Does God care about math? Yes...

What is the biggest thing you have ever prayed for? How about the smallest? Is it possible, we don't pray for many small things because we don't think God can be bothered with our narrow needs? Possibly. Walking the halls of our Sunday school department can reveal a great roadmap of how we adults should be praying. In the quiet after hours, I wandered these halls and marveled at some of the artwork our kids in Living Orange Life (LOL) offered. Kaylee doesn't think it inappropriate to ask God about her math skills. In fact, I imagine she is one of thousands or millions of youngsters who wonder about similar things. ** Will the bully on the bus leave me alone today? ** Can I kick the soccer ba

Completed Image.

Aghhhhh! I cannot be complete on my own. You don't know how difficult it was to put those words down on this page. God has created me and the environment in which I grew up. Those 56 years of formation have developed a fierce independence within me that is good ANNDDDD.... it is bad. Every day it becomes more apparent to me why God designed male and female and that they should come together in marriage. The image of God within each is in need of completion and that by the spouse of the opposite sex. You don't know how difficult it was for me to say THAT! Admitting I am not complete on my own strikes at the very heart of my internal pride and autonomy. "Two are better than one, because the

Friendly Contrasts.

Friends are a gift of my opinion. Risking the work involved in starting and building a relationship will never be time and energy wasted. In 17.5 years of ministry, our family has befriended so many wonderful people. Youngsters, elderly, and those of ages in between have become lifelong friends and that occurred because we were willing to risk. Them too! One of those friends from our last appointment visited yesterday and offered us a gift of friendship and appreciation. At first blush, the canvas photo of Lake Williams in York county looks like any other photo of this placid little man-made lake. The reflections, the lighting, and serenity all work together to provide such a nice

When all the parts are working.

Phew! This time of year really kicks my backside. The drier air, colder temperatures, and a host of flu bugs floating around make for tough sledding. In the midst of all these things with which to deal, there are a few practices that really need to increase. I need to remember to wash my hands more regularly. I need to cough into my arm or cover my mouth. I need to keep my body core warm and avoid being around people that exhibit all the signs and symptoms of walking pneumonia. It is almost impossible to address every risk out there. I discovered another good practice a while back. I need to maintain a rigorous schedule for changing filters in our oil burners in our home. I just replaced t

Keep the Light On!

We have special energy saving street lights in our neighborhood. The light at the end of our driveway will come on at dusk, then in about 6-8 minutes it will shut off. In approximately 4 minutes, it comes back on and repeats this cycle all night long. The energy saved and financial gain realized may not seem like much but multiplied over a few dozen lights and it begins to add up. NO! NO! NO! STOP! STOP! STOP! I am NOT being serious. There are no such things as energy saving lights that turn on then shut off! Our light is in need of replacement. I personally think there is a problem with the photocell that regulates the light in daylight and darkness. Obviously the bulb isn't the problem; i

Gracious speech is like clover honey.

I had two really cool uncles. Well, all my aunts and uncles were/are cool, but uncle Dan and uncle Ross were cooler. Both were well read and incredibly intelligent. Down to earth and humble were the traits of these two I remember best. Brothers who grew up on the family farm, they understood hard work and often did much of their own carpentry, masonry, and plumbing work. In fact, uncle Dan mined the sandstone and hand cut it all for his house and garage stone casing. Both were bee keepers and I'll never forget uncle Ross telling the story of trying to convince my aunt Claire that he should get many hives of honeybees. He mentioned a few Bible scriptures that mentioned the value of honey. He

It's here but not yet.

I visited a church in another county the other day and happened upon this neat little display. The actual paper taped to the wall had backward text. I looked in the mirror on the wall and then was able to read the text. It was definitely a 'double take' moment. After reading the scripture verse and pondering its meaning, it became clear to me. Life is filled with uncertainty and ambiguity. Day to day survival requires one to interpret these two foes. How is it done? Understanding God's kingdom is always the best place to begin. The 'here but not yet' conversation needs to occur. We who believe Jesus is Lord and have submitted to His work on the cross understand the Kingdom differently than

Mystery Dishes.

How often do you clean out your fridge? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? I am hoping you didn't laugh just now and say, "Never." You know how this works right? Some families will finish their meal and preserve leftovers. We'll eat those tomorrow or the next day. Sometimes that happens and sometimes it does not. What transpires then is a mystery thriller right inside your fridge. Those covered dishes get shuffled around and pushed to the back and then seemingly disappear. Strange things occur and odd odors begin to slowly invade our refrigerator. These events usually happen over a long period of time and are barely noticeable. What was viable leftover food on day one has turned into some greenish gray

Reflecting God?

If you could have one superpower, what would you want? Would you like to be able to: fly? have immeasurable strength? have mind control? become invisible? __________________? What if I told you that you could hold the power of God inside of you? Would you believe me? Could you envision this power at your fingertips? It is possible. Here is how. Jesus Christ is God. Paul describes that relation here in Colossians. "He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before a

Come Lord Jesus.

Now I understand in part what Jeremiah felt like in the Old Testament days of Israel. All I really want to do is weep and wail loudly. Today isn't a good day. In fact, many days leading up to this day have not been great. I'm not a fatalist nor do I research the Bible to select a year, month, day, and hour when Jesus will return to earth. I don't sit around fervently praying for Jesus to come back. I am a student of scripture and know He will return. He said he would and if He is a good teacher and the Holy Son of God then I know he cannot lie. Because Jesus is 'our' Savior, he will not leave us destitute and so we wait. However, these kinds of days make me a whole lot more anxious for H

Majoring in the minors

Leadership. For many, this word sends chills down their spine and propels them into the shadows. Leadership. For others, there is a firm understanding of the word and its simplistic meaning and they choose to embrace it. For the record, we are talking about a facet of society that is sorely lacking. It seems easier to follow than lead. As I watched the Inaugural events unfold yesterday, I watched with interest. The Armed Forces, Law Enforcement, Secret Service, National Guard, and others entities all operated under a strict code of conduct. Seeing Marines snap a salute every time President Obama or President elect Trump walked by inspired something deep within me. I cringed when dignitaries

Oh, hey there!

