I am blessed, blessed, BLESSED beyond words because I work at the church. While most are missing their church family, I get to see many of my church friends, almost every day. However, I talk with people weekly who are frustrated that we are not having in-person worship yet and they are feeling very lonely – and I understand, it has been very difficult…
The summer after Aimee and I were married, we decided to see how green our thumbs were. We spent a little time in the flower beds. We pulled the weeds, trimmed back the hedges, and prepared the dirt for planting. One thing we wanted to try was growing our own tomatoes. Neither of us claimed to be gardeners, but it seemed like something fun to try for the first time.
The Bible is a collection of stories and a collection of characters. It’s the way the early Biblical writers told about God, by telling stories. They shared about our greater family of faith, people and characters who did great things, as well as those times they failed and turned away. God used characters in the Bible to help us make these connections to Him as well…
I spent four years in seminary studying the Bible, Church history and Theology. One of my favorite subjects to study was the life and teachings of John Wesley. John Wesley was the founder of Methodism. Most of John’s ministry was shared with his brother Charles. Charles Wesley is not the most well-known of the Wesley family. Perhaps it is because he did not preach with the same fire and passion as John. Charles may not be as well-known because his leadership was more behind the scenes. However, Charles’ influence was significant.
O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
– Psalm 139:1-14
“Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”
This year, COVID-19 has changed our normal back-to-school routine. Now students are hoping to return to school and parents are nervous about summer ending. As I have spoken with many families in many school districts, I hear the same concerns. Parents are worried about the child’s education, the child’s safety, and anxious about how school will look as the weeks progress. I join these parents in their worries. I know our teachers, our school staff, and leadership are worried and anxious too.
“History has its eyes on you.” Every time I watch the musical “Hamilton” or listen to the music, there is a different line or lesson that sticks out to me. This line was the most recent one that jumped out to me when I watched the hit music on Disney+ a couple weeks ago. This statement was certainly true for the founding fathers of our nation, but it is also equally true for us today.
Tony is a young man who has had a difficult start to life. He was given up for adoption when he was born. Unfortunately, he spent many years in the foster care system before being adopted. He lived with his new family for six years, until they left him at a local hospital for medical care and never came back to take him home. They gave up their parental rights and Tony went back into the foster care system.
If you were like me as a kid, just the thought of Christmas morning had the same effect as eating Fun Dip, Smarties, grape taffy, and a frozen Snickers with your friends at the public pool in July. Watching us run around, all hopped up on sugar, compelled my best friend’s mom to say to my mom, “Doreen… they’re animals.” That youthful excitement is why I love the movie “Elf”…