Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-31-13

Scripture: Jeremiah 1:6-8
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.”  But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you.  Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.”

Thought for the Day: This Sunday is Youth Sunday at Cypress Creek Christian Church.  I’m always excited, and it’s not simply because I get to sit with my wife for worship…though that’s cool.  I believe it might have more to do with my own memories and experiences around Youth Sunday, both as a youth and a Youth Minister.  I still remember a compliment my youth group received when I was a Jr. in high school.  In came in a note the week after Youth Sunday, and along with her many nice comments, she praised us for “delivering” the Gospel to the hearts and minds of the congregation.  At the time, I don’t believe we fully grasped the meaning of her words, but it definitely gave a new level of significance to what we had done.  We had delivered – and thus, for a while, been the caretakers of the Gospel. We should not make assumptions about who is capable of bringing a good word from God.  Jeremiah was concerned because of his young age, but God didn’t allow his nervousness to interfere with what God needed to accomplish.

Prayer: God of the Living Word, as excuses make it from my mind to my lips, allow your spirit to be my great encourager, so I can be useful to you and to the work of sharing the Gospel.  Amen.

This Sunday is…


Join us!!!!

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-30-13

Scripture: Romans 8:24-25
For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Thought for the Day: I was taken by this quote from Paul Hawken, “When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.”  There is so much that can draw a person to pessimism and hopelessness, but the one thing that tilts the scale the other direction is the power of God working in the hearts and hands of humanity.  At every moment when cynicism seems to have claimed the day, I find resurrection.  It may not appear all that significant to the eyes of many, but it is there…without question.  Our faith has us grafted to the God who is more than the eternal optimist  God is the ultimate victor.

Prayer: Grant me, Holy God, the vision to see your hope-filled expressions that are around me in every moment.  Amen.

…and for those who came to my Leadership Class on Wednesday and want to continue the conversation about Vision and MiSsion, CLICK HERE.


Youth Sunday
Come to worship
and support our Youth



The Evenings of
June 20-12


Leadership Class-CCCC Vision and Mission…a work in progress

Wednesday Night-In a class I was teaching, I put forth a Vision and Mission statement for discussion.  I look forward to further feedback and conversation.  Thanks everyone!!

THE WHY – Because God first loved us… (1st John 4:11)

VISION – Courageous In Love – Bold In Serving
(Other Thoughts-A Community of Welcomed Leftovers or A Community for the Rest of Us)

MISSION – Invite people into an experience of God’s audacious love shown in Jesus Christ, and then equip disciples whose embodiment of that same love is contagious (unmistakeable).




Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-29-13

Scripture: Acts 9:3-5
Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?”  The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting…”

Thought for the Day: Sorry for not getting a Devotional out yesterday, but I had a case of stomach flu or food poisoning or possibly the bubonic plague.  I think you know what I mean.  As I lay in bed yesterday contemplating my last will and testament, I flipped on the TV.  Of course, it was a commercial and it was a food commercial.  I turned the channel again and again, and it was as if it was the food hour.  Even foods that I loved a couple days ago looked disgusting.  I finally turned to the Hallmark station, and caught an old episode of Little House on the Prairie.  Like many episodes, it was about an individual having a change of heart based upon a new experience.  How often does a new experience change our perspective.  Stomach flu sure changed my opinion on food, and though I still can’t imagine eating anything but applesauce, I think that will change in time.  But other experiences forever change the way we view the world.  For Saul (soon to become Paul), this experience of the resurrected Jesus will change how he views everything.

Prayer: Lord, allow new faith experiences to enrich my life and broaden my perspective of all things.  Amen.


Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-27-13

May 27, 2013
Scripture: 1st Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing…

Thought for the Day: Keep going!  Keep going with prayer, study, reflection, fasting, silence, and the other disciplines.  In the last week, there have been a total of 25 devotional thoughts in our Spiritual Boot Camp.  The hope was to spark something new in your own faith journey, and even if that didn’t occur, I will confess to you that the preparation of three or four devotional thoughts each day, was a growth experience for me.  I don’t believe I could keep up that rate for another week or two, but I would consider doing it again six months from now.  The setting aside of a short period of time for more rigorous spiritual learning can provide a lasting infusion of grace into one’s life.  Whether it is a retreat or just a week where you step it up a bit, I’m convince the weeks that follow will be lived with a bit more kick in one’s spiritual stride.

Prayer: I may not be ready to pray without ceasing, Lord, but I hope you will give me moments of learning by which I will grow in both my understanding of and growth in prayer.  Amen.

