Help support the vision of Woodland Hills Community Church!

Help support the vision of Woodland Hills Community Church!
For those of you who would like to support the vision & ministry of Woodland Hills Community Church (the faith community I serve that continues to encourage me to minister outside the box), please click on the link just above.

Friday June 26 - Tuesday June 30

I am in Grand Rapids Michigan attending the United Church of Christ General Synod. The hotel I'm staying at doesn't have Internet access so I wont post again until Wednesday July 1st when I return home.

Thursday, June 25

Hi there:
Today is my third travel day in 10 days. I'm heading out the door to The United Church of Christ's General Synod in Grand Rapids as a clergy delegate. I'm too exhausted to write my entry tonight, and I need to be at the airport too early tomorrow to get an entry written tomorrow morning; therefore I'll have to miss today's entry. I hope you'll re-join me on Friday as I continue my daiy musings...

Wednesday, June 24

Today’s Readings: Psalm 69:16-36; 1 Samuel 17:31-49; John 19:35-42; 2 Corinthians 11:7-15; Psalm 59

Several years ago when I was still teaching, I had a teacher friend at the school whom I’ll call Leanne. Leanne and I were alike in many ways. We both loved movies, long walks, reading, and writing. There was just one area of our lives in which we were radically different. It had to do with our approach toward work. Leanne was a big believer in limiting her work only to the duties as spelled out in her job description. I was not. So whenever something spontaneous came up at school, the kids knew who to ask for assistance and who not to. Leanne used to get on my case about being too permissive. In speaking of the school administrators, she would say: “Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.” I saw things differently. When spontaneous needs arose that I decided to meet, I figured I wasn’t meeting those needs for the sake of the administrators – I was meeting those needs for the sake of the kids. They were more important to me than any narrowly written job description. In today’s reading from 2 Corinthians, I hear Paul taking the same approach toward his ministry with the people that he was called to serve. “Not once during the time I lived among you did anyone have to lift a finger to help me out,” Paul noted. A few sentences later he concluded: “I was careful never to be a burden to you, and I never will be, you can count on it.” Paul’s approach was driven by his realization that he wasn’t just stretching himself for the people’s sake – he was stretching himself for God’s. Perhaps there are places in your life where you feel overly put upon. Maybe you have a rigid co-worker, a demanding family member, or a difficult-to-please neighbor in your life. The next time you receive what you feels is an unreasonable request for help, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “For whom am I about to do this?” How you answer that question might not only influence whether or not you decide to help – it will also shape the attitude with which you go about doing it. Til next time…

Tuesday, June 23

Today’s Readings: Psalm 69:1-15; 1 Samuel 17:12-30; John 19:25-34; 2 Corinthians 11:1-6; Psalm 31

When I was young, I was frustrated by the way many adults treated the youth in the groups to which I belonged. It always seemed like the adults in the groups wanted youth around so that they could point to them and say, “Hey, look! Isn’t our group wonderful because it has cross-generational appeal?!” But when it came time to factoring the youth into the group’s decision-making process, the adults would completely overlook the youth – justifying their exclusion by saying, “The youth don’t have enough life experience to grasp the complexity of the issues involved.” I found that duplicity totally offensive when I was younger. In fact, I still do. While youth may lack a little life-experience, many of them make up for it with wisdom well beyond their years. I was reminded of my frustration with prevailing attitudes about youth when I read today’s passage from 1 Samuel 17:12-30. In that passage, we are told the adult Israelites were facing a problem too big for them – literally! They were facing the giant Goliath. And because the problem was too big for the adults to solve, they assumed a young person like David certainly couldn’t be of any help. Thankfully, David didn’t buy into their limited thinking. David allowed himself to think outside the box, and consequently set into motion a chain of events that would eventually saved those narrow-minded adults. The story of David and Goliath reminds me that many of us have a group that we tend to overlook or marginalize. For some, that group might be the youth. For others, it might be those with mental health issues. For still others it could be individuals who belong to a different political party. No matter what your particular bias, the issue remains the same: it’s wrong to overlook the sacred worth of someone just because we think that he/she doesn’t fit our preconceived ideas of what a contributing member of the community might look like. Today, spend some time thinking about which group you tend to marginalize. Follow that time up by centering yourself in God so that you might begin to see that group with new eyes: God’s. Til next time…

Monday, June 22

Today’s Readings: Psalm 22:1-15; 1 Samuel 16:14-7:11; John 19:17-24; 2 Corinthians 10:13-18; Psalm 22:16-31

There are usually certain moments in a person’s life that define that person’s character. And for me, these moments are usually not the big moments that people not – they are often the smaller moments that often go unnoticed by most. I’ll use a former colleague of mine named Linda as an example. I had known Linda for two years. During this time she revealed herself to be a wonderful advocate for the marginalized. She was especially committed to helping kids that society had thrown away. I grew to admire her deeply for what I perceived of as her capacity to care for those that others didn’t. One day we went out for lunch and the waitress made a mistake with our order. I didn’t think it was a big deal – so I expected Linda not to make a big deal about it either. I was wrong. Linda ranted and raved about how horrible the mistake was, and she ended up publicly humiliating the waitress. I never saw Linda with quite the same eyes again. Today’s passage from the Gospel of John reveals a similar moment when Jesus revealed his true character in a small moment. That moment didn’t occur during his arrest, trial, or early crucifixion – it occurred in his final moments when he showed concern for his mother’s well being by turning the responsibility for her care over to the beloved disciple. At a moment when most of us would have been lost in our own pain and suffering, Jesus was thinking of another. That small moment is what I think of most clearly when I think of Jesus propensity for self-emptying, sacrificial love. So if I were to watch a video tape of your life as you live it today, which small moment would best reveal the quality of your character? Til next time…

Sunday, June 21

Today's Reading: Mark 4:35-41

Given the demands of my schedule today, all I can offer is a brief quotation from St. Augustine relating to today's lectionary passage. I hope it sparks something for you. I'll write more tomorrow when I have a chance to catch my breath.

“When you have to listen to abuse that means you are being buffeted by the wind. When your anger is aroused, you are being tossed by the waves. So when the winds blow and the waves mount high, the boat is in danger, your heart is imperiled, your heart is taking a battering. On hearing yourself insulted, you long to retaliate, but the joy of revenge brings with it another kind of misfortune. Shipwreck? Why is this? Because Christ is asleep in you. What do I mean? I mean you have forgotten his presence. Rouse him, then; remember him, let him keep watch within you, pay heed to him.”

May you find time to rouse the spirit of Christ within today. Til next time...