Monday, February 29, 2016

God's Embrace

Day 17 Doxology:  Today has been a series of "praise God" moments. You probably wonder what "doxology" means if you've read more than one of my post?  Each entry begins with "Day [?] Doxology"...meaning a formal liturgical praise to God.  "Liturgical" means relating to liturgy or public worship...So, my doxologies are when I can take a moment of my day and pause to say I hear you God.  It's a moment when everything in me points in reverent praise to witness to my faith in God's control and Jesus' as LORD of my life.  So without further ado...

J-1 came home today to vote and return to class tomorrow.  With her return it made me pause and think about the joy it is for a father when his daughter falls into his arms.  In thinking of that embrace I am reminded that if she returns then there are times, admittedly, when she is not within my reach...within my grasp.

How many times have I not allowed God, the Father, to not wrap his arms around me.  But...when I do how He must feel?  I listened to a young lady this weekend share her testimony in our church.  She shared with great emotion her separation then return to God, and how she didn't know the future, but because of her embrace...the future looks better.  It makes me ask the question how can we get more people to feel that embrace?

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Eyes of Christ...

Day 16 Doxology:  Today our church fed one another.  We served pancakes to our community as a fundraiser for missions.  Isn't it a bit ironic that we served so that we can serve.  It was a success!

5am came very least 2am.  Whatever the time, Shannon and I were late.  We arrived at 6:30am-ish to a group of hard workers waiting for the crowd.  We immediately ate and then started the mingling!  Waving a sign; sharing a "thank you" or two; laughing and joking with great friends, and so much more as we we prepared to serve!

Today's doxology is 2-fold.  Pictures of those that served echoes the life of our church -groups of people sharing joy through service...and since I forgot my phone these are the pictures from the lens of others...

The really amazing thing is that there were so many others that worked endlessly to make today a success.  In fact, I received a lot of pictures that I didn't include, but the one picture I couldn't get...that no one took...was the picture of the person whose idea was cast into action...this person was a constant go-between the kitchen and patrons.  This person worked endlessly to make this morning a success, to the point that this person didn't eat until the close of the "Flapjack Fundraiser"!  Was this person you?

You know Matthew 6 says, “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you."

I am reminded of this text, because of the lack of notice by the camera and myself of this person when I wanted to include everyone and their hard work.  Just because we don't see someone worshipping doesn't mean they are not worshipping.  We shape people, and Christ, in our own fit our world.  But...what if it didn't have to be that way?  What if we trusted God enough to allow Him to see our heart and the heart of others even when they appear different than our own?  In that instance...what could our service be?  What could our worship be? 

I can't wait to worship with my church family tomorrow like we did today...

Change Of....Anything

Day 15 Doxology:  After yesterday's "doxology" I will be less that....And more of this., I had to do some plumbing. I hate plumbing!!!!

I hate plumbing, because past experiences have proven that I am a bull in a china shop.  I fix the leaky problem here and tear up something up-line there.  Plumbing has been a series of hates!

This evening contradicts that thought, and since this is a "doxology" blog...a "praise to God moment of my day"...I felt inclined to share how I felt God spoke to me this evening.

I felt the overwhelming urge to take a shower.  We have a shower outside, and I apologize if this is TMI, but I love our PRIVATE outdoor shower.  The recycled shower-head needed replacing since I was unable to fix the old one.

I couldn't, as much as I tried, so I opted for an updated version of what we had.

Sometimes change is good!  Hear me...sometimes change is good!  I know that it goes against everything within us...but some changes are beneficial.

Should we stay in high school forever, no?  Should we remain in our favorite college forever, no?  Should we stay at home, eat the same foods forever, worship the same way forever -no, no, no!  NO!

Tonight's blog may seem over-stated and less popular than yesterday's record breaking views, but...tonight I changed the shower-head outside for no reason other than to try something better?  As it turns was!

With the old head I never touched the cold.  It was hot wide open... ! With tonight's new shower-head I thought it was going to peal away skin-help, someone might need to call the burn unit at UAB!  It was more efficient and more comfortable to use-after I adjusted the temp.  This is the image before....

