Posts from May 2020

Posts from May 2020

Don’t Forget the Lessons

Forget what hurt you but never forget what it taught you. In September of 2007, on a Sunday, I remember sharing in church about how I was doing. I had just gotten back from a long sabbatical where I spent time recuperating from breast cancer treatments. During my interview, I shared a few lessons learned, of which I’ve forgotten many, but there was one that really stuck in my mind. It was, “don’t forget the lessons learned.” Don’t forget the lessons…

Lessons Learned Talking to a Green Light

Hosting Sunday worship services has always been something I enjoy.  Typically, all those involved that Sunday meet on Tuesday morning to plan the service.  We hear the preaching pastor’s main takeaways from the passage and the direction he senses the Lord leading for his sermon.  We choose the Call to Worship, Scripture Reading and Worship Songs and consider what announcements need to be made.  These Tuesday morning meetings were held in the loft, but now happen over Zoom instead. I hosted my first livestream…

Friend of the Bridegroom

After that deeply theological conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus heads back into the Judean wilderness where John is baptizing.  And, we hear John’s last speech in this Gospel.  He joyfully says he is not the bridegroom; he is the friend of the bridegroom.  Jesus, the one from above, is the bridegroom (implying he is God), while those who receive him become his bride (implying a new people of God).  For John, as the friend of the bridegroom, his job was to…

A Voice for the Bankrupt

            With the COVID-19 outbreak devastating our economy, particularly small businesses, one of the hardest hit has been the restaurant industry. It didn’t take long before most restaurants in major cities lost 100% of their business. The devastation became personal to me when I learned what occurred to Marcelus Suciu, one of my spiritual sons in Romania. I first met Marcelus in 1988 when he was a youth, growing up under Ceausescu’s cruel regime. After the revolution Marty Brill had the…

A Pruning

We have the privilege today to hear from a guest contributor.  Rich Harmon, who is an elder at PBCC, has some encouraging thoughts for us today.  Thanks Rich! I have enjoyed the slower pace of life during these weeks of staying at home.  I have especially enjoyed my early mornings on the back patio with God and a cup of coffee, watching the sunrise and the birds wake up with the day. In fact this has become my most cherished…

In-Between Places

“Be still and know that I am God.    I will be exalted among the nations,    I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 ESV Most of us like things all wrapped up in nice little packages.  We typically don’t like things messy or frayed.  Unfortunately, much of life is spent in awkward spaces where things are not neat and tidy, where we are in-between things.  A few weeks ago, my granddaughter was between crawling and walking.  Soon graduates will be between high school and college…

The New Birth

In this section of John, we are seeing that Jesus is making all things new.  So far, we’ve seen the gathering of a new people of God, the miraculous new wine at a wedding and the promise of a new temple.  In our text this week, we hear of the necessity for a new birth.  Jesus meets one-on-one with a man named Nicodemus who comes to him by night.  Nicodemus is very smart, very good and very religious.  Yet, Jesus…

Going Forward Not Backward

Listening to the elders’ announcement Sunday, preparing us for the difficult and lengthy process involved re-opening church for Sunday services, coupled with Joel’s sermon on Jesus cleansing the temple in John 2, I was reminded of Isaiah’s word to exiles returning home from Babylon in chapters 56-66. How they longed for life to return to what it once was during Solomon’s glory. Imagine their joy after years of waiting, Cyrus’ decree finally came and 50,000 zealous Jews started the long…

Do What He Says!

We saw in the account of the wedding at Cana, that not only do we need to invite Jesus into our lives and the situations we face, but we also need to do what He says. And I’ve been thinking about the need to ‘do what He says’ ever since. On one level, it sounds so simple, but how often do we invite Jesus in and ask for His help and then we don’t do what He says. Maybe what He asks us…

I AM within the Psalm

I Am Within the Psalm For many, including myself, the book of psalms has been a place of refuge. I’ve been fortunate to ride on the coattails of my friend and fellow pastor Brian Morgan, leading psalms retreats not only in our church but around the world. Although locations of these retreats constantly vary, the one thing that always remains the same in all the participants, is the discovery of God and self within the psalms. That continuing pattern is…

Our Today Informs our Tomorrow

God is using our today to prepare us for tomorrow. Living in the present moment is difficult, and sometimes impossible. Our human tendency is to live either in the past, which is filled with both happy and painful memories, or plan for the future, which we have little control over. God reminds us, throughout scripture, that the present moment is where we should reside. I have found this challenging, if not impossible. My lifelong journey has been learning, and re-learning,…
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