Monday, January 30, 2017

Day #1119

January 23, 2017

Another Monday. Another Mystical Monday (see day #1098). The descriptive word for Jesus for the day - Comforter. 

Comforter, as defined by the dictionary, is a person or thing that provides consolation. Jesus provides consolation through his life, his death and most certainly through his resurrection. He provides consolation when we are mourning, when we are sick, when we lose hope, when we need direction and encouragement, etc. 

How? One way is through his teachings - “blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5, verse 4) is but one example. God’s face (in Jesus and the Holy Spirit) is turned toward those who are in need - always! Another way is through prayer. We can always, always pray to God and through Jesus, God hears our prayers and answers. Another way Jesus comforts is in worship, especially the celebration of Holy Communion, through the words, “the body of Christ given for you” and “the blood of Christ shed for you.” 

Perhaps, however, the most effective way Jesus comforts is through the presence of fellow believers. Those who pray with us, help direct us, worship with us, serve with us, give us hugs, listening ears and warm hearts. Yes, we may sometimes be the very ones Jesus uses to be co-workers with him in being comforters. 


Day #1118

January 22, 2017 

Another Annual Meeting goes into the record books and there is much to be thankful for - another year of getting to know one another and doing ministry together by celebrating milestones; accomplishing important and needed repairs to the facility; worshipping, studying, enjoying fellowship, and working on service projects; being faithful stewards of time, talent and treasure - the list goes on and on.

What will the Annual Meeting for 2018 look like? Praying for God’s guidance and wisdom as the days of 2017 unfold!


Day #1117

January 21, 2017

Together is Better - whether playing “get to know one another” games, bowling, studying scripture, or doing service projects, 

together IS better - especially when youth come together for an overnight retreat. Thank you to our partner congregation for hosting and to the Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp for providing great leadership!!! What a fun event!! Hopefully the first of many to come!!


Friday, January 20, 2017

Day #1116

January 20, 2017 

It’s inauguration day. Many are afraid, sad, angry, and vocal. And I respect those feelings. Yet, many are hopeful, excited, and anticipating positive change. And I also respect those feelings. 

But the bottomline for me is the power of prayer. Prayer for wisdom, prayer for God’s guidance, and prayer for the transformation of one who appears to be much about self-absorbed power to one who will humbly make good and merciful decisions with the help of others. Along with those, prayers for peace, prayers for equality, and prayers for those who have little voice. 

It may not seem to be doing much, but when we unite in prayer I firmly believe in its power. Because, in the ultimate of bottomlines, I believe in the One to whom we pray! 


Day #1115

January 19, 2017 

First, these words from David Scherer, Contextual Learning Coordinator, Luther Seminary, in the devotion God Pause that I believe speak loudly to hope:
God, help me believe in the sun, even when it is not shining. God, help me believe in love, even when I don't feel it. God, help me believe in you, even when you are silent. Amen (adapted from words found on a wall at Auschwitz). 
Then on a hospital visit, I randomly ran into an acquaintance who was lost. As they were wandering the halls, they seemed very happy to see a familiar face. What are the odds, however, that they were looking to visit the exact person I was. Stick with me, I said, and I’ll get you where you want to go. What joy to help ease someone’s angst, and to see the happiness on the face of the person we were visiting when both of us came into the room. It’s good to be in the right place at the right time.   

And one more - saying thank you to several council members who have completed their terms and will not be continuing. Thank you for your devotion, your love of God and the place where we are called to worship and serve, and for saying yes when asked many years ago. 


Day #1114

January 18, 2017 

One word Wednesday - nice!!! As in the weather, the conversations with others, and the amount of work getting accomplished with the help of staff. Nice!!


Day #1113

January 17, 2017

Not always does the offer to pray with and for someone result in a "yes, certainly." Sometimes, for whatever reason, the answer is, "no thank you." Which makes me sad! But, it doesn’t mean I can’t still pray. ;-)


Day #1112

January 16, 2017 

Beginning this year, each Monday (Day #1098) brings an opportunity to ponder a descriptive word about Jesus. Today’s description is teacher. 

What does Jesus teach us? How does he teach? Who does he teach? Where does he teach? Lots of questions, but a few thoughts:
  • One simple answer is that Jesus teaches us about God and about having a right relationship with God. But Jesus also teaches us about having good relationships with other people. When he says that the most important commandments are to love God and love neighbor, he’s teaching us where our priorities should be. 
  • Jesus teaches by example - by words and by actions. He spends time with those labeled and identified publicly as sinners and outcasts through loving them, inviting them into his family, and transforming their lives (which also answers much about the who).
  • Jesus teaches in the synagogues (places of worship), in homes, on the plains and mountains, in the cities, wherever anyone will listen. 
What do we learn from all his teaching? Suppose that depends somewhat on how open we are to him. 

Lots to think about!


