Thousands of eggs will be found on Sunday morning by little hands. They will fill up baskets and bags with eggs containing enough treats and candy to make any dentist weep. The eggs were filled by the generous efforts of dozens of voluntee…
“Lord, you have examined me.
You know me.
You know when I sit down and when I stand up.
Even from far away, you comprehend my plans.
You study my traveling and resting.
You are thoroughly familiar with all my ways.”
I was stopped going through security two weeks ago, about an hour before time for the flight back to Atlanta was supposed to depart from Chicago. I had removed my belt, slipped off my shoes, and placed my wallet, keys and phone into a basket that was being scanned. Nevertheless, the full body scanner showed something that I had failed to remove! It was a single mint in my left front pocket that showed up as a flashing yellow square on the screen. The airport security officer looked me dead in the eye and said, “It doesn’t miss anything.” He was right and I snapped this photo as evidence!
We sometimes think of God as this Divine Scanner in the Sky, waiting to catch us holding onto or doing something wrong or dangerous. Instead, God’s power is intended to open us up to being loved. Consider that Psalm 139 ends with, “Look to see if there is any idolatrous way in me, then lead me on the eternal path!” When we go to God in confession and prayer, it is about more than coming clean and admitting we’re caught. It is about removing the layers of weight and sin that cover up the best of who we are. This is the essence of Genesis 3 and Hebrews 12. Let us not hide or be weighed down.
As we draw closer to Easter, may the routine of daily readings from the Praying for 5 booklet, your attendance in worship, and the powerful grace of God all together prepare us for what God is revealing to us. Grace and peace, Scott
It was already in the third inning of the baseball game when it happened the first time…BANG! The report of the gun bounced across the stands where we were sitting and caught most of the crowd by surprise. The sound came from a starting …
These things are true…1) we love it when someone says something that sounds like something we’ve said before, because we all like knowing that others share our thinking.2) we love it when someone says something that applies to me in a po…
We begin the Season of Lent this week on a day known as Ash Wednesday, so significant that one city prepares all year long for the party* that wraps up the night before. What is Lent? Lent is a forty day period, excluding Sunda…
I was standing at the counter, early one morning this week, at Chick-fil-a. Waiting for a refill on my Diet Arnold Palmer – unsweetened ice tea mixed with no-calorie lemonade that is just sharp enough to make one eyelid quiver – one of the employees passes by in front of me. All of the sudden, she starts talking to no one in particular.
Just like that! She was talking into her headset and taking the order of the next person arriving at the drive-thru. We know that thousands of cars will pull up to place their order there, every day. But, do we take for granted that someone will always be on the other end of the speaker welcoming us? Think about it, the quality of their customer service is based, in large part, on having the right person with the right attitude ready to welcome people at the right time.
What about the church? We are blessed to have people who sign up to serve as greeters and to stand ready to welcome people as they enter our building. We have people and families visit us for the first time, literally every week. Our greeters deliver smiles and beautiful words of welcome. Of course, we can always use more. Contact Jessi Marlow about helping out at any of our three services (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
What about out in the world? I think this is what our witness is all about. We never know when someone will pull up to the drive-thru of our little world, in need of something God has gifted us with. Think about the menu that every Christian is called to offer: forgiveness, Good News, encouragement, love, grace, kindness, joy, peace, patience, and the list goes on and on. It happens all of the time. Walking across the room, and something speaks clearly into our headset. “Go speak to that person.” “Go help that person out.” “Go offer that person a word of comfort or share some word of wisdom with them.
I am not suggesting that we can never have a bad day, but the Bible is pretty clear that we must be ready for anything. Matthew 24:44 says, “Therefore, you also should be prepared, because the Human One will come at a time you don’t know.“
May we be ready, and may the Holy Spirit provide for us what that person needs. Grace and peace, Scott
The outcome of Sunday’s Super Bowl was devastating to Falcons fans. The Patriots won, mounting an historic comeback, as the world watched the Falcons fail to stop them on three consecutive drives down the field to end the game. Of course, …
Dear Christian in America,
I know you join me in praying for our elected leaders. Two weeks ago I suggested we pray “Guide our Leaders, Lord.” Let us be vigilant in praying for those who lead us. However, we have our own part to play in the direction of our nation.
The stakes are high and old ways of behaving are no longer acceptable. There has never been a time in history that more is at stake for our country and for our planet than in these days. Globalization now has us competing for resources in ways never before imagined, cultures are colliding, news travels faster, all the while more nations, and even rogue networks, have access to weapons to advance their agendas. Yet, worse than any missile, there is an even more devastating weapon that is being used in evil ways everyday: half-truths. Christians are as guilty as anyone in repeating them.
First, we need to stop filtering our news more through who than what. Many people are more concerned with who says something than if what they are saying is true. Whether or not a fact suits your perspective on the latest item in the news does not make it any less or more true. The problem is, sometimes people you disagree with are right. Truth does not have a liberal-conservative bias. The truth is the truth, and regularly comes down for and against both sides. I am as guilty as anyone about ‘considering the source’ when I hear something, but if such consideration clouds my judgment that I miss the truth when I hear it, then I am wrong. And so are you.
Second, we need to listen more. For as many times as we’ve said it, we need to do it. I really like what Beth Moore said this week: If we’re going to be wise people, we are going to have to let somebody else win the Internet while we actually try to think before we speak. James, the brother of Jesus, also said it well when he penned the words, Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry (1:19).
Finally, we need to pray. Pray that God would expose that within us that needs confession and removal. We have taken truth for granted. We have put our trust in people instead of God, and repeated the half-truths we have heard from them. We are a part of the problem, but can be the start of the solution.
Grace and peace, Scott
- Sitting across from a couple talking about baptism and raising children, I share how baptism functions – what does it do? Since we do not believe baptism is the same as salvation, what do we believe is happening when parents stand to present their child? I found myself talking about…
- Standing at the end of a bed in the ICU, where I had been called to offer a prayer for someone I’d never met, I felt led to say one additional word…
- On the edge of my seat in the circle this week at GriefShare, I was about to lead more than a dozen folks who were walking through a deep sense of loss and sorrow in an opening prayer. I found myself sharing…
It took me forty years to finally have these words take effect. I am still a long way from integrating them into my life completely, but I am learning hby speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ.”
ow true they are in a wide range of moments. Ephesians 4:15 says, “
Next time you are asked to speak, what will you say? Is it true? Is it worth repeating? Does it build someone up?
Grace and peace, Scott
Melissa Killian wrote this in 2004, but when it was shared with me this week I knew immediately that it was still God’s word for today. This is literally a word for all of us this inaugural week. The original book is Breath Prayers: Simple Whispers Tha…