Is awareness a spiritual gift? I think so! I wished I had a dollar for every nail, shard of glass, hunk of metal, deck screw and other junk I have recovered from streets and main thoroughfares. I could be retired right now. Somehow, I would like to think I have reduced someone's stress by helping them avoid the unwelcome flat tire. It's probably one of the more gratifying reasons I walk and observe things. Not sure if this gift I possess is spiritual, but it does help others. I have shared in the past my penchant for being a people watcher. Hey, people are fascinating to observe. Our mannerisms, our relating styles, everything we do carries with it some meaning. Being aware of others is a

On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! The alarm goes off, you either stop it or snooze it. What is the next thing you do? STOP! How many of you actually set the alarm much earlier than you want to get up, then hit snooze 3-5 times? Somehow, it feels as though we are winning the battle with morning and getting out of bed when we snooze the clock several times....and if I am the only one who does this then disregard the question. On both sides of the Bell curve for alarm clock users are those who never hear the alarm and those who wake up an hour before said alarm. No matter your method of getting out of bed, starting the day is the main objective. Gotta get up and get going. Obviously, after one wanders o

Always winter but never Christmas

Is it possible to have winter blues if we haven't had much snow to speak of? Another question to ponder. Does extremely cold air and harsh winters reduce colds and flu? In the words of C.S. Lewis, "Is it always winter but never Christmas for us?" Pushing those questions aside, let's talk life and death. You may be thinking, "Wow, this pastor really knows how to have fun. I bet he's the life of the party..." No, really, let's dive into the tension between winter and Christmas, life and death, theist and atheist. I suppose one could add here the people who are cup half full versus those who are cup half empty. (Pessimists vs. optimists, hopeful vs. hopeless, defeatists vs. indomitables, victi

Tickets to heaven!

Monday morning headlines that grab your attention: Aside from the team that lost, I thought it odd to read the resale price of tickets would drop. I immediately thought, "I wonder what the actual out of the box price for a ticket would cost?" Probably don't want to know.... Could you imagine buying a ticket to Super Bowl LI (51)? If so, here is a representative website and potential price listings if you're interested. ( I pondered the "Diamond" package above and immediately a pain emanated in my heart. The list price would be about 23% of my annual salary. Then I pondered my profession as pastor and wondered about that 'call to serve

Things have changed.

Old habits die hard. As time goes by, things change. We don't always keep up to the changes. Take for instance the evolving nature of automobiles. The vehicles I grew up with had carburetors and the first thing you did before turning the ignition key was to pump the 'gas' pedal. This action primed the carburetor with fuel to then be ignited at start-up. Old world, meet new world. Electronic fuel injection was introduced into auto technology and the way we did things changed dramatically. No longer was there a need to pump the 'gas' feed before turning the key. Turning the key till the dash lights illuminated electronically charged each of the cylinders with fuel, then turning the key farthe

I'm ready to fail, cuz I'm ready to try.

Things that have made me shudder: 1. Trying to comfort a crying infant at 2:41 AM. 1a. Consoling that same infant in the midst of severe illness at 4:13 AM. 1b. Watching that infant receive two vaccines in one arm and two in the other. 2. Correcting a skidding automobile while on ice with your family in the car. 3. Allowing the same infant (now16 years old) drive solo for the first time multiplied by 4. 4. Attempting any type of youth ministry. 5. Listening to the ongoing political hatred. 6. __________________________________________. I'll let you place your answer here. My experience and I'm sure yours as well have included ups and downs. You have felt on top of the

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

Which is worse, taking credit for something you didn't do or doing something illegal and not admitting it? Umm, can I say Po 'tay' toe or Po 'tah' toe? It is six of one and a half dozen of another. In the end, both paths are insidious and should never be pursued as outcomes. Where does that leave us? Well, before we get to that question, take a look at a couple examples of people cutting corners and taking credit for astounding accomplishments (April 14, 2016). "Almost two weeks ago, a Craigslist post advertised a 2016 Boston Marathon bib number for sale. The bib owner wanted the “best offer” and told potential buyers, “Bonus if you’re on track to qualify me for B-town 2017.” (A smiley-fac

Thy will be done in the knots.

No more difficult thing in the world then to submit to an inconvenient event or another person out of a sense of faith. Sometimes, it feels as though we have no choice in the matter. It feels as though we are subject to the 'Law of Murphy' every day. Happens every time I sit down to untie my shoes. Often, when I'm in a hurry, the shoe strings will invariably get crossed and knot. Humph! Another few minutes are spent untangling the mess. I didn't need this interruption today! Now I know why some person invented velcro! Usually, I simply needed to slow down and be fully in the moment and to be present for those who need me. Most days, inconveniences that hit me always arrive at the wrong ti

When your faith is lit.

I remember the day a Jack Russell Terrier was jumping 4-5 feet in the air to see who was outside its door. I was grateful the people I visited that day had no doggie door. The dog was not acting happy to see me but more like a dog preparing to defend its house and owners. I have been able to develop an acute sense about animals. Growing up on a farm, honed my skills for reading body language and aggressive natures in animals. This animal was not sending me any warm fuzzy feelings. Long story short, the owners put their dog in a kennel and allowed me into the house. I delivered the equipment and the whole time I was training them on how to use their machine, the dog barked and growled and pus

First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~