Monthly Archives: September 2023

Where Two or Three Are Gathered…

two people

The Gospel reading in the lectionary at my church for September 10, 2023, was Matthew 18:15-20. It can be a rather uncomfortable passage to hear, talking about how to best confront people who have sinned against you. But in the last verse, we read these words, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Out of context, these words sound rather comforting. We think of people coming together to pray or worship and sing a song of praise to Jesus.

But the sentiment here and the reality is that sometimes when people gather, even in the name of Jesus, the situation or experience can be awkward or difficult or embarrassing. But the truth of the matter is that even in uncomfortable times with fellow believers, Jesus is with us.

He helps us and guides us to resolutions with each other. He makes it possible to dwell together in unity. He reminds us that we as Christian brothers and sisters are not perfect, but he is, and he can make all things right through his death on the cross.

Dog Bark

dog bark

Every morning during the week when I open my back door, my neighbor’s dog barks. It has become for me a sort of hello. I come to expect the bark and am thrown off a little if I don’t hear the bark. It has become a routine of my day that reminds me that my presence is noticed. I have a canine who cares for me.

How can we be that regular part of someone’s day? Is there someone on your walk that you see every morning at the same place every day? Say hello to that person. Is there someone at your office that you go past as you leave for the day? Say good night to that person (I have a kind coworker who does that to me).

Life is too short and relationships are too important not to recognize someone else as you pass them. Why is this something to consider as a Christian? Because Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). At the very least, we know that Jesus would say hello to us if he saw us on the street or in the hall somewhere. So we can do the same. Where we go from there, we leave to the work of the Holy Spirit within us … and perhaps to a desire to reach out and pet a friendly pooch as you start a more in-depth conversation with a neighbor who calling her dog to come inside.

Make A Book

photo book

I decided to make a book of pictures from my vacation this summer. The book program online allowed for a certain format and then a particular number of pages with various layouts available. I enjoyed placing digital copies of my photographs in the spaces allotted to create a collection of images that captured a mood or a feeling regarding the places I visited.

After I received the hard copy in the mail, it was fun to experience each stop on my trip through the images I had selected. Collecting approximately 100 pictures from a pool of 3000 or so proved difficult at times, but the finished product did highlight the best of what happened.

The process of putting together this book gave me the slightest glimpse into what the apostle John had to do when he put together his Gospel, the Book of John, about the life of Jesus. Near the end of his book, John wrote:

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name (John 20:30-31).

Like me with my vacation book, John chose those things that best captured his experiences with Jesus. While there were many stories John could have told, like with the many pictures I could have included in my book, John selected the stories that best helped us as readers know that Jesus is the Son of God.

So what stories would you include in your own book of faith to reveal to readers who Jesus is? What John’s words allow us to see is that it is best not to overwhelm people with too many stories, but to focus our attention on what episodes have the most power and meaning about the role of Jesus as our Savior. Think today about your best examples of Jesus’ impact on your life. Let those be the first ones that you share. The rest can come later.



I readily admit that I have an obsession with fans. I have a standing oscillating fan in my bedroom that helps me sleep at night. I have ceiling fans in my living room, kitchen and home office. I even have one of those little fans that clips on a table that runs while I eat breakfast.

Why the fascination? I think it has something to do with the feeling of comfort and the slight background noise they provide. But maybe there is a deeper, more spiritual need that is at work here. Consider this verse:

The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. John 3:8

The wind that a fan creates is a good reminder of the Holy Spirit that blows throughout my life, moving and changing the environments around me to make me keenly aware of the power of God in my midst to make a difference in my life in line with his will. What a comfort the Holy Spirit is, always helping us to remember that God is present and working in the background (and often foreground) for me.

Use a fan today, and feel the Spirit blow.

QR Codes

QR code

Everywhere I turn these days, there is a QR code to scan. A QR code (short for “quick-response code”) is a type of two-dimensional matrix barcode consisting of black squares arranged in a square grid on a white background. QR codes were invented 1994, by Japanese company Denso Wave initially for labelling automobile parts. Now QR codes are used almost universally to display text to the user, to open a webpage on the user’s device, to connect to a wireless network, or to compose an email or text message. The QR code is used because of its fast readability and greater storage capacity compared to standard UPC codes and has become one of the most-used types of two-dimensional code.

But this was not always the case. There was a time when QR codes were being used less and less by marketers and consumers. But then the pandemic hit and COVID restrictions increased the use of QR codes substantially because paper material was largely removed from restaurants, retail stores and churches. Now scanning a QR code is de rigueur in almost any place we visit.

I find this fascinating on two fronts. First, you never know when something might hit big, and second, you never know what you might get used to doing.

I think these insights apply when to the Christian life. We may get the sense that our Christian witness is not making a difference, but like with the QR code, something may happen in the future (in a positive sense, not like the pandemic) that will spark a renewal in Christianity. Who knows what the Holy Spirit has in store?

Also, there are many things in Christianity that we may at first have thought that we could never do, like talk to a stranger about Jesus, pray in public, invite a friend to church. But the more we do these things, the easier they become.

St. Paul must have had these ideas in mind we he said, “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3). Remembering what Jesus did for us gives us strength to carry on and never give up. There’s probably a QR code out there that you can scan that tells you that, too.

Job Titles

job titles

On this Labor Day, I got to thinking about job titles. As human beings in this world, we have lots of job titles, don’t we, both at work and at home? What is your job title at work? What could you say are your job titles at home? I notice how some people like to list all job titles that may apply to them on their Facebook page. For instance, many parents write chauffeur, counselor, chef, teacher, nurse, accountant, project manager, activities coordinator, etc. The list could go on. We have jobs in our lives that come and go and some that will last a lifetime. God equips us with what we need at the moment to do that job at hand.

As I look back over my life, I sometimes marvel at how I got certain jobs done. I think, “I could never do that now.” But then I realize that God places us in particular moments with a certain set of skills that are right for that time. It is a wonder what God can accomplish in us in so many facets of our lives. We just need to be ready when the job comes our way.

In business, it is common for people to map out their 5-year plan, their 10-year plan, etc. But as Christians, we are perhaps not as prone to do that because the plan of our life is not our own. It is up to God. Who knows what jobs at home or work are on the horizon for us? It is kind of exciting and scary at the same time. But two Bible verses keep us grounded in our approach:

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23

The one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

Everything we work on has purpose and meaning in the context of Christ. So get to work … in him! He is your ultimate Project Manager.