Reading List 2018

Here is my 2018 list of books I have read. My goal was 100, so I made it!

  1. Andrew Jackson: Miracle of New Orleans – Brian Kilmeade and Don Yeager
  2. Child of Mine – Dave and Beverly Lewis
  3. Killing England – Bill O’Reilly
  4. Minding the Manor: A Memoir of a 1930s English Kitchen Maid – Mollie Moran
  5. Grunt: the Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach
  6. Mathew Brady:Portraits of A Nation by Robert Wilson
  7. Yoga For Anxiety by Mary and Rick Nurries Stearns
  8. Autism Handbook for Parent: Facts and Strategies for Parent Success by Janice E. Janzen
  9. When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women for 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins
  10. Surrender by Wayne Schmidt
  11. Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington 1848-1868 by Cokie Roberts
  12. The Autism Book by Robert W. Sears MD, FAAP
  13. The Roosevelts by Geoffrey C Ward and Ken Burns
  14. The Games by David Goldblatt
  15. The Complete Photo to Cardmaking by  Judi Watanabe
  16. The Reason I Jump but Naoki Higashida
  17. The Public library by Robert Dawson
  18. Captive in Iran by Maryan Rostampour and Marziyeh Amiradeh
  19. Grace Points by Jane Rubietta
  20. The History Buff’s Guide to President’s by Thomas R. Flagel
  21. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  22. Fire and Fury Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff
  23. A Short World History of Christianity by Robert Bruce Mullin
  24. A Call to Mercy: Hearts to , Hands to Serve by Mother Teresa
  25. Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation by Cokie Roberts
  26. Harriet Tubman:The Road to Freedom by  Carherine Clinton
  27. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing  by Marie Kondo
  28. Loving Someone with PTSD by Aphrodite T. Matsakis PHD
  29. Carole King by Carole King
  30. The Card Catalog
  31. The Lost Tudor Princess: the Life of Lady Margaret Douglas by Alison Weir
  32. Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  33. Walking by Henry David Thoreau
  34. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
  35. Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
  36. Sing by keith and Kristyn Getty
  37. This Is What A Librarian Look Like by Kyle Cassidy
  38. A Higher Loyalty by James Comey
  39. The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener by Tammi Hartung
  40. The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone
  41. Autopsy of A Deceased Church by Thom S. Rainer
  42. Buffalo Bills by Sal Maiorana
  43. The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw
  44. Diners, Drive- Ins, Diver by Guy Fieri
  45. The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
  46. The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner
  47. Along Chautauqua Lake by Karen E Livsey and Dorothy E Levin
  48. My Bondage and my Freedom by Frederick Douglass
  49. I Can Only Imagine by Bart Millard
  50. How To Eat a Poem  by The American Poetry   ( one of them I did not read because it was in another language)
  51. Really Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs
  52. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
  53. FallingWater Rising by Franklin Toker
  54. Sojourner Truth narrative of Sojourner Truth
  55. The Homing Instinct by Bernd Heinrich
  56. The Facts on World Religions by John Ankerberg, John Weldon and Dillon Burroughs
  57. Thirty Days With My Father by Christal Presley, PHD
  58. Great Lakes Warships 1812-1815
  59. Those Incredible Women of World War II by Karen Zeinert
  60. The Kelloggs The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek Howard Markel
  61. A walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
  62. Under His Wings and Other Place of Refuge by Patsy Clairmont
  63. Kelly Tough by Erin and Jill Kelly
  64. Code Girls by Liza Mundy
  65. The Truth About Islam and Jihad by John Ankerber and Emir Caner
  66. The Little Book Of Hygge by Meik Wiking
  67. Inside Syria by Reese Erlich
  68. Bobby Kennedy by Chris Matthew
  69. The Smithsonian Book of the First Ladies Edith P. Mayo, General Editor
  70. The Briefing by Sean Spicer
  71. The Monopolists by Mary Pilon
  72. Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton
  73. Fill Up, Pour Out by Mark O. Wilson
  74. Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Dooerr
  75. Revolve: A New Way to See Worship by Nelson Searey and Jason Hatley with Jannifer Dykes Henson
  76. Reunited in the Desert:How I Risked Everything to See My Children by Amin Helle
  77. Dunkirk by Diane Ank-asik
  78. The Ebb Tide by Beverly Lewis
  79. Eight Days by Matthew Goodman
  80. 50 Ways To Soothe Yourself Without Food by Susan Albers
  81. Shakespeare by Bill Bryson
  82. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
  83. Chautauqua Institution by Kathleen Crocke and Jane Currie
  84. Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt
  85. The Proving by Beverly Lewis
  86. Good Sports by Jack Prelutsky and Chris Raschka
  87. Then Levy Said to Kelly by Jim Gehman
  88. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  89. Herb Gardening by Melissa Snyder
  90. Fear by Bob Woodward
  91. Yoga for Pain Relief by Kelly McGongal PHD
  92. 10 Simple Solutions to Chronic Pain by Blake H. Tearnan PHD
  93. Modern Holiday by Amanda Murphy
  94. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  95. The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs by Tristan Gooley
  96. Then Sing My Soul by Robert J. Morgan
  97. You’ll Get Through This; Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times by Max Lucado
  98. Finding Your Dreams: From Famine to Feast the Life of Joseph by Jane Rubietta
  99. Don”t Make Me Pull Over by Richard Ratay
  100. Susanna Wesley:servant of God by Sandy Dengler
  101. Hanukkah in America by Dianne Ashton
  102. The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin and Richard Panek