Never have I used the cold (ball valve on the left) to take a shower...tonight I had to...

What if we could condition ourselves to be so bold as to accept change even though things are going great?

The church is in decline -we are not- because it has the undeniable ability to be stuck in the mud.  The beauty of The Summit -my home church- is our freedom to change.  I have never felt pressured, nor resentment, because I changed the order of worship or did something differently than before.  Sometimes...change is good...sometimes change is even great!

In the morning we will wake up and eat piles of pancakes at Sante Fe -  to raise money for missions...I will serve you and your neighbors...while serving God.  Who would have ever thought years ago that serving pancakes would be considered missions?  Who would have thought that a shower would remind us? Change is not only good, it is great!

Thank you for trusting God to be great in every circumstance!

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Day 14 Doxology: I can't believe that during my Lenten Devotionals I've never included this prestigious day...

Today is February 25th, 2016...My mom is 72 years old today.  Because of her, you are reading this blog.  Because of her, I have a mound of memories, and if you will give me a minute of your time, I'd love to walk you through the high points of my memories to allow you to recognize the strength of not just my mom, but all moms.

I was born, 1966 to Marie and Kenneth.  A couple that moved away from their family in rural west Alabama to make life better.  They dated, got married, bought a house for $19,000, and 4 years later had a  I was the first, the eldest, the wisest, and certainly smartest. Life was good!  I've looked at pictures, and my mom was smoking' hot!  Yes sir, living' the American dream.

I remember watching my mom and dad handle life.  One of my earliest memories was my dad helping me get ready from my brother's funeral -Rodney Eugene Jones.  I remember that my mom was stuck in the hospital while my dad and extended family buried a 5-day old sibling.  Over the years, I thought about how my mom must have felt during that dark hour...those very dark hours.

In '72 there was a girl-her third.  She cried at night, spit up, and stank, but she was cute.  Soon, I realized we had very little in common, but mom reminded us how we were always connected.

We grew in years, and through those years, I can always remember a family member staying with us.  It was a cousin of an abusive alcoholic father, or a different cousin of an abusive husband, or cousins, aunts, uncles running from an assortment of pains.  I can't remember a time growing up without relatives living in our home!  My mom and dad felt obligated to grow the next generation by giving them hope...I remember feeling some resentment.

I can also remember my mom sitting at baseball practice in a lawn chair resting in red dirt when I was five -not when she spoke out and told the coach..."I don't know about you...but I'm taking my kid home" because of an approaching storm.  We got home just in time with limbs beating our '72 model dodge van.  It was that same day that my dad brought home our old '66 model Volkswagen painted black with red pen-stripes, not quite the new '72 Monte Carlo-black with red pen-stripes that my mom really wanted.  My dad could really deliver, couldn't he?

I can also remember, my mom opening a restaurant for my aunt even thou both mom and dad owned a beauty-shop, dump trucks, and my dad working a full-time job at ACIPCO.  They did as a wedding gift.

Other memories helped to shape me...I remember my mom teaching me to cook; making me load and unload the dishwasher; wash endless amounts of clothes and beauty shop towels; and tricking me to paint the deck.  I remember her never missing a football game and telling me she could never ever watch me wrestle again because it was to tough on her.  I remember her whippings that didn't hurt, and the time she slapped my jaw because she thought I was smiling when I was really gritting my teeth -the hurt! I remember multiplication tables...reading assignments...and late night popcorn - on a stove before the days of the microwave.

My mom was a rock!  Today, as I drove to visit her, I thought of my dad.  You see I can't think about my mom or dad separately...they are synonymous like the Holy Trinity - together, but separate.  I can't celebrate my mom without celebrating her dad passed away in 2007.  One month later, I left both my mom and my family to go to seminary in Atlanta, during which time my sister was...who knows, wherever!  My Dad died July 30th (Jackie's Birthday), mom had open heart surgery in November. Within months she re-entered surgery to clean up her incision because of MRSA-infection.  My mom is undeniably tough!

