Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Day #238

August 26, 2014

Another day of Bible Study brought another “food for thought” moment. In studying the 4th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, we began a discussion of Jesus being led into the wilderness to be tempted, just after his baptism by John. Why did Jesus need this time of temptation? Why are any of us subjected to temptation? Or struggle? The thought of the butterfly came to mind - without the struggle of emerging from the cocoon, the butterfly, as I understand it, cannot ultimately survive.

It may not seem like much comfort, as we are going through times of struggle, to be reminded - Jesus, too, was tempted...and survived. After all, we’re not Jesus. Yet, we are loved by Jesus, comforted by him, and never left alone, for he is with us always. And he understands. He experienced it as human/God and knows what it is like from our perspective. That is great good news, to have a savior who understands, yet overcame!


Day #237

August 25, 2014

In the course of life, change happens. One of them that has been frequent for me in the years of driving has been the buying and selling of vehicles. A new one was bought today and an old one sold. For the last, say, ten years, I have been driving Mini Coopers, but today I changed to a Subaru. No longer will my car be as easy to spot. No longer will I zip around town and duck into tight spots with my “little” car. But all is good!

The intersection today was interacting with several dealerships and their salespeople. All have a product needed by others, but there can be many differences. Some are more than helpful; some are less. Some are full of good attitudes and smiles; some are not. Some are “let’s keep this as painless as possible;” some seem to want to inflict as much pain as possible. Some keep you waiting for an eternity; some move almost too quickly.

I suppose dealerships and salespeople are like the rest of us (duh, of course!). And like congregations. Some want to be as welcoming as possible; some give “hairy-eyeball” looks at newcomers. Some want to “hands-on” serve as much as possible; some only want to send money. Some want to worship in a new and innovative way; some like the “way we’ve always done it.” Yet, all have a “product” needed by others - the grace and love of God.

How do you match up in the scheme of things?


Day #236

August 24, 2014

Today was full of intersections - how could it not be?!

First, during worship, the Baptism of one of our youth. Then he celebrated his first Holy Communion. How awesome to look into his eyes and declare: “The Body of Christ, given for you!” Yep, all for you!

Then, after worship, lots of folks stayed to watch as I took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (see Day #234 for the story behind the story). The link below to the video tells it better than I can in words!

And the best part...$150 was raised for ALS, with a matching donation of $150! Fantastic!!

What a day! What an awesome God!


Day #235

August 23, 2014

I was on my way to a meeting this morning when I saw them - handwritten signs posted on the side of the road (I was running late or there would be a picture). Four of them lined up - something like, “feeling overwhelmed,” “need help,” “need prayer,” “we’re here.”

Next I saw a tent, four people sitting in chairs, and another sign - “Drive-By Prayer.” There they were, a prayer team, ready to pray with anyone who stopped. No fuss, no muss, no expectations - just Jesus.

If I had not already been delayed (for not so important a reason!), I would have taken the time for this opportunity. What a great idea! What a great ministry! What an intersection - even on a straight and narrow road! :-)


Friday, August 22, 2014

Day #234

August 22, 2014

I was hoping I might miss the whole “ALS Ice Bucket” challenge that is happening right now, but I was not so lucky. :-) What a phenomenon this has become! What a helpful use it is of the whole social media boom!

In trying to decide about this, an idea came to me. After all, two people I have known, thus far, have had this terrible, debilitating disease. David and Philip didn’t live to see this outpouring of support and hope in raising awareness and working toward, one day, a cure. So since I can do this little bit, I will.

Yet, I won’t do it alone! Nope. I’ve challenged the church to participate. Yep, for a donation of $1.00 per ticket, for as many as you want to buy, you can have a chance to be the one to douse me with the bucket of ice water. In other words, I’ll take the water (once!) if the church will make the donation!

So there it is! The challenge. After worship on Sunday, August 24th, come and buy a chance to be the one to “dunk” the pastor.