Day #1111

January 15, 2017

As the week for hosting Family Promise guests came to an end, a huge thank you to all who helped in any way - doing laundry, preparing a meal, spending the night, running for last minute needs, making phone calls, scheduling, and more. It takes a village - and cooperation and flexibility. 

What a joy to participate in our community in this way, to help make a difference in other’s lives, and to serve God. 

Thank you to all!


Day #1110

January 14, 2017

It was time - past time really - for a MT-living rite of passage - attend the rodeo.

Even in the midst of being on the edge of my seat with the bull-riding, it was fun to attend. Very glad we went and one more way to be "at home." 


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Day #1109

January 13, 2017

We’re having a heat wave…not quite a tropical heat wave. :-) 

Yet, who would have thought that 30 degrees could be so delightful?!?! But after many days with the high temperature barely being in double digits, 30 is wonderful!!


Day #1108

January 12, 2017 

What a joy to be a part of matching folks in the congregation to pray for one another. What a blessing to hear the stories of the significance that this praying has brought to different lives. What a simple thing to do, pray for one another, yet how important. 

Thank you to those who faithfully participate! Thank you for the prayers for me, and for allowing me to pray for you.


Day #1107

January 11, 2017 

A reminder today, as I read a message from our Godson’s mother, of how difficult it is when a parent dies and how hard it is to adjust to missing them. Many of us are fortunate to have a parent(s) who is our biggest fan, our loudest encourager, the one who always finds a way to cheer us on and build us up. If you have one of those type parents (or did have), give thanks to God. And if they are still alive, please let them know how much that means to you. 

Thank you, mom, for being that for me. And know that I miss you today as much as I did nearly ten years ago when you left this earth. 


Day #1106

January 10, 2017 

On the 1106th day of the Daily Intersection, our Godson (and inspiration for beginning the blog), turns 6. 

This is one of the first pictures from his birth:

This is the last picture received (at Halloween):

Happy Birthday to a very special young man! We pray for you, we love you, and we are honored to have you as a part of our life!!!


Day #1105

January 9, 2017 

Then Jesus spoke out again, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. John 8:12, NET

2017 brought a new idea to the Daily Intersection, Mystical Monday (see #1098). The name of Jesus for today that helps reveal the mystery of Christ: Light, as in Jesus is the Light of the World.

Perhaps a better way to think of Jesus as light is not what that might mean, as such, but to consider what light does. It only takes a minimum amount of light to dispel darkness. Think of the little LED on the smoke detector, a tiny flame of a candle, etc., that is enough to help light the way in the middle of the black darkness of night. 

Also, the dark absolutely cannot quench the light, yet the light can quench the darkness. It takes great effort to keep out the light sufficient to allow complete darkness. Perhaps the only time I have experienced such in my life was once in a planetarium. It was so dark I could not even see my hand before my face. And yet, just a tiny pinprick of light gave me enough to see my hand and experience the darkness broken.

Jesus’ light cannot be overcome by darkness, evil, fear, even death. And his light gives us an abundance to see that he has broken the darkness and that hope, peace, and joy are possible. 

Thanks be to God for the Light of the World. Shine through me, Lord Jesus. 


Day #1104

January 8, 2017 

After a Sunday away, it was certainly a joy to be "home" and back in worship leadership! I am reminded of how fortunate I am to do what I do, and how much I miss the folks when I’m away. 

Looking forward to another year of praising God, learning about God, and sharing God’s Good News!


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Day #1103

January 7, 2017

Something (a suggested practice) from Richard Rohr that might be helpful for all of us as we begin a new year:
Affirmations: All of creation and each of us have received original blessing. Yet we have been conditioned to focus on the negative in ourselves and others. Think of a negative phrase you have said aloud or thought to yourself that stems from a sense of shame rather than your inherent dignity. Turn it upside down and say, in first person, present tense, an affirmation of your God-given value. For example: 
  • I am unlovable. . . . I am infinitely loved. 
  • I don’t have enough. . . . I have everything I need. 
  • I am stupid. . . . I have the mind of Christ.
  • I am worthless. . . . I am precious in God’s eyes, I am honored, and God loves me.
Repeat the positive statement aloud, slowly, with intention and trust, several times. Then rest silently in the awareness that you are already and forever, without any effort or achievement on your part, a beloved child of God.
Thank you for the reminder - and the practice. And may we also see these affirmations in others. 


Day #1102

January 6, 2017

Happy Epiphany!!! 

And thank you to Electric City Coffee for providing a lovely and delicious place to have the annual dinner with colleagues - and friends - of the Ministerial Association. An evening of good food, good fellowship, and good memory making. 


Day #1101

January 5, 2017

On the Twelfth (and final) Day of Christmas - what must have been 12,000 plus needles fell off the really dead and dry Christmas tree as we took off the ornaments and lights. :-(  

Sadly, no pictures to show for what was a beautifully shaped tree and a joy to have decorate the house :-(! Yes, while it is good to get it down and out, I still hate to say goodbye to this Christmas. May the Spirit continue. Amen!


