Friendship: A Series

Friendship is divine. And, we don’t talk about it enough. I wrote this series, originally, as a sermon series for use in January and February between the seasons of Advent and Lent. I loved writing it. The congregation loved the worship theme. And, our weekly Bible Study loved the conversations. I’ve made the series into…

Two are Better than One: The Wisdom of Friendship (Week 1)

True friendship is a reflection of God’s own love. This is the first week in a series on friendship. SCRIPTURE: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Proverbs 13:20, 16:28, 17:9, 17:17, 18:24, 22:24-25 (selected verses are below for ease of reading) 20Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,but the companion of fools suffers harm.28A perverse person spreads strife,and a whisperer…

Friends in Hard Times: Job (Week 3)

If we can quickly dismiss that God’s love for us is somehow balanced on a scale with our goodness, why do we seek a balanced sense of love and care in our friendships, especially in the midst of suffering? This is the third week in a series on friendship. SCRIPTURE: Job Chapter 1  REFLECTION:A major…

Friendship’s Declaration: Ruth and Elijah (Week 2)

There are some things friends just need to say to one another. This is the second week in a series on friendship. SCRIPTURE: Ruth 1:1-18; 2 Kings 2:1-15 (though the true emphasis is on Ruth) REFLECTION:There are some things friends just need to say to one another. The last and celebratory meeting of my Buddhist…

Do Not Lose Heart

A sermon on 2 Corinthians 4-5:1. I remember sitting in high school economics class. I’m not sure what the state of Tennessee hoped we’d be learning, but the coach of the baseball team turned our economics class into a personal finance class. The personal finance radio celebrity, Dave Ramsey, lives in my hometown, and our…

Snow Angels: Super Small Ways Parents Can Grow Children’s Spirits

A couple months into my Maternity Leave away from church duties, my oldest child, still yet a toddler, sat in the floor of her room reading her children’s Bible. I noticed and asked, “What’s your story about?” “Jesus,” she said. “Do you know him?” Now, either my mainline denomination-ly raised toddler had become the best…

Midnight Songs: A Prayer Practice for People at their Spiritual Limit

At the end of my hospital chaplaincy internship my supervisor gave me a prayer book for the bedside. The small volume lends its wisdom in important pastoral moments with people at their limit—people who are dying or very sick. Usually, when the spiritual moment for bedside prayers arrives, we know it. Someone is very ill….

Spiritual Scrapbook: Practices/Pathways to God

The Daily Routine. (posted 3/30/20) In worship on Sunday, we read the story of the woman who gave everything she had, all she had to live on, two small copper coins. You give so much. every. single. day. especially now. Stop and think about your daily routine in the days of ‘social distancing.’ What’s changed?…

Spiritual Scrapbook: Ancient Scriptures/New Prayers

A Simple Prayer. (posted 3/30/20) What would I do without you? Thank you. Amen. Read the story of Lazarus. (posted 3/23/20) Read John 11:1-44. Notice the range of emotions in the story. Then, write a prayer of gratitude for our God-given emotions. “God is God-enough to know our laughter and our tears alike.” (This idea…

Spiritual Scrapbook: Poems Found

“Beloved is Where We Begin,” Jan Richardon. (posted 3/23/20) Praying, praying, praying for all who are going out to work today, who are worried about personal safety, who are worried about family members at home, who are worried about those they work with or work to serve. Do not leave home this morning without hearing…

Spiritual Scrapbook: Songs Lifted

“It is Well with My Soul,” various Nashville Studio Singers. (posted 3/30/20) Watch and listen on YouTube. Just beautiful. Each singer recorded their voices at home, most on cell phones, and a producer put it all together. I grew up in the Nashville area, and the song sings of ‘home’ for me. Have you ever felt…

The New, True Marks of Kid-Friendly Churches

We love our kid-friendly church. We still talk about a moment in worship, several years ago now, when a two-year-old walked down the aisle from the back pew to stand in the front of the sanctuary. The handbell choir was playing the introit from the side balcony. Front and center, the little one tilted her…