A few years after I listened to a podcast on The Lord’s Prayer by Adam Hamilton, I changed how I pray this final phrase of Jesus’ prayer. Hamilton suggested that we put a comma (,) after the words “Lead us,”. When you do this it changes the way you hear and pray this phrase.
How often do you ask the Lord to lead in your life? You may feel you do that fairly often. But when I’m honest, I am more likely to tell the Lord what I need and see if God will follow my lead. Are you? By inserting this comma after “lead us”, I have been reminded to seek God’s leading. I will even sit in silence sometimes, having been invited to pause by that comma, to consider what it is I need God’s leadership in that day or moment. I invite you to try it.
Five years ago I was given a bicycle by my family for Father’s Day. I began to explore our city’s public trail system and found that I enjoyed this form of exercise. Five years, two bike upgrades and a lot of miles later, my mental health is better and I’m in much better physical shape. I gradually began to push myself to take longer rides, leave the People Trail for county roads, and learn more about road cycling. In time the challenge of attempting a century ride began to creep into my thinking.
A century ride is a cycling ride of 100 miles or more completed within 12 hours, and is considered something of a rite of passage in the world of recreational cycling. Think marathon for a runner. While not at all impossible, attempting such a feat does require some preparation and training – which, in turn, takes time. So, blessed with a Sabbatical this summer, and the time to train, I set a bucket list goal of completing my first (and quite possibly only) century ride. Continue reading
This summer the congregation I partner with in ministry and I have been given a gift. It’s the gift of a sabbatical. By definition a sabbatical is to be a time of rest, renewal, reflection and refreshment. It shares the same root as the word “sabbath”. My understanding of sabbath is, in part, a disruption of the normal routine in order to be able to live a different rhythm. Just as the sabbath invites us to stop, worship, rest and rejoice – breaking the weekly rhythm of work and production; the hope of a sabbatical is to also live into a new, or different rhythm in order to pay attention to new and different things. One who has observed sabbath is ready to re-enter and re-engage in the routine of life, knowing that he or she is not at the center of keeping the world spinning. So is the hope of a sabbatical – to re-set one’s perspective and allow a refreshed and reinvigorated engagement in vocation for the next season. Continue reading
In the aftermath of yet another school shooting, which has ricocheted into multiple copycat threats throughout the nation – including our local community, I would offer the following pastoral reflection. In doing so I realize that not all will agree with me, and it is not my intent to pick a fight or cause more division. However, there are times in life when, as a pastor, you feel something of a kinship in grief with the things that grieve the very heart of God. I have felt this burden for our homeland, it’s current state of political discord, and the spillover of all such things into the life of the church, for quite some time now. Perhaps the events of recent days have served as something of a tipping point for me.
So, what’s a Christ follower to do? What’s a Christ follower to think? How do we respond? I offer the following as a contribution to dialogue, thoughtful discourse and prayerful action: Continue reading
What will you read in 2018? That may not be a question you’ve spent much time thinking about, but I would encourage you to do so. Sadly we have moved into a time in modern culture that seems almost post-reading. Tweets, texts, social media posts, even blog posts that are built around bullet points all illustrate a public who’s attention span has waned. Could this mean that deep, meaningful and reflective reading may be, for some, a lost art – if it was ever a developed discipline?
I know, I may sound like an old grump who is a throw back to the days of the newspaper (which I’m told young people do not read), but I believe what we read matters. It helps us think and develops in us the capacity to respond to life from a reflective platform. Reading allows and encourages us to expand our horizons, improve our vocabulary, and deepen our understanding of life’s issues. Continue reading