Life Lessons


12
Jul 2017
Don't Know What You've Got...

And don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. -from Joni Mitchell song “Big Yellow Taxi”   Have you heard that phrase before:  “You don’t know what you’ve got till its gone?”  I have experienced this a little differently in my life–most memorably in college.  I grew up and spent the first 21 years of my life just outside the Roanoke Valley.  Resting in the valley, this area is surrounded by the glorious Blue Ridge......

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11
Jul 2017
A Messy Family

Family can be messy. From those who have become estranged because of some family conflict, to those crazy, eccentric relatives, to siblings who just don’t seem to understand one another, to parents with differing or unrealistic expectations, to you name it…family can be messy. Most of us are uncomfortable with mess. We either want to clean it up, fix it, and mend what is broken. Or we want to steer clear of the mess altogether. After all, if it is out of sight, then it is out of mind, right? The truth......

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16
May 2017
With Utmost Courtesy

I was a Boy Scout for a good portion of my youth. I eventually left scouting because of my love for music and needing to make decisions and priorities for my life. There were things about scouting that I loved…and some that I did not. But to this day, I remember key lessons from scouting which are summarized in the Scout Law: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. This law came to mind this week in large part because I have noticed......

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25
Apr 2017
I'm Just a Child

When I was the age my girls are now, I went to church choir practice every week after school.  Surely, church choir is where my love of music began.  We learned music theory, we played different musical instruments, we played musical games, went on musical scavenger hunts, sang about freckles and invisible dogs and we learned to be worship leaders.  We worked hard to perfect the art of standing still on the risers and opening our mouths (3 fingertips wide) at precisely the right time. I remember lots of the songs I learned......

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04
Apr 2017
Good Gratitude

One of the gifts of being a pastor is the invitation to walk with folks through the difficult times of life. Because of this gift, I get to hear how folks are dealing with tough situations. And I value every thought idea and word shared. They give me amazing insight into how we humans cope with life through both the good and not-so-good. Part of being a pastor who cares about folks journeying through difficult times is checking in on them. So, I often find myself asking a question like, “How are......

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29
Mar 2017
Meet People Where They Are

On Sunday, I spoke about God’s call to welcome all people without conditions. (If you missed the sermon, listen here.) In the story of the man at the Pool of Bethesda, Jesus stops, pays attention to, and helps a man who was judged and ignored by the rest of society. I asked us all to consider this question: Will we follow Jesus and offer unconditional welcome, unconditional service, unconditional love, and unconditional grace to all people? I want to answer this question with a resounding, “Yes!” And yet I know how easy......

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23
Feb 2017
On Second Thought

There are moments in life that cause us to stop and look upon something familiar as if for the first time. Parents prepares for the birth of a child for months and month. And yet the moment of the child’s birth causes parents to stop and ponder the miracle of life and mystery of love in a completely new way. A child goes to school day after day and is uninspired to learn until the moment he step foot into the classroom of a truly amazing teacher who brings learning to life in......

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21
Feb 2017
Everyone Changes

Have you ever noticed how people change? Some change for the better as they grow, mature, and learn from practically everything that life throws at them. Others withdraw and harden their hearts in opposition to the pain and fear within themselves and the world around them.The truth is we probably all change in different ways at different times…sometimes for the better and sometimes not. And, in my experience, other people rarely notice those changes right away. Our view of one another is like a picture, a snapshot of a fixed moment in......

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16
Feb 2017
Live and Learn

Live and learn. So goes the saying which suggests that life and learning are connected. We might also say, to live is to learn. In practice, people today often act as if they have little to learn.  Or, at the least, many people are only willing to learn about things they agree with. If an idea does not fit into a their preconceived notions of right and wrong, then they will refute and dismiss that idea. And this happens in practically every venue of life from faith to politics, from business to recreation, from morality to –......

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15
Feb 2017
There Are Always Exceptions

Some folks really like rules.  I am not really one of them.  But there are some folks who see rules as a guide or compass that makes life straightforward and easy enough to manage.  The basic idea is that if you follow the rules, you will be safe and have opportunity for a good life. My trouble with rules is that there are always exceptions.  Its like learning spelling or grammar in school.  You can learn a general rule, but there are always a number of words that simply do not fit with......

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