Sunday Night Thoughts

Good evening on this last Sunday of 2018. It’s hard to believe the year is just about over. On Tuesday, we will be going over to our friends at the Methodist Church and getting some pork & sauerkraut to begin the year.

It has been a good week since last Sunday. On Monday, we had a good Christmas Eve service. We did something called a Service of the Nativity. We combined the nativity readings with songs. The service finished with us singing Silent Night and lighting candles. As a point of interest, Christmas Eve was the 200th anniversary of the first performance of Silent Night.

Christmas morning we were up early to go to my mom and dad’s in Allentown, PA. It was a good time. We got to spend some good time with them and then we also did some shopping – we took them out for their anniversary – the next day we hit up some of our favorite eating places – Yocco’s and Chick-fil-A. Friday we had some of the warmest weather since Thanksgiving. We arrived home to no snow – although the weather cooperated and we had a dusting this morning.

Today we had a good service as we celebrated that God is among us. I have enjoyed leading the musical worship over the last few weeks. Following worship, we headed over to the Bradford Ecumenical Home and led a worship service there.

Besides that, Anna and I have been working our way through the Star Wars saga. We have seen Episodes 1, 2, 3 and just finished 3.5. Tomorrow we watch the film that got it all started.

We are looking forward to our children and grandchildren’s visit this week. So we are preparing for that. And that about brings me to the end. Have a great week.

Prayer for the Week

First Sunday of Christmas

Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

And Jesus Grew…

First Sunday of Christmas

1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26  •  Psalm 148  •  Colossians 3:12-17  •  Luke 2:41-52

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival.When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual.After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends.

When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”

“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they didn’t understand what he meant.

Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.

Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.

Luke 2:41-52 New Living Translation (NLT)

This account of Jesus at twelve years old is the only boyhood account we have of Jesus’ life. Luke tells us about Jesus birth and then his dedication. For the most part, the Gospel writers pick-up Jesus’ life and ministry when he begins his public ministry, namely his baptism.

Luke gives us an idea that Jesus was a normal human boy except that he seemed to have extraordinary knowledge for a twelve year old. I can only imagine the panic in Mary and Joseph when the found out that Jesus wasn’t traveling with other family in the caravan. It took them three days to find Jesus. They backtracked to Jerusalem and found Jesus sitting among the teachers of the law – not only listening – but asking questions – and they were amazed.

I think the frantic and panic shows up in Mary’s voice, “Why have you done this to us?” It reminds me of a story from sixth grade:

I’ll never forget many years ago, I was sitting in music class in sixth grade. Even then I loved music. We had a substitute that day, but she knew about music and was teaching us about theme and variation, using Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. She was playing the different variations, an unknown to me, I was humming along, but not the melody – the harmony – without music in front of me. To me this was a natural thing and I didn’t even realize I was doing it, when the teacher asked the class, “Who is doing that?” She looked right in my direction. I was one of those kids who kept his nose clean even when we had a substitute. She asked me, “Do you know what you are doing?” Really, you’re asking me…I’m sitting innocently listening to you, my thoughts. She said, “You’re humming. Do you know what you’re humming.” Singing harmony was very natural to me, so I had no idea what she was getting at. She said, “You’re singing harmony!” I already knew that, but was glad I was off the hook. She told the class what I was doing was humming an alternate part and she used it as part of the lesson.

