Ash Wednesday

We intentionally step onto this Lenten path hoping to grow in our love of God, love of each other, and love for our own precious, flawed selves. Recognizing that life is fleeting should only cause us to love more fiercely, more deeply and without reservation.  Gracious God, it is hard to think that we will die someday. We dream, make plans, and talk about what we’ll do in the near future. We don’t ...

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Pancakes for Everyone!

Today is known by many names: Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday, depending on your community of origin. In Great Britain and in other commonwealth countries, this day is Pancake Day. It goes back to the days when Christians used to give up items like milk and eggs and butter for Lent, pancakes were a great way to use up all those ingredients before the disciplines of Lent began. So ...

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Day 34 #liftupforlent

As always, words of encouragement need to fit the person and their situation, but I have found this quote from Einstein really helpful at times. A pastor's schedule can easily spiral out of control. Illnesses, deaths, relationship crises, conflicts in the congregation are never on the calendar--which is often already overbooked.  It can be overwhelming and become almost paralyzing. When there is more to do that I can ever get done, my ...

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Day 28 #liftupforlent

There are times when encouraging words are counter indicated. Yesterday I learned that a young couple I married last year found out one week shy of the birth of their first child that there was no heart beat. Up until that final doctor's visit, there had been no sign of trouble or trauma. It had been a happy, healthy pregnancy. When something as devastating as the loss of a child happens to someone, ...

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Day 27 #liftupforlent

William Barclay, one of the world's most prolific Christian commentators, has said, "One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement...It is easy to laugh at [people's] ideals; it is easy to pour cold water on their enthusiasm; it is easy to discourage others. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or ...

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Day 25 #liftupforlent

"Fatigue makes cowards of us all." I'm not sure who said it, but according to the internet, it was either coach Vince Lombardi or General George Patton.  Whoever it was, the statement has merit. When we are overworked, overwrought and overwhelmed, even the slightest of problems can seem monumental.  There may no time when we are quite as susceptible to believing that things are hopeless than we have been sleepless.  The ...

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Day 23 #liftupforlent

Today's exercise of encouragement may seem counterintuitive, but it can be really meaningful to someone who is struggling. Rather than downplaying people's struggles by telling them "it's no big deal" or "just don't worry about it," acknowledge that what they are going through is hard. Often when people are wrestling with a decision or particular situation, they can convince themselves that they are are the problem.  That they are just not smart enough ...

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Day 20 #liftupforlent

Whoever coined the phrase, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," should be severely sanctioned