 Through sister was...wherever?

Since then her recovery was tough but manageable...we struggled with depression and physical health, but God saw us through it all.  Today is the anniversary of her birth, and I praise God!  I praise God not just for her, but for moms everywhere...for your stories, and your strengths, and your hurdles to over-come!  In Jewish tradition there is always signification and testimony of the patriarchs of the family, but today, I am reminded that without the matriarchs there are no patriarchs, and no sons to tell their story.

Today, I was reminded that my mom hates having her picture made...I couldn't include anything with her consent.  So, to further reiterate what our moms live with and their strength...while visiting her home today, I took a picture of her refrigerator door.  On this door was a picture that J-2 drew roughly 10 years ago.  It's a reminder everyday that she has lost her life partner yet she remains stong and is forced to endure...I just recognized it, and wondered?

Years ago, Coach Bryant was asked to do a commercial for South Central Bell...He asked, "Have you called your mama today?  I sure wished I could call mine." If you your mom, and tell her how much you appreciate her contributions to the world and her love for you!

Moms are so stinking tough...If you are a mom, I love you!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Gentleman's Work

Day 13 Doxology:  Today was as special as a day can be for a father.  J-2 called me...scratch that, too old school...texted me and asked, "Wanna take me to lunch?"  What? I paused...watched my phone certain that she would send a rebuttal text, "Sorry, this text was for someone else" or just "Wrong person!" But it wasn't and a father knew he had his foot in the door!

I replied, "I will, where?"-I didn't want to seem overzealous, it might scare her away?

I was too great a match for her, and she took the bait...lunch was on!

Before long J-2 met me at the church, and we were headed down 431 playing the "Restaurant Subtraction Game" -the game you play when no one can decide where to eat.  That's when we combined our taste and ended up at Applebee's for an all appetizer lunch.  The entire drive was spent repeating to myself...enjoy this time and do not teach!  I'm not certain your mode of operation,  but it always seems as if I start the parental instructions and my daughter weighs the free food with the cost of the company...something I didn't want to happen today. So, to the point...

Toward the end of lunch something made her mention the way I carry a handkerchief and how silly it is to wipe you nose on something and stick it back in your pocket for later use  -for J-2 it seems like the oddest thing for someone to do.

Guess what happened next?  The parental portion of our luncheon.  What a goof?  However, somethings are worth it.   I told her that I carried a handkerchief because my grandfather and my dad carried a handkerchief, and then I said, "Here's the greatest part about it."  I asked, "Do you really know why a gentleman carries a handkerchief?" I would like to say that she answered interested, but she did ask why...ok, maybe it was a slight nod and a grunt.  I answered, "So they can give it away to a woman that my need it."

Her big brown eyes were melting...parenting never felt so good.  But then I had to keep talking.  I think her laughing was more like mocking when I told her that I ironed mine...A gentleman's work is never done!  I think she was impressed, maybe?

I will say this, I think women crave a society where the men return to gentleman ways...what say you sirs?  Do you want to be a young lady's doxology?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I Messed Up...

Day 12 Doxology:  That's right...if you're keeping score it really is "Day 12 Doxology"  and, not Day 13!  And, if you're keeping noticed that I missed the "Day 5 Doxology"!  How could I?

I think it's ironic that I would make a mistake while trying to connect and follow God.  Resting in that irony for a you think that mimics the church, and not only the church, but the people that make up the church?

I mentioned in my message this weekend that people outside the church look at the church sometimes as hypocrites.  If that is the case, then guess...I have been a hypocrite Day 6 - Day 12 of these Holy "Praise to God" moments!  The one thing that I am confident in, is that those closest to me know that following God and making mistakes is synonymous.  And, in that imperfection I am made perfect in His image because of what He did through Christ.

That's right...If you've messed up, our church is here!  If you tried to follow God and messed up...our church is here!  If you accepted Christ as your Lord and then you messed up...God is present to welcome you back to your place of perfection!

