29 December 2017
25 October 2017
takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries,
sure would help a lot.
"To know where you belong.”
for you today.
know where you belong.
I return to again and again ...
or whether we die;
we belong to the Lord.”
is where we belong.
at peace with the Lord today.
5020 West Bellfort Ave, Houston, TX 77035
03 March 2017
I'm not going to Tell you how GOOD
the cool breeze through the bright sunshine
Feels in Houston right now
and I'm not even going to
Show you a Picture
of how blue and clear the sky Rests
behind the white puffy clouds above
because I really just want you to
Send Me a Positive Vibe NOW
and I don't want to say anything
to distract You
from Doing That
02 March 2017
Have you ever heard someone pray and they repeat the word just so many times it becomes noticeable. For example, Lord, we just ask you to hear us as we pray right now and we just ask that you will be with us and bless us and we just want you to do this and we just ask you to do that and we just thank you and just praise you and we just want to say Amen when the prayer is over.
Why do they use just so much when they pray? Here's a few ideas about that.
"Just" is a term that implies "not much" so it fits well with prayers of petition in helping us convince ourselves and perhaps influence God of the idea that what we are asking for is possible because it's not as big a deal as one might think and so that possibility thinking seeps into our unconscious mind and becomes more likely to manifest.
And yet, all the above may be disregarded as the repeated use of "just" in others becomes a bad habit like a nervous verbal tic in the one praying out loud in front of others as it is used like the repeated use of the word "umm" or "and" by an insecure public speaker.
And yet it has a deeper function, repeated use of "just" serves to subconsciously identify the prayer as being part of our tribe, our religious subculture, our church family, similar to the way people in the Deep South use "y'all" to serve many purposes one of the most important of which is to self identify as a person who is a Southerner, and who is thus more likely to say "just" when she prays and "y'all" to refer to the plural form of "you."
And so you can see that "just" serves just so many functions it would be just dumb to not use it as often as possible especially when leading public prayer in the Southern United States.
01 March 2017
04 February 2017
20 January 2017
Next week I'm teaching a workshop at the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators in Denver.
The title is "Speaking Order into Chaos: How to Cultivate a Research and Writing Team in Your Congregation." Here is a link to the workshop notes.
Here is the workshop description:
The religious landscape looks bleak and chaotic. Yet God is doing a new thing! Discover and tell good news stories about what is working in the church today. Learn where to find such stories. Learn how to speak them into eBooks that you can publish for free. Grow your congregation’s platform. Foster cohesion among your congregational leaders. Become a writer and publisher! This skill may develop into a side business for you over time.This course covers my 2016 research into writing and self publishing. One outcome of my work on that last year is that our congregation wrote a book in honor of our 60th anniversary called Healing Happens Here: Faith Stories from St. John's Presbyterian Church. You may read it for free here.
Now this week is a chance to get a broader perspective on things.
I'm in Denver presenting a workshop at the annual conference of the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE). I started out some 30 years ago as a Director of Christian Education (DCE) and the APCE conference was huge to me then. So this is a homecoming of sorts for me. These are "my people" and "my tribe" and I'm excited to get reconnected to them. My workshop is one of 80 so you get a sense of the size of this conference.
And my course is called "How to Cultivate a Research and Writing Team in Your Congregation." I'm going to tell them how we did that last year at St. John's. We produced a little book called "Healing Happens Here" with some faith stories from some real people like you.
We will feel encouraged by how well we did and most of that encouragement will come from God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the Three in One. I think they will sit there and watch with us the movie of our life over and over again and maybe even eat some heavenly popcorn with divine butter and salt on it. And boy, oh boy, are they and we going to laugh out loud at that movie! There will be also be drama galore. That's my idea of the afterlife. Who knows if it's accurate?
Which means whatever you are going through today that seems like the end of the world, at some point in the future it may look to you like a comedy. Project yourself into that future now and imagine how funny it will seem then. That may help move you to a different position above and beyond the stuck and suffering place you are in right now, if that's where you are. If you're in a good place right now, relax, enjoy, have fun. Cherish each moment of your life for what it is: A gift from God to you and those around you.