Sunday and…

Growing up, I learned to play the drumset in order to fill a musical need at my church. It was a lot of fun for me, and I like to think I grew into it well as a self-taught musician. I remember approaching every week as if we were practicing for the next week’s show/event/concert. The thrust of my energy as a worship drummer was always “what’s happening next Sunday?”When it comes to making a worship happen, there could be a lot of…

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Remodel

We’re in the process of remodeling a room in our house. A room. Singular. It’s a smaller one, too—the guest bathroom (not the one pictured above, but similar size and layout).You’d think, 45 square feet or so, not too big of a deal. It should be taken care of in a month or two at the most. Well, one thing has led to another and here we are—4 months later-with materials in the garage and lining up labor to get the job done.…

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Witness

“Witness” can be a scary word to some church people. Even apart from church contexts, it can be scary to be a witness. Your name is now associated with a case, situation, or incident. If a new development or question might happen later down the road, you will likely be called. Whether you desire to get the facts straight or find yourself in a tricky situation because of being in a certain place at a certain time, being a witness can be stressful.Beginning…

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Fullness and Emptiness
empty and full cups

Fullness and Emptiness

So many voices…so many perspectives…so many programs…so many to-dos…Just. So. Many.You’d think with as many things as we tend to have going on in our lives, ears, and schedules, that we would be filled by the abundance. Yet, so often, I feel drained and emptied. Maybe it’s the secret introvert in me, but the work of sifting through the noise, crud, and mess of life wears me out.So full, yet so emptying.When I think of Jesus and fullness, my first thought drifts to…

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Naming Gifts

I’ve attended several workshops on identifying and naming the many and varied gifts that we see in others, especially volunteers or when think of making an ask of someone. The presenters always seem to make it look so easy! For example…Step 1: Need someone to help with youth? Find someone who loves caring for kids. Etc.Step 2: When that magical person shows up, we’re supposed to be able to say “Buddy, you’re so great with kids, could you consider sharing that gift in…

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Joy

I have a confession to make: I am a sucker for Dungeons and Dragons. I have all the dice, a few handbooks, my first character from college (which survived ALL FOUR YEARS!), and miniatures just ready to be placed on my tabletop for an adventure. I had a consistent group in college, and played a few times in seminary and had a lot of fun along the way.I heard stories in my early years of preparing to be a pastor that Dungeons and…

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Where Do You Come From?

When I was in seminary, I remember one conversation I had with a friend who had enrolled in the PhD program. I asked what he was pursuing, and he replied that he was going to explore the field of comparative religions. To be honest, at that time, I thought it was a trendy discipline more than an academic one, but I wished him well in his endeavor.Comparative religions though isn’t really all that trendy, I came to learn, as I began my internship…

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Who’s Story?

The calendar no longer says 2020. My first thought on New Year’s Day was, “breathe-it’s over.” However, in a way, as much as I hate to admit it, it’s not over. Although the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2021, the effects of 2020 linger. We are still going through a vaccine rollout, dealing with isolation, being cut off, fears of being forgotten, anger, and the aftermath of a tumultuous election cycle. The fingerprint of 2020 remains.Yet, the world spins on. Earth still…

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Mixed Up

Not too long ago, my wife and I sat down to a surprisingly relaxing evening after a tough week and we decided to try and watch one of those wonderful and ever popular Netflix original holiday movies. As is usual with those films, I found myself cringing at the script and acting ability. I found myself say at about the hour mark, “how long, O Lord?” Of course, we both laughed and then continued the slog for another 37 minutes. It’s fun to…

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What Are We Accelerating?

So often, I hear claims from people advocating for responsible use of fossil fuels and those who are pursuing advances in clean energy that somehow we will develop better technology and that will take care of many issues we have created in our environment. While I support the pursuit of cleaner energy sources, I’m not convinced. I wonder if it is a cover-up which is only another way of us trying to convince ourselves that we can go on with life as usual…

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Cycles

Did you know there is a Background Music Channel?A few weeks ago I stumbled on it through Spotify and I confess, I may overplay it in our home. I usually enjoy having background music such as French Café, Morning Guitar, and others as I work to enhance my in-home experience right now. After a while, however, sometimes it just becomes noise. There are times when I lose this appreciation for it and I only want silence. I feel similarly about my news stream…

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Within Reach

So there I was, on a Sunday morning, coffee in hand, sermon and worship materials before me, and my elaborate camera and laptop setup. I am cool, confident, and ready to log into our various accounts to hold a ZOOM worship service. I turn on the laptop and I see that I no longer have speaker capability. I couldn’t play music, hear anyone else, or speak into even the built in microphones in front of me. I later found out that my audio…

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All About Fences

As the weeks have gone by, many have taken the opportunity to do that long overdue home improvement project or develop a new skill or habit. We took the opportunity to build wire fences around our fruit trees in the back yard so that our sheep could eat more grass and not eat the branches. One unexpected side effect of the process is that it has revealed to us how much we care about our fruit trees! At first, we only fenced off…

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“1-2-TELOS!”

Our 2-year-old has been counting to 10 for a few weeks now. It’s been fun watching him grow from “1-2-3!” into being able to say all of the numbers between 1 and 10. Sometimes, though he gets a little impatient. Many times he will count “1-2-3-4-10!” or some variation thereof. He’s just so excited to get to yell “10!” that I don’t think he can wait for all of the numbers in between.

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Filtering Through

When I wake up, I instinctively start thinking about how much I am looking forward to that first cup of coffee. We use a French press as one of the ways we enjoy our coffee. You pour coarse grounds in, then hot water, stir the grounds, let it sit for about 5 minutes, then press the filter down so the grounds are held near the bottom of the container while you pour the coffee.It’s very tasty until you start hitting the bottom of…

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How Do You Water Your Garden?

When we moved to our current home, we were informed that the previous owners did not install irrigation in any portion of the property. They relied on dragging a hose around. We tried this as well for our first year, but it gets pretty wasteful, tedious, and surprisingly annoying to just carry around the hose to different parts of a property depending on the different days of the week. So we took a bold step: we installed irrigation. There were several learning curves…

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Two “F” Words, One Lord

I grew up learning how faith and fear could be understood as opposing forces in the Bible and in our lives of discipleship. This lesson always turned to the story of Jesus and Peter walking on water in Matthew 14:22-33, Peter begins to sink when he becomes afraid. This prompts Jesus to ask why Peter had such little faith and why he doubted. I am one who has been inspired by this approach and who has wondered out loud in sermons, bible studies,…

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All From a Box

For the past few months, I’ve become invested in woodworking. I love the smells, the sounds (with ear protection, of course), the touch, and the feeling of accomplishment as I continue along in a project. I’ve been digesting all sorts of Youtube videos and websites to help me along my journey and one video in particular has stuck with me: How to Make a Basic Box (and Why You Need to Know How). I thought to myself at the time “I can make…

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