How about this...what if the church's role was to lift up those that failed on third discipleship endeavors?  What if instead of pointing fingers we could feel the convictions of our own misgivings and learn to love?  What if we could do things different from the past and point everyone we meet to Christ and His love for the church?  Ephesians 5 gives us a two-fold reminder.  One, Husbands are to REALLY love their wives as Christ loves.  They are to love them so much that they are to mimic Christ's love for the church.  Two, Christ loved the church in a huge sacrificial love.

Serving the church today, I am concerned if Christians love the church anymore.  They have been hurt or witnessed Christians making mistakes when they claimed perfection.  Let me remind you, Christ is the only perfect human to have walked this earth.

So, if you've been worn out by the church or disillusioned by other Christians...Christ loves the church and just maybe so should you too.  I really want to minister with you to our community!

I'm sorry, but I messed I qualify?

Monday, February 22, 2016

"Abide in me..."

Day 12 Doxology: Today's doxology seems like a bit of an exercise in futility. Let me start with these words that came to me when I heard horrible news from a friend..."Abide in me....and I will abide in you."  Remarkably, my memory recall of this verse was in the KJV.   The horrific words were a friends daughter, while at college in another state, was raped.  Words cannot describe the pain the family is feeling.

I am the father of 3 daughters, and I have a hard time with these words.  It's one of my biggest fears as a father.  Hearing this story...I actually have a hard time with the thought of forgiveness which is the bedrock of my faith.  How could I forgive if this was our story?

I do not have a picture...I don't want a picture!

What I do have...are these words that God gave me the moment I was told of this horrific incident..."Abide in me....and I will abide in you."  It moved me to the point to prompt a deeper review of the word "abide".

"Abide" translates to the word "menō" which means "to remain".  If you were asked to "remain" in something you were once there...once a part of something. If you are asked to remain a part of something you haven't left.  It is like John is reminding us...God wants us to stay connected and please don't severe that relationship.

The second definition of menō is "to wait for".  Which seems to be a reminder to stay connected and although you cannot feel my presence in the midst of your pain..."wait for it"... it will be coming soon and I will ease your pain.

These are God's words breathed into me in the moment, and I pray that my friend and his wife can feel God's breath in the midst of this pain?  "Abide in me....and I will abide in you."  I pray they can hear those words.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Throwback -A Time of Revival

Day 11 Doxology: I apologize for the doxology delay…but I’ve been in a meeting all day and as everyone knows…it’s hard to praise God in lengthy meetings, but God is worthy of our praise!

Tonight’s doxology is kind of a throwback!  It’s a time of remembering and reviving.

The great southerner, and can I add Methodist, Harper Lee died this week.  The joy of sharing “To Kill A Mockingbird” with my daughters made me feel like I was parenting "well"!  Remembering was a time of throwback!

In the book “Go Set A Watchman” it describes a time of Scout’s youth and a time of revival!  In a way…revival is a time of “throwback” for any son or daughter of the south.

When I got home from my marathon Emmaus meeting…J-3 and I were at home alone because my wife is staying with her mom to help care for her declining dad.  J-3 and I were talking with the movie “Horrible Boss 2” hurling profanity in the background when I professed this is uncomfortable for us both…then I asked, “can we watch something else?”  She changed channels and boom, the “Kung Fu Panda” was there on the TV in our living room! 

Now, the cinematography, “King Fu Panda”, is not new to us….when J-3 was little we would watch it again and again and cackle out loud at the animation.  I absolutely loved the fat panda making it big and my daughter loved that I loved it with her!  Tonight was a throwback of sorts!  It was a great time of sharing laughter with my teenage daughter!

Tonight was a real doxology…A time of revival on many levels.  How can we get back to that which gives us life?  It starts with a doxology moment in the midst of life…it starts by “praising God” with our wife, husbands, moms, dads, sons, daughters, and friends!  It starts by praising God-it’s a time of revival!

