Posted in Campus Ministry, Grace, Life, Music, perseverance, Thankful

Miley Cyrus…oh my…

Yesterday was one of those crazy campus ministry days.  This weekend we’re hosting our first wedding rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, wedding and reception.  Wow!  We hosted our first wedding reception two weeks ago and it was beautiful!  I have no doubt that today’s wedding will be just as beautiful and special.

I’m so glad I’m writing this today and not yesterday.  Yesterday morning when I got to Wesley the air conditioning unit was making a buzzing sound.  I could hear the fan going in the building but the two fan blades in the actual unit weren’t moving at all.  As y’all know – this is the hottest month that newscasters have on record and this is South Carolina.  Needless to say – it was hot!  We have a now close relationship with Adams Services.  Adams does heating, cooling, electrical, and plumbing so between all of those things we have plenty of chances to see them between fixing up Wesley and trying to continue to maintain The Wesley House.  They are all great guys and I trust them completely.

They got here a little after 1 and thankfully had a temporary fix for us by 3 which was great.  Yes, they’re going to fix it more next week when I’m on vacation and yes, this is still only a temporary fix because this unit is old and decrepid and we need to eventually by another unit – you don’t want to know that price tag.  Bottom line for me though – it was fixed!  It was a little warm for the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner last night but when I got here this morning it was a nice 72 degrees which is miraculous for this building.  And now both families are decorating away and fellowshipping with each other and it’s beautiful…..and cool.  Nice.  Praise God for a cloudy day!

So why is the blogged titled Miley Cyrus you may ask?  Well all day yesterday I could only think of one song and it was Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.”  Some of you may be shaking your head and saying that I am crazy for thinking of that song by a teen pop star/blah, blah, blah.  However – I like the stinking song.  Disney mistakenly sent us the Hannah Montana movie and although our kids aren’t nearly old enough to see it or care a wit about it, it wasn’t half bad.  And I’m a little embaressed to admit that but who cares.

In campus ministry land I do often feel like it’s the climb.  It’s an amazing and awesome climb 98% of the time.  I love, love, love my “job.”  It’s hard for me to imagine doing anything else.  But let me tell you, yesterday when the air conditioner is broken and I hear the pricetag for fixing it and next door at The Wesley House, we’re fixing a bathtub, front door lock, and calling Comporium to fix a cable box…things feel like an uphill battle trying to keep this property in shape and accessible.

What makes it all worth it though is things like today.  Yep, this property stuff drives me crazy, but it’s worth it to see this wedding today!  It’s worth it to have gone next door to Wesley House this morning to borrow the vaccuum and see one of our new residents at home in her new room and her facebook status, “is an OFFICIAL resident of the wesley house. love my life. 😀 😀 :D”  That makes all of this other junk worth it!

So maybe it is the climb.  And maybe it is Miley Cyrus.  But it sure did speak to me.  Thank God there’s no limit to what God can speak to us through.  In this life sometimes we have to keep climbing and bounding over the hurdles thankful for the daily mercies and blessings that come our way even in the midst.

I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there’s a voice inside my head saying
“You’ll never reach it”

Every step I’m taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking

But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb

The struggles I’m facing
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no, I’m not breaking

I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I’m gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep going

And I, I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on

‘Cause there’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb, yeah!

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Somebody’s gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb, yeah!

Keep on moving, keep climbing
Keep the faith, baby
It’s all about, it’s all about the climb
Keep the faith, keep your faith, whoa

Posted in change, Community, Grace, Health, Music, Tumor

Neurologist Update

Hi y’all,

I realized earlier today I haven’t really updated folks on the latest health stuff.  It’s both easy and difficult to push that to the back of my mind – especially this time of the year as we prepare for the students return.

Mike and I went a couple weeks ago to the new neurologist and she’s great!  An Emory Med School grad and it was like night and day from before which was great.  Mike particularly liked her which is high praise.  We talked to her about the small things that have changed since the surgery and she did some tests that proved that we weren’t just imagining things.  I have found that I can’t always remember simple things or people’s names even I’ve known them forever.  She showed me some flash cards with simple objects on them and although I knew what each was and they were simple like an umbrella or something like that.  I couldn’t actually say all of their names for a little while.  It’s like I know it but there’s some sort of delay or block.  I knew that I had been feeling this way but when she did that test, I knew for sure, that everything wasn’t “back to normal.”  We then did a test where you’re supposed to walk in a straight line.  Yes, like the drunk test.  Welp, totally bombed that one too.  I haven’t noticed any difference in regular life with my motor skills so that was a little startling to know that even that’s a little off.  She said she would testify on behalf if I failed a DUI test – no worries there since I can’t drive but it was funny nonetheless.

