Friday, March 26, 2010

My new blog

I'm changing my blogging to a new site. You can visit my new blog at

See you there!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ordinary Time: Thursday, January 28, 2010

Old Testament Lesson

Genesis 16:15-17:14

One of the things about God, that He does, is He make covenant with us. He comes to us and make an agreement. He made covenant with Noah, Abraham, the people of Israel, and with us. He comes to us and says, if you will do, I will do this. And here's the thing about that. He doesn't have to. He doesn't have to make covenant with us. He's God. We're not. He can tell us what He will do. He can tell us what we will do. He's God.

But, He doesn't do that. He respects us, respects our will, respects our choices. He gives us choices each day. To serve or not to serve. To love or not to love. To care or not to care. To forgive or not to forgive. Each day. Today, may we choose to be and live as He would have.

New Testament Lesson

Hebrews 10:1-10

The writer of Hebrews reminds us over and over again, it all comes down to Jesus. Not about what we do, not about the law or the codes, it's about Jesus. He did it all for us. We can't earn it, we can only accept it. It's not about what we can do/should do, it's about what He did for us. He has, through the cross and the empty grave, enabled us a way into the throne room of God. We are accepted by God, because of what Christ did. Know that our worth comes not from what we've ever do, but from what He has done.

Gospel Lesson

John 5:30-47

Jesus reminds us today that true life is found only in Him. No where else. We can search for life in lots of places and in lots of ways, but it is only found in Him. Today, rest in His life. Live in life. Serve in His life. Forgive in His life. Know that your life is found in Him. Today, and always. Rest in Him; live in Him. He is life.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ordinary Time: Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Old Testament Lesson

Genesis 16:1-14

We see here what doubt can do. It can cause us to seek a way, other than God's way. We see here that Sarah started to doubt what God said He would do, and so she decided she had to take it into her own hands, do it her own way, make her own plan and take care of it all herself. Instead of trusting.

Trusting is hard. It is not easy. It is not easy to trust when we don't know how it's going to turn out. It's hard to trust when we are unsure of the way. It's hard to trust in times of uncertainty. But remember, God is true to what He said He would do. He is true to who He is. And, we can trust Him. No matter what.

New Testament Lesson

Hebrews 9:15-28

Remember that Jesus Christ Himself speaks on our behalf before God. He is at the right hand of God, interceding for us, pulling for us, cheering for us, praying for us. You're not in this alone. I know it may feel like it sometimes. You're not. God is with you. Jesus is on your side. He's pulling for you. Trust (there's that word again). Trust in Him. He will not lead you astray.

Gospel Lesson

John 5:19-29

Jesus reminds us that this life is not the end. There is life beyond this life. This life is just a foretaste of true life. This life is just the beginning. Don't forget in the midst of your struggles and trials and problems. This life is not the end. There is more to come. Hold fast to one that made you, that loves you, and that has called you. Trust in Him. And find His life.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ordinary Time: Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I wanted to pass along something I received today as a devotional. Many of you may be like me and have read the Upper Room at some point every day for almost all your life. Being the geek that I am, I have the daily Upper Room Devotional emailed to me each day. I thought todays was really, really good and I really spoke to me. So, I wanted to pass this along to you and pray that it's a blessing to you as it has been to me

You can get this devotional mailed to you each day by clicking here


Fruits of the Compost Heap

Suggested Bible Reading

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God's gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.

-Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 (NRSV)

Today's Scripture

[God] has made everything beautiful in its time.
-Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)

I keep a compost pile and love to put things into it to ferment into clean, healthy soil. I put in vegetable scraps, old leaves, grass clippings, and even paper. Every few weeks, I stir the pile to make sure that all the content is turned over. When the heap is dry, I water it. Other than that, I do nothing but let natural bacteria do their job. After a few months, I find that my "garbage" has turned into rich, fresh soil for my garden.

Often something similar happens in my life. I have felt that things I did or did not do were wasted and fruitless. At times, I have been very hard on myself. But I realize that God is not as hard on me as I can be on myself. My great failures have been turned into something positive. God quietly works, and later, when I expect it least, I find wonderful new soil ready to nurture a new phase in my life. The rotten oranges and moldy leaves of my life -- my failures and shortcomings -- have been transformed, to give me a new perspective or stronger confidence.

We can always start again when we turn our will and life over to God and allow God's power to quietly work.

