Seasons to Life

The official start to the season of fall is now upon us. For me, fall always began on the first Wednesday after Labor Day when I returned to school for another year. The air was different, a little cooler, and the days were ending a little earlier each evening. Soon the foliage that blanketed the hills would burst forth with glorious colors.

Comin’ Home | Rev. Wells-Bean

Many people call elsewhere home. Can Naples ever be home if you spend part of the year elsewhere, if your kids and grandkids aren’t here, or if this isn’t where you built your family? … Can we be a community in which, when we are together, we know we’re with our people, and that there’s a place for us? That’s what home is after all, safety, security, and comfort, isn’t it?

Revised Common Lectionary

The use of the lectionary helps congregations expand their exposure to more parts of the Bible. 

Look Up

I imagine our lives as constellations, full of stars of people who loved us, rooted for us, wanted the best for us. Now they’re surrounding us, watching over us, and guiding us as we continue life’s journey.

Finding Strength

Where can we turn for our help?  How can we cultivate sturdy souls?  We can turn to the church.  We can find help to keep our souls sturdy.  At church our souls get a workout, becoming strong and resilient.  At church our souls get stretched and strengthened.  At church our souls get realigned so that we can be agile and flexible about how to live out of compassion and generosity instead of the greed and desperation we see around us.

Welcome the new, and one another

Many times in our lives we have been not affiliated or have undergone a huge transition that we lost our identity. No matter how disorienting it can be to lose an identity or an affiliation, we can trust that we are God’s people.

A Love of Learning

Three of my favorite teachers were also members of my church so my behavior in those classes was exemplary. …It gives me comfort to know that they worshipped with me and kept an eye on me throughout the years, offering encouragement and advice in my early and mid-adult years.

Never Caught Up

Do what you can today, and don’t worry about leaving some things undone, they’ll get done tomorrow or the next day. Don’t think you have to finish all the tasks before you can rest, otherwise you’ll never rest in this life.

Time Will Tell

What time is it?  Perhaps it’s time for us to stand amid war and proclaim peace.  Or to break the code of silence to stand with those who have no voice of their own. Maybe it’s time to wrestle with the question: If not now, then when?

Look to God in turbulent times

For a few seconds at least, I gave thanks to the Lord with my whole heart.  It was not half-hearted thanks; my heart was really in it. I was truly thankful. But then, I went on about my business and didn’t have such a ‘wholehearted’ thanks again for a good long time.

Great Anticipation of Things Yet to Come

What they will be and what we shall become is not yet for us to see. It is yet another moment of great anticipation. I am certain that each will be a blessing to the other.

Hope in Unexpected Places

Many changes are afoot, but we’re in good hands. Relying on God’s grace, and our commitment to one another and the church, we’re gonna be alright.

A Pilgrimage of the Spirit

When the holy touches us, we are changed. There is a softening, an opening, the awareness of being made whole, if only for a moment.  What grace! What a gift!

Fear Nothing with God

God is our refuge and strength and a present help in trouble, a hedge against fear. Fear is there, but it will not overtake us. It is possible to take a breath.

Like Grass

As for mortals, their days are like grass;        they flourish like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,        and its […]

Shed Tears of True Joy

The summer I was 6, my family drove from Bristol, Conn. to York Beach, Maine. My younger brother Mark, 5, and sister Kathy, 2, and I rode in the back […]

Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah

An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and […]

Be Kind, Show Kindness

Jesus said, “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” — Luke 6:31 (NRSV) We learned this saying as children in Sunday School. As parents, we taught […]

The Case for Worship

I’ll confess that I’ve been doing a lot of handwringing lately. So many problems to solve, and I feel woefully underqualified to address them. The January 6th hearings…. inflation… gas […]

Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life

So often we emphasize what our faith does for us.  Ask and you shall receive.  Seek and you shall find.  Knock and it will be opened to you.  My yoke […]

Origins of us

Imagine an ancient family sitting around a campfire as the sun sets and darkness comes on. Still awake, the kids are asking questions. They want to know where we came […]

All On The Same Road

Scripture: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28) Some of […]

Media-Induced Emotional Whiplash

It is God who is working through all of creation for the greater good, and we’re just here for an infinitesimal amount of time. Humans do wonderful and awful things.

