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



I once met a pastor whose last name was "Boring" and he immediately joked about his good fortune. It must have been a personal challenge for him to preach with great spiritual power in order to offset his surname. I also have known a pastor whose first name is "Blessing" but he chooses to live into this moniker and has done so with ease. Oxy-morons are those fun to think about words that say one thing but describe something else. You have heard a hundred of these. Park on a driveway but drive on a parkway Jumbo shrimp Bitter melon tea Pastor Boring Inactive Christian We had the opportunity to shop a farmer's market in Georgia and were overwhelmed at the vast variety of foods. There was amaz

This is a lot of work!

Replacing a $2.49 part on your vehicle often requires a toolbox full of tools, several hours, and dismantling half the vehicle. In some cases, a person's religion can be threatened as well. The actual part swap takes about 3 minutes. A lot of work has to occur before the repairs are made. Strained muscles, bloodied knuckles (when the wrench slips), and unforeseen added repairs are part of the process. In some cases, special tools have to be purchased or rented. Patience is often a highly sought commodity. Perseverance holds me to the task, even when unexpected roadblocks occur. Ingenuity and creative techniques can be employed to circumvent these stoppages in vehicle repair. The end result i

Despite the Obstacles

When life gives me lemons, I make a lemon meringue pie with a side of orange sherbert. Ever have those days you didn't want to get out of bed? Maybe your exhaustion is too great. Maybe you have too many tasks to do. Maybe depression is choking the life out of you. It could be any number of factors holding you under the warm blankets. It is okay to feel these things once and awhile, but chronic fear, panic, and lethargy are detrimental to our health. Changing perspective is necessary. Adaptation - willing to consider another alternative and pursue it. Life isn't always candy and flowers. Life goes sideways when we were planning a straight path. Consider this tree out on the Standing Stone T

How can I help you today?

I may not always have a very long fuse when it comes to waiting for service in restaurants. I despise waiting in line or taking a pager in order to have a dinner date. Reservations would certainly solve that problem. Oh well, planning isn't high on my list some days either. Worse still is the day I walked into an eatery and stood waiting to be greeted and to be asked for my order. I waited --- and waited --- and waited. Another couple walked in behind me and the person behind the counter came bouncing out and asked the couple what they would like to order. Oops, think I just popped a blood vessel. I succinctly turned on my heel and left vowing to never return. Did I mention I am petulant

What we leave behind.

Leave no trace. Whatever you carry in, you carry out. Reduce your footprint. Leave this place better than you found it. All of these ideas are often seen at the office of your nearest state park. It should be fairly easy to grasp the gist of the instruction. Take care of this place. It is here for you to enjoy and not destroy. The basic principle of stewardship is that one cares for something they do not own. It is important to consider leaving something of worth for the following generations of people to enjoy. The concept of stewardship seems to be sorely lacking in many people. I murmur a lot when hiking a trail and reach a vista only to find pop bottles, candy wrappers, and a host of o

Bringing God Glory.

The CEO of a company that started out as a bottom rung employee often is the most understanding and best person for which to work. They get it. They understand the twists and turns of vocation. They remember the tired muscles from hard labor. They know what monotonous and boring mean when associated with work. Through all the different levels of a corporation, they have endured and thrived when others moved on. In short, an excellent CEO could be just as happy still working in the warehouse as they are in a corner office with a view. They tend to value employees across that broad spectrum of skill level. They keep the mission of the company in front of them and live out their personal missio

It starts with me. It starts with you.

I used to love priming the old hand pump at grandma's house. The cistern held water from the barn roof and would be used to water the cows. Pouring water into the top of the pump, while working the handle, would prime the mechanism and lift water out of the cistern as long as your arm could keep moving the pump handle. Once one stopped pumping, the water would drain back down into the cistern and a new dose of water would be needed to prime the pump again. Life is a lot like that old barn pump. Once you get something good going, it takes a catalyst and movement to keep things going. One depends on the other. I am talking about positive things in life, but I suppose I could also be speaking

Randy, stop worrying.

I am trained to be a clown. No, really, about 15+ years ago, my wife and I were trained to be clowns and to use that training in ministry. We learned the premise for using clown ministry to connect with people of all ages. We were instructed that the "Christian" clown never belittles anyone but always lifts people up. We learned the different face covers and designs and discovered each differing look has its own identity. Underneath the makeup is Randy or Tracie but the face we wear promotes a whole other personality. This masquerade presents one person while covering the other. A good clown absorbs and becomes the new personality. Clowning around has most often been my personality. I joke a

Thankful for storms.

A long time ago I had a special place I would go to escape the problems of life. Our family farm had a small orchard with a few pear trees, and several different kinds of apple trees. I adopted one of those apple trees that afforded my safe space. I would climb that tree all the way to the top and it felt like I was on top of the world. Never mind the nearby spruce and white pine trees that towered above my safe perch. Somewhere along the journey I hatched a plot that sounds sinister but for a 7 year old was probably fairly normal. I was a second grader and coveted my classmate's abundance of school supplies. They had far more pencils and fancy erasers than I had and I wanted some of their b

Breaking our mirror.

Back in my childhood, medications did not taste like grape, bubble gum, or any other palatable flavor. They were horrible, but they did the job and made us feel better. As much as I wanted to spit out penicillin or avoid the vaccination, I knew I had to submit to these awful solutions. My parents knew this too. My mind didn't want to just give up, so I would resist these helps. In my youngness, I thought I knew better than a doctor or my parents. God bless the inventor who flavored medications so that children would stop fighting the doctor and their parents. When we are ill, we want to get better. We may not want to follow the advice or Rx from the doctor however. In some incorrigible folk

Not there yet.