 I know that this is normal after brain surgery and many people laugh and say this comes with age.  I get that.  I’m not expecting to do everything that I could do before or to be able to snap my fingers and that this all will disappear.  But it’s tough because like she said that day – I look perfectly normal.  The way my hair is cut and the way I part it now completely covers up my scar that stretches 22 sutures from the top of my head to my ear.  Now that is a great haircut!  When you look normal and you’re trying to go back to your life and all of the same challenges and demands, it’s easy to forget that things are different.

For someone that talks and remembers things as part of her job – her ministry – her vocation – her life – not being able to think clearly on your feet is hard.  There’s no way around that.  Am I worried about August quickly approaching and getting ready for the school year?  Heck yes.  Am I worried that my normal “meditations” with the students in worship will be that much more difficult trying to remember and bring things together?  Yep.  Am I learning that I need to depend on other people more and I need to rest in the grace of God more?  Oh yeah.  I feel like a middle schooler without her license as I ask people for rides all the time.  But then again, it’s good to let others help you sometimes.  If we really are community it’s a balance of each of us helping and taking turns and building up the body.

Anyway – long story short – the neurologist says I’ll be on the seizure meds for 2 years if nothing happens again.  One piece of good news that I liked since I’m a little afraid of the seizures – if I have a little seizure (not go unconscious) then that doesn’t start over my 6 months wait to drive.  Scary I know.  Only if I go unconscious does that restart so November 28th I am looking forward to you!  I’ll see the neurologist again in January so the only thing on the docket now is the MRI in September.

That and getting ready for the school year!  But hey that’s just the normal crazy campus minister to do list…

Mike has done a lot of songs by Michael Gungor in The Journey service and I really do like his music a lot.  We’ve been playing the Gungor album “Beautiful Things” in our car for a while.  Below is a song by their group called “Please Be My Strength.”  It’s melody and lyrics speak to me and I hope it will speak to some of you.

I’ve tried to stand my ground
I’ve tried to understand
but I can’t seem to find my way
like water on the sand
or grasping at the wind
I keep on falling short
please be my strength
please be my strenth
I don’t have anymore
I don’t have anymore
I’m looking for a place
that I can plant my faith
one thing I know for sure
I cannot create it
I cannot sustain it
It’s Your love that’s keeping (captured) me
Please be my strength…
at my final breath
I hope that I can say
I’ve fought the good fight of faith
I pray your glory shines
through this doubting heart of mine
so my world would know that You
You are my strength
You and You alone
You and You alone
Keep bringin me back home

Posted in Faith, God, Music, Uncategorized

The Nature of God

In preparing for last week’s sermon on Prayer and in talking with some students over the past couple days about life and the twists and turns in the road, I realize that so much of faith and how you view the world depends on what you think the nature of God is. 

If your view of God is that of someone that takes away everything good in your life or does the bait and switch or just randomly gives and takes with no thought to you or anyone around you – wow – that can mess with your head.  It would be hard to believe in a God like that.  It would be hard to pray to a God like that.  But if we believe in a just God, a God of goodness and love and power – a God that draws us towards Godself even when we don’t realize it – that’s a different view of God.

A lot of the songs that I think of when I think about the nature of God do describe God’s power and majesty and I do like “You are God Alone” and “Indescribable.”  I also find the very personal descriptions of God powerful as well.  Great Is Thy Faithfulness and Just a Closer Walk With Thee….awesomely meaningful.

I don’t have a lot of great answers in this post but it did strike me in thinking about prayer and the decisions that we make and the paths that we’re on – so much depends on how we see the God that we serve.  What to you is the essence of God?  Do you see an old man with a white beard?  Do you see sunshine and rainbows?  We did a program at Wesley once last year where students painted the image they had of God when they were children and the image they have of God now and it was great to see both of those images and hear their explanations for them.  It’s definitely food for thought.