In God’s Hands

The Hebrew word translated as “soul” in most English translations of the Bible is “nephesh.” Soul is a good translation of this Hebrew word, but like almost all translations in […]

Reminders of Hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy […]

Beauty

God saw everything that [God] had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31, NRSV) My reflection this morning […]

Lemonaide IOU

There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many? (John 6:9) Morgan Marsh McGlone is a special 8-year-old from […]

Airport Aha

“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this […]

Fly Like an Eagle

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. [God] does not faint or grow weary; [God’s] […]

Recovering from the Hangover

But this I call to mind, and therefore, I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, God’s mercies never come to an end; they are new every […]

A Prayer on the Eve

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth . . […]

What Does the Lord Require of Us?

“…And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8) While January 15 marks the celebration […]

Where Are My Cookies?

Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4) Even before the pandemic began, I cherished phone calls with long-distance family, […]

The Faith of Science

Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon […]

Peacemakers

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:8-9) My thoughts today turned to […]

Loving Those We Have Seen

We love because [God] first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or […]

Defining God

. . . for God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as God is merciful. (Luke 6:36) When the world that sustains my life and […]

Let it Go

You are the God who works wonders (Psalm 77:13-1) It is the time of year when we create goals, lists, and resolutions for the year ahead. Typically, these resolutions center on […]

Summer Memories

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all […]

Repotted

Their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their […]

To Do or To Be?

Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of […]

Whimsical Merrymaking

Sing aloud to God our strength, shout for joy to the God of Jacob. Raise a song, sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp. Blow the trumpet at […]

New Year Gifts and Blessings

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  (James 1:17) Happy New Year! I wonder […]

The Wordsmith vs. 2020

“But now thus says the Lord…Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1 (NRSV) I am a wordsmith. If you […]

Connecting Dots

You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forward I make you hear new things, hidden things that you have not known. […]

The Work of Christmas

When Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and […]

Ringing Peace

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among people. (Luke 2:14) Christmas Day was a day of joy, confusion, and hurry in my childhood home in […]

Christmas Bells

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14 (KJV) I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, and […]

The True Meaning of Christmas

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:13) Happy Christmas Eve! As we finish the flurry of preparations and put out the cookies for Santa, Christmas morning is […]

How Silently, How Silently

But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told […]

The Candle of Faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1, NRSV) For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face […]

A Luminous Season

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) One of the gifts […]

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  In those days and at […]

Celebrate Everything

David danced before the Lord with all his might . . . (2 Samuel 6:14a, NRSV) I was recently enjoying a socially distanced Happy Hour with a good friend. I really […]

The In-Between’s

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” And as Aaron spoke to the […]

Advent 3: The Candle of Joy

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you […]

Names, Not Numbers

An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.  Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the […]

The True Meaning of Christmas

You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth (Luke 1:14) When we think about Christmas, what images come to mind? The season of Christmas has, in […]

The Beginning of the End

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth . . . (Revelation 21:1a) Margaret Keenan, a grandmother in the United Kingdom, who turns 91 next week, said the […]

Advent 2: The Candle of Peace

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. […]

The Sound of Silence

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19 KJV) Last year, my parents gave me a pair of earbuds for Christmas. I asked for […]

Waiting: Blessing or Challenge?

Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. Surely […]

The Christmas Mouse

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk […]

Joy Scatterers

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) Yesterday, I had the opportunity to gather […]

A Quiet Preparation

A voice cries out: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:3) Once upon a time a […]

Advent 1: The Candle of Hope

And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.” May the God of hope fill […]

Wilted Lettuce

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed are those who trust in God!(Psalm 34:8) As the days grow shorter and the pandemic continues longer, I find myself […]

Unconditional Gratitude

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and sing praises to Your name, O Most High. (Psalm 92:1) As you are reading this, it is the day after […]

Count Your Blessings

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NRSV) A survey released earlier […]

Extra Grace Required

“Do not judge so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you […]

My Church Family

I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel […]

Finding Rest For Your Soul

Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah […]

You Are Wonderfully Made

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:13-14) Like many families, we have […]

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

Jesus said to [Martha], ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me […]

Setting a Prisoner Free

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. (Luke […]

Signs

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe […]

Living Lightly

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I […]

Finding a Safe Place

He is a God that never lacks strength to rescue us. (Isaiah 50:2) In each of the classrooms at Precious Cargo, we have what is called a “safe place.” This […]

Stand By Me

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, […]

THINK

You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. (James 1:19-20) Have you […]

Perseverance

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run […]

Stuck In Front of an Oncoming Train

. . . and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age. (Matthew 28:20) I remember reading a story in the New York Times: While awaiting […]

Let’s Build Each Other Up

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Remember that old expression, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, […]

Revolutionary Patience

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair. (2 Corinthians 4:8, NRSV) I awoke yesterday morning and there was no president-elect, although both […]

What Plans?