Friday, February 19, 2016

God's Omnipotence

Day 10 Doxology: Before I begin, let me remind you how great it is to be married to history teacher.  I get watch manly-type programs on The History Channel without the threat of a wife's nagging insistance to watch the Home Shopping Network or Cupcake Wars -completely stereotyping wives with apologies!

Tonight the American Heroes Channel made me pause and think about a story in the Bible.  In Acts 5, a man named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, stood before the Sanhedrin and advised.  He said this, "Men of Israel consider carefully what you intend to do with these men..."  He was advocating the release of Peter and the other apostles.  He goes on to say, "Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.  But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."

The Ludendorff Bridge - Photograph Source: Public DomainThe Rhine River played a huge role in WWII. As Nazi Germany retreated back across the Rhine, they would blow up each bridge to delay the Allied forces advancements.  The last bridge standing toward the end of the war was the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen.  The German Army had the bridge wired with explosives -a primary system and a backup system.  Both systems failed to destroy the bridge and to the amazement of the American soldiers it was still standing.  I promise, I'm getting to my point!

After the two systems failed to destroy the bridge the German Army decided to use their weaponry to achieve their goal. Their largest canon was called Karl-Gerät 040 -simply called The Karl (nickname Thor). They hurled 11 shots at the bridge and missed all 11 times before the canon malfunctioned and became inoperable. The Bridge was still standing.

Next Germany launched the A-4 (The worlds first long-range guided ballistic missile) at the Ludendorff Bridge, but the bridge is still standing.  This rocket missile was incredible.  It reach an altitude of 108 miles delivering 2010 lbs of explosives and had a range of over 200 miles.  they hurled 7 of these advanced weapons at the bridge and missed each time.  Just in case you've gotten bogged down...that's 2 demolition systems; air raids from the most advance jet bomber; the 11 shots from Karl; 11 long-range guided ballistic missiles; demolition frogmen...and the bridge is still standing.  Why?

The intact bridged stood for 10 days longer than it should have.  It was the means for over 25,000 soldiers and machinery -8,000 the first 10 hours- to pour onto the west bank of the city of Remagen then in pursuit of the retreating Germany army.   It's almost as if God was parting the Red Sea yet again.  My thoughts are simple...God is huge!  His power is mighty!  And, why would we ever doubt his omnipotence?  Other thoughts are equally as appears that God used the Allied forces to remove the evil that threatened God's people through genocide.  I guess only questions are we on the side of man or God?  We would be wise if we remember Gamaliel's advice, "For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.  But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." I want to be on the side of God...that's where miracles happens!

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Day 9 Doxology: Admittedly, I have a conglomerate of doxologies for today.  Which, should I add, mimics our life?  Often, the problem is too simple or too ingrained to recognize,  Here is the deal....

Today, I witnessed God working through the smallest of details.  Honestly, I think we often believe  that God doesn't care about the details.

It's unbelievable how God works.  Last night Mrs. D wanted to get an application for Emmaus for her husband-Mr. J.  Unknowingly, her husband had already applied.  His letter of invitation came today...Coincidence, I think not!

By the end of the day I witnessed the power of "community".  Although I was unable to serve tonight at our monthly BIAB, my church could.  Church planters often share that "if the pastor is doing everything then the church isn't doing enough"...after tonight I think we are on our way to fullness! Tonight, knowing I couldn't attend, I sent out a "shot across the bow" to recruit volunteers to serve.  They turned out in drove!  (Groves if you a cliche' murderer!)

Thank you everyone that felt God's calling on your life to act!  Action is our calling!  I serve the greatest group of people ever!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Printed Doxology

Day 8 Doxology: Each year the church I serve creates a Lenten Devotional.  Several members write and send me their personal devotionals to compile for the church's 40 days of Lent.  To say they're a blessings simply doesn't do it justice.  Tonight's "praise God moment" is a devo that missed the printing of this years edition.  Like all the other devotions, they are Holy Words meant to be shared and prayed over.  I am posting her devo here so that you can have your own revelation.  Enjoy and Thanks!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hidden Doors

Day 7 Doxology:  I always wanted a library in my house with a bookshelf full of books as a secret door.  I didn't care where the door adolescence thought it would be cool.  One thing is for certain a secret door in the church would be problematic.

