Saturday, September 29, 2018

Day #1732

September 28, 2018 

The circle is never broken. A circle may/will change, but it never breaks. This thought came to mind earlier this week and helped write the message for the funeral today. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for inspiration and for truth that the circle of love and grace that begins with God is NOT ever broken. Help us trust in the times when the circle changes. 

Today, I am also reflecting on the first ten years of my ordination. On this day ten years ago, I made promises that I would hold the office of pastor, with the help of God. I certainly can remember many, many, many times when the help of God has been very evident. Well, honestly, there have been 10 years of days of God helping. This odd and wondrous calling is just that, odd and wondrous. Thanks be to God!


Day #1731

September 27, 2018 

What a great day with many healthy conversations and times for study. What a joy to talk about the future, the present, the possibilities, the needs, and how to learn ways to address them all. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for being present and active. Always!


Day #1730

September 26, 2018

I am thinking that a Wednesday might be a good day to have someone shadow a (this) pastor to see the variety of things they do. Wednesdays are busy days with much happening and would show someone that being a pastor is anything but boring. :-)

Then at confirmation class, I am thrilled there are so many questions being asked. But then, how can we teach/answer them all!?


Day #1729

September 25, 2018 

I have lately been enjoying a book by Louis Zamperini (from Unbroken) finished just days before his death at age 97. The book is Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In. One of the things he wrote that I felt had to be shared was: “all you can do is plant the seed...and water it by answering any questions you’re asked. The rest isn’t up to you.” 

Zamperini continues his story in this book about his life’s conversion after the Gospel/Good News of Jesus took hold of him. He spent many of his years telling his story and doing what he could to help others know the peace that comes from having a deep relationship with God. His life was full, despite the many things that happened to him (lost at sea, prisoner of war, etc) and he credits God for the change of his life and perspective. So when he says, “all [we] can do is plant the seed,” I am comforted that the Holy Spirit is able to do things we cannot even imagine. And thankful for the seeds that others planted in my life.


Day #1728

September 24, 2018 

A prayer today for peace:
Almighty God, your world was created in love and perfection. Unfortunately, however, there is often anything but love or perfection in this life. Those who want what someone else has create ways to harm them to get it. Wars begin, fights ensue, harm is done. We pray, Lord, that you would lead us all toward peace and harmony. That we would find ways to return in trust to love and perfection, putting the other ahead of us. Lord, bring peace to our individual lives, our communities, our world. Amen.

Day #1727

September 23, 2018

Often there are paradoxes in the kingdom of God. Life and death, saint and sinner, hello and goodbye, all come quickly in succession. Today the congregation and community said goodbye to one who is moving on earth from one physical space to another hundreds of miles away. There was a celebration of her life in this place, thanksgiving for the impact she has had on people’s lives, and a farewell with hopes that life continues to be full and joyful in a new place. 

Not surprisingly, at almost the same time, another goodbye was being said to someone leaving this earth completely. Death comes quickly for some, slowly for others, and for Lloyd this has been a difficult journey. However, there will be time for celebrating his life in this place, remembering his impact on others, and faith and trust that his life will continue to be full and joyful in a new place of forever with God.

And in the midst of it all, God is present. Thanks be to God! 


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Day #1726

September 22, 2018 

My first Synod Council meeting in this synod has come to a close after a day and a half. There was the sharing of much information, many stories, some challenges presented, new friends made, and the beginning of thinking about the process of electing a new bishop next year. Change isn’t easy, but we’re considering how to be best prepared for the change we know is coming. 

The business of the church is important - not always exciting or glamorous - but important. It is an honor to be a part of the council and to hear about the many ways the church, and this corner of it, is being present in the world. 


Day #1725

September 21, 2018 

It’s long overdue for a “Simon says?” 

First, a Simon second grade picture.

He’s very cute, if I say so myself. And growing SO fast!

Yet the best part was perfect for this International Day of Peace. When Simon was asked to share how he thought his classmates should act, he said:
Be kind to me
Include me
Help me
Be nice to me
Care for everyone

Then he committed to:
Be kind
Care for others
Include people
Help others
Be nice to my friends

I would say this is a perfect list for how to have peace!!!!


Day #1724

September 20, 2018 

Remember the game where someone took your hands and bent back your fingers until you couldn’t stand it anymore and cried UNCLE! Not a great game, not a great feeling. But while I hesitate to admit it, I’m almost at the crying uncle point this week. Another busy day from one thing to the next, with a couple more days looking similar, has me needing some “down time.” I know it, I can feel it, but it's not time yet.

As soon as those words hit the page, however, I feel bad for even having them, much less writing them. But….it’s also important to share that it is ok to need a break. That it is ok to feel overwhelmed. That it is good to know yourself and realize the signs of stress and overcommitment. 

There will be some “down time.” Some things that have been neglected will get done. And life will even out. 

