Encouragement


01
Oct 2018
Invest in Love

When Christians want to know what the Bible says about money and stewardship and investments, we typically look to the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25. I cannot tell you how often I have heard this parable used to explain to me how God is displeased when we do not save and invest our money to multiply it. And I have always been troubled by that line of thinking for two reasons: There are so many other passages in the Bible that teach us differently. For example, Luke 18 says: Sell everything......

Read More


05
Sep 2018
Life Is Better In Groups

Last year about this time, we kicked of a series called Freeway and encouraged everyone to participate in a small group during the series. We had great feedback from folks about small groups. In fact, one of our new small groups kept meeting all year long! Many of you have been asking about joining an ongoing small group. So, here we go! This Sunday, September 9 at 6:00 pm, Pastor Joanie and I are hosting a small group kickoff gathering at Hood. Anyone and everyone is invited. Maybe you already are part......

Read More


28
Aug 2018
Breathe

Today, join me in what I call Breath Prayer. I have used this way of praying for about a decade now. I find it comforting, calming, and centering in my life and in my relationship to God. Here is how it works: Step 1: Close your eyes.  Focus on your breathing.  In and Out.  In and Out. Step 2: Say the following phrase as you breath in and out: Breathing In, I breathe in the life of Christ Breathing Out, I breathe out the work of Christ Step 3: Read through the......

Read More


27
Aug 2018
Return to Praise

Honestly, I had a moment tonight.  Things had built up over the past few days and tonight the flood gates opened.  I was feeling sadness missing and remembering my father-in-law.  And as memories came rushing to me and tears fell down my face…my attention kept returning to praise. Over the past few weeks and months we have discussed a lot of “heavy” and challenging ideas, themes, and characters in the Bible: Judas Iscariot, Jonah, Joseph of Arimathea, Anna, Lydia, grief, surprises, and the list goes on.  I think I have been so......

Read More


06
Aug 2018
Light

Tonight I am working on our kitchen remodel installing recessed lighting. I call Nora to come look at the lights and read the name of the fixtures. She runs in to the construction zone, looks up at the lights, and immediately a smile beams across her face. She doesn’t say anything, so I ask, “What’s the name of these lights?” “Nora,” she says with a giggly voice and my smile begins to beam as well. Pretty neat that the lights in our new kitchen share a name with my middle daughter! And......

Read More


17
Jul 2018
Love and Grief

This has been a season of grief for many members of our church family, in various ways.  Grief is natural and grief is heavy. Some are experiencing the death of a friend way too early.  What do we do with the emptiness?  Some are trying to figure out what happened to their loved one.  Why so quickly?  Some are experiencing the loneliness of not being able to reach out to one they loved one more time.  Where are you?   Some are remembering the way things once were. How do you handle all......

Read More


26
Jun 2018
Lord, Make me an Instrument

Generally, when we consider the writings of the apostle Paul, we think of letters that are harsh and straight to the point.  At times, Paul has a very aggressive style of writing as he tries to persuade his listeners.  As a matter of fact, when I read the writings of Paul, I have come to expect his intensity.  There are moments in the book of Romans that are no exception. As I reread more of his letter to the Romans, I was encouraged by messages of hope, grace, and God’s righteousness.  In......

Read More


20
Jun 2018
God's Kindness found in Romans

One of the Facebook posts that has struck me the most lately is: In a world where you can be anything, be kind. This quote has appeared over and over again in my news feed. And these past few weeks and months of hearing about many of the disheartening events and interactions in our news-these words seem to ring out even louder to be heard.  I even find myself asking “why aren’t we practicing kindness?” And then I began reading Romans-in  reading through the New Testament. (Yes, I am behind).  And right......

Read More


18
Jun 2018
Distracted?

Distractions. They are a daily part of life. Sometimes I get frustrated by distractions. Other times I am so tired of the daily routine that I crave a good distraction. How about you? Distractions can be harmful or useful.They are harmful when… a lifeguard at a pool filled with children gets distracted, a truck driver gets distracted on the interstate, a parent with small children at the mall gets distracted. They can be useful when used by… A ski instructor to coax a student down a mountain, a mother trying to pull a splinter from......

Read More


12
Jun 2018
K(no)w Wonder

Have you ever felt a bit of surprise mixed with admiration, curiosity, amazement and awe because of something beautiful, unexpected, unexplainable, or unfamiliar? How often? A couple times a year? Once a month? Once a week? Everyday? The feeling I’m asking about is wonder. How often to do have a sense of wonder? Do you wake up in wonder of a new day? Do you embrace the day with a sense of wonder at the world around you? Do you greet people in pure wonder about their life and experiences? Do you......

Read More