Now, I am excited to say there will be another event that day. One of our youth is being baptized (not “dunked” and not with ice water!) during worship. So, please note, just to be clear, this event afterward will in no way be more important or more life-giving than his baptism. It’s truly his day in this important step of faith!


Day #233

August 21, 2014

In a rare moment of opportunity, I happened to have the television on as I was doing some paperwork today as “Breaking News” came on about the patients with the Ebola virus who were brought back to the United States for treatment. It is great news that they have been released from the hospital, freed from isolation and disease, declared healthy again, and are able to return to their lives.

As I stopped to listen to the statement made by one of them, I was moved by his giving the glory to God for healing, and his thanksgiving for the staff, doctors, and hospital. It was obvious he was anxious to have some time with his family after having this ordeal, but wanted to express his thanks and share his faith.

Yes, God is the great physician. While we are blessed to have medical care available beyond compare, God instills something no amount of medicine can - faith. In Something more, in Something better.

Thanks be to God for these people’s healing. Thanks be to God for faith when healing, as we anticipate, doesn’t happen.


Day #232

August 20, 2014

A good friend (Godson's mom) posted an article/sermon today on FaceBook that helped me more than anything else I have seen or thought to understand and catch a glimpse of what Robin Williams and folks like him (including my own father) lived, and live, with every day.

The article/sermon has a depth to it that spoke directly to my heart, and I share the link below in the hopes that you will take a few minutes to read it, absorb it, let it sink in and help you, too. Even if you are not a person in this situation, chances are you know someone who is.

Here's the link:

May God’s grace be all sufficient!!


Day #231

August 19, 2014

Today was the Funeral Service for the dear parishioner. What a blessing that what drove the message was a line from D365 for August 16th, the day she died (see Day #184 for the introduction to this online devotion): “Every person’s life tells a story.” So very true.

It went on from there. The scripture reading was from Hebrews 11.13-16: “All of these died in faith”…”they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.” Then the prayer: “Faithful God, when I get too attached to this world, remind me that no matter how good I think this life might be, it will not compare to the reward you have planned for me. Help me be faithful until that day. Amen.”

She was. She has. And may we all!


Day #230

August 18, 2014

Whew! Even with the offer to help yesterday, which I am still grateful and indebted to folks for, it was a busy day from one end of the spectrum of emotion to the other. How can so many things happen or need to get done in just one day?! And why do these kinds of days come on the heels of about three or four similar in a row?

Ok, it’s beginning to sound like this is less of “The Daily Intersection” and more of “The Whining Road!” So, I’m done.

But I will say this, it’s God’s strength and faith that took me through every minute of the day and lifted me up while I was in every place I traveled. Can’t be much more about the intersection of faith and life than recognizing that!! Amen!


Day #229

August 17, 2014

A couple offered to help me today. Without being asked, without being made to feel obligated, they just offered. It made all the difference for how tomorrow will go. “Let me take this off you,” was the way it was presented. Wow! I was almost speechless with appreciation.

Later, however, I discovered another couple offered the opposite today. Instead of help or encouragement, what was offered was a criticism for something that did not get done yesterday (see Day #228 for the events of the day). Wow! I was almost speechless with despair.

Someone once said it takes many (I can’t remember if 10, a dozen, 20, guess the number isn’t important) words of encouragement to undo one criticism. I sure felt that today.

Yet, in the midst of both, faith reminds me it’s not all about me. And all will be well!


Day #228

August 16, 2014

Wow! It was quite the day! From a very early morning phone call and a dear parishioner’s death to a full afternoon and into the evening time helping out at a “Back to School Blast.” Often there is the tension between life and death, but on a day like today, the reality of how fragile life can be is made very real.

Going from a hospital to a funeral home and then to an event of over 475 people, majority of them kids, and their having a great time playing games, eating hot dogs, listening to music, and bouncing around, reminded me of how precious (and important) it is to make the most of every day.

The kids had a great time and the pastor who spearheaded organizing the day was glowing. His dream of serving others in this way came to fruition today. What a joy!

