Nine Years

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August 31, 2009 – I day that I will never forget.  It was the day that I made a radical change in my life.  I ran/walked one mile and did the same the next day and thought I was going to die…but I didn’t and here 9 years later, I am still running.  This morning I went out for a six mile which brought me within .02 miles of my year to date goal of 680 miles.  My goal for the year is 1,000 miles.  It’s been several years since I have accumulated 1,000 miles of running and walking, but I am determined this year to do it.

This morning’s run was good…it wasn’t nearly as fast as I was several years ago, but it was one of my faster runs of the year.  The weather helped that, being that it was in the fifties this morning and the humidity wasn’t a killer.  My pace was a 10:23, which is quick these days.  At one point I was down to 170 pounds, but over the last year I have come back over the 200 pound mark.  I’d like to get back under that by the end of the year and maintain it over the winter and then eventually get back under 190.  I just feel much better.  So I need 320 miles for the year…which is 80 miles a month.  I will probably front load September and October so that once it gets colder I can still hit my goal.

Since I started running, this has been my life verse:

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

It is was continues to guide both my running and my life in Christ.  Press On!

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gift-444519_640Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost | September 2, 2018 

Song of Solomon 2:8-13  •  Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9  •  James 1:17-27  •  Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

James 1:17-27 New Living Translation (NLT)


For the next several weeks, the lectionary will be taking us into the Book of James.  This is one of my favorite of the letters and yet it is quite convicting.  Martin Luther once called it an “epistle of straw” because he felt it emphasized good deeds and minimized faith and yet if you look at the writings of James and compare them to the teachings of Jesus and also compare them to the writings of Paul, and even the apostle John, you will find some very similar teachings.  Our faith is always worked out in our actions.  Paul said that we should work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  John said that our faith is shown in our love for each other.

We start out this passage today with a reminder that God is faithful – that his gifts are good and perfect.  This is a response to those who say that God tempts us. I think it could be a rebuttal to those who say God doesn’t give us more than we can handle or everything happens for a reason.  God’s gifts are good and perfect.  God does not change.  God’s best gift was his true Word which is Jesus and we are the prized possession of all his creation.  God loves us and desires the best for us.

Speaking of God’s word, James then reminds us that we must be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.  This is so hard in our humanness.  Most times when we listen, we are simply listening so that we can jump into the conversation.  James will have more to say about the tongue and talking too much later.  But God did give us two ears and one mouth for a reason.  We are told that human anger doesn’t not produce the righteousness that God desires.

Here’s where James tells us that we need to gaze upon the perfect word.  While many of us would reference the Bible that is called God’s Word. I believe that James is instructing us to look to Jesus.  Jesus is the perfect word – Jesus is the perfect example for us to live.  What good is it to listen to the word and not obey it?  What good it is to listen to Jesus and not obey him?

James gives us a great example.  Most of us when we get up in the morning go to the mirror look at what we look like and how we need to get ready for the day.  James says imagine going to the mirror, look at it and make no changes – none of us are that good. We all wake up with bed head.  The same is true in our spiritual life.  Every morning we need to get up and take care of our spiritual bed head and look into the perfect gift and word.  We are told that if we look into the perfect word and do what it says that God will bless us for it.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible comes from James 1:27:

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

This is what I desire – to look into the perfect word of Jesus and obey him.  I believe that this is the life of righteousness that James refers to earlier.  Just imagine if every believer in the world, followed these words – the world would be quite the different place.

Sunday Night Thoughts

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After a couple of cooler days, summer made sure we still knew it was here.  We have been seeing some of the first signs that autumn is on its way.  Here and there leaves are changing, but on the hill across from the parsonage, nothing has started.  It looks like its going to be a hot, hazy, and humid week.

This past week, I had the privilege along with other ministers in the community to serve the local teachers.  We served them lunch on one of their inservice days.  They were so thankful that we did that.  I love this partnership between our local ministers and the school. School began on Wednesday and the last three days I have had a full slate of van runs.

Tomorrow, Pam begins assisting on a van run in the mornings.  Anna has several inservice days this week.  Oh and yesterday we took James back to college.  It has been a great summer.  One of the things that I love about this summer was that the journey was just as important as the destination.  We were able to visit Rochester, Seneca Falls, Buffalo, Niagara Falls and other interesting places via Atlas Obsura.

So summer is over — one of the nice things is we went over to a member’s house last night and they had a nice picnic for their friends.  Many of our church people were there. It really set up a wonderful day today. The Holy Spirit was evident as we worshiped.  I also felt his presence as I preach this morning.  So thankful for that.

I hope you all have a great week.  Blessings…

Prayer for the Week

lens-reflection-2757801_960_720Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Armor of God

shield-2911827_640.pngSunday, August 26, 2018 | 14th Sunday After Pentecost

1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11), 22-30, 41-43  •   Psalm 84  •  Ephesians 6:10-20  •  John 6:56-69

10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.

Ephesians 6:10-20 New Living Translation (NLT)


Paul’s final word to the Ephesians is this:

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power…

Everything that Paul says after this is simply an expansion of this thought.  Paul goes on to tell us what we need to be strong in the Lord and how to stand in the Lord’s power.  This passage bears repeating, especially when we think that we are fighting against one another in the church – it’s not brother vs. sister, but it is the unseen world that causes us difficulty.  This is what we battle.  That’s why we need to be prepared for battle.  The whole armor of God helps us to stand – to stand firm.  Much like the single student did in Tiananmen Square.

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If we put on the full armor of God we can stand against the plot of the evil one.  How do we do that? We put on:

  • The belt of truth
  • The breastplate or armor of righteousness
  • The shoes of peace – that spread the Good News
  • The shield of faith to extinguish the fiery darts of the devil
  • The helmet of salvation
  • The Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God.

We often talk about these six but forget what Paul mentions next and that is praying…Paul says we should pray at all times – and on all occasions.  Be persistent – persevere in your prayers.  Pray for all the believers everywhere who are living out this life of faith and fighting the same battles you are.

Last pray for those who are preaching the Gospel – those leading churches – so that the Gospel is no longer a mystery, but can be known.  Pray for those of us who are ambassadors of God’s message.

Prayer is a powerful force that we often forget about – but one of the most important tools in the armor of God.