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Indescribable by Laura Story and Jesse Reeves

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation’s revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable
You placed the stars in the sky
And You know them by name
You are amazing, God

All powerful, untameable
Awestruck we fall to our knees
As we humbly proclaim
You are amazing, God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet, conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom

Indescribable, uncontainable
You placed the stars in the sky
And You know them by name
You are amazing, God

All powerful, untameable
Awestruck we fall to our knees
As we humbly proclaim
You are amazing, God
You are amazing, God

Indescribable, uncontainable
You placed the stars in the sky
And You know them by name
You are amazing God

All powerful, untameable
Awestruck we fall to our knees
As we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Indescribable, uncontainable
You placed the stars in the sky
And You know them by name
You are amazing, God

Incomparable, unchangeable
You see the depths of my heart
And You love me the same
You are amazing, God
You are amazing, God

You are God Alone by Phillips, Craig & Dean

You are not a god
Created by human hands
You are not a god
Dependant on any mortal man
You are not a god
In need of anything we can give
By Your plan, that’s just the way it is

You are God alone
From before time began
You were on Your throne
Your are God alone
And right now
In the good times and bad
You are on Your throne
You are God alone

You’re the only God
Whose power none can contend
You’re the only God
Whose name and praise will never end
You’re the only God
Who’s worthy of everything we can give
You are God
And that’s just the way it is

That’s what You are

Posted in Random

True Story about Ducks

Something really cute happened in downtown San Antonio this week. Michael R. is an accounting clerk at Frost Bank and works there in a second story office.  Several weeks ago, he watched a mother duck choose the concrete awning outside his window as the unlikely place to build a nest above the sidewalk. The mallard laid ten eggs in a nest in the corner of the planter that is perched over 10 feet in the air. She dutifully kept the eggs warm for weeks, and Monday afternoon all of her ten ducklings hatched.


 Michael worried all night how the momma duck was going to get those babies safely off their perch in a busy, downtown, urban environment to take to water, which typically happens in the first 48 hours of a duck hatching.
Tuesday morning, Michael watched the mother duck encourage her babies to the edge of the perch with the intent to show them how to jump off.  Office work came to a standstill as everyone gathered to watch.

The mother flew down below and started quacking to her babies above. In disbelief Michael watched as the first fuzzy newborn trustingly toddled to the edge and astonishingly leapt into thin air, crashing onto the cement below.  Michael couldn’t stand to watch this risky effort nine more times!  He dashed out of his office and ran down the stairs to the sidewalk where the first obedient duckling, near its mother, was resting in a stupor after the near-fatal fall.  Michael stood out of sight under the awning-planter, ready to help. 

As the second one took the plunge, Michael jumped forward and caught it with his bare hands before it hit the concrete. Safe and sound, he set it down it by its momma and the other stunned sibling, still recovering from that painful leap.  (The momma must have sensed that Michael was trying to help her babies.)

One by one the babies continued to jump. Each time Michael hid under the awning just to reach out in the nick of time as the duckling made its free fall.  At the scene the busy downtown sidewalk traffic came to a standstill.  Time after time, Michael was able to catch the remaining eight and set them by their approving mother.

At this point Michael realized the duck family had only made part of its dangerous journey. They had two full blocks to walk across traffic, crosswalks, curbs and past pedestrians to get to the closest open water, the San Antonio River , site of the famed “River Walk.”  The on looking office secretaries and several  San Antonio police officers joined in.  An empty copy-paper box was brought to collect the babies.
They carefully corralled them, with the mother’s approval, and loaded them in the container. Michael held the box low enough for the mom to see her brood. He then slowly navigated through the downtown streets toward the San Antonio River The mother waddled behind and kept her babies in sight, all the way.

As they reached the river, the mother took over and passed him, jumping in the river and quacking loudly.
At the water’s edge, Michael tipped the box and helped shepherd the babies toward the water and to the waiting mother after their adventurous ride.

All ten darling ducklings safely made it into the water and paddled up snugly to momma. Michael said the mom swam in circles, looking back toward the beaming bank bookkeeper, and proudly quacking.

At last, all present and accounted for: “We’re all together again.  We’re here!  We’re here!”

And here’s a family portrait before they head outward to further adventures.. .

Like all of us in the big times of our life, they never could have made it alone without lots of helping hands.

