago I read something Max Lucado wrote that stuck with me (a close variation of the picture posted here): “If you are worrying, you’re not praying and if you’re praying, you’re not worrying.” But how often do we have to turn things over to God? Well, it may be a thousand times a day over some things. And that’s ok. Way I see it, there is no limit to the number, frequency, or urgency of prayers to God, because God doesn’t mind us being dependent. That is how we are built - to depend on God, who made us, loves us and never leaves us.

I also believe we can learn not to worry. And need to! There is no shame in turning things over (and over and over) to God that we cannot control. In other words, do as much as we can, seek as much help as we can, and pray for God to do the rest.

I believe those words. Because in my life, on many occasions, God has handled more things in a much better way than I could ever even have imagined. Thanks be to God!


Day #181

June 30, 2014

Another busy day. And another bittersweet one.

Today was the official last day for the church's Music Director, Josh. His time with us has been fun and we have all grown. It was sad to see him go, but trust God has big things planned for his future.

Then we had a productive Education meeting. The commitment to teaching the youth, the creativity in helping to figure out what is the best way to do that, and the hopes for another productive year is exciting to witness. Many thanks for those who spend their time and share their gifts to help spread God’s word! You do make a difference!