Saturday, February 27, 2016

Day #787

February 26, 2016

What a privilege to finish up conversations this week with those discerning the call to ordained ministry. The four conversations all reminded me of those days in my own life - wondering where I would be for a year, who I would be with, and what it would be like.

It also gives me hope for the future of the holy catholic church. To "meet" these servants who are anxious to live out their lives doing what God has called them to do - to be a light to the world and to accompany others on a journey of faith - encourages my faith in Jesus' church.

Yes, it has been a privilege and joy. Prayers for all as they continue. And thanks be to God for them!


Day #786

February 25, 2016

The word for the day: thankful!
  • To have been a small part of someone’s life, along with being grateful to have been welcomed in. 
  • For time spent with others. 
  • For words of encouragement and appreciation. 
  • For different perspectives shared.
  • For safety on a gravel road.
Yes - a day to be thankful!!


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Day #785

February 24, 2016 

Another entry from Daily Grace brought to mind something to share. On this date the question was asked by Linda Post Bushkofsky: what books are you reading? That resonated with me. After all, in the last couple of years my reading of books (and magazines, blogs, etc) has increased. You may have noticed as I often quote here in the Daily Intersection from something I'm reading.

Without doubt, what we read helps form our minds, hearts and faith. Does what I read build me up - and thereby the kingdom - or tear me/it down? I hope the former.

So what book am I reading right now? It is one for a class I have been attending called The Church of the Second Chance by Jens Soering. Through it and the discussion in class, my thoughts and actions regarding the justice system in America are being challenged. It is good reading - thought provoking reading.

What about you, what are you reading? Anything you would like to recommend?


Day #784

February 23, 2016

While it is true I am not a parent, I do know dozens. So when I saw this "Measure of Success" in Daily Grace, a devotion by the Women of the ELCA, I thought it might be helpful, even for non-parents. And that it was written by a former seminary professor made it seem even more helpful.
How does a parent measure success? If a child chooses to go to college or achieves prominence in a profession or in earning capacity, is that the parent’s ultimate measure of success? If we measure parenting in these ways, the flip side is cruel. How many non-successes could one have without being a total failure? Beside the big failures, there are the small daily ones: raising your voice, losing patience, spending too much time on work, missing opportunities to show them love. 
Lutheran theology of sin and justification by grace alone carries a powerful message to all parents: We all are prone to fail in one way or another daily. We do have control over how we meet the challenge of parenting however, by resolving to do the best we can, every day. Success is a gift of pure grace. It may not be something we can claim, but it is something for which to be very thankful. 
This message was adapted from “Parents and Success” by Kirsi Stjerna that appeared in the April 2004 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine.
Don’t we sometimes act as if another person’s success depends on our being perfect in how we teach or guide them? Or that somehow what and how they do points to whether or not we have succeeded or failed? We all want to do the best we can, especially with children, but we all will fall just a little short of the mark. In those moments/times, I am certainly thankful for God’s love and mercy. And thank you, Dr. Stjerna, for your words and reminder.


Day #783

February 22, 2016

There is no greater honor in what I do than accompanying a family at the Funeral Home. It is a holy time.

And yet, being with someone in their final hours/days is truly holy ground. What a privilege to share Holy Communion and the assurance of God’s love and mercy!

Certainly I am humbled, and grateful. 


Day #782

February 21, 2016

What better prayer to pray on a Sunday morning than this one from The Moravian Daily Prayer:
Benevolent Creator, you have built a home for us in you. Through the Spirit of your Son, help us to welcome into your house those seeking your love and forgiveness this and every Sunday. We worship you and give you thanks. Amen.
And I AM thankful - for joy-filled worship, a great time in study, and faithful students and a fun confirmation class. All in all, a wonderful day - with even a little extra time for rest!!