I had a meeting today at a church within our district and when I excused myself for the restroom (Seems to be a running theme?) I found myself trying to remember how to get back to my meeting.  Churches are like that -a maze of insider language that leads you down the wrong hall.  One room that I went into, left me more than puzzled for a second.

The door in this room had been painted to look like the wall, and it did.  So much so that a quick glance made me pause and backtrack.  Within a few steps I knew that I had missed something and discovered the illusion.

What doors could be useful in our life that we paint over and conceal hoping that no one ever discovers their true purpose?  Doors are meant to transport us from one place to another -a place that we want or need to go.  If they are shut, it is intended to be temporary.  Let us covenant together?  My calling dictates that I discover some doors, and when I do God can redefine their purpose.  Do you have any such doors in your life?

Monday, February 15, 2016

No Brainer?

Day 6 Doxology: If past week's blogs seemed a little dark and serious maybe you can join me in seeing the humor in today's blog.  I had my regularly scheduled dentist appointment this morning -x-rays and cleaning.  When I arrived I thought I would help myself to the restroom just in case -never pass up a bathroom, right?  As soon as I stepped into the restroom, I turned on the light and...voilà!   Guess what was staring me in the face?  This sign....

Am I the only one that thinks it odd that there are some people that do not know how to wash their hands?  I laughed, and thought to myself, does my hand-washing procedure usually take 40-60 seconds like the sign suggest?  I really thought to myself, this is just another example of the wussification of America. Now the public is responsible for teach someone else's "responsibility" what they should have learned years the home!  Is this another example of the breakdown of the home?

I stood there a bit staring at the display of instruction-by-numbers before my mind turned to God.  I wonder if the Israelites looked up from melting their jewelry for the golden calf just as Moses came down the mountain with the 10 Commandments and said..."really?"  Really, thou shalt not kill?  Some things just seem like a no brainer?  I wonder if God thought the entire human race was wussified when he gave Moses the 10 commandments to a group of sojourners years ago?  It makes me wonder about the part where God said "love God and love neighbor."  Maybe we haven't come as far as we'd like to think?  58...59...60!  Ok, I'm clean!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

I Am Your's

Day 4 Doxology:  Have you ever thought about how small you are and how large the world is?  When I went to Jerusalem, I thought..."I'm just a small fish in the pond."  When Shannon and I went to Estonia we both were reminded, how little we were compared to the the people in the world.  We are such a small piece of the puzzle.

I serve a church of many.  Each, with their own personality, make up the ministry that God has appointed us to...each of us are equipped for God's greatness.

This evening, I have to admit, I had an external focus on me -I had already served God by attending a funeral.  However, when I returned home I eagerly worked on tomorrow's worship -Holy is thou, right!

I walked outside to fry chicken wings :) and...I looked up!  What I saw paused my breath and maybe even my heart.  I saw the moon which is to come...

This thought became my doxology for today.  After the proclamation of one's love for God... shared at the funeral, and after each family member stood in allegiance to their Mom's God,  I shouldn't pause at the thought of God, but I did.

With uncooked wings in hand I stopped and gazed at the stars. Everything that God created is huge and my world is so very small.  How can I ever think I am the center of the universe?

Thank you Lord for the limited and broad view I have of the world...I am your's!

Friday, February 12, 2016

God Is Not Of This World

Day 3 Doxology: Many of you are likely tuning in to see how clever I can be today.  For many of you this entry will seem not so positive.  If it darkens your day then you are in good company.  Let me explain.

