Monthly Archives: July 2016


In doing research for a Bible study, I ran across this passage about a man named Epaphroditus, whom St. Paul calls “my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs” (Philippians 2:25). Now that’s a lot of jobs for one person!

But it make me think that we have a lot of jobs too in our lives—jobs that are not exclusively related to our profession or paid occupation. We call these many callings in various aspects of our lives vocations.

vocationThe idea of vocation is central to the Christian belief that God has created each person with gifts and talents oriented toward specific purposes and a way of life.

So when I think about my vocations, my callings from God, I consider my role as a editor of religious writing, a Bible study leader, a work colleague, a son, a brother, an uncle, a nephew, a cousin and a friend.

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Drive-Thru Prayer

DriveThruPrayerI saw this sign that said “Drive-Thru Prayer, This Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.” in front of a church in my neighborhood and just had to blog about it.

I find it interesting that in our society today everything can be “drive thru,” even prayer. Everything we do seems to be done on the way to something else and should be done quickly.

I mean no disrespect to this idea of having an evening when this church has a drive-thru prayer event and I am sure that if people want to, they can pull to the side and have a longer prayer with a parishioner.

But the concept to me begs the larger question of how we look at our spiritual disciplines.

Are they something that we do when we have an extra minute or two?

Are they something that we see as something that is secondary to our scheduled events and activities for the day, like games and practices and lunch out and work, etc.?

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Favorite Verses

favorite versesIn the June 2016 Thrivent magazine, there was an article in which people related their favorite Bible verses and why they were so meaningful to them.

Here are some of them:

Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father who is in heaven. —Matthew 5:16

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. —2 Corinthians 1:3-4

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forever. —Psalm 125:2

Then came this verse:

The Lord turned to him [Gideon] and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?“ —Judges 6:14

This verse struck a chord with me in that moment because I was feeling over-busy and bedraggled. And the words “go in the strength YOU HAVE” really registered with me and gave me hope and confidence that I could accomplish the multiple tasks that laid before me. I may not feel the strongest I have ever felt, but God has given me the strength I DO have to do great things, which is something I need to be grateful for and remind myself of daily.

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The Community Connection

An article in the March/April 2016 Outreach talked a program called Aspire! Conservatory of Fine and Performing Arts at Ashland First United Methodist Church in Ashland, Kentucky. It is a resource made available by and at the church in which children attend piano classes and private lessons for band instruments. While there is a cost for the lessons, donations from members keep the program running.

What is remarkable is that In the process, the community comes in contact with the church and becomes more aware of the worship and devotional life of the congregation. Many children in the classes even play their instruments in worship and become involved in the life of the church. In many ways, the program is raising uo the next generation of worship leaders and often helping their parents recognize the value of a Christian environment.

“Using the church building five evenings a week, our church comes alive in the eyes of the community, ” said DeNiel Hartley, the administrator of Aspire!

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Senior Ministry Perspectives

senior Christians

The joy of sitting in the pew with a vibrant senior Christian can be infectious.

The statistics cannot be denied. The 65 and older category is growing exponentially with people  living longer than they used to and the huge Baby Boomer generation entering this age bracket.

The Church is responding in many ways with full-time staff members working with people in this age group in more and more congregations, more activities for seniors on parish calendars, and devotion books and other pamphlets available in the “tract racks” in the back of churches (Creative Communications’ very own Hope-Full Living Daily Devotions For Christian Seniors among them, see for more details).

But what churches need to realize more than what they are doing when it comes to seniors is how they are doing it. We need to look at our senior members as vital and valuable resources. So many older adult are ready to help with whatever needs to be done. Use their background, use their knowledge, use their expertise to help other members in need or to fix something in the church, whatever it may be.

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A Prayer for Healing

Our nation is in need of a lot of healing these days. Let these guiding words of N. T. Wright from The Challenge of Jesus point us in the right direction:

“Our task as image-bearing, God-loving, Christ-shaped, Spirit-filled Christians, following Christ and shaping our world, is to announce redemption to a world that has discovered its fallenness, to announce healing to a world that has discovered its brokenness, [and] to proclaim love and trust to a world that knows only exploitation, fear, and suspicion.”

By God’s grace, may we as Christians be the agents of calm and help and hope in the midst of these unsettled, uncertain and unstable times.


church computer

This is how many people “go to church.”

One of the largest challenges facing church today is how to approach the whole concept of what is becoming known in the industry as cyberministy, reaching out to parishioners through websites, blogs, social media outlets, Twitter and the like. It is an area that has at first been met with resistance among church leaders, but the fact of the matter is that most people in this technological age receive information mostly through cyberspace. The days of paper church newsletters are going the way of the do-do, unfortunately, and whether we like it or not, something has to be established within churches to reach out to members electronically.

This can take many forms, of course. Most churches today have at the very least a website people can access to obtain information about worship times and event schedules and to find the contact information of staff members and church workers. This sort of setup is mainly used to serve the needs to already active members and is in some ways simply replacing the hard copy church newsletter.

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Sacred Space


Does this look familiar?

So often we think of time as something we possess and something that we have complete control over, as evidenced by the notes on our day planners, the calendars of activities on our walls and the event schedules and reminders that pop up routinely on our phones and computers. But the reality is that time is something that is completely in God’s hands. To quote Jacob Allstaedt, a pastor in Federal Way, Washington, “Perhaps it’s better for us to think of time as a sacred space; it’s something in which we live. When you think of a sacred space, like a cathedral, you can either honor that space or desecrate it.”

When we think of time as a sacred space and something that is a precious gift to us, it changes our approach entirely. We seek to live our lives in a way that gives glory to God. We have gratitude in our hearts for the opportunities we are given each day, no matter how small or insignificant or mundane they seem to be.

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