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Day #781

February 20, 2016

When I read this, I thought - wow, it sure says a lot!!
One Sunday morning at a small southern church, the new pastor called on one of his older deacons to lead in the opening prayer. The deacon stood up, bowed his head and said, “Lord, I hate buttermilk.” 
The pastor opened one eye and wondered where this was going. The deacon continued, “Lord, I hate lard.” Now the pastor was totally perplexed. The deacon continued, “Lord, I ain’t too crazy about plain flour. But after you mix ‘em all together and bake ‘em in a hot oven, I just love biscuits.” 
“Lord help us to realize when life gets hard, when things come up that we don’t like, whenever we don’t understand what you are doing, that we need to wait and see what you are making. After you get through mixing and baking, it’ll probably be something even better than biscuits.” Amen.
Wish I knew who to attribute this to, but it sure gave me something to think about.


Day #780

February 19, 2016

After talking about the Coaching Training, it seems appropriate to share a photo of some of my new coaching colleagues -
And this also seems appropriate to share as I wonder where the training will lead -

Day #779

February 18, 2016

There is some vulnerability in this Christian Coaching. There is the need for the coach to trust the person being coached. There is the necessity for the person being coached to trust the coach. Basically, there is the need for a mutual relationship of trust.

So when I read this prayer from God Pause for 2/18, it made me stop and really pray as Bruce Eldevik writes:
Loving God, you call us to shelter under your wings, but we resist. As the days and years pass, help us to rely less on the security we try to create, and more on the security you provide. Amen.
I suppose with a new Coaching focus, I could pray the same prayer in this way:
Loving God, you call us to shelter under your wings, but we resist. You call us to trust those you place in our paths, but we hesitate. As the days and years pass, help us to rely less on the security we think we have in our own determination and independence, and more on the security you provide through the hearts and hands and gifts of our brothers and sisters. Amen.
It’s good learning! And good reminders that we have a good and gracious God!


Day #778

February 17, 2016

I’ve been learning about coaching (no, not football or basketball) but Christian Coaching. And one thing that’s been driven home in the training - the conversation is always, always centered on, and about, the person being coached, not the coach. The focus is what the other person wants to talk about, work on, and set goals for, not what the coach thinks they should.

Well, isn’t that the epitome of caring for another - putting the focus on the other person? In a loving relationship, shouldn’t it always be about lifting up the other person? For in turn, they will be about lifting you up. But then that’s not the focus of coaching.

A primary focus of coaching is listening - deep, intentional, active listening. And when we’re really, really listened to gifts, talents and dreams can be uncovered and opened up that can be unleashed on the world to help transform it. Gifts that God has given us.

There may just be some definite holy ground in this coaching. Hmmm...


Day #777

February 16, 2016

This was a very affirming day. And I give thanks for the affirmation.

There were holy-ground ministry conversations with colleagues, which are always affirming. But then there was an out-of-the-blue visit by two individuals who just offered to pray for the ministry of the congregation. What can we pray for, pastor, regarding this ministry? What an awesome question - and prayer! But even more so, before they left one of them said, can we just pray for you, pastor. Pray for me! Well, certainly! Now there’s an affirming - and a humbling - moment.

Thank you for days like this, God. Show me how I can help others have more of them, too!


Monday, February 15, 2016

Day #776

February 15, 2016

I was reminded today of something that happened several years ago. As I stood up to preach one Sunday, a young boy looked up at me and let out the longest sigh. At the time I laughed, thinking he meant, oh no, not another sermon. You know, something like: are you really going to talk again??

Now it could have meant that he looked at me and sighed with appreciation - oh boy, another sermon!! Yay - you are going to talk again!! (The difference punctuation makes reminded me of Martin Marty’s article about the “?” and the “!” marks I talked about in Day #775.)

What specifically made me think about this event today? It was the thought I had that he meant: really, do I have to listen now, because there are so many other things I would rather be doing. Yep, truth is, today was one of those days I would have enjoyed playing hooky!

Maybe I am having the beginnings of a little spring fever. Or maybe it was just one of those days. But either way, I sure am glad God never has moments of wanting to be doing anything other than what needs doing!! And I’m also glad they only last a short time!