Now what happens next year to top this? And how much more participation can we encourage?


Day #227

August 15, 2014

Had a great conversation today while waiting for my car to be serviced. The salesman and I talked about laughter, specifically the need to keep a sense of humor, to be able to laugh and smile, as we get older. Not only do we look more handsome or prettier when we smile, it’s good for us physically.

When my husband and I succeed in making one another laugh at least one time a day, I find that life is just a little on the sweeter side (not that we’re getting older - haha). Hope that made you smile!

Here is one of my favorite pictures of Jesus, too!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Day #226

August 14, 2014

Many years ago I learned in a class about grief that an important step in the grieving process is to tell the story. That each time a grieving person explains what happened, as in sharing the events of a tragedy, a piece of the pain heals, even if only a small piece. I saw it firsthand with my own mother when my father died. She told me the story of that day over and over. And even though for me it was excruciating to listen to the details, I realized it helped her.

So when someone tells me their story, I try to remember that by listening I am being an instrument in a necessary process. With that said, however, it is sometimes hard to hear the same story over and over for years and years, knowing the person is basically stuck, unable to hear ways to move past their pain.

Today I am thankful to have learned how to be patient and tolerant (much of the time), understanding that, as I mentioned in Day #220, sometimes it is important to just be there, not fix things. Just like this picture reminds me!

Day #225

August 13, 2014

Today is the first day I can remember since this blogging journey began that I really could not think of anything specific where I saw God at work. Nothing. Nothing to write about. Nothing to take note of as an “intersection” moment.

So on today’s “one word Wednesday,” I am grateful. Knowing that even though I cannot seem to think of anything that brought God to my mind, that I am still on God’s mind. That God is present even if/though I didn’t think I could see God at work.

So thank you, God, on days when I may not be able to recognize you, for being present - always!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day #224

August 12, 2014

Thirteen backpacks were stuffed today with school supplies for children at a nearby school. Sunday they will be blessed during worship (actual picture of those packed to follow) and Monday they will be delivered to who will make sure they get where they need to be.

What an amazing amount of generosity folks have shown in helping collect the needed items!!! It is truly God at work - each person contributes a little and together it makes a HUGE impact.



Day #223

August 11, 2014

My heart was heavy today! Actor Robin Williams was found dead this morning from an apparent suicide. One of the most amazing talents of my era, I’ve liked his work ever since I began watching him on a silly television show called Mork and Mindy. He was almost like a distant member of my family - a crazy, wacky uncle I watched and admired from a distance. I was always in awe of his ability to do improv and make people laugh. Except, what burdens he must have been carrying!

It made me think again about day #220. If only… Did Robin Williams not have anyone he felt would listen? Did he not feel anyone cared? Did he just get tired and was afraid to ask for the help he desperately needed? Did the disease just become too much?

We may never know the answers, nor may his family. But it reminds me, is there someone close by struggling similarly? Probably more are than I realize. Lord, have mercy! And if I can be the one to help by listening or showing I care, help me, Lord, to do so!


Day #222

August 10, 2014

Today was the celebration for our great-niece's first birthday. We sure could not miss that celebration!

So hard to believe it has been a year! What a cutie! But then, guess I’m a just little prejudiced. :-)


Day #221

August 9, 2014

One of today's tasks was to prepare the monthly pastor's report for council meeting tomorrow. I’m so glad I borrowed a format from a colleague about a year ago and that I now prepare a written report each month. It’s good to look back and see where I have been since the last meeting and look ahead to some places I anticipate being in the month(s) ahead. Without doubt, the report is full of ways God has led, guided and sustained me - and a reminder of prayers said and answered.

It is sort of like this blog - 221 days of seeing God at work in ways I may otherwise have overlooked. Yes, I’m feeling blessed!


Day #220

August 8, 2014

It has been called the "savior complex." Thinking that we humans are the ones who can fix things or people, meaning take away their troubles or their pain. Certainly, we can help and are called to do so by listening, showing empathy and compassion, and sharing ourselves and our resources. But when it comes down to it, where the rubber meets the road, I cannot fix anyone or heal anyone by my own ability. And that is sometimes really hard to swallow.

