Sunday, January 24, 2010


I have to admit, I've been concerned this last week about our denomination. Not so much the direction that it's going, but that something major is being left out of future plans. Early in the week, I wondered if I'm where I need to be. Then I remembered that although I haven't worked in the church all that long, I did work in the education field long enough to learn that the pendulum swings every few years. So, I concluded that in a few years, the area I feel is being neglected will suddenly become highly important. What I have to do is continue to be a voice for balance in all aspects of discipleship.

Today, however, my hope for the future of the Church got a huge shot in the arm. The youth of our church led both worship services. They did an awesome job! And I'm not just saying that as the proud mama of the person who delivered 1/3 of the sermon. I've developed pretty high standards for worship over the last few years, and our youth did an outstanding job of using their gifts and talents to offer quality, heart felt worship. Several provided music both through their instruments and their voices. Three young ladies did an excellent children's message using a puzzle to show the importance of all of us doing our part to create the big kingdom picture God would have us work toward. Three of the youth worked together to speak to our hearts about our call to care for the hungry. One of our youth members is serving on the National Teen Board for Souper Bowl of Caring, so they chose this as the theme of the service. All in all, it was an inspiring morning.

So, if we can figure out how to keep these kids connected to the church, I have great hope.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Valley of the Shadow

Up until a few weeks ago, I read this line in Psalm 23 as I imagine many do with the valley of the shadow of death meaning danger of death or nearing death. As I have tried to walk with my friend who suddenly lost her husband a few weeks ago, I have a new understanding of the valley of the shadow of death. Truely as she grapples with grief, with the logistical nightmare of estate and finances, with the difficulties of single parenthood, with trying to imagine a life with out her soulmate, she is indeed in the valley of the shadow of death. As the Psalm reminds us, God is with her. God is with those of us who make this journey along side her, but can't walk it for her much as we would like.

Show me Lord how to be your presence for my friend. Wrap her in your arms when she needs it. Walk along side her, carry her when she needs it. Help us all know that we will come to the end of the valley in time and that you are with us on the journey. Amen.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Belated Gratitude Post

Well, I hit the road running on Monday, so didn't take time to share my Holiday Gratitudes. We had a great Christmas/New Year break. All three of us were off for two weeks (excluding some sermon prep and a wee bit of pastoral care on my part). In the weeks leading up to this break all three of us were under serious pressure at school/work. Gifted and Talented was hanging on to his sanity by his fingernails at work. ManBoy took the SAT, ACT, and dual credit college final along with having several projects due. We needed a break. So here's what we did with it.

We got the house clean! We had snow on Christmas Eve - never happened here before. We hosted G&T's family for Christmas dinner. We watched movies. We hung out and did nothing.

We took a quick trip to my sister's house and had a great visit with her family including seafood in Galveston. We traveled in my new car and enjoyed all the different ways we can listen to music - from iPod, mp3 player, and straight from a flash drive. Our return trip was a late night adventure as we were trying to beat the ice that was headed our way. We had fun listening to each other's music and keeping each other awake.

We watched movies. We hung out and did nothing. We even went to a movie - The Blind Side is awesome. We watched ManBoy spend his Christmas money on a golf club (driver). It was fun to watch him try different clubs on the virtual driving range. We ate way too much junk. We stayed up late and slept late. We got all the leaves raked and bagged the day before the yard trimmings recycle truck came.

Then at the end, manBoy and G&T put away all of Christmas while I wrote a sermon for Epiphany Sunday.

In general we had rest and recreation that helped us be re-created. For this I am thankful.

We are all back in the grind, but with more energy and better attitudes.