Have you ever wondered why we don't allow children to drive automobiles on the highway when they are 6 years old? Or, why we don't let the same child operate a backhoe that is digging for natural gas lines? There are so many instances where allowing children to engage in an activity would be detrimental to the task and dangerous to the child. I always smirk a little and seeth a lot when a TV show comes on and the disclaimer right at the beginning is directed toward vile content that may not be suitable for children. Great big thank you for letting me know! I like to think I have a sippy cup full of common sense. Doesn't sound like much but then again it doesn't take much to navigate life. Y

Order out of chaos.

"Innocent until proven guilty" has been the stance of our nation and most of the world for a long time. I heard that phrase used recently and began to parse it a little. If we are innocent, then we are good and doing good. If we are found guilty, then we have not always remained innocent or good. If the premise for this legal foundation is true, then it speaks to an internal goodness within each person that may or may not remain steadfast. The phrase presupposes that we will do the right thing or desire to do so. It was at this point in my thought that the verse from Romans came to my mind. "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no diffe

Sorting through the facts.

Have you ever felt like someone was watching you? It seems everywhere we go there is the all seeing security camera. I have been strongly considering getting some for here around the house. We live in a day and age that requires evidence to identify robbers, vandals, or an automobile accident. Dashcams record fun (bizarre) things while out on the road. Body cams are a hot topic for law enforcement too. The day after Easter is always one of reflection for me. Scriptures replay for me all the encounters the risen Jesus had with his disciples and many others. How I long to be in the middle of these dialogues. God offers us a narrative of all these events right after the Resurrection and we are

Christmas and EASTER!

I want to get this day started with a bang because that is how Easter needs to go!! This video was created in 2010 by the Kuinerrarmiut Elitnaurviat 5th graders of Quinhagak Alaska. I loved it the first time I watched it and thought you might enjoy it too. Admittedly, they were in the Christmas season and we are in Easter but hey, you cannot have the second one without the first. TURN YOUR SPEAKERS ON HIGH AND WORSHIP!! "Hallelujah Chorus" PS: Handel may have never dreamed his work would be so well received and would move so many people! PSS: He is Risen! Happy Easter friends!

Life needs to and must go on.

It's no secret, we as a people, don't take waiting around easily. There is something that seems wasteful about waiting. There is something inconvenient about waiting; maybe even painful. Waiting, in a word, just 'stinks'! Many things in our lives vie for attention and we sense a great need to be attending to them as soon as we can get to it. Yet, circumstances will often allow nothing to occur except waiting. One of those circumstances is death which brings a numbing effect that slows our senses and brings us face to face with that waiting nemesis. I soooooo want to know what all of Jesus followers were doing the day after the crucifixion. I understand Saturday to be their Sabbath and I'm s

Not Roman, not Jew, but you and I.

Today I am thinking of all the times I smashed my finger or thumb while swinging a hammer. In a land far away and a long time ago, it was not uncommon for my hammer to go flying through the air (Yes, I have thrown 20 pound sledges through the air after striking an ankle). Anger and a throbbing digit would compel me to blame the stupid hammer, the stupid nail, or some other stupid factor. Rarely did I ever accept the fact my aim of the hammerhead was abysmal. Why would I? That would infer I had something to do with the situation. Today is Good Friday (Black Friday). We observe this day as that which ended the life of Jesus Christ. The Last Supper was last evening. Jesus was arrested by the J

Wait. It's a four letter word.

Have you ever tried to intentionally slow down and savor each minute of a day? Sounds weird. Right? Savoring each minute of the day requires great discipline and a little patience. We have been trained to be busy, effective, and ----- well --- just busy! Everything about the world screams loudly, "Hurry up, get busy, don't stand around, try to do five things at once. Meanwhile, in an attempt to present an active life and one that accomplishes a great deal of work, we get a bit more fragmented and a whole lot less personable. We are turning into mechanical people who hit a switch and just go perform. Wait. It seems to be a four letter word for us. It does not have to be this way. Slow down.

Mending the broken.

I decided to tackle some repairs on our driveway. Apparently, it has been a while since maintenance has been done to the asphalt and a multitude of cracks and divots are evident. Cracks in macadam are a death knell if not addressed. Rain and snow come down; water seeps into the cracks and softens the fill underneath. In winter, the water freezes and heaves the blacktop upward creating more cracks and crevices. As temperatures warm, the surface sinks back down. Over a period of time, this heaving and sinking tend to weaken and reduce the structural integrity of the driveway. My task will include filling the damaged areas with rubberized material, bagged amesite, and then a fresh coat of dri

Are we deserving?

I am a "Debbie Downer" when TV commercials come on. Immediately, I begin to analyze the message, the content, the intended audience (race, gender, political, socio-economic, etc). I scrutinize the commercial for religious bias and or bias toward a certain gender. I get fairly incensed when a commercial portrays dads as idiots and buffoons. Painting with too wide of a brush sets commercials on a dangerous road to the danger zone for me. TV shows are pretty much the same. I go into analysis mode. Where is the remote? Last evening as I worked on an Easter sermon, the TV played in the background and I distinctly hear two different commercials use the same catch phrase "You deserve it". Most com

What will I offer?

A little over 100 days ago we celebrated Christmas and sang songs about three kings commonly called wisemen. We sang the verse that speaks of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Strange gifts for a baby to be sure but significant nonetheless. Theologians have proffered that gold could help Joseph and Mary care for their newborn baby, frankincense alluded to Jesus and his kingly nature, and myrrh pointed toward his preparation for death and burial. Fast forward those 100+ days and we're beginning the final week of Jesus earthly life. "While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of