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Day #775

February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

What joy - and privilege - to remind the children today that God loves them. Thank you, God, we prayed, for loving us and help us love you!!

And then this from Martin Marty's article in The Lutheran magazine about curiosity:
For people who have decided that religion is all about answers, writer Edward Hays has a different idea. He imagines the question mark as a holy symbol. Whereas the exclamation point is emphatic and insistent, the "?" is really a bent over "!" that has bowed it's head in humility. Open to a spirit of exploration and wonder, the "?" is both a prayer tool of everyday people and a creative tool of artists, geniuses and explorers. We could say, "God is love!" Or we could say, "God is love?" Notice the wonder and astonishment in the second example, all because of a question mark. Building such curiosity into our Christian lives [and I would add our love lives] is not only our calling, it's also a vital clue to our depth as interesting people.
It occurs to me that when we decide we know the other, all about the other (including God), then we lose our curiosity, and thereby our interest. Prayers that we always keep that wonder and astonishment in our relationship with God - and with those we love!!

Maybe a revisiting of this reminder is appropriate after all!

Day #774

February 13, 2016

The scripture for Sunday is about Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness according to the Gospel of Luke, specifically Luke 4:9-13. Michelle Phillips has this to say in the “think” portion of the d365 devotion:
Reading today’s verses, I am reminded that faith is about just trusting that God is there. It’s hard. It’s hard to believe in something you can’t see. But that is what faith is all about. Faith is about assurance, a sense of security and peace that comes from knowing Christ.
Certainly Jesus was tempted to doubt God’s presence, and caring for him, while he was in the desert. Isn’t that probably the biggest lie the devil uses, though, that God doesn’t exist? Followed closely by the lie that God doesn’t love us or that we aren’t somehow worthy of God’s love?

Prayers that the faith God gives us reminds us - and gives us the power - to resist the temptation to listen to the devil's lies!


Day #773

February 12, 2016

The word for the day? Thankful!

For some time with my hubby - for a “date” night - for time to get some necessary paperwork started.

All in all - thankful!


Day #772

February 11, 2016

From Michelle Phillips in the “Think” portion of the d365 devotion: “It is my hope that you use this day to reflect on who Christ is to you.”

What a great invitation! To take some intentional time to consider who Jesus is to me is a true gift. And, I hope you take some time to do the same - and, in the process, bask in the revelation of how much God loves you!


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Day #771

February 10, 2016

Yes, on Ash Wednesday the words, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return" weigh heavy as the cross of ashes is marked on our foreheads. A stark contrast to the fun, food and fellowship of Shrove Tuesday.

These are somber, sobering words we hear. A humble reminder of where we came from, and a hopeful promise that God who creates will ultimately bring us back to God.

The Season of Lent has begun. A penitential and disciplined time set aside for growing in relationship with God. Forty Days to focus, learn, pray, fast, and sacrificially give. Forty Days (plus Sundays) of preparation for the joy of Easter!

But thanks to a colleague who often posts humorous, lighthearted reminders that tickle my funny bone, I have to share this one that made me laugh out loud:
This is so true for the Season of Lent - and for life - finding/seeing humor in the midst of sorrow and somber.

Blessings. And blessings on your Lenten Journey! Remember, God is with us!

Day #770

February 9, 2016

Mardi Gras - Shrove Tuesday - Fat Tuesday!

A fun time at the "all you can eat" pancake supper. Thank you to the Women of the ELCA for their excellent cooking, serving and cleaning. YUMMY!!


Day #769

February 8, 2016
"Friendship arises out of mere companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden).  The typical expression of opening friendship would be something like, "What? You too? I thought I was the only one." - C.S. Lewis
 What beautiful thoughts on friendship. Being from a small (very small!) family, I am very thankful for friends. Over the years, I have been fortunate to have many – some I still have contact and deep relationship with, some who are no longer on this earth, and some who have moved out of my life.