I also couldn’t help but think about Tom Conlon’s song, “Bird’s Fly.”  Which you can hear on his myspace page –

Posted in Faith, God's Providence, Grace, Guidance, Healing, Health, Justice, Movies, Prayers, pride, Sermons, Trust


This Sunday’s Gospel lectionary text is Luke 11:1-13.  It begins with the disciples asking Jesus to teach them how to pray and Jesus teaching them Lord’s prayer followed by him talking about seeking and finding and words that I say in just about every other sermon or talk with students at one time or another.  Very familiar words… “Ask, and it will be given you; search and you fill find; knock, and hte door will be opened for you.  For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”  Then it goes on talking about eggs and scorpions.  It’s a rich text.  And when I picked it at the beginning of the week when I working on the bulletin, I really wanted to work on it and see where the Spirit led because while saying the Lord’s prayer in the midst of The Journey service last week, I actually stumbled over some of the words – can’t even remember which ones now – because I was thinking about what they actually meant and what we’re actually saying when we say that familiar and yet powerful prayer.

I admit that as often is the case when I pick a text as time gets closer to Sunday I start to second guess and think that I might should have gone with one of the others.  It is always awe-inspiring for me to think about all of the little and amazing things that God brings to us when we’re wrestling with something.  This week it has been prayer for me.  Part of me does regret picking that text because there’s a part of me that’s not ready to think seriously and openly about this text after the events of the past couple months.  It’s still a little too personal to put into a sermon or to reflect on.

Mike brought in the poster board card that the folks at SC’s Annual Conference made me while I was having surgery.  Who knows how it ended up in my trunk and I have no clue who brought it from Florence but it ended up in Wesley on Thursday morning as Mike was cleaning out my trunk.  I can’t say how much those prayers meant to me and continue to mean to me.  I can’t begin to express how much I want to keep asking and knocking on that door in prayer in hope.

I’ve been reading various women’s books over all this time out of sheer boredom from doctor’s office visits and when the kids are watching that episode of Caillou or Dora or Phinneas and Ferb for the millionth time.  (Sidenote:  most women’s books are so depressing and sad – does no one believe in happy endings anymore besides the Christian fiction authors???)  One of my dear students here let me borrow The Time Traveler’s Wife before she left for the summer.   Beautiful story.  Deep love.  I will never watch the movie because it’s more sad than I want, but beautiful.  Yet again I do think God brings random things into our lives that wake us up to a truth we need to see or things we need to realize or just that guidance that we can’t always even understand.  In reading the ending of that book – I found myself realizing that even though I have prayed and felt uplifted throughout this journey and I have appreciated the prayers of so many, I’ve never actually cried out specifically for God to heal me. 

It kind of freaks me out even to type it.  I know that’s weird.  Especially for a pastor that does believe that prayer can do miraculous things.  And someone that does believe in the “Heal me and I will be healed.  Save me and I will be saved.  For you alone are God.”  So in thinking about the sermon that I have no idea what I’m going to really say tomorrow – what makes us afraid to ask or knock or seek?  What holds us back?  What stands in our way?

Crying out to God that night, trying to figure it out – I don’t know.  It’s a lot of things.  Fear that it won’t happen.  Fear of what healing really means and for how long.  Fear that even if everything is healed, I won’t know how to go back to life as usual.  Is it pride?  Do I pray for others but not want to pray for myself?  Why is that?  I’m no more resilient or together and certainly not any more godly.  Is it that I see people all around every day and I hear stories of people that need healing so much more and I wonder and rail that I’m sure some of them ask, seek, and knock and where are their good gifts and not scorpions?  I just saw a blip of Ann Curry’s special on the Today Show with the family of 10 living on $500 a month and I’m like why am I even taking the time to write a blog or eating lifesaver gummies when there are people out there that are struggling and hurting needing “good gifts” as much as the rest of us.

Do we think we’re not good enough to ask?  Or not deserving enough?  Or needy enough?  Or nice enough?  What is it that holds us back from prayer?  What makes it hard to ask and give these things over?  Control?  Pride?  Fear?  Anger at what we’ve seen as unanswered prayer?

In watching Anne of Green Gables on PBS for a couple weekends I noticed how Marilla first taught Anne how to pray and she explained to her in a very simple manner – that she should thank God for God’s blessings and then ask God if there’s something she’d like.  Hilarious scene.  Sadly youtube does not have it.  I think about the whole ACTS – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.  I think of all the prayer circles and prayer ministries and prayer shawls (and Windsor UMC I love the one y’all made me!  it is in my office and i’ve already had a couple students wrap in it and i hope feel your prayers!).  I read this passage and think very layered/complicated back and forth theology blah, blah, blah statements but you know it’s really pretty simple.  Ask – it will be given, search – find, knock – door open.  It’s not complicated.  And yet somehow we make it so in our minds.  Or maybe that’s just mine.