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-26-13, Part 3

May 26, 2013

Spiritual Boot Camp copy

Wisdom-the seventh of the Sevenfold Gifts, St. Bonaventure
Seventh, grant us wisdom, that we may taste fully the life-giving sweetness of your love.

I appreciate the words of Confucius who said, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”  All of these are a means by which wisdom can come to reside within us, and though I would not describe myself as a bitter person, I sure have learned a lot of wisdom through personal experience, trial and error…with more errors than I’d like to admit.  Yet what amazes me about God is how the mistakes of life can be shaped into monumental learnings that are etched upon you in a way that reflection and imitation could never do.


Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-26-13, Part 2

May 26, 2013

 Spiritual Boot Camp copy

Wisdom-the seventh of the Sevenfold Gifts, St. Bonaventure
Seventh, grant us wisdom, that we may taste fully the life-giving sweetness of your love.

I remember seeing some Hillbilly Wisdom that simply said: “Kissin a mule will cure a cold.”  Being married to an Arkansas girl gives me permission to quote such profound wisdom, though I’m guessing the act of “Kissin a mule” will cure more than the common cold.  It is likely to cure your need to ever brush your teeth since they will probably be kicked out of your mouth by the mule.

Wisdom is often found in the ears of the beholder, or I guess it would be in the ears of the be-hearer.  Though I will say that much of the so-called wisdom I heard as a child and dismissed as silly old-folk stuff was in fact pretty insightful.  It just took time and life-experience to make me appreciate the depth of the insight.

Lord God, make me into the person who can both receive and utilize the wisdom that has its origin in you.  Amen.

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-26-13, Part 1

May 26, 2013

Spiritual Boot Camp copy

Wisdom-the seventh of the Sevenfold Gifts, St. Bonaventure
Seventh, grant us wisdom, that we may taste fully the life-giving sweetness of your love.

Scripture: Proverbs 16:24
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Thought for the Day: The Proverbs found in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) are a rich tapestry of wisdom and spiritual commonsense.  Though some of these homespun sayings are trapped in the historical and social context of the Ancient Near East, we still find much that is relevant for our current culture.  What I appreciate about this Proverb is how it needs no interpretation from some brilliant Biblical scholar.  Pleasant words are sweet to both our inner ear and our souls, and the sharing of these words brings satisfaction and wellbeing to the whole self.  In a world of religious battlefields where faith communities are dividing over a few words of scripture, it is nice to be offered some simple, yet universal advice: Share some pleasant words!  That’s a piece of useful wisdom that anyone can utilize.

Prayer: O Lord God, whose word became flesh, may the words of my lips be pleasant in the ears and hearts of all those around me.  Amen.

The Church Blood Drive

Today in the Activity Room
8:30 – Noon

Consider giving a pint,
or if you’re feeling extra generous,
give two or three… 🙂

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-25-13, Part 2

May 25, 2013

Spiritual Boot Camp copy

Discernment-the sixth of the Sevenfold Gifts, St. Bonaventure
Sixth, grant us discernment, by which we may draw back from what is unhealthy.

Scripture: Proverbs 29:19 (the Message)
If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.

“We should always pray for help, but we should always listen for inspiration… to proceed in ways different from those we may have thought of.”
~John H. Groberg

The word in Hebrew for ‘blessed’ (also translated as ‘happy’), esher, comes from the root word that means to walk straight or move forward.  I don’t know Hebrew well enough to be able to say whether there was an intentional play on words, but I like the notion that being blessed/happy means that we do not stumble, but walk straight.  Of course, this requires that we attend to what God is revealing for us, which means we are discerning the divine beckoning.  Now it’s not always crystal clear.  In fact, most of us will continue to stumble quite often.  Yet God remains faithful; God never gives up hope; God always finds another way to invite us down a path where our feet will find sturdier ground.

Ecclesiological Etchings: 05-25-13, Part 3

May 25, 2013

Spiritual Boot Camp copy

Discernment-the sixth of the Sevenfold Gifts, St. Bonaventure
Sixth, grant us discernment, by which we may draw back from what is unhealthy.

Prayer of Discernment – the Sisters of Notre Dame
Walk with me, good and loving God, as I journey through life.
May I take Your hand and be led by Your Holy Spirit.
Fill me, inspire me, free me to respond generously to Your call.
For I believe You desire my deepest joy,
And it is only in Your company
That my soul will be satisfied
And my life will find its meaning and purpose.   Amen.