Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-26-16


Scripture: 1st Corinthians 12:27
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

Thought for the Day: Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi (Body of Christ), and no, it is not a city festival celebrated four hours from Spring. The Feast of Corpus Christi has been celebrated in parts of the church for nearly 800 years, and it has been a time to joyfully honor the Lord’s Supper. During Holy Week, the church celebrates the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, but it is always a very solemn and introspective occasion. The church didn’t want to forget how the experience at the Communion Table should also be a celebration. Along with the joyful celebration, the Feast Day of Corpus Christi offer an opportunity for the church to reflect on how Christ is present at the Table. Though many theories, no one knows exactly. It remains a great mystery, yet we claim that Jesus meets us in the meal. This is reason to give thanks! This is reason to celebrate!

Prayer: You came to this world, O Lord, in the form of a man from Nazareth. You continue to meet the world in so many marvelous ways, including Communion’s bread and cup. Thank you! Amen.



June 14-17

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-25-16


Scripture: Romans 8:11
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

Thought for the Day: Walt Disney said, “Animation offers a medium of storytelling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world.”  Taking that which was stationary and bringing it to life allows for a story to be told in a new and exciting way. When the spirit of God dwells within us, it animates us and allows the story of grace to come alive for the world around us.

Prayer: O Holy One, may your spirit breathe life into this body so I may become your storyteller.  Amen.


Memorial Weekend

Collecting Items For Veterans

hand sanitizers
body wash
playing cards

Bring them to worship with you…



Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-24-16


Scripture: John 15:16-17 (the Message)
You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you. But remember the root command: Love one another.

Thought for the Day: I was reading an article in which the author used the phrase, “The American Dream.” I rarely read the comments at the end of an online article, but in this case, I read the first one without thinking – and then the second, third, fourth… twenty-seventh… I was fascinated by the arguments that erupted among these online readers. As I read through them a second time, I was drawn to a specifically nasty argument among five different readers. Their comments initially seemed strange, but then I realized that they were missing an important point. No one in the argument seemed to recognize how they all had different understandings of the American Dream. They were yelling (in the virtual world) past each other. This happens in many circles, including Christianity. Now some folks are arrogant enough to suggest that they know the true meaning of all Christian things, but for the rest of us, we have different takes on what it means to be a follower of Jesus – to claim him as: the Christ, Rabbi, crucified one, Redeemer, Prince of Peace, Righteousness of God, Savior, Incarnation, etc. For each Christian, there are one or two of these (or maybe something not listed) that resinate with us more than the others. Those couple of metaphors, titles or images become the lenses through which we view Jesus and what it means to follow Jesus. Does that mean some are right and some are wrong? That is a tough question to answer, but it does remind us how easily we can argue past each other. Instead of immediately debating some hot topic within Christianity, a good starting place might be to ask, Who do you believe Jesus was and is? For you personally, what is the most important aspect of the Jesus-story? Once those questions are answered, it becomes a bit more difficult to tell someone that they are wrong even if you disagree.  

Prayer: Provide me a spirit of humility, O Lord, and keep me attentive to what others say. Give me the right questions to ask so that understanding is achieved before my arrogance claims victory. Amen.

Someone to join you
in worship this Sunday

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-23-16


Scripture: Psalm 119:15-16
I will think about your precepts and examine all your paths. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget what you have said.

Thought for the Day: It has been more than two years since the 200+ girls were kidnapped in Nigeria. I have written devotionals about this situation every six months or so to keep it before us. Until a few days ago, not one of the kidnapped girls had been seen. Last Tuesday, Amina Ali Nkeki wandered out of a forest with a baby in her arms. This is a glimmer of hope in a dark and painful period. For those of us who sit thousands of miles away, we claim it as a tragedy, but for the parents and other family members of these girls, it has to be beyond anything any of us can imagine. This devotional is to make sure we continue to remember these girls, for the God we claim to worship and follow, has not forgotten them. As long as they are remembered, there remains hope.  

Prayer: Let my remembrances and prayers be added to the multitude. Keep us focused on those situations that break your heart, O Lord. Amen.



Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-22-16


Scripture:  Mark 5:12-14
Jesus was in one of the towns where there was also a man covered with a skin disease. When he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged, “Lord, if you want, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do want to. Be clean.” Instantly, the skin disease left him. Jesus ordered him not to tell anyone. “Instead,” Jesus said, “go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses instructed. This will be a testimony to them.”

Thought for the Day: A brother from the Mormon church, David A. Bednar, said, “We should remember that bearing a heartfelt testimony is only a beginning. We need to bear testimony, we need to mean it, and most importantly we need consistently to live it. We need to both declare and live our testimonies.” In the healing of the man with leprosy, Jesus didn’t want him to go to the crowds on the street, but to the religious leaders of the day. In this case, Jesus didn’t even want him to speak of what had occurred. Instead, Jesus invited him to simply show himself as a testimony. What in your life is a testimony of God’s grace? What might others see in your life that would provide a witness to the love and goodness of God?