For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this […]

A Higher Power

My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on […]

One Step at a Time

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” Listen! Your […]

Choose Gratitude

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Did you know that gratitude is a choice? We must make the conscious effort to […]

Unleashed

The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. (Deuteronomy 28:12) […]

God has helped us so far

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’ (1 Samuel 7:12) […]

Be Not Afraid

“David said further to his son Solomon, ‘Be strong and of good courage, and act. Do not be afraid or dismayed; for the Lord God, my God, is with you. […]

Gifts Freely Given

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but those who do the will of God. (Matthew 7:21) Just before dawn, I was traveling […]

Contagious Compassion

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12) This Fall, our Sunday School families are exploring what it […]

Holy Interruptions

Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; […]

Wilderness Wonderings

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the […]

Tulips

And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how […]

A Closer Walk

For you shall go out in joy, And be led forth in peace; The mountains and the hills before you shall break out in singing, and all the trees of […]

Seeking Rainbows

I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. (Genesis 9:13) Rainbows have always been special to […]

Pops of Joy

I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel […]

Wilderness Acedia

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” And as Aaron spoke to the […]

Patience

For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not […]

Alternate Route

So [the prodigal child] set off and went to [their parent]. But while they were still far off, [their parent] saw [them] and was filled with compassion; [they] ran and […]

Puppy Love

“My son, don’t think the Lord’s discipline of you is worth nothing. And don’t stop trying when the Lord corrects you. The Lord corrects those he loves. (Hebrews 12:5-6) Last […]

Well done!

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28, NRSV) This Sunday, as we always do, we will […]

Small Kindnesses

Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God […]

Another Look at Gratitude

I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you […]

A New Chapter

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19) A week from today I will be waking up to new chapter […]

We Will Not Crumble

“Though the mountain may crumble, you will not.” Isaiah 54:10 During this pandemic, I have struggled with giving myself the space to feel my emotions. I avoid dwelling in the […]

The Journey is Our Home

I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring […]

Back to School

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NRSV)   Last Tuesday, my nieces and nephews (who all live in Houston, Texas) […]

A Blank Slate

I love the possibilities that lie in a blank sheet of paper. I have always been a writer. I suppose it began with the gift of a pink diary with […]

Growing in Gratituide

These simple verses from Psalm 136 are a reminder of all of the verses in the Bible which call upon us to give thanks to God. God is good. God’s […]

What’s For Dinner?

O taste and see that the LORD is good!  (Psalm 34:8) I never really thought that going the distance in this era of COVID would mean watching more TV. Last year, […]

Family Friday: Keep The Bible Off The Shelf

My family of origin has given me the unofficial role of being the family historian. Upon the deaths of my paternal grandmother and then my mother, I received boxes and […]

Communion

“When [Jesus] was at the table with them, [Jesus] took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.” Luke 24:30 (NRSV) Over the holiday this past weekend, I […]

Sabbath

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8, NRSV) As we arrive on the precipice of Labor Day weekend, I am thinking about labor. Oregon was the first […]

The Leap of Letting Go

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. […]

Jesus Gets It!

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, NRSV) […]

Armaggedon or Artistry?

He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Matthew 3:11c) Snuggled down here in Florida, Deb and I, and the kids, have been watching anxiously as fires […]

Family Friday: Trains Are Made for Meditation

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy […]

Hurricanes

[Jesus] got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. (Mark 4:39, NRSV) Well, it is […]

Everybody Needs A Song

Blessed be the Lord, for God has heard the sound of my pleadings. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in God my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart […]

Golden Rule

In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12, NRSV) Do to others as you would have […]

Family Friday: Good Company

Bad company corrupts good character. (1 Corinthians 15:33) Whatever we surround ourselves with feeds our spirit, our thoughts, and our emotions. During this time of such unrest and unknown, we […]

Remembering

The mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my loving kindness shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the LORD, […]

Purging My Shelves

By the rivers of Babylon — there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our harps. For there our […]

Wind Chill or Heat Index?