There was a video I saw today of a young man who appeared happy and content, but was tortured by sadness, regret, and doubt. He hurts himself. Watching it broke my heart. I wanted to reach out to this stranger and help him see he is worthy, loved, and has value. Then I remembered there are thousands just like him, and that overwhelms me. If only each person could know how much God loves them and has done/does for them. If only each person could experience God’s grace. If only I could do more to help others see that...


Friday, August 8, 2014

Day #219

August 7, 2014

On Day #184, I mentioned a new to me daily devotion called D365 that is available online. In the “think” portion for August 7th was this line: “Being kind is more than just being nice; it is seeing Christ in all people.”

Wow! Did that ever make me think! And ask this question: if I see Christ in all people, then how am I treating “Him?” I have to admit, it’s not always (maybe even often) the way I would want to. Lots to ponder!


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Day #218

August 6, 2014

It isn’t usually my practice to write at the beginning of the day, but something struck me early this morning. This may illicit an eeww! from some, but here goes.

I have an electric toothbrush and today was the day I decided it was time to change the brush head. Now, please understand, I rinse my toothbrush really well after each use, but there always seems to be a little leftover paste that seeps into the crevices of the brush head, making changing it a chore. Over time, that "left behind" toothpaste becomes like glue and makes it near impossible to release the head from the rest of the brush. It requires some outside force to clean it up and ready it for release, so that it can function at its max.

That made me think about my life with God. I do my best to pray, study, and worship regularly; to “rinse” my life of sin and help my connection with God be strong and vibrant, releasing me to live with joy and devotion. Yet, no matter how hard I try, I cannot keep sin from sneaking in, challenging my relationship and commitment, tearing at life's joy. It takes an outside force to release sin from me and deepen that relationship so that I can live and serve as God desires.

Jesus Christ is that outside force. His life, death and resurrection did away with the consequences of all the “gunk” of life. Because God loves me (and you) so much, God made the way for the relationship.

Now who would have thought a toothbrush could be such a reminder of God’s love and grace?! Happy brushing!


Day #217

August 5, 2014

I had a treat today - talking with our godson on the phone. I’m not sure why we don’t do that more often, but it is such a blessing to hear his voice, sense his enthusiasm for life, and hear his joy at the most simple things. To see the world through a 3-year-old’s eyes is wonder and amazement (and super!).

Jesus said we should all be like little children in approaching God. I can understand why - the purity of trust is something to behold!


Day #216

August 4, 2014

This is probably a repeat in seeing God at work, but it never ceases to amaze and delight me how the pastor is invited into people’s lives. It usually happens most often when something tragic has occurred, but still, being asked to accompany folks at their most painful and vulnerable is holy ground. Thanks be to God who hears our prayers!


Monday, August 4, 2014

Day #215

August 3, 2014

It was a special time in worship today. As a part of the sermon, the one youth from the congregation who made the trip to DC spoke about his experience. It was a great opportunity for him to think about what the trip meant, and share with the congregation how it made an impact on his life of faith. It was a proud moment for his family, and for me.

Thank you for sharing! Thank you for going! Thank you for stepping out in faith!


Day #214

August 2, 2014

On Thursday, July 31, during our trip to DC, we visited the Holocaust Museum. Also considered a monument, this building houses memories of a most horrendous period of recent history. The atrocities humans can inflict on one another, and the reminder that such things still happen today, is overpowering.

My first introduction to the Holocaust was through reading The Diary of Anne Frank at about the age of several of the youth on the trip. So, as I rounded a corner in the museum, I wasn’t surprised to see her there in pictures. As I stood there reading about her, looking at the picture of the place where she hid, I was taken back to how her story affected me as a young teenager.

