Be Still

"Be still and know that I am God" - Psalm 46:10 It's hard to be still. It's hard to quiet our noisy hearts and busy minds. We're so eager to do things, say things, pursue things, accomplish things. It's easier to DO. It's harder to simply BE. For most of us, our lives have dramatically changed since the Stay-At-Home order. Schedules have changed. Routines have changed. Busy people are finding new ways to stay busy. Parents (grandparents) find their lives filled with the new demands of eLearning and setting up ZOOM meetings for their kids. In the wee hours of this morning, I drank my tea and read the Scriptures. As I reflected on Psalm 46, I found myself planning out my day.

Do No Harm

"Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way" - 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 Today's devotion is offered by Bishop Sally Dyck. She sent this out earlier this week as part of her weekly note to the Northern Illinois Conference. With Governor Pritzker adding another month to Illinois' Stay-At-Home order, this insistence on perseverance is very appropriate. "Most United Methodists know Bishop Reuben Job’s paraphrase of Wesley’s General Rules: do no harm, do good and stay in love with God. Many times people stumble over the fact that Wesley put 'do no harm' first. Shouldn’t you just jump to doing good? I think this coronav

Celebrate Creation

Morning has broken like the first morning Blackbird has spoken like the first bird Praise for the singing Praise for the morning Praise for them springing fresh from the Word - Cat Stevens Every morning, I wake up to the sound of my dog's full bladder. He needs to get out so I need to get up before he wakes everyone else. On days like today, I linger outside and celebrate creation - the bright morning sun, the serenade of the cardinals, the brisk breeze that wakes up my senses and reminds me to put on my warm slippers. This is my favorite time of the day. While others sleep, I am still. Pray. Read the Scriptures. Reflect on my solidarity with creation in praise of our Creator.

Hope Sings

For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies, for the love which from our birth over and around us lies; Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise - "For the Beauty of the Earth" UMH 92 The birds are singing. Spring flowers are blooming, and the snow has fallen (for the second time this week). Praise God for God's sense of humor. Praise God for the gift of this new day. For today's devotion, let me share an original writing by Nancy Duraka. Nancy is a long-time member of our church family and a published poet. Here is her poem, "Hope Sings." In forest deep, Hope's holy music plays Hope sings of strength Upon the branches sway The glory r

Don't Waste a Crisis

We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28 Crisis is part of life. Some are personal - like death or divorce. Others are communal - like hurricanes or the current coronavirus pandemic. The question is - how will we be changed by the experience? Will we GROW from it or SHRINK from it? Will we emerge STRONGER or WEAKER from it? How will we change when all is said and done? Change is never comfortable, but there's always opportunity in the midst of the challenge. So, let me ask - how will you respond to this current coronavirus crisis? Will you embrace it or waste it? When I think

"Good" Friday

Yes, Adam's one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. - Romans 5:19 Super-Spreader. This was a term used (on last night's news) to describe how one Chicagoan spread the coronavirus around the city by hugging people at a funeral, a birthday party, and then a worship service. Through the actions of one person, many others became sick and died. This is the crux of Paul's argument in his letter to the Romans. Just as the sin of one person (Adam) introduced sin and death into the world, the righteousness of one person (Jesus) offered forgiveness and new life for us all. Today is Good Fri

Holy Week

A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest heaven!" - Matthew 21:8-9 Matthew tells us that Jesus caused quite a scene when he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. There were already large crowds following Jesus into the city. Now, thousands more lined the streets to welcome him. As Jesus rode into the city on a donkey, the people laid down cloaks and palm branches ahead of him. Everyone spoke of Jesus' mighty miracles. They gushed about h

Easter Can Never Be Cancelled

"Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.." - Ephesians 6:13 Yesterday, I read an article by Bishop Sally Dyck. She reminded us that Easter can NEVER be cancelled. No matter what trials or troubles, calamity or circumstance, the gospel remains unchanged. God's love remains unchanged. Jesus' sacrifice remains unchanged. The reality of the resurrection remains unchanged. So, no matter what troubles you face (yesterday, today, tomorrow,) remember that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8.) How do we hold onto this truth? What ca

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Oct. 2020 Newsletter

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