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in […]

Through the Doldrums

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) Connecting with […]

Family Friday: You Can Do Hard Things

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13) Over the last few months, I’ve discovered I have a really hard time following through with my own […]

Barking at the Rain

So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9, NRSV) Ironically, as I […]

Shed the Garbage, Show up with Goodness

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual […]

Let The Children Come

But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of […]

You Are Not Random

For it is that God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of […]

Family Friday: Let It Go

Be Still. Let go, and Let God (Psalm 46:10) Are you a planner? I am. My entire adult life I have grappled with the illusion of control. I plan ahead, […]

Promises

When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. […]

EGR

“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring […]

They Shall Be Comforted

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4, NRSV) In the last two months two people who were significant mentors in ministry to me have crossed […]

Resilience?

Imprisonments, beatings, near death. Five times forty lashes. Three times beaten with rods, one time stoned. Three times shipwrecked. Adrift on the sea for a day; danger on every front; […]

Family Friday: Celebrating Milestones

This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual […]

Grounded

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it… (2 Timothy 3:14, NRSV) Gramps was my mild-mannered maternal grandfather. He […]

Steep Trails

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) Last week, I had the opportunity to get away for a short hike in the Santa Cruz […]

Speaking The Truth In Love

But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together […]

Are We A Beloved Community?

Let love be genuine. Hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good. Love one another with familial affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:9-10) When the […]

Family Friday: The Right Choice

With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow. (Proverbs […]

Sinks

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; [God] has become my salvation. (Isaiah 12:2, […]

Waiting for the Fog to Burn

For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope if from God. God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress. I shall not be shaken. (Psalm […]

Open My Eyes

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and […]

Make God Smile Today

Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise one glory in wisdom; let not the mighty one boast in strength; let not the rich glory in wealth; but let those […]

Family Friday: The Prayer Chair

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35) In the […]

Refrain from Vocalizing Loudly

Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings […]

A Time for Masks

O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my […]

Ears to Hear

“Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still […]

Drinking From My Saucer

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup overflows.  (Psalm 23:5) When I was a little boy, I sat […]

Family Friday: Be Fruitful with Our Words

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose. (Proverbs 18:21) There are certain phrases that have become ingrained into my regular vocabulary, either in my […]

Pruning

I am the true vine, and [God] is the vinegrower. [God] removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit [God] prunes to make it […]

What Are You Cast Down?

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.When shall I come and behold the […]

The Earth Is The Lord’s

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all […]

Failure to Adapt

It causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead so that no one can […]

Family Friday: Making Lemonade

And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, […]

It’s Latin to Me!

“… I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10b, NRSV) I have a small, brass disc with a phrase in Latin on my key chain. […]

Angel’s Way

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, […]

Letting Go of My Need to Know

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. […]

An Unexpected Conversation

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious; if there is any excellence, if there is […]

It Is Done In Love

“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14 Sometimes it is hard to have patience. In this current world of fear, challenges, and injustices it can […]

Rainbow

“I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” Genesis 9:13 (NRSV) It was just after one […]

My God Was Too Small

“To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out […]

Journey Without Maps

“Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have […]

See Your Suffering Clearly

For a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said, ‘Give God the praise; we know that Jesus is a sinner.’ He answered, ‘Whether he is […]

Building Sandcastles

“As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, […]

Do You Know That You Are Free?

“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 (NRSV) Tomorrow, Friday, June 19, is a holiday […]

The Barnabas Factor

“And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all […]

A Still Small Voice

“And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the […]

Who You Are Matters

“The Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the […]

We All Matter

“He heals the wounds of every shattered heart” Psalm 147:3 When I continue to watch the current events in our country unfold, my heart shatters. I think of parents who […]

Palms Up, Palms Down

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13 One of the […]

Difficult Conversations

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah […]

Take Care

“Lord, let me know my end, and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a few handbreadths, […]

Look Within

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Lord said, “What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries […]

Family Friday: Be Still

“God says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 (International Children’s Bible) My favorite movie is The Sound of Music. I couldn’t tell you how many times […]