I don’t have all the answers and I feel sure that I won’t have come up with them by tomorrow morning at 11 am, but I do know that God is a God of love and that God does love us as God’s very own.  So those scorpions or the AIDS or the heart attacks or the car accidents or the cancers or the abuse or the hurricanes are not from God.  They can be used by God for our good but our God knows us, loves us and seeks the best for us.

Maybe that’s what it boils down to…the trust and the faith to believe not only that God answers prayer and that God hears us, but that God is love and is good and is not going to bait and switch us and give us a mouse trap to stick our fingers in instead of an awesome gigantic lollipop.  It is with confidence and boldness that we pray knowing that we are heard and held by the great God of the universe.  We can cry out when we’re starting a new job, or a new school, or a new adventure and we will be answered.  We can continue to ask the hard questions and wrestle and just not understand and as we seek, surely we will find…Can’t wait for each of us to knock on that door and to see the warm light and smile when the door is opened.

Found this from Celine Dion and Josh Groban on youtube.  I know a little cheesey but I do think there’s a love and emotion in there that is present in these passages about prayer…that love of parent and child – that guidance and leading.

I pray you’ll be our eyes, and watch us where we go.
And help us to be wise in times when we don’t know
Let this be our prayer, when we lose our way
Lead us to the place, guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe

The light you have
I pray we’ll find your light
will be in the heart
and hold it in our hearts.
to remember us that
When stars go out each night,
you are eternal star
Nella mia preghiera
Let this be our prayer
quanta fede c’è
when shadows fill our day

How much faith there’s
Let this be our prayer
in my prayer
when shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe

We dream a world without violence
a world of justice and faith.
Everyone gives the hand to his neighbours
Symbol of peace, of fraternity
We ask that life be kind
and watch us from above
We hope each soul will find
another soul to love

The force his gives us
We ask that life be kind
is wish that
and watch us from above
everyone finds love
We hope each soul will find
around and inside
another soul to love
Let this be our prayer
Let this be our prayer, just like every child

Need to find a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe
Need to find a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe

It’s the faith
you light in us
I feel it will save us

Posted in God's Providence, Grace, Music, new normal

A New Song

A New Song – Psalm 96:1-13

Yesterday’s Upper Room devotional lifted up these verses from the Psalms  and the passage really struck me in this time and place in my life.  What particularly stood out was the beginning, “O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples. For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised.”  Each of us has times when we’re searching for a new song – whether that be around New Year’s, Lent, the beginning of a school year, or facing something just a little life-changing. 

People have talked to me about a “new” normal and I think those words fit just as good as any of the other surreal things I’ve heard, but I think I’d like to claim these verses as my new theme song.  Primarily because there’s a continuity and an unchanging sense in this passage that God has not and will not leave or forsake us no matter what.  There’s something unshakable about God’s faithfulness to us in the midst of all of life’s storms and that unfailing love that keeps shining through.

There’s a song that we sing in The Journey at St. John’s UMC  called “A Thousand Amens” by Tim Timmons.  The verses are the standard doxology  and the chorus is “Unfailing love comes with the morning/It’s Your faithfulness we sing at night/It’s Your kindness Lord that leads to our healing/All glory to our Maker and a thousand amens.”  I love this song.  Whether in good times or tough times, all glory is to the One who created us.  Here’s a link if you want to hear it:

A HUGE thanks to y’all for being a resounding chorus in singing this song with me.  I’ve appreciated all of your thoughts and prayers and well wishes during this still surreal crazy change in my life. 

Love and Grace to each of you!

Can’t get Leeland’s “New Creation” out of my head today.

That and the old hymn “I Love to Tell the Story”…

1.	I love to tell the story
	of unseen things above,
	of Jesus and his glory,
	of Jesus and his love.
	I love to tell the story,
	because I know 'tis true;
	it satisfies my longings
	as nothing else can do.
	I love to tell the story,
	'twill be my theme in glory,
	to tell the old, old story
	of Jesus and his love.