Day #1100

January 4, 2017

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas - eleven ways to say “I’m glad to be home!!” 

What a long day traveling, including a jog through the airport to catch a flight they thankfully held. True, lots of time to read and even nap a little, but still a long day! But then we are home and thankful for the time visiting (and eating, as you know). 

Much appreciation to those who hosted us and cooked for us - we love you! Much appreciation to those who took time to meet us - we love you, too!! And much appreciation for coming home to a warm house and its comforts. We are truly thankful!!!


PS What fun that the Eleventh Day of Christmas comes on the 1,100th blog posting. :-) 1,100?!?! Wow!!

Day #1099

January 3, 2017 

On the Tenth Day of Christmas - a lasting ovation to a group of soldiers in the airport. After they deplaned and gathered, they began marching in formation down the concourse. As they did so, someone began to clap and the rest of us joined in. Leaving our area, we could hear the clapping continue down the way. What a moment!!!

Ten x dozens of thanks for your service, your dedication, your loyalty, your willingness to do what you can to protect and keep peace. 


Day #1098

January 2, 2017

On the Ninth Day of Christmas - something new - Mystical Monday. 

There is something in scripture referred to as the Mystery of God revealed in Jesus Christ (the Apostle Paul writes of this in Ephesians, chapter 3). So who is this Jesus born of Mary and the Holy Spirit? What did his coming mean for us? How might we learn more about who he is and what he means for us today? Reflecting on that, I would like to take Mondays each week to explore a word that describes Jesus and how that description, or way of knowing Jesus, relates to us. 

The word for today: incarnate

Jesus is the incarnation of God. He is both God and human, come to earth to live, breath, eat, laugh, cry, teach, and die - just as each of us do. Yet, as God, he also rises again to live forever, doing something we cannot do. How does that relate to us? In doing this for us, Jesus does what we cannot do for ourselves and gives us a glimpse of God unlike any before or after. In the incarnation of God through Jesus we are shown a love that gives us value, worth and hope. And the really Good News: God invites us into this forever life with Jesus. Wow!


Day #1097

January 1, 2017

On the Eighth Day of Christmas, eight fried oysters on a bun:

(Sorry it’s a dark photo, but this is supper at the drive-in after meeting more family for lunch. It’s called eating an oyster burger in the car - and thoroughly enjoying it!)

And may I wish you a Happy New Year!!! May each day of 2017 be filled with the knowledge of God’s love for you and the desire to respond in loving kindness and service to others. 


Day #1096

December 31, 2016

On the Seventh Day of Christmas - seven plus one meet for lunch. And laughter. Family and old and new friends getting together. :-)

Wish we had more time to see everyone we would like to!!! But it’s a good way to end one year as we look toward another - with family, old and new friends, and times of joy. What more could we hope for 2017! Well, peace for all and the love of Christ filling hearts and minds!!


Day #1095

December 30, 2016

On the Sixth Day of Christmas - nearly six hours of traffic (with a couple of stops) to see the coast (view from our room)

and eat six charbroiled oysters. Another yum!!!! 

Are you sensing a theme for our vacation? People and food!!!!! 


Day #1094

December 29, 2016 

On the Fifth Day of Christmas - at least five bites of NC BBQ goodness. YUM!! And cherry cobbler, too!


Day #1093

December 28, 2016

On the Fourth Day of Christmas - four important stops to see folks and handle business. Yep, taking care of a little business is necessary on a trip to NC, but getting to see folks makes up for it. :-)


Day #1092

December 27, 2016

On the Third Day of Christmas, three do some shopping. And laugh a lot!! Family is good!!!


Day #1091

December 26, 2016 

On the Second Day of Christmas - two stops on a flight back to NC after being away for two years! Time for some vacation, seeing family and friends, visiting the coast, and eating seafood. :-)

And a double apology upfront to those we won’t be able to see this trip. Next time!!! 


Day #1090

December 25, 2016

Last year I made note of the Twelve Days of Christmas using different ideas based on each day of Christmas. I decided to do that again this year.

So, on the first day of Christmas, one fabulous dinner at the hospital. Yep, you read that right.  

Here’s the scoop - following worship, hubby went with me to make a visit at the hospital. We were planning to head home afterward to get something to eat, but the meal the security guard was eating smelled soooo good. “It’s prime rib day,” he told us. So we went into the cafeteria to see what it was all about - prime rib, green bean casserole, baked potato, roll, salad, dessert and drink - a meal fit for a king on the birthday of the king. It was delicious - and quite enjoyable.

Thank you so much to all those who labor on this day to care for others!!!


Day #1089

December 24, 2016 

It’s Christmas Eve - and just before the sanctuary is filled with youth - excited little ones and talented older ones in the “band” - and families, the nativity awaits the coming of Jesus. The kids will place the baby Jesus in the manger, we will all sing Silent Night, snow will fall outside, and the world will stop for just a moment to remember and hopefully experience a bit of peace on earth, goodwill to all. 

Rejoice for Christ is born!