August 29

Sometimes we are intimidated about asking questions.  Either we think we should already know or we think that everyone else already knows.  We feel foolish asking.

All- knowing Lord, we thank you for your love and mercy.  We know that you don't think that we should already know, but that you encourage us to learn.  Help us to be brave and ask questions so that we can learn more about you and how to be who you want us to be.  In Jesus' name, Amen.


August 27

Signs are everywhere indicating that school is starting. The beginning of a school year is a reminder of new beginnings. As you experience youngsters riding the school bus, college students walking to class, receive brochures about new classes in your community and churches, thank God for every opportunity to ‘learn’.  Learning is exciting and opens our minds to new understandings and insights.  Let us remember to stretch our minds; learn new ideas, understand cultures, experience new skills or processes. Joining in the experience of learning is never a waste of time for an opportunity to grow in mind and spirit.

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”
                                                                                              - Socrates


August 25

Dear Lord,
Please bless and guide those returning to school: students and teachers and all staff.  Please bless and guide those going to school for the first time: students and teachers and all staff.  Grant courage and peace to those who have experienced suffering in school and walk before them to open their way.  Grant your protection for our schools and for the security and police who work in our schools.  Please bless parents as they seek to nurture their children and as they work with educators.  Grant that our communities may be sources of support for their schools.  May we all have open minds and hearts to live as your children as we learn and grow together.  In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.


August 23

If we truly believe in the deepest recesses of our being that we have been richly blest by God, than the natural expression will be to be a blessing to others.

                                                          The Reverend Eugene P. Bartell
                                                           (used with permission)


August 21

The summer is winding down.  My kids are feeling trepidation and excitement at the coming school year.  Although some of the coming year will be familiar, some will be new.  All through our lives, we encounter times of ending and of beginning.  Those times are a bit scary and a bit exciting.

Lord Jesus, we approach the ends of things with mixed feelings and thoughts.  We anticipate the beginnings of things with the same.  Help us to rely on you to be with us through the times of good-bye and to walk with us into the new times.  Amen.


August 17

I can get frustrated with time.  It feels too long or too short.  I have too much or not enough.  Of course, the length of it is entirely a product of my own stuff!  God is in control and God's timing probably doesn't match mine.

"How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!  I try to count them-they are more than the sand; I come to the end-I am still with you."  Psalm 139: 17-18

Gracious and loving God, help me to have patience.  Help me to rest in you and in your plans.  Grant me peace.  In Jesus' name, Amen.


August 9

Decisions, decisions, decisions.... We all make many decisions throughout our
lives. The decisions we make shape our lives. What we feed our minds
certainly influences our decisions. If we feed our minds junk, our lives will be
influenced in a negative way. Exposing ourselves to negative comments
constantly may erode our self-confidence, which in turn, affects our decision making. Spending time reading God's Word and being in prayer with God helps us to gain wisdom which helps us to make better decisions in our lives. Making wise decisions is a way in which we can honor God.

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding.
Proverbs 3:13


August 7

Conversation can be difficult.  We aren't always understood, and we don't always understand.  Sometimes, we aren't heard, and sometimes, we don't hear.  Words have power to hurt or heal.  The Holy Spirit knows our hearts and knows what we mean to say, even when we may not say it well.

Gracious Spirit, move in my heart so that the loving words I mean to say are the loving words that are heard.  Help me to be understanding and to be understood.  When I get impatient or distracted, help me to focus on the words the other person is saying.  Help me to let go of my agenda in a conversation so that I may truly hear what is said.  Most of all, help me to hear you.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


August 5

In those moments when something happens to send us into a tailspin, we turn to Jesus and to one another.  In those moments when life seems to be falling apart, we turn to Jesus and to one another.  In those moments when we feel so alone, we turn to Jesus and to one another.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your constant care.  Thank you for giving us one another to support us in turmoil and to celebrate our joys with us.  Please comfort and strengthen those who are facing confusion and crisis.  Grant that we may be a source of help to those in need.  Amen.


August 3

Thank you, loving Lord, for crickets.  Thank you for the soothing song of the crickets in the cool of the summer evenings.  Thank you for your loving care for us in even the smallest of things.


August 1

"Take Your Time for Soul Formation"  

  Life is moving faster than ever these days and with all of the speed comes our expectation that we will get nearly everything we want just when we want it.  Like many of us, I have become dependent on the speed of the internet to provide much of the information I need in a few clicks.  It has become a constant extension of my thinking and acting, and the conduit for a great deal of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind.

     The advantages of getting so much information so quickly are many.  What used to take days and weeks of research in libraries, books and periodicals is all available in an instant.  However all of this ease due to speed also comes at a price.  Nicholas Carr in his book  The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains observes that the internet seems to be chipping away our capacity for concentration and contemplation.
Whether we are online or not, we expect to take in information the way the internet distributes it - in a swiftly moving stream of words.  Once we explored words and ideas at our own rate.  Now we swim in a sea of words which come at us at a lightning fast pace. 

    Jesus Christ offers transformative grace and freedom from whatever binds us.  To receive the gifts of his presence means being formed into his likeness.  In Galatians 4:19, Paul says I am in travail until Christ be formed in you.  Becoming more and more like Christ takes time.  And time is the one commodity that seems to be in short supply for many of us. 

     As individuals and as a church, we need to take the time needed in order to allow spiritual formation to develop.  Formation is different from information.  We don’t grow deeply because of some information we get in a moment, an experience, a program or a project.  Soul growth is a process which takes concentrated effort on our parts.  

     Here are a couple of guidelines for transformative growth in Christ:  1) never be in a hurry 2) give God space by carving out time every day for concentrated reading, study and prayer 3) allow yourself time to build and 4) trust and relax - God is building into you as you give God access and permission.

     The internet is a fantastic tool - but don’t give more credit than it is due.  The most important task we undertake in life is to allow Christ to be formed in us.  Formation takes time.  So disconnect from the internet daily and give God space and time to work in you.