Prayer: As the song suggests – Lord, I’ll be a living testimony to you. Amen.

SERMON: A Safe Stage

Including Testimonies from Our High School Seniors

Ecclesiological Etchings:05-21-16


Scripture: Romans 1:1
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God…

Thought for the Day: Isolated, secluded, solitary confinement, inaccessible and anti-social. These are just a few of the words associated with being set apart. Many Christians throughout history have tried to live out the notion of set apart by making themselves inaccessible to the world. The Apostle Paul’s life ran contrary to this understanding of set apart. He engaged every person, social context and world view that he could. Paul redefined what it meant to be set apart. In reading an introduction to a Superman comic book, I found it interesting that Superman is described as one who is set apart, but set apart by his lack of fear when it comes to entering any situation. Some might call it bravery or crazy, but Paul is unique (set apart) in his amazing ability to enter every context with a unique message of grace and divine welcome.  

Prayer: Please set me apart with your mission, O God, so that I never find myself set apart from my sisters and brothers. Amen.


Sunday Morning Worship

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-20-16


Scripture: Proverbs 13:4
The lazy have strong desires but receive nothing; the appetite of the diligent is satisfied.

Thought for the Day: As I sat at my desk yesterday, I reached for my cup of  tea and lifted it to my lips – not once or twice or even three times, but four times – these all occurred after the cup had been emptied. Each time I thought to myself, I need to get up and make myself another cup. Each time, I went back to what I was doing instead of getting more tea. It may not have been procrastination, but it felt a little like a window through which I glimpsed many aspects of my life. Though another cup of tea was not some high priority, it clearly was something my body (or mind) was craving. Not that all cravings should receive our full and immediate attention, but too often we lift the empty cup of faith numerous times and think to ourselves, I should do something about it. We think it, but we do not do what is necessary to fill our cup.

Prayer: Fill my cup, Lord! This is my request, yet I pray for the spiritual energy to get up and do what is necessary to see my cup filled. Amen.


Today at Noon


Don’t Miss Worship This Sunday

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-19-16


Scripture: 2nd Corinthian 4:13
But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—”I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak…

Thought for the Day: The bumper sticker on the old Volvo read, “I Believe.” I was unable to read it until I pulled up right behind the car at a stoplight. It was old and faded, and it was barely readable. I wondered if the bumper sticker had belonged to the previous owner of the car, or were the faded words a reflection of the owner’s own faith – a faith that over time had lost its intensity and brilliance. I wonder how many of us find the faded bumper sticker to be an accurate metaphor for our own faith, a faith that is faded to a point where it is no longer visible to most everyone around us.

Prayer: Renew me, O God, with a faith that speaks clearly in both word and deed.  Amen.


Message: A Safe Stage
Luke 8:38-39

With Youth Testimonies


Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-18-16


Scripture: 1st Thessalonians 4:13
Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about people who have died so that you won’t mourn like others who don’t have any hope. 

Thought of the Day: On this day in 1969, the Apollo 10 rocket launched. It was a practice session for Apollo 11, the first mission to land on the moon. Apollo 10 circled the moon, ran all the equipment, practiced all the potential situations, and even did a test run of the Lunar Module. Everything they did was essential for those who would later land on the surface, but today, we don’t remember Apollo 10. We don’t remember all those who made the “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” possible. In the above words, Paul was providing some pastoral words to those who were wondering about the previous generation. What about those who build the foundation on which we stand. At no point are their names mentioned by Paul, and thus we don’t know them. Yet like Apollo 10, these were essential characters in the divine drama that we continue to live today. We might remember the more noteworthy stories of faith that equalled that first lunar landing, but let us always remember the lesser known folks of Christian history who made everything else possible.

Prayer: For all your faithful servants, O Lord, I am thankful…even those whose names I will never know. Amen.

Who might you invite
to church this Sunday?



Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-17-16


Scripture: Psalm9:10
Those who know your name trust you because you have not abandoned any who seek you, Lord.

Thought for the Day: I may have used this quote before, but it jumped off the page at me yesterday afternoon as I was doing a little reading. Corrie Ten Boom wrote, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Her words do not suggest that God controls the future in the sense of God governing our daily choices, but it reminds me of how our futures can never fall or drift beyond God’s eternal presence. 

Prayer: I joyfully shout and sing your name, O Lord, in the knowledge of your everlasting and loving presence. Amen.


Men’s Gathering
Cramer Retreat Center

Dinner at 6:30pm
Study at 7:00pm

Don’t miss it…




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 36 other followers