Jesus probably didn’t even realize what was happening – He was so in the moment that he didn’t realize that he had upset his parents. He tried to explain, but then was obedient and returned with his earthly parents.

I think this is a great example of the humanity of Jesus – Jesus who was fully God and yet, he was a normal twelve year old boy. Many years ago, the Wesleyan Church had something called CYC or Christian Youth Crusaders. It was like Pioneer Girls or Brigade Boys. Our theme in CYC was found in the last verse of our passage today and a reminder that we need to grow in our discipleship, even as Jesus did…

Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.

Luke 2:52

Prayer for Christmas Day

Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born this day of a pure virgin: Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

The Word Became Flesh

Christmas Day | December 25, 2018

Isaiah 52:7-10  •  Psalm 98  •  Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12)  •  John 1:1-14

In the beginning the Word already existed.
    The Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
    and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
    and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness can never extinguish it.

God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

John 1:1-14 New Living Translation (NLT)

While this morning is not a nativity text in the usual sense, it does tell the story of Jesus coming to earth. John tells us that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. If you’ve been following along our our #adventarrival on Facebook and Instagram, you will have seen that today’s picture is a picture of the planet Venus, just as dawn is breaking over the hills of Eldred. We have had a particularly gloomy fall. Since October, we have only had about 15 sunny days – and that includes days with mostly filtered sunshine. However, last week we had several crystal clear mornings. On one of those mornings I captured this shot.

Image may contain: sky, night and outdoor

Our cellphone doesn’t have the best camera, but it did capture Venus in all of its glory. To quote from our devotional thought for tomorrow:

“Even when all is dark – such as late at night during a power outage, even one candle can light up a whole room. Light always wins over darkness. The light of Christ dwells, or tabernacles among us – in Christ, God has set up shop in our midst so that God may work among us, as one of us in Christ Jesus.


What a great thought as I write this in the pre-dawn darkness on Christmas morning. Jesus came to be the light of the world – to dwell within us. Jesus (God’s son) is not watching us from a distance, but is here wanting to work in us. Jesus came to overcome the darkness. What darkness is in your life this morning that you could use Jesus’ help to overcome? Go to him in prayer. As you worship the baby born in a manger today, give thanks for the ways that Jesus has overcome the darkness.

Prayer for Christmas Eve

O God, you have caused this holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light: Grant that we, who have known the mystery of that Light on earth, may also enjoy him perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit he lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting.Amen.

Angels and Shepherds

Christmas Eve | December 24, 2018

Isaiah 62:6-12  •  Psalm 97  •  Titus 3:4-7  •  Luke 2:(1-7), 8-20

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished,19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

Luke 2:8-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

Earlier today, we looked at Luke’s account of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and how Jesus was born. This evening we look at the 2nd half of Luke’s nativity account.

I can only imagine being out in the fields at night. When we think of angels – we think of the word “angelic.” However, I believe that angels were quite scary – after all – in the accounts of angels meeting humans, their first words are “Do not be afraid!” I guess I think of angels looking like the angels in “The Bible” miniseries – Ninja Angels. I mean after all angels are part of God’s army. Angels were and still are scary creatures. Most shepherds were young – like David – and they were the lowest of the low on the social scale. And yet, God chooses to announce the birth of God with us to the shepherds first – and they are the first ones to go see Jesus.

As we concluded this morning we looked at the last thing the angels departed from the shepherds. When the angels leave, the shepherds decide to go check out the birth of the baby. They are the most socialized people, so I sure they go stumbling into town – waking all the people – looking for a baby. When they finally find him, they are amazed…As they leave the manger – the leave town and tell everyone about the birth of Jesus and the people are amazed. What a great story. Several weeks ago, I talked about the shepherds in my message. Were the people amazed at the shepherd’s story because it was a great story – after all, who doesn’t like a great story- – or were they amazed because they believed what the shepherds said. Christ the Savior of the world is born this night. He desires to have a relationship with you.

What does the Christmas story mean to you? Are you amazed because it is a great story, or because Jesus really is the Savior of the world? Think about it.

50 Years Ago Today

The year 1968 was a turbulent year in the United States. MLK, Jr. was assassinated, as was Bobby Kennedy. It was the year of the riots during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. As the year came to a close there was a wonderful bright spot. Apollo 8 when to the moon and orbited. It was the furthest distance any human had traveled in space and the first time any human had orbited another celestial body besides the earth. On Christmas Eve 1968 the crew of Apollo 8 gave this Christmas Eve message.