Posts

Morning Meditations

Image
  While I am on vacation this week, you can click below to access a pdf of the Morning Meditations for August 2-6. https://uccsarasota.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Morning-Meditation-August-2.pdf Many blessings ~~

Growing and Dwelling in Christ

Image
  But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ (Ephesians 4:15)   Is it true?   Is it kind and loving?   Does what I am saying help or hinder?   Do my words wound another?   I am expecting everyone to be like me and do things my way?   Do I stomp on toes as a way to prove my point and then justify this saying, “That’s just the way it is” or “They deserved it.”?   Do see conversations like a balance sheet where someone wins and someone else loses?     Do I get frustrated with others and struggle with how to love them?   Does my confidence bias blind me?   Does my complacency bias leave me stuck on the sidelines?   Does my complementary bias cause me to gravitate toward people like me?   Do I deflect and defend and dismiss others?   Do I falter and fall short of Paul’s description of a life built on the firm foundation of Christ, then quickly discount why this particular passage is no longer relevant for my li

Growing and Dwelling in Christ

Image
  To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12)   I remember when I was a kid, I loved getting a new toy.   I would come home, rip open the packaging, toss that aside, and within seconds I would be running my new Matchbox car all over the couch and end tables and carpeting.   Perhaps we never outgrow the euphoria of buying something new.   Only the cost of what causes excitement increases with every birthday candle added to our cake.     When Paul speaks about equipping God’s people for mission and ministry, I think about the question, “ What new toys am I adding to the toy box of my soul ?”   To be clear, this is often not tactile or tangible.   Often, I add new insights from a podcast that speaks to my soul.   Or I add a new thought from a book I am reading.   Or I add a new practice to my prayer time.   We used to speak of adding “tools to our toolbox”.   But that sounds way to serious and somber for me.   I want to add pla

Growing and Dwelling in Christ

Image
  But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  (Ephesians 4:7)   Do you remember this song, “This little light of mine”?   I recall singing that at the top of my lungs at summer camp and Vacation Bible School every year.   I love songs that have actions that go alongside and accompany.   I remember putting my index finger in the air to represent my “light” and waving my finger around like I just didn’t care.     I wonder, where are you shining and sharing your light right now?   With your family?   With your friends?   With your neighbors?   With those in the wider community through volunteering?   You shine your light through giving your time, offering your talents, and sharing your treasure.   After you reflect on your own light, where does your light join with others?   In those summer camp experiences I learned that one flashlight was good, but several flashlights could help us see even better, especially when we all coordinated and collabo

Growing and Dwelling in Christ

Image
  Since the cliché says that, ‘Confession is good for the soul,’ I want to share that I am a bit obsessed with lists.   Okay.   I love lists.   More than the act of making a list, I love crossing things off a list.   There is the satisfying sound of the pen against the paper scratching off the task.   There is the sense of accomplishment that something that was before me, is now behind me.   I confess that when I do something that was NOT already on my list, I go back and add it just so that I can cross it off.     I need help.   My soul finds a friend in Paul’s love of list.   Other examples are the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5 or the famous wedding passage, 1 Corinthians 13.   The list in Ephesians 4 has some of the same characteristics of others that Paul penned to different churches.   Paul lists six here, which for Paul is petty contained.   Humility Gentleness Patience Bearing one another in love Spirit given peace, Staying open to the Spirit   I

Growing and Dwelling in Christ

Image
  I find Ephesians 4:1-16 to be one of the most powerful and profound passages in Scripture.   I invite you first to find your Bible and slowly read these words.   Let each word land in your heart, paying attention to what is evoked and provoked within you. There is so much packed into these sixteen verses.   First, there is Paul’s love of lists that as people of faith we are called to live with humility, gentleness, patience, bearing one another in love, and prayerfully tending/staying open to the Spirit.     Whew.   There is enough there for the entire week.     Paul goes on to talk about the gifts each of us have been given.   You are created in God’s image, empowered by God to share and shine your light.   You do this not as a single spark or as one flashlight in the world, but your light collaborates and cooperates and conspires with other’s lights in this world to be a beacon of God’s love.   Wow.   I feel the gears in my mind grinding in response.   Paul keeps

Abide

Image
  Whew , we made it through another week.   You sailed the ship of your life through moments of smooth waters and chaotically churning waves crashing down.   You interacted with people who made you laugh, some whose words hurt, some who frustrated or even awoke anger, and some whose presence demonstrated the “unconditional” truth of God’s love.   Every week is full, to overflowing, with God’s presence and promise.   So often, I miss God’s abiding in me because I am caught up in my agenda, to-do list, and plans.   I’m abiding/trusting in myself rather than God’s wisdom and presence. Today, I invite you to breath.   Take in a deep gulp of breath that reaches and refreshes every part of your being.   Exhale out all that is unresolved sitting within you.   Breathe God’s presence.   Breathe out the unprocessed pain that sits within you no matter how much energy to try to take the sting out of that wound/hurt.   Breathe in God.   Breathe out the honest, heartfelt ways you have felt dista