Truth is, though, I love being busy and life really is good! And I'm never alone in the busy. Thanks be to God!


Day #1723

September 19, 2018

Wednesday activities are back in full swing. High School Youth, Men’s Square study, Bible Study, J.A.M. 2.0 (the stories of the bible for 1st - 6th graders), and confirmation class. Sound busy? It can be, but it can also be a wonderful day!!! 

However, we are off to a somewhat slow start. Other activities, commitments, etc., meant for some absences and even a cancellation. Yet, we are NOT going to let it get us down. We hope for a better turn-out next week. 

And we persevere!!! Because the message is too important not to!


Day #1722

September 18, 2018 

I was blessed to have a conversation with someone who recently returned from an accompanying trip to another country. The enthusiasm in their voice, the excitement to share what they learned, and the examples of how God uses the church all over the world warmed my heart. 

However, the story that brought tears to my eyes was about a pastor who, because they were at the end of their rope of trying to make an impact and bring God’s story to the people, took to their knees in prayer. Please God, I can’t do this anymore, was the plea. It was at this point that a young person, who had quietly entered the church, tugged on the pastor’s arm - hey, are you the pastor? Yes, I am. So when’s worship? Just what the pastor needed to be re-energized and encouraged. 

Oh, it’s the little things!!! And often the little ones. :-)


Day #1721

September 17, 2018

The prayer for this week:
Almighty God, there are so very many who are suffering due to the devastation of flood and wind. Not only from the latest storms, but for years now in the United States and beyond. We pray, Lord, that you would grant both physical and emotional healing; protect those who are helping to rebuild and/or caring for those displaced and in need; and give us all generous hearts to help as we can. Amen. 

Day #1720

September 16, 2018

We celebrated today. For the last twenty-five years, the congregation has been blessed with the musical direction of the same talented, gifted person. Thank you, Ellen, for all you do, the talent you share, and the joy with which you do so. We are certainly blessed at the congregation with a dedicated staff all around, but today we give thanks for your first 25 years!


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Day #1719

September 15, 2018 

Today I’m following and praying for folks, friends and family on the east coast in the path and aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Wind and flood can be so dangerous and devastating. Praying for safety and minimal damage!!!


Day #1718

September 14, 2018 

Camping quickly came to an end. But we’re already thinking about the next time. Uh oh!!

Today, however, I am grateful that all seemed to go well back home. I guess I’m not quite ready to be out of “service” too often or too long. 


Day #1717

September 13, 2018 

This seems to be a big part of the camping experience, right?! Relaxing!!! No cell service!! No television! So far, soooo good!!!

Oh, and then there is the scenery:

And the elk bugling and watching is awesome (the video won't work, but the still shot is really cool, too):

I’m thinking I like this stuff!!


Day #1716

September 12, 2018

Well, today we begin a new adventure - camping. There are so many beautiful places to see in this glorious state that we thought trying camping would be a good idea. Also, if we decide one day to travel more, it might be good to see if we even like living in a trailer. So we took a “sensible” route and tried renting. 

This will be home for the next couple of nights. And we're off....


Day #1715

September 11, 2018

Today marks seventeen (17!!) years since life seemed to change in ways we are still trying to discover and overcome. That is a long time! In fact, for many, it is a lifetime ago. I’m thinking of the youth who weren’t even born on that fateful day 17 years ago. They don’t know how it was that all seemed just fine when we woke up only to have life shattered for so many in just minutes. 

Oh, that the world would never know another few minutes of change like those!! Lord, have mercy!!


Day #1714

September 10, 2018 

The prayer this week is for the world post-9/11/01:
Almighty God, nearly each generation has some defining moment of change. A moment when we realize we are not who we should be in relationship with one another. As we move through this week, we pray that you would guide us more toward ways of living with one another in peace and justice. We also pray for the safety of those who care for others - first responders, fire-fighters, police - and for the leaders of the world to make wise and equitable decisions.

Day #1713

September 9, 2018 

This seemed to be worth sharing. 

Another visual (sorry for the blurry) reminder of what it means to try to rely on our own works in order to be in good relationship with God instead of trusting God’s love and grace for us.

Also, after being “across the alley” for a Sunday of joint worship, it was good to come home. It’s like enjoying time away on vacation - it's lots of fun. But when you return, your own home can certainly look good and be comfortable.

Lastly, the start of something new - P.S. The idea is for post-sermon conversation - questions someone wants to ask, ideas to bounce around, and including how we have seen God working during the last week. We'll see how it goes, but it seems to be off to a good start.  


Day #1712

September 8, 2018 

The Women of the ELCA provided another wonderful potluck salad luncheon with delicious and plentiful food, great fellowship, and an encouraging and thought-provoking program. We said a farewell to one who has been very active in years past and is now leaving for another state. We sang, we laughed, we may have even shed a tear. Thank you, ladies, once again. What more could we ask for?