My day has been full of countless emotions from one extreme to another.  My morning began with wasted exasperation wading through the endless verbiage of legal documents...check.  Then I sought prompt resolve with a trusted verbiage interpreter...check.  A quick stop to see a life-giving smile and an attempt to invoke laughter...check.  Oh, I almost forgot the visitation with our oldest worshipper to drop off a small gift...check and check.  Next, I was on the road to share and receive some laughter from our latest patient, but before I do I needed to make some calls...that's right, check check, check.  I think I was able to make six calls as I drove.  Each call ranged in emotion just like my day.  After each stop, each task, and each conversation was concluded I bought groceries and headed home. Once home Shannon and I ate dinner while I sent a few emails and took a few calls -like you I'm done with the "check".  One call, in particular, brought sad news from a friend.  Before you hit backspace, or start shopping ebay, let me share the point I'm trying to make.

My day mirrors our lives, and sadly it likely mirrors your life.  In a powerful way you are my family, and I know what you struggle with, because I struggle with the same things.  Life's continual trajectory of the pendulum never ceases, and what we are left with are memories of laughter and tears joined with the faces of our friends and family.  I did what many of us do...I retreated.

Todays doxology picture is the dark peace of my room that comes from the still, quiet conversation with God.  I sat in darkness and listened.  The picture may look like nothing, but in actuality it's everything.  I wished I could put to words the things I felt as I sat in the dark.

Most of the time "dark" is associated with evil and/ or death, while "light" is paired with good or life. However, tonight's darkness felt Holy-life giving.

The message/answer I felt in the dark was God saying it won't last.  You may ask, "What won't last?"  I believe the answer to be...nothing of this world.  Neither the verbiage, nor the sickness, even the sadness is for life and they are temporary.  What is for eternity is God's love and it is available to us all regardless of the amplitude of life's pendulum. Thanks be to God!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Who Strengthened Your Calling?

Day 2 Doxology:  Well, I haven't heard from any parishioners worried about my caloric intake from yesterday's blog.  I get it!

Today's 2nd Lenten Doxology is no surprise and can be summed up in one word...Shannon!  I was fortunate enough to visit my wife at school (her work) for a "Talent Day" that she organized for OMS -Oneonta Middle School!  I watched as tomorrow's potiental leaders shared a talent they have or thought they have.  A time not without humor...Sorry, I mean joy.

While I was watching these middle school age sons and daughters I thought about my wife's ability to support their growth.  In my memory...I couldn't help but to think about growth in life -mine and yours. You are you because someone poured into you and strengthened you at just the right time of your maturity process -I believe nothing is more complex than the timing of our maturity!  Through this process adults are learning to guide with humor, honor, and integrity our youth while never taking themselves too serious at any one's an's a CALLING!

I remember my calling narrative.  At a special moment in my three daughters, mortgage-filled life I told my wife that I was called to Seminary, and her on response without pause was..."well, then that is what we'll do."  I hang on to those words every day...the moment God's calling was given feet!  Let me pause to say, both God and Shannon are my strength in life! Which leads me to today's doxology...who strengthened your calling?  Who in the church will stand in the gaps for our children -tomorrow's hope-and guide, protect, humor, honor, and love with integrity them?  There is no greater calling than to sacrificially guide and support another!  That means you become a part of their narrative.

Who strengthened your calling; whose calling are you called to strengthen?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Love Dust!

Day 1 Doxology: Where to begin...the beginning is always best.  It's Lent and that means Doxology Devotions for 40 days excluding Sundays.  It's been my Lenten tradition now for many years, and quite frankly it's my greatest blessing of Lent as well.

This first of several doxology moments came tonight at our Ash Wednesday service.  Ash Wednesday is a time when we are reminded that from the moment we were born we are to die.  A pretty dim message to share, right?  Not really.

In our Ash Wednesday Service we join with Christians across this small globe in receiving the mark of a cross made of ashes on our foreheads, and the sign of the cross reminds us that we are infinitely more than dust.  We are God's sons and daughters, and nothing (Not even death) can separate us from God's love. We are "Love Dust!"

During tonight's Ash Wednesday Service I felt this overwhelming joy that I get to share the message of "Love Dust" with a congregation I love!  I serve the greatest church in the world!  Bring on Lent!