No Surprise Parties For Me

“Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is […]

Snakes

“The people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.’ So […]

First, Be Reconciled

“So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first […]

A Mighty Wind

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven, like the rush of a mighty wind…” Acts 2:1-2a […]

Family Friday: This Too Shall Pass

“Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever” Isaiah 9:1 Has anyone else caught themselves saying more and more frequently, “when this is all over?!” As […]

For Everything, A Season

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a […]

Crammed with Wonder

When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”  Then he said, “Come no closer! […]

A Modern-Day Salutation

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine […]

Family Friday: The Rainbow Connection

So God said to Noah, “That rainbow is a sign. It is the sign of the agreement that I made with all living things on earth.” Genesis 9:17 (International Children’s […]

Don’t Pray for Patience

“My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have […]

Lessons from Max

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of […]

Beyond Severe Affliction

“We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God which has been shown in the churches of Macedonia. For in a severe test of affliction, their […]

Family Friday: Seeing With More Than Our Eyes

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:6 You know the adage, seeing is believing? Well, I do not […]

Green Market Realization

“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in […]

Royal Pains

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 (NRSV) When the safer-at-home order came from Governor DeSantis, I decided that I needed to find […]

How Long, O Lord?

First, a gift for the Naples UCC Choir-in-absentia: A snail went to the exotic car dealer the buy a car. He picked out a Jaguar. The salesperson was surprised when […]

Family Friday: The Abundance of Mothers

“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.”  Isaiah 66:13 When the calendar turns to May, I think of my mother and her best friend since boarding […]

Blessings in Disguise

“With every sun’s rising, surprise us with your love, satisfy us with your kindness. Then we will sing with joy and celebrate every day we are alive.” Psalm 90:14 (The […]

Called to Be Friends

I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to […]

Suffering or Peace?

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you will have suffering. But take heart. I have overcome the […]

Family Friday: Seeking Control of the “Big” Things

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control,” 2 Timothy 1:7 So often lately I have found myself desperate for some sense […]

It’s the Small Things

“And, whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17 It’s hard to […]

Some Good News

“Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NRSV) Probably like you, […]

Then Sings My Soul

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into God’s presence with singing! For the LORD is good. God’s steadfast love endures […]

Family Edition: Hugs from Heaven

So comfort each other and give each other strength, just as you are doing now. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (International Children’s Bible) At the end of our Zoom Sunday School class […]

The Luxury of Small Complaints

Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of […]

Many Members, One Body

Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many… If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with […]

COVID in the Body of Christ?

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let her pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise!” James 5:13 “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice […]

Family Edition: Seeing Beyond the Now

“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” Proverbs 4:25 I cannot help but think of what it means for children and youth to see their […]

A New Normal?

“Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5b For the past year, I have been meeting via Zoom with three friends for mutual coaching. […]

Butterflies

“Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed…” 1 Corinthians 15:51 (NRSV) The count of people infected with COVID-19 (coronavirus) […]

Surrender to Vitality

And Jesus said to Thomas, “Have you believed because you have sent me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in […]

Family Edition: Good-Bad Friday?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” John 3:16 NRSV […]

Knackered

“I will satisfy the weary, and all who are faint I will replenish.” Jeremiah 31:25 Maybe I’m not alone, but I am discovering the great variety of shows on Netflix, and […]

Unknown Future, Known God

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when […]

April 6

“As Jesus sat at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. […]

Family Friday: April 3

Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Mark 11:9 We have been hearing a lot about […]

April 2

“Then God said (to Moses), “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5) This morning, I […]

March 31

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of […]

March 30

“Let love be without pretense: rejecting evil, holding on to good, exercising heart-felt affection, preferring each other in honor. Don’t let go of your enthusiasm, your spiritual energy, your desire […]

Family Friday: March 27

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or troubled. The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 When I think of what families, particularly parents, must […]

March 26

“Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have […]

March 24

“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12 (NRSV) A couple of weeks ago, one of our daughters, who lives […]

March 23

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b (NRSV) In the midst of a crisis, there is a strong human tendency to ask questions […]

Family Friday: March 20

He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your […]

March 19

“I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of fear, […]

March 16

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all […]

March 15

  “Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with […]

Going the Distance: A Devotional from Naples UCC