Sarah B. Joy (Indiana, USA)

Heavenly Father, we are weak and vulnerable. Help us to accept your guiding strength in our lives; and when we fail, help us trust you to use even that to teach us how to serve you more faithfully. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Thought for the Day

God can use our failures to bring new growth.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ordinary Time: Monday, January 25, 2010

Old Testament Lesson

Genesis 14:1-24

We one of the smaller characters in scripture today, but one of the more important - King Melchizedek of Salem. This king was of God, and was also a priest. And Abraham gave to him a tenth of what he had, the first time a concept of a "tithe" is found in scripture.

But, he is important not just because of that fact, but he's important because we see here that a man of God was there for Abraham at the time when he needed. God has a way of sending to us what we need; who we need; when we need. Now our schedule and God's schedule don't always match up. But know, God will give us what we need. Trust in Him. Today and each day.

New Testament Lesson

Hebrews 8:1-13

The writer of Hebrews reminds us that God has made with us a new covenant and He writes the Law upon our heart. God's worried about our actions, He wants us to live in a good and holy manner. But He's more worried about our hearts. Our outward actions start with our inward heart. Our God writes His law, His love, His grace upon our hearts. May our hearts be drawn closer to our God and in that, we'll find our lives being drawn ever closer.

Gospel Lesson

John 4:43-54

This man in the text; he believed. And in that belief, great things were done for His son. It all starts with faith; it all starts with belief. Believe me, I want to know everything, I want to understand everything. But, I don't you don't. In life, we have to make a leap of faith sometimes. And, when we believe in faith, we see. Today, take a step of faith. And in that, God will place you where He needs you to be.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ordinary Time: Thursday, January 21, 2010

Today, just a quick thought:

God comes to us before we go to Him. This is God's habit. God came to Abraham when there was nothing to come to, just an old man at a dead end. But that's God for you. That's the way God likes to work. He comes to old men and to infants, to sinners and to losers. That's grace.

James Van Tholen

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ordinary Time: Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Old Testament Lesson

Genesis 9:18-29

One of the things that's hard for us to do sometimes is to learn a lesson. We see here in the stories of Noah and his family right after the flood that they didn't fully learn a lesson. The Lord has just washed everything away through a flood, caused by the wickedness of humanity, and yet still, this soon after, Noah, and one of his son, fall into the trap of sin. Noah, into drunkenness, his son into disrespecting his father.

Lessons were not entirely learned. May we not make the same mistake. May we learn from the lessons of our lives, may we learn from the falls we endure, may we learn from the mistakes that we make. Today, and each day, may we learn.

New Testament Lesson

Hebrews 6:1-12

The author of Hebrews encourages us to keep on going, not to fall back or backslide away from the truth. In life, we will all fall down. We will all make mistakes. We will all fail. We will all sin. You will. I will. It is just part of our human condition. We will all fall down.

What do we do then? When we fall, what do we do? When we make a mistake, what do we do? Do we get up and keep going? Do we dust ourselves, up, and, by the power of God's grace, keep walking? That is what God calls us to to do. When we fall, God still loves us. And after we make a mistake, may we get up and keep going. That is what we are called to do.

Gospel Lesson

John 3:22-36

John says today that He must increase and I must decrease. In our lives, we must allow Christ's light to shine through us more and more and more. When we live for ourselves, we don't fully know the power of Christ and His life. But, when we decrease, when He shines through, we find there is life beyond us. Today, may we decrease and may He increase in our lives.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ordinary Time: Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Old Testament Lesson

Genesis 9:1-17

God is a God of covenant. He enters into, in many ways, a partnership with us. He says, I will do this, if you will do this. Think about it. He's God. He doesn't have to do that. He doesn't have to do anything. He doesn't have to base His actions upon us. He doesn't have to show us mercy, or even concern. Yet, He does. He is a God that not only loves His creation, He wants to be at work with us His creation.

Think about it, what does He really need us for? Nothing. Yet, He loves us. He cares for us. He works with us, He uses us. He calls us. He empower us. He forgives us. He doesn't have to do any of that. Yet He does. For He loves us. Above all, He loves us.

New Testament Lesson

Hebrews 5:7-14

The writer of Hebrews calls us to move from the milk of new faith to the meat of deeper faith. We are called to grow in the faith. We are called to grow in faith. We are not perfect, we make mistakes. We are not yet what we ought to be. But, are we growing? The question doesn't need to be are perfect? The question needs to be are growing. Not are we perfect, but are we more faithful today than we were yesterday. May we see to be faithful today, and each day.

Gospel Lesson

John 3:16-21

We all know John 3:16. We learn it a young age in church. It's part of the knowledge that we have. But, what bout 3:17? It's one of my favorites. Jesus didn't come into the world to condemn it, but to save it. God doesn't want to condemn you. He wants to save you. Above all, God wants to know you, but in relationship with you, care for you, guide you, lead you. God Almighty, maker of all that is, both seen and unseen, whats to know you. Wants to be your friend and guide.