Little did I realize as I stood there that the next day would mark 70 years since the last entry in her diary. August 1, 1944, Anne wrote these words after talking about how conflicted she felt. She didn’t think she was the same on the inside as she appeared on the outside and it all seemed to confuse her and make her angry and sad. These were her last words:

“I get cross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I’d like to be and what I could be if...if only there were no other people in the world.”

Three days later, August 4, 1944, she, along with the seven others in hiding with her and two of their helpers, were arrested and taken away. Anne Frank died in probably late February or early March of 1945, just before the camp where she was taken to was liberated on April 12, 1945.

As I stood in Barnes and Noble (had to find the book again) reading these words, after realizing yesterday was the 70th anniversary of her last entry, tears came to my eyes; for her, for the tens of thousands of others, for those today, and for the potential that died/dies with them. How God must grieve over what we do to one another!


Day #213

August 1, 2014

For three nights, the last thing I read on the wall of the room where I slept is a handwritten sign with these words:

“Prayer is the conversational part of the most important love relationship in our lives.” from Love to Pray by Alvin Vandergriend.

So true and a great reminder/encouragement.

We headed home today - tired, sleepy, and with full hearts. I know the experience has made an impact on my life and I’m sure it has on the others, as well. Only God knows how!

What I know is, I am thankful for the time with these youth and adults and for a safe and meaningful trip!


Day #212

July 31, 2014 - The Daily Intersection - Day #212

The second mission part of the trip was picking blueberries. I should correct that to “gleaning” blueberries. Eight different farms in the DC area allow volunteers to come in and “glean” their fields of all sorts of vegetables, fruits, etc. Once the farm’s selling operation has died down, volunteers can come and pick what is left, which is taken to the DC Central Kitchen for use in the 5,000 +/- meals made there each day. Those meals are then distributed to the 80 homeless shelters in the DC area. Instead of each shelter making their own meals, the DC Central Kitchen does so.

This was our “reward” for approximately two hours of picking

Those buckets are bigger than they look, and we were glad to be a part of helping to feed others in this way, much like the care packages yesterday. Although, I must say, handing those out put a face to those who would eat these berries later today or tomorrow in bread, pie, pancakes, whatever the chefs at DCCK created.



Day #211

July 30, 2014

The first mission aspect of the trip was to pack care packages for the homeless. We made sandwiches and packed gallon ziplock bags with them, a bottle of water, pack of crackers, granola bar, pack of peanuts, etc - all items that might provide a little sustenance to a hungry person.

The large group was divided into four smaller ones, the eighty care packages distributed between us, and we drove into the city to hand them out. The idea was to watch for folks who might need a care package, approach them, show what we had and ask if they would like one.

We tentatively began. After distributing a few, it became easier to spot those to approach. Most were accepting, most were thankful, many said, “God bless you,” reminding us we receive more than they do in this process.

Perhaps the one who had the most impact on me was the man laying on a bench in front of a diner. He was only taking up about half of it, so a group of three (man, woman, child) sat down next to him with take out lunches. They began eating, ignoring the man right next to them. When we approached and asked if he would like a care package, he gratefully accepted it. The situation made me wonder what the other three thought; if they were embarrassed to have missed who was right beside them. And made me wonder, how often have I done the same - ignored the need right beside me; turned a blind eye to someone hurting?

What an experience today was. I am grateful - and humbled!


Day #210

July 29, 2014

This morning found twenty adults and youth from three congregations loading luggage and themselves into five vehicles for a mission/youth trip to Washington, DC. After several hours on the road, we arrived at the church that graciously welcomed us and helped us make it our “home” for the next four days. Quickly unloading the vehicles, we headed into “town” for a walk around the Mall at night and a tour of the Washington Monument.

This 555 foot, 5 1/8 inch tall obelisk is located on an almost direct line between the Lincoln Memorial

and the Capitol Building
with one mile in each direction.

A quick 60-70 second elevator ride to the top of the monument allows an overwhelming view of the city. It’s almost easy to forget its purpose, as a memorial to the man who helped form the direction of our country.

What adventures does the city have in store for us? How will we serve? Can’t wait to find out.