Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The journey we take is one we need to prepare for. In reading about pilgrimages, I notice the authors talk about what they bring with them on the journey, what advice they listen to, which they ignore. When I was a boy scout I went backpacking for a week. On the eve of this adventure we emptied out our packs and our guide discussed what was important, and what wasn't. I left behind almost half of what I packed. I was glad, because after a few days, those packs became pretty heavy. I could not imagine what it would have been like if I had all the extra stuff.
In this season perhaps we can lighten our load by leaving what is unessential behind, our fears, our anxieties, anything that weighs us down. One way to release these burdens is by opening our hearts to the presence of God in our lives and in the world. Look for signs of hope. See how God is working in the world today, and build on the belief that God is with us, Emmanuel.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The first week of Advent is about finding signs of hope in our world, my world. I want to make room for the message of God in this season and attempt to keep from trying to do too much. Too much means I will cause me to disconnect from the world, so I want to stay engaged, and still find time to let my soul catch up with all the activities I am doing. This means I can say no to some activities. So I need the guidance of God to see which ones are important, which ones I need to let go. This past weekend as I decorated the house, I let go of trying to do as much as I have done in the past, to keep the decorating simple, and throwing out or recycling old decorations and lights. The past week was very busy and so this week I have intentionally scheduled less to allow time to follow through on projects I had put on hold, as well as give some thought to the weeks ahead. Today, the hope I see is this less busy schedule where I can be a bit more relaxed about my schedule and allow the Spirit to refresh my soul with hope!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Moving to Sunday

Now that our annual meeting is done here at the church, I am focusing on Thanksgiving and advent. I have been reading the Journey by Adam Hamilton in preparation for the theme of Advent for our church. So I wrote a poem:

Amidst the rush of Thankmas
Tucked behind the noise
The small still voice calls.

Beneath the stacks of decorations
Hidden by all the lights
The small still voice calls

Beyond blaring music
In the simple harmony of life
A small still voice calls

The voice of the prophet brings promise
the voice of the angel brings truth
The voice of Mary brings faith
The voice of Joseph brings righteousness

All echo the small still voice of God
proclaiming the good news
the arrival of Jesus
and the promise of his return!

God is with us now!
God is with us always!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

As I write I am grateful for the wonderful worship experience we celebrated together yesterday. We had participants representing our committees leading worship, a visual reminder of how so many volunteer so unselfishly. We dedicated our pledges and after an early low count, this week we are very close to our goal for the new year. And we were able to have some great food during our after worship pot-luck.
Now I turn to preparing for our annual meeting, called a charge conference, on Tuesday. There is much to celebrate as we remember the last year, and all we accomplished, all we lived through. There are signs of vitality as we look around, we have new people getting ready to join the church, there are new people pledging their support both financially and serving as leaders. The future looks bright as we journey together.
I have goals to improve my leadership, and invite you to set a goal to grow deeper in your relationship with God. Together, under God's guidance we can transform the world!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Take the Risk!

I wonder where you will be tomorrow? As I travel to church I see people golfing, going to a shopping center, going to the gym, lining up for entrance to the fairgrounds for a special event, driving, walking, well you get the picture. People are doing many different things on a Sunday morning. I also wonder if they go to a place of worship. Maybe the service they attend are on another day or time, maybe they are going later that day, or maybe they do not go to worship. Then I wonder, what keeps them from worship, a bad experience, a lack of faith, higher priorities? And then I wonder if there is something God is calling me to do differently to reach the unchurched?
I spent a great deal of time talking to people this week, those who do not come to my church, I am listening to them, and to God's Spirit to see what I can say or do that might help them take the risk of coming to our worship service this Sunday. I don't know the answers, so I hope the dialogue will continue with those who have no church home and I might extend a word of welcome to them. For me I will be at worship tomorrow morning and invite all to join me.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


In my daily practice of writing in the morning, I have been taking time to write a word of thanks to those in my life. I have included people I know in my church, my family, people who I stay in touch through the internet, and people who who are strangers but whose names show up in my life. I have noticed that starting the day with this simple practice has changed my whole attitude to the day. I am much more aware of the giving of others, I am much more aware of how much I want to give.
I am not sure if I can adequately express how taking time to give thanks for people, for the day, for the guidance of God is changing me, but I can sense the change. A job coach I was having a discussion with talked about how the big mistake a job applicant will make going into an interview. The applicant will talk about how much they need the job, how it would change their life etc. However, if an applicant can be clear about what they can offer to the employer that will help them, then people see the value of the applicant becoming an important part of the work.
Sometimes I forget what I have to offer is exactly what others need. I want to be clear about my giving for the transformation of the world, and how God is calling me to give all that I can so others will be blessed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Poem for Veterans

Upon the grave I cast
a sorrowful look

My heat aching for the loss
of a soldier so brave

My mind wonders, why? how?
of the life extinguished

I pray to thank the universe
for those who serve

I pledge not to use the freedom bought
carelessly, neglectfully.

To honor the one entombed, to
Echo freedom's call for those who
live in bondage.

Thank you brave one,
Thank you soldiers all..
SPM 11-12-11

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Operating in silo's

Yesterday I went to a homeless summitt, to examine how we can end homelessness. One of the speakers commented that organizations often operate in silo's, that is to see only their work and focus on only what they are doing without seeing the other work of countless other folks. So the result is that city angencies do not see the work of the county agencies, who do not see the state agencies, who do not see the fedral work, who does not see the world wide work.
As those who care about this important issue we need to work with one another, and for one another. Another speaker pointed out that people who are homeless have multiple issues that need to be addressed, but they should not have to go to one place to get food another to get shelter, another to get dental work. The systems are too complicated and the persons trying to change get frustrated.
I wonder how I can help, and what I need to change in my own life so I can help those who are homeless, and work for the prevention of homelessness?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


This morning I attended a Networking breakfast for Walnut/Diamond Bar businesses, I was the only church represenative. I wonder if I am able to really give referals, what "business am I in?" I do know we offer services such as baptisms, weddings, counseling, preschool classes, food for the hungry, clothes for the homeless, etc. But what is the business of the church? I refer to the mission statment of the church, " To Make New Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World". Would that be a selling point for business people to referr people to us? I really struggle with how to promote our work especially when we strive to be humble. In the end, I try to be present with these business folks, to listen to their struggles, to their dreams, and see what resources they need. Perhaps it is enough for them to know I am not there to sell them anything but to be present with them in the good times and the stressful ones. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

For all the Saints!

I am aware this day of the saints of my life, who gave of their love and care even when I did not appreciate or notice it. Today I want to listen to the world for the small still voice of God, to listen deeply beyond the usual chatter of the day. In my way to work I listened to the song, "You Are So Beautiful, To Me" and wondered if this was a gift from one of my saints, who said this to me before I realized it was exactly how they treated me. Perhaps then not only listening but responding to the legacy of the saints I will strive to let people know how beautiful they are.