Wow. How awesome is that? Today, in this day, there is a God that knows you and wants to love you. Jesus came not to judge us, but to save us. May we experience the life giving power of His love today.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ordinary Time: Monday, January 18, 2010

Old Testament Lesson

Genesis 8:6-22

We see that after days and days of raining and flooding, it finally stopped. It must have felt like to Moses they would never see dry land. It would have been very easy to give up. To stop trying. To give up hope. To give up the willingness to keep going. But, he kept on. Because he knew that no matter how great his fear, God was bigger.

Whatever it is you fear, that you worry about, that steals you joy, remember. God is bigger.

New Testament Lesson

Hebrews 4:14-5:6

We have a God, through Jesus, that understands our weakness. We have a God, that through Jesus, understands our pain, our suffering, our temptations. We don't cry our in vain, we cry out to a God that hears. So, in the midst of our lives, remember, God hears, God loves, and God cares.

Gospel Lesson

John 2:23-3:15

Jesus calls us to new life. To new birth. To new living. This is a new day; a day God has given to us. May we claim this new life He has for us, this new birth. Today is the day He's given us. May we live for His, and may we live in the power of His new life

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ordinary Time: Thursday, January 14, 2010

Old Testament Lesson

Genesis 4:17-26

One of the things I love about the Bible, particularly the first few books, is that they so mirror our lives. There are great moments of faithfulness and redemption, and there are terrible moments of failure and defeat. Our lives are like that a lot, aren't they? There are these moments where we are faithful and do what God wants, and then are are moments when we do what we want and trouble comes.

But, we take from the Bible that God never gives us, God never leaves, God never forsakes. We see today, even after all that Adam and Eve had gone through, a son named Seth is born. And the name of the Lord in invoked again. Even after all that had happened, God was able to be praised once again. He never gives up on us. And always gives us a new day.

New Testament Lesson

Hebrews 3:1-11

Much of the book of Hebrews is about establishing over and over that Jesus is great than everything. And we think, duh, of course He is. But, in our lives, is he really? Is He greater than all in our lives, or is He just one of the big things in our lives? For us to really know His power, His live, He needs to be first. Hebrews reminds us over and over that He is above all and over all. May He be so in our lives.

Gospel Lesson

John 1:43-51

86% of people that come to a church for the first time come because they were invited by a friend. Not because of the preacher or the choir or the worship or the sanctuary or any of these things. Because they were invited by a friend. My folks here at Ripley FUMC are getting tired of hearing this stat, I know, but according to the Hinton Rural Life Center, the average United Methodist invites one person to church every 38 years. Wow.

When was the last time you invited someone to church? I know it can be a difficult step and I know there are all the work place issues. So, how about this? Next times someone asks you about your church, or your church comes up in conversation, only talk about the positive. Only build it up. Don't go negative, don't complain. May we always be about inviting people to meet Jesus.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ordinary Time: Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Old Testament Lesson

Genesis 4:1-16

The Lord warned Cain, temptation is lurking. It's right there, waiting on him. And he gave into that temptation, that anger. And great, great harm was caused by it, a life created by God was ended. Cain could not keep temptation at bay.

Today, temptation lurks for each of us as well. It is there, waiting for us. We each have our weakness, our frailties, our own temptations. Today, temptation will be lurking for us. God, through His grace, gives us a means to resist. When temptation comes, may we find strength in God's grace.

New Testament Lesson

Hebrews 2:11-18

We see here the answer to the problem posed in the first text. Through Jesus, we see how one triumphs over sin, over the power of evil, over all these things. Through Jesus, through His blood, through His victory, through Him, we can over come that temptation, we can over come those trials. Temptation will come, but Jesus will give us the power to resist when it does come. Be ready and turn to Him. We can over come.

Gospel Lesson

John 1:29-42

Jesus called these Disciples. They weren't perfect, they all had their weakness. But, Jesus saw them for more than they were, He saw them for what they could be, through Him. Alone, each of these disciples were ordinary. Through Him, they did extraordinary things. Through Him, each of them were able to do, and be, and something amazing for God. Through Jesus, you can too.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ordinary Time: Thursday, January 7, 2010

Today, just a quote:

Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God's plans, but God is not
helpless among the ruins. Our broken lives are not lost or useless. God
comes in and takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out his
wonderful plan of love.