2.	I love to tell the story;
	more wonderful it seems
	than all the golden fancies
	of all our golden dreams.
	I love to tell the story,
	it did so much for me;
	and that is just the reason
	I tell it now to thee.

3.	I love to tell the story;
	'tis pleasant to repeat
	what seems, each time I tell it,
	more wonderfully sweet.
	I love to tell the story,
	for some have never heard
	the message of salvation
	from God's own holy Word.

4.	I love to tell the story,
	for those who know it best
	seem hungering and thirsting
	to hear it like the rest.
	And when, in scenes of glory,
	I sing the new, new song,
	'twill be the old, old story
	that I have loved so long.
Posted in Culture, Faith, God's Providence, Grace, Movies

Feed the Birds

The kids were watching Mary Poppins the other day and I was struck by the story of the lady feeding the birds.  Mary Poppins is talking the kids into being excited about going with their father to work the next day and she starts telling them about the lady as she holds a beautiful snow globe of it.

In talking about the father in the story and of course of you know the movie he’s kind of a tough rules and order-oriented dad, the kids ask why people don’t stop and give lady money or why they don’t see her altogether.  Mary Poppins answers, “Some people don’t see past the end of their nose.”

Some of us don’t see past the end of our noses.  If we’re too busy in the goings on of life it’s easy not to see the world around us or the needs around us.  I read an article ( give and last night about some cities outlawing or making it really difficult for people to feed the homeless in their cities.  Wow.  I’m not even going to get into the statistics of how many of our homeless are veterans or are mentally ill or the many, many folks who have found themselves homeless for the first time in the past couple years in our economy.

But a challenge to each of us is to see past the end of our noses and our own little worlds and to see what we can do.  It’s easy to see issues like hunger or homelessness or human trafficking or immigration or education reform as these big, huge things that we can’t make a difference in.  But all those commercials that say that all of us together, all of our little drops in the bucket CAN make a difference – that’s not just Hollywood or a pipe dream.  That’s real.  What can we do today?  What are you passionate about?  What has God given you a vision for?

Trying to see past the end of my nose…

“Feed the Birds” Lyrics

Early each day to the steps of Saint Paul’s
The little old bird woman comes
In her own special way to the people she call,
“Come, buy my bags full of crumbs;
Come feed the little birds,
Show them you care
And you’ll be glad if you do
Their young ones are hungry
Their nests are so bare
All it takes is tuppence from you
Feed the birds, tuppence a bag
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag
Feed the birds,” that’s what she cries
While overhead, her birds fill the skies

All around the cathedral the saints and apostles
Look down as she sells her wares
Although you can’t see it,
You know they are smiling
Each time someone shows that he cares

Though her words are simple and few
Listen, listen, she’s calling to you
“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag”

Posted in Music

Bless the Lord

Love this song.  Sometimes it’s theology gives me pause, but still love it.  And I love the youtube video that goes with it and the scripture that is included.

Laura Story – “Bless the Lord”

You give and take away for my good
For who am I to say what I need?
For You alone see the hidden parts of me
that need to be stripped away.

And as You begin to refine
I’m learning to let go and rely
on One who walks with me
As hard as it may be,
You’re teaching me all the while to say:

Bless the Lord, O my soul
All that’s in me bless Your name
Forget not Your power un- told
not Your glory or Your fame
For You came to heal the broken
to redeem and make me whole
Bless the Lord, O my soul.

Posted in Faith, Sermons, Television, Worship

More than the Good Samaritan

So Sunday I preached the Luke 10:25-37 text which is commonly known as the Good Samaritan text.  I remember learning about the Good Samaritan in Sunday School with the felt board and little characters at Wesley Chapel.  When you’re a kid though you don’t get the inside info of the beginning piece of the lawyer asking Jesus “What do I need for eternal life?” or the back and forth of the conversation, and I totally don’t remember getting the big deal of this being a person from Samaria being the one to help.  All I know as a child was that this person was hurt on the road and needed help and yet these two people that were supposed to be the godly ones kept walking past while this other guy actually stopped, helped and supported the hurt person.  Pretty simple lesson right?  You want to be the one that stops and helps and not the don’t make eye contact, keep hurrying along people.

