Let’s add the Candle of Mess to our Advent this year

Our pianist has only been with us a few months. She’s an outsider to our community and our church traditions. A church woman herself, she answered the ad we placed for a pianist needed: Sundays, 8:45 – 10:15 a.m. She walked through the doors our first Sunday of Advent, greeted me as I said, “it’s Advent, you never know what’s going to happen so hold on.” I’m not sure if...

When ordinary Sunday church turns extraordinary

We are sort of like your average church. Our Sunday service outline is basic with slight changes week to week. Sunday after Sunday will look like this: Welcome & Announcements Doxology sung before the offering is collected A Call to Worship will be read responsively Congregational song Prayer Someone will read selected scripture Another song will be sung Sermon an invitation for prayer at the altar Amazing Grace will be...

Who are these Saints and why do they have a day?

Our church isn’t liturgical. I don’t think I knew that word until I was an adult. I thought the ‘church calendar’ was Christmas and Easter, including Good Friday, of course. To me, Saints were either in the bible or more recent dead people who’d been in church their whole lives. Living saints? A few old folks may have been described in that way. Sinners? Oh yes, we were all sinners-...

Jesus Isn’t Just for Church People

It’s a bit complicated to describe our congregation. Some would say they’re a captive audience. While that description makes me flinch, it’s not all wrong. The residents in this six-month rehabilitation program are required to attend our Sunday service. A spiritual component is part of their recovery along with individual and group counseling, recreation, and work. We have a congregation of all men. Most of them are addicts. Their church...

We’re going to be Sherpas for the week

We are pastors; clergy, ministers, preachers, how ever your faith tradition defines the role of ordained minster, that defines our vocation. Both of us. Pastor and pastor. We demonstrate this in different ways using gifts uniquely given to us. Our congregation is 99 men living in a residential facility, most fighting the disease of addiction, some fighting the disease of poverty, poor education and lost hope. All have lost their...

Five-Minute Friday: WANT

It’s the character that has stuck in my mind from the annual school programs our children were in. Usually, I would only remember the parts they had, but this one connected with every parent in the room. The 4th or 5th grader was dressed in a crazy costume, I think it was green, and the only words they said as they zig-zagged across the stage were: “Gimme, gimme, mine, mine,...

Retreat? Hardly!

Retreat: to withdraw Often, we speak about going on a retreat, meaning to withdraw away from the busy-ness of life, the noise and distractions. We retreat to refresh and refuel. We are going on a retreat this weekend. Lord willing, we are already at Camp Keystone about an hour from Jacksonville up in North Florida. But this isn’t the kind of retreat where we withdraw but where we engage. We...

Memorable Posts of 2015

With Christmas and New Year’s falling on Friday this year, Kate is hosting a Memorable Posts of 2015 link up and Books I Read in 2015 on the 30th. Be sure to stop by her place to catch up on some good reading. OOPS! Seems I pulled a Steve Harvey here. In my efforts to be prepared the day before I read Kate’s post where she listed her most read posts. However, her link up today...

Merry and Bright

The skies haven’t been bright here for days. It’s novel at first. A day to slow the running around and focus on interior things; home, soul. Finish putting up the Christmas decorations and address cards. Put on the rainy day playlist and grab the book you never finished. Yeah, you can make something of the gray day. But then one day becomes three and introspection threatens toward depression and you have...