Eric Liddell

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Epiphany: Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Old Testament Lesson

Isaiah 49:1-7

The Lord desired that His people be a light to the nations. He desired that His people Israel show His light, His love, His mercy to all the world, so that the entire world would know about God. That was their job. That was what they were chosen for. To show the world the goodness of God.

That is the job of His people today. If you are a Christian, that is your job. You are to show the love of God today. Through your words, your actions, your life. Does that mean that we have to be perfect? No. It means that we need to receive grace and give grace. We need to forgive and be forgiven. We need to love and be loved. Today, in our lives, we show the grace of God. May we reflect God to all that we meet.

New Testament Lesson

Revelation 21:22-27

This life is not end. Whatever you are going through today, it's not the end. There is more to come. There is a hope greater than this life, there is a purpose greater than this life. The trials you face today, they are not the end of your story. The troubles you face today, they are not the end of your story. There is more to come.

Don't give up. Don't lose hope. There is more to come. We are a people of hope. May we never lose it.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 2:14-21

After the Wise Men came and left, Herod tried to kill Jesus and in that killed all the boys under two. We see the face of evil. Evil doesn't care who it hurts, as long as it gets what it wants. Love looks first to the needs of others. We are called to love, to look first to others. To help, to love, to care. And, we find that in doing that, we find more life than we'd have ever found in looking only to ourselves. Today, and each day, may we look to the needs of others.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christmas: Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Old Testament Lesson

Jonah 2:2-9

Jonah cried out to God in the midst of his distress. He cried out to God in the midst of the disaster and God delivered Him. And, if you remember the story of Jonah, Jonah had done nothing to deserver being saved. He had disobeyed God. He ran from God. He didn't do what God wanted him to do. And, in spite of that, God still intervened to save him. Because God loved him. God's love for Jonah was greater than any disappointment He felt over Jonah's action. God's love for you is the same today. Today, you are loved, no matter what

New Testament Lesson

Ephesians 6:10-20

Paul reminds us to put on the armor of God. This will be a day of battle. We will battle against temptation. We will battle against things that are wrong. We will battle against doubt, against hate, against anger, against sin. We will battle these things today.

And Paul reminds us that we will not fight alone. If we fight against temptation by ourselves and in our own strength, we will lose. If we fight against anger in our own strength, we will lose. If we battle against these things in our power, we stand no chance.

But, through God, though His power, through His strength, through His armor, we can overcome these things. Don't give up, don't fear. Through God we will win whatever it is that are fighting against.

Gospel Lesson

John 11:17-27, 38-44

We see that Jesus has the power to conquer even the power of the grave. He is greater than even that. He conquered even that. So, today, whatever you facing, be it problems at work, with family, with friends, with yourself, with whatever - Jesus is bigger than that. Jesus is bigger than whatever you face today. Trust in Him and His power. And know that He will never leave us. May we find the power and joy of His life today, in all that we face.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas: Monday, January 4, 2010

Old Testament Lesson

Joshua 3:14-4:7

We see the Lord bring the people across the river Jordan. They have reached it! They are in the Promised Land! They have crossed over to the land that God has promised, they have reached the place where their faith is now sight! Through God, they have done it!

But, they are not done. While they have reached it, there is still work to do. There is still more than must be done. So, God has the people build a memorial. To remember. To remember that God brought them this far. To remember that God was with them. To remember that God would not leave them.

God has brought you to this New Year. You have crossed over. God has much for you in this New Year. And He will not leave you alone in it. He will give you to the grace to do all all that He has called you to in this year. Believe. Trust. God is with you.

New Testament Lesson

Ephesians 5:1-20

Paul warns us today - live! Don't sleep through life. Don't live in a way that is shameful to God or the faith. Live as God would want you to. Realize all you have, and all God has given you, all God has called you to, live! Live right, live boldly, live faithfully. Live with passion.

This is the only day you know you have. We can't do anything about the past or the future. We only have today! Don't waste it. Live.

Gospel Lesson

John 9:1-12, 35-38

Jesus healed through a variety of ways. Sometimes He touched. Sometimes He spoke. Sometimes folks touched Him. Sometimes He wasn't even in the same town as the one that He healed. He healed in many, many ways.

Max Lucado one wrote that this was his favorite miracle. Why? Because if Jesus can use spit and dirt to heal someone, He can use anyone, or anything. I don't care who you, what you've done, any of the things. God can use you. Today. You can be used by God for some great purpose day. A smile. A hug. A friendship. A shoulder to cry on. An ear to listen. A mouth to speak. Today, you can be used by God for a great and good purpose. No matter what!