We watch The Bachelorette every Monday night.  Yes I know that is trashy television, some believe it’s scripted, they almost always break up, it’s contrived, etc., etc.  But I still love the show and when you can fast forward the yucky parts including most of the rose ceremony – it ain’t half bad.  Anyway, right after The Bachelorette they have this insane show that gets on my absolute nerves called True Beauty.  The whole premise is that these contestants think they’re trying to win a chance to be “The Face of Vegas” and they do all these challenges and everything, but the real contest is all these hidden cameras shooting them and showing what they’re really made of.  You see, they’re supposed to have beauty not just on the outside but on the inside as well.  So it records if they’ll cheat to get ahead or if they’re trash talking behind someone’s back or if they, just like the Good Samaritan, help those in need right in front of them or they just keep walking.  We didn’t end up watching the whole show because we wanted to catch up on some Leverage, but we caught the last 5 minutes where the poor girl was eliminated because she did cheat at the challenges, she did trash talk and she didn’t bother to help a mother trying to take care of her child and load luggage into her car, while the other contestant did.

So in thinking about the Good Samaritan I think about True Beauty.  If our lives were recorded every day what would the verdict be for us?  Would we have true beauty or would we cheat, trash talk, and keep walking when there’s an obvious need that we could do something about?  Lord only knows.  Literally.  I mean you’ve been waiting in a line at a red light with the other cars and someone’s trying to raise money for the Humane Society or the local Fire Department or some other group.  Do you readily give or do you do like I sometimes do and suddenly you get very busy changing the radio station, digging in your purse, or texting someone on your phone.  Do not make eye contact.

What I like about this text is that it’s not just about the story.  It starts off with that eternal life question and then it digs deep into the law – straight from Deuteronomy 6:4-9, “Hear O Israel:  The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.  Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart.  Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.  Bind the as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  And the other law follows – to love your neighbor as yourself.

On Sunday I took a blue sharpie marker and wrote on my palm the word “LOVE” for the children’s sermon.  There’s just something about those words in Deuteronomy about writing this as a sign on your hand or an emblem on your forehead.  Some of us might think wait a sec I don’t want to toot my horn and put all this stuff out there like I’m somehow better than other folk.  Or maybe it’s like many a pastor including me that has said I don’t want to put anything on my car – fish, bumper sticker, or clergy sticker – because I sure don’t drive like I should.  If we wrote something on our hand or on our forehead reminding us to love God and love neighbor – would that help remind us?  would that make us pause before we look away?  would that make us see the world a little differently?

The new Senior Pastor at St. John’s said some wise words the other day.  If the church isn’t going to really welcome people, we might as well take welcome off the door.  That’s made me think a lot.  We just took down our two welcome signs at Wesley so that we could paint and add some new ones.  It definitely makes you think.  If we’re not going to live it, we sure as heck better not say we do.  That’s a challenge to each of us.

What would they show on your True Beauty?  None of us get it right all the time, but I’d like to think we’re at least striving towards it with God’s grace.  What situations challenge you to show love?  patience?  grace?

Posted in Health, Tumor

Call from Doc

Just to keep y’all updated on the medical part of this blog.  I talked with the doctor yesterday and he assured me that the Tumor Board agreed with his plan to wait this out for 3 months and then do an MRI to see how/if things grow/change.  Since they don’t know how long the tumor was there, they’re not sure how all of this will play out.  He did say that there’s no radiation needed right now so that’s good news.

I asked a lot of questions about it being a grade 2 tumor and what that meant.  I also really hedged on asking the question I really wanted to know specifically about this type of tumor but he was wise enough to know what I was asking.  He responded, “So you’re asking about life expectancy.” And I said yes.  And he said that there’s a wide range.  The tumor may come back in 2-3 years or 10 years or could be even longer.  A lot of it depends on how all of these MRI’s play out.  Bottom line – there’s no set answer for what this is going to look like in the long run.  But there’s no immediate threat.  This is not a grade 3 or 4 tumor.  And we are VERY thankful for that!

I know that your prayers had and will continue to have a great impact on these outcomes and I thank you for all of them.  I thank you for all of the cards and support and even pictures in the sand (loved that one!).  I thank you for walking with us and keeping us in your hearts.  Your support has been amazing and I seriously could never thank you enough.  We don’t know what the future holds.  No clue.  But we know who walks with us each step of the way.

I’ll meet with the neurologist next week and we’ll go from there on that end.  And other than that – it’s time to keep rockin and rollin with life.  Thank y’all, thank y’all, thank y’all!  Can’t say it enough!