Monday, December 27, 2010

My prayer for you in the New Year

(this was shared with the Trinity UMC congregation in the most recent edition of our newsletter - I tend to think it speaks to each of us as we grow in faith...Happy New Year!)

Last New Year’s Eve I, like so many others, made a resolution to lose weight.  I did not have a particular goal in mind; I just knew I needed to lose weight.  Actually, I wanted to lose weight.  And that is what made all the difference.

By making a few subtle adjustments to my diet and increased exercise, walking more and tai chi a few times a week, I have lost 28 pounds.  It’s not an earth shattering amount, but it has made a huge difference in how I feel.  Because I have integrated these healthier practices into my daily life I anticipate losing more weight in the next year as well.

We all know that to have a deeper relationship with God we need to do certain things; participate in worship, read scripture, pray, Bible study, service to others, etc.  But, like most things, until we want to engage in a new way of being, or until we see the benefits of investing our time and energy in doing so, it’s hard and often lonely work and quite frankly, it’s easy to just give up. 

Our faith journey is not supposed to be done in secret or alone.  That’s the beauty of being part of a faith community and it’s the genius of the Wesleyan/United Methodist tradition.  I fear this is something we tend over look and in the end why so many of us start with good intentions, but give up after a few days or weeks.
As we head into a new year I would like to invite those who are ready to integrate new spiritual practices in their day to day living to know that you are not alone.   One of the best parts of my vocation is walking alongside people, providing encouragement and resources for one’s faith journey.  Please contact me by phone or email so that we may set up a time to talk and pray together about how God is inviting you to take the next step in your faith life.

Walking together in our spiritual lives makes for a much richer experience; as one of my favorite scripture passages says;
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.”  (Jeremiah 29:11-14.  NIV)
Each of us has something that is holding our hearts and minds captive or apart from a deeper relationship with God.  But God’s love and grace knocks down those barriers, and this is Good News for us all as we begin a new year!

It is my prayer that we each grow closer to our amazing, loving Triune God in 2011.  As we journey together I also pray that we will in turn share the hope, joy and peace that comes along with being a follower of Jesus Christ with everyone we interact with in our day to day lives.  This will look different for each of us because we are each beloved and unique children of God.  (I love how creative God is by the way!)

May you and yours have a very blessed Christmas and a New Year that overflows with the Abundance of God’s Love and Grace!

In Christ, together,

Friday, December 24, 2010

God bless us, every one!

In the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, its Tiny Tim who proclaims, "God bless us, every one!".  Despite his physical infirmities, the limits of what his family could provide on the table, let alone under the tree, Tim kept the main thing, the main thing.

Emmanuel, God with us, blesses us each and every moment of our life.  It's on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day when we are gathered with our family and friends that we should not be ashamed to witness to this truth with joy and thanksgiving!

God bless us, every one, indeed!  And friends and family -  because I love you - it is my prayer that you know deep down in your heart that God loves you so very much...God thinks you hung the moon - you are his beloved, precious child!  It's what this fuss is all about at Christmas - God's love entering into our world in the form of a tiny little live our lives, to die our death, to be raised up and reign as our Lord and Savior and bridge the gap between the brokenness of humanity and the glory of God Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.  What a wonderful way for God to show his love for his good creation!

Now go, share this amazing gift of love with someone else...especially the least and the lost like our friend, Tiny Tim.  As we have been blessed, so too we are invited to be a blessing to others.

Love, peace, hope and joy at Christmas and throughout the year!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blue Christmas

Wasn't it Elvis who sang "I'll have a blue Christmas without you...I'll be so blue just thinking about you"?

Indeed what is supposed to be the "hap-happiest time of the year" (an Andy Williams classic btw) is, for many, just plain depressing.  Is it for you?

the Coble women at my college graduation - August '84
(3 years before mom died)
I remember the first time my church gave me a tangible way to express the grief that I had held on to for 13 years after the death of my mother.  A simple, but meaningful, healing worship service was a turning point for me.  While I still miss her, I am able to remember her with fondness as we dig out her recipes, unpack old ornaments and tell stories of my childhood to my children.

I am sure that I am not alone.

On Monday, December 20th, Trinity United Methodist Church in Waverly will have a Blue Christmas service of prayer and healing, at 7pm in Pinney Chapel.  This quiet meditative worship service will make time for remembering, sharing our hurting places with God and allow us to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ.

If you are in the Waverly area I invite you to join us.  If you are unable to travel this far I encourage you to seek out ways to remember your loved ones within your faith community.  We also covet your prayers for those who will share in this special service in Waverly and around the world.

Ours is a broken and hurting world, but we are assured time and time again that we are not alone - and when we gather as the Body of Christ we will indeed find peace, hope and love.

in Christ, together

Friday, December 3, 2010


If you are on facebook you may notice a few folks posting comments each day during the Advent season that begin with the phrase... "I am waiting for..."  This is the inspiration of a friend, Matthew Johnson, who lives is in the suburbs of Chicago.  This is how Matthew described #waiting2010 in his blog:

So, this is what I propose: on Black Friday, we join together and begin daily postings on Facebook and Twitter, emphasizing the holy things for which we are waiting (or it could be e-mail signatures, youtube uploads, etc). They can be prayers for the world, calls to action, personal struggles, laments for friends or neighbors, or whatever you want to see redeemed. Begin the post with something like "I am waiting for" and, if you're using Twitter (or even if you're not), add the hashtag #waiting2010.

Kinda cool huh?  Actually its very cool - when you consider that the season of Advent is all about waiting and anticipation.   And I'm not talking about waiting for Santa...  As people of faith we are waiting for the return of Christ and the reign of the Kingdom of God.  In the meanwhile, as we wait, we are called to live in hopeful anticipation and to be kingdom builders.  

Kingdom building is putting into action the two greatest commandments - Love God and Love one another.  So, during this season of Advent what are some ways we can do this more fully?  Are there families in need?  Widows who would appreciate a visit?  Perhaps we should all spend a bit more time in prayer and reflection during this season of preparation!  Now is a great time to dive into scripture and reflect on how radical it really was for God to come to earth in such a way (start with reading the first two chapters of Luke - perhaps each day between now and Christmas to let this reality dwell within you!).

And throughout your day, if you think of something that you are waiting for - post it on facebook and twitter - be sure to add the comment  #waiting2010.  It is pretty amazing to see how many others are waiting alongside you.

peace, love in Christ

btw, I am waiting for the day when I can sit down with my brothers and sisters in Christ and talk and talk and talk...and laugh and enjoy a meal and talk some more!  #waiting2010