Well, maybe an amazing sunset to end the day. Boy, this big-sky country certainly puts on a show!!!


Friday, September 7, 2018

Day #1711

September 7, 2018

So, Boomer gave me a card with this picture on the front:

Then, at breakfast, he does his own re-creation:

It’s like he’s saying, did I hear it’s your birthday, mom?! Love you! Hahaha!

Thanks to all who’ve helped make today a great birthday. Love and hugs to all!


Day #1710

September 6, 2018 

Today was the monthly Ladies: Let’s Do Lunch. You’ve read before how much fun these times together can be, but today was exceptionally fun for me. They made it a celebration with cake and cards and singing and joy all around. I am blessed to be among these wonderful folks who remind me often they are glad I am here. They are awesome!


P.S. Wish I hadn't been in such a hurry to cut the cake - I didn't even get a picture. It was certainly delicious, though! Thank you!!!

Day #1709

September 5, 2018 

The calendar has turned and Labor Day has passed. It is looking a lot like fall is coming quickly. Daylight is getting shorter, kids are back to school, and the schedule is getting busier.

With all that said, there are some really good things that summer ending brings. Like gathering again for coffee/breakfast with the High School youth before school on Wednesdays. Today was the first day back and it’s so much fun to be with them. Thank you for starting off the mid-day of the week in such a great way! 


Day #1708

September 4, 2018 

Often the Daily Intersection comes through what others say and do. For instance, business/service folks who go above and beyond in making certain the job is done well and the customer is pleased. Good service shows care for the other.

The best, however, came toward the end of today. We have been working on sanding and re-staining the railing on our front deck. Being at the staining stage, it has become tedious. A neat thing happened when our neighbor, riding his four-wheeler, stopped to watch me. You’re doing a really good job, he said. Thank you, I said, for encouraging me to keep going. Well, it looks great, he continued, you’re creating a masterpiece. What a sweet thing - for a 1st grade boy to notice and say. Thank you for being an encourager, especially at such a young age. Impressive! You can come visit anytime - there's a long way to go to finish! :-)


Day #1707

September 3, 2018 

A prayer for Labor Day:
God of all, we give thanks for the different ways of employment to which you call us to serve. Some focus on the use of our hands, some with tools, some with minds, some with creativity, and more. Whatever we do as jobs give praise to you when our vocation is first and foremost being a Child of God. Give us strength to do our jobs and help us to see how we can share about you each day through what we say and do. For those, Lord, who are retired from public work, give them the reminder that their lives are as important to sharing your good news as ever. And for those whose job is learning and being educated, help them also see the importance of being trained and that they have an important place in your kingdom. Amen. 

Day #1706

September 2, 2018 

We were welcomed "across the alley" for a joint worship service today with our neighbors, the Presbyterian congregation. Worship was lively and full and joy-filled/joyful, with a cowboy theme. Classic hymns, conversation around the campfire about the scripture, root beer floats at fellowship all made for a great morning. 

Then, a little later, Boomer’s first fishing trip in the boat. 

A short trip and he did well. Been a busy couple of days for him. :-)


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Day #1705

September 1, 2018

Today’s Daily Intersection is brought to you by Boomer. 

What could be more evident of God’s love and care for us and all of creation than getting out and enjoying a ride in the country? In the truck, watching ducks, certainly means a God-day!


Day #1704

August 31, 2018

What happens when 20+ people get together to play cards/games? They enjoy one another’s company. They enjoy good food. They laugh. They tease. They learn about one another. They form/reinforce friendships. Basically they have a good time. Yes, we certainly did!


Day #1703

August 30, 2018

Today was another of those days where experiences or events were so varied it’s hard to imagine they all relate to one vocation. Everything from good conversation with colleagues; a beginning to a birthday celebration with a generous and caring partner in ministry; appreciating an anniversary of a staff member; planning a worship service; a good meeting; getting some rest; reading; answering emails, text messages, and calls; and the list could go on and on. In other words, a really good day with God evident in the midst of it all!


Day #1702

August 29, 2018 

I found a note in my Bible today that is very important. The note said: the reality of God and God’s grace does not rely on my belief or trust. God is God, whether I believe that or not. And whether I believe does not make God more real or less real.

Humbling, isn’t it. It is a statement/fact that makes me grateful God is God and I am not. So whether or not I (or anyone else for that matter) believe does not change God. Thankfully!


Day #1701

August 28, 2018 

While having a conversation with someone in the community today, I was reminded of how connected we humans really are. It isn’t unusual for folks to know some of the same people, I suppose. After all, the way connections are made on FaceBook are evidence of just how few the degrees of separation between us humans really are. 

Sometimes, however, the seemingly randomness of connections are almost overwhelming in how important they really are. I suppose it’s just another reminder that we never know when we interact with someone who we may really be impacting. And Who ultimately brings us all together. Thanks be to God!