Archives For Ministry

#Voice

December 14, 2017 — Leave a comment

A child’s voice is filling our house for a few days. Nelson is staying with us while his mom has a baby sister.

He loves our cat, Simon. She is still figuring out what the heck is going on and who this new kid is that suddenly arrived at our house.

She hid under the table, but Nelson wanted to show her cat photos and videos. So he crawled under to share his screen.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. (Matthew 18:1-5)

#Revealed

December 13, 2017 — Leave a comment

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
   and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
   and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
   and his glory will appear over you.

 Nations shall come to your light,
   and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

The sun shall no longer be
   your light by day,
nor for brightness shall the moon
   give light to you by night;
but the Lord will be your everlasting light,
   and your God will be your glory.
Your sun shall no more go down,
   or your moon withdraw itself;
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
   and your days of mourning shall be ended. (Isaiah 60:1-3, 19-20)

#Glory

December 12, 2017 — Leave a comment

I know, I’m rushing it a little bit, but…

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
 ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’ Luke 2:8-14

Just an ordinary night, really. Sheep to tend, a field to pace and guard, families to support. Shepherds doing what shepherds do.

And then an angel…and the glory of the Lord shining all around…and a multitude of angels praising God.

What was unremarkable became remarkable and ordinary shepherds were the first to know the good news.

Maybe things like this still happen? A splash of God’s glory in the midst of the mundane, a multitude of heavenly hosts singing praises if only we would stop and watch and listen for it. 

#Prepare

December 11, 2017 — Leave a comment

Today, we prepared for a visit from Santa. No Scripture reflection tonight. Advent is in full swing.

 

 

 

#Tenderly

December 10, 2017 — Leave a comment

Happy Second Sunday of Advent!

People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them. Luke 10:13-16

#Remember

December 9, 2017 — Leave a comment

Our tree is up. The lights and ornaments are on it.

Here’s the thing about our tree: I’m not sure it’s pretty to anyone but us, really. I’ve seen some of your trees, all decorated in a colorful theme or with ribbons or balls, and they are lovely, really. Our tree is a mish-mash of various types of homemade and store-bought, old and newer. Ornaments from the trees Jason and I grew up with, carefully saved by our mothers and offered to us when we bought our first house together. All of the angel ornaments given to me, one a year while I grew up, by my Godmother, Donna. Ornaments made at various ages by Jonas, who is now almost 19 years-old. Ornaments we bought from Matt’s Newsstand when it was still open in downtown Henderson and I was trying to begin small collections. Many given to me through the years here in Henderson as gifts from families connected to the church.

Every one is a memory, really, and as we decorate the tree, I remember where each came from, or the story told to me about it (would you believe Jason cross-stitched one of the ornaments on our tree?).

Remembering can be a lovely, humbling part of the holiday season. The season gives us many occasions to remember loved ones no longer with us, fun times from when our children were small and Christmas was a special kind of magical, the mishaps and victories that we associate with tree lights and tinsel. I’m grateful to have so many reminders of wonderful people and times and places.

I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:3-7

#Perceived

December 8, 2017 — Leave a comment

All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord,
   for they have heard the words of your mouth.
They shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
   for great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly;
   but the haughty he perceives from far away. (Psalm 138:4-6)

Not a movie star? Not rich and famous? No crown or bling to speak of? Rest easy. You are loved by a glorious God.

(Speaking of movie stars, these sunglasses adorn the set of Sunday morning’s Christmas pageant, which will happen during the 10:30 worship service at the Presbyterian Church.)

#Awesome

December 7, 2017 — Leave a comment

When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
   you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. (Isaiah 64:3)

The use of the word “awesome” is interesting.  It means something like “awe-inspiring” or “magnificent,” but since the 1990s, it has had a much more casual meaning that essentially amounts to “good,” which is quite a bit less impressive than “magnificent.”

“Becky, your Lean Cuisine is done cooking in the microwave.”

“Awesome.”

Nothing about my Lean Cuisine is actually awesome, by the way. But it gets the job done at lunch time.

When God’s people look for awesome deeds, we may be tempted to look up, searching the sky for celestial wonders or an awe-inspiring sunset. We may be tempted to search for something powerful and dazzling. I would imagine this has always been true.

And yet God’s awesome deeds often come unexpectedly, in unexpected circumstances in unexpected places.

During a quiet night in the middle of tumultuous political times while shepherds kept their flocks. In a manger in the middle of nowhere attended by the most ordinary of people and their livestock. With the Son of God coming to earth in the most unlikely circumstances, at least it must have seemed.

The most awesome of deeds. The most holy of nights. Yet only noticed by a few at the time.

May we learn to look for God at work in places we would not normally expect.

#Known

December 7, 2017 — Leave a comment

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:8-13)

Yesterday I was feeling rather sick and didn’t take a single photo.

So I bring you this photo from this past summer. It was taken the night before Jenn and Brenden’s wedding in Cascade, Idaho.

This is such a great passage of scripture. If it sounds extra-familiar, it’s likely because you’ve heard it at many weddings you’ve attended. It’s the one that has the description “Love is patient, love is kind…”

We are known well by the people who love us best, and we are known perfectly by the one who created us.

 

#Kindles

December 5, 2017 — Leave a comment

If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! (James 3:3-5)

Today I did something fun.

This afternoon, I met my friend Lawrence at The Creme, a coffee shop in Owensboro, and listened to him talk. To be transparent, as I was also transparent with him, the purpose of our meeting was for me to fulfill requirements of a scholarship application, to listen to him speak about subjects he and I do not agree about and truly listen to what he had to say about them without trying to influence his opinion or insert my own (and then write an essay about that). That may have been the purpose, but the benefits included I got to drink coffee and spend time with Lawrence and learn a little about who he is what he believes in an environment that was not facebook and with true intention of hearing what he had to say.

Here’s the thing: our tongues are killing our relationships. When we verbally distill each other down to the worst caricature possible, when we would rather talk about someone than to someone, when we are more interested in getting our own words out than hearing the words of others, we are not focusing on the opportunity we have to truly know each other and hear each other. When we seek to somehow advance our own images rather than seek to see the image of God in each person around us, we can do a lot of damage.

“Behold a small fire–such a great forest it kindles!” James 3:5 (my meager translation of the Greek.)

I took the picture posted here in the bathroom at The Creme. I thought the “Love one another” sign was a good reminder of why I had come there and that the “poop” sign was pretty unique.