Perhaps one of the most important things about friendship I am grateful to have learned is that to have a friend, I must be one. It’s not always easy – but it is so worth it, isn’t it?! Thank you my friends for being my friends, and I hope I’m one for you, too!!

And, something to celebrate – the days are getting longer. This after 6:00 pm – too beautiful not to stop and notice – and share!


Day #768

February 7, 2016

One of my greatest joys is talking with young folks about Holy Communion. The questions that they are pondering are so insightful! The love that I try to describe is so deep! The joy and anticipation of receiving for themselves something they have observed others do for a long time is inspiring.

Yep, First Holy Communion class – a true joy!!


Day #767

February 6, 2016

The Moravian Daily Text (click here for the current day's link: Moravian Daily Texts) for February 6th includes this verse: 1 Chronicles 28:20 “David said to his son Solomon, ‘The Lord God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.’”

I find great comfort in these words – for I find that “the work for the service of the house of the Lord” is never finished, which can be a tad overwhelming at times. There are never enough hours in the day to get everything done I would like to get done, make all the phone calls I would like to make, visit all the people and be present to listen and share, etc., that I would like to do. It just isn’t humanly possible, and can feel quite defeating at times that there is always so much more that could/should be done.

So, when it becomes a tad overwhelming that things don’t get finished, the reminder that the Lord God is with me until they are is a great comfort. One for which I truly am most thankful. And humbled by!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Day #766

February 5, 2016

Two words for the day – blown away!! I had news earlier this week that has taken a few days to sink in. News of healing that is taking place, miraculous healing. Healing that means that it’s time to live, instead of preparing to die.

And I’m blown away with thanksgiving!!! Glory be to God! All praise to God!


Day #765

February 4, 2016

Had word of a conversation that was troubling. I was not made privy to the conversation, and I think I should have been. But now what?! Is it just me being petty? Is it necessary to confront the situation? Would that be the proper thing to do? How do we decide when we need to confront something or let it go? Will it get better, or worse, if something is said? Are we speaking the truth in love by confronting? Is speaking the truth in love staying quiet?

Oh, sometimes it is really hard to make the best, most fair, decisions! Come Holy Spirit, and guide me.


Day #764

February 3, 2016

The word for the day – thankful!!

For wonderful conversation at Bible Studies. For sharing. For deep questions. For honesty.

But here is my favorite line of the day: in the presence of God we are always transformed! WOW!! We may not see it, we may not believe it, but we are. No need to hide the transformation, either, because it’s all about God’s work – not mine.

Can’t wait to see where the sermon leads this week – come Holy Spirit.


Day #763

February 2, 2016

This coming Sunday is Transfiguration of our Lord (see Luke 9:28-36). There is much to consider in the readings, but one part I always smile at reading is how Peter babbles on about what has happened, how great it is, and how three booths should be erected so they can just stay on the mountaintop.

Life isn’t that way, however, and they go back down to meet the crowd. But questions remain. Whenever there is an encounter with God, we wonder if it is real. We ask, what did I just see/hear/feel? Can I trust my eyes, ears, hands/heart? What does it mean? What is coming next?

No wonder Peter babbles on – I suppose I would, too! Wait, I do sometimes! Maybe often.

Just listen, God says. Hmmm


Day #762

February 1, 2016

Whew!! No more rest – back at it!! In full!

How can a week go so fast, and create so much to get done? Certainly a note of gratitude for those who kept it in the road while I was away! Thank you!! It’s great to have staff and colleagues who will cover so that some time away can be had!


Day #761

January 31, 2016

The prayer from Ed Stallworth in the d365 devotion began my day:
Lord, work in me so that others may see you through me. May my devotion to you be more than the words I read, the church I attend, or the songs I sing. Let it be instead the life I live. Amen.

And then another final break for the week – someone else shared the message for worship. Great job, Sharon, and thank you!!


Day #760

January 30, 2016

If one lazy day is good...two is even better!!


Day #759

January 29, 2016
Ahhh...the love of a lazy day after vacation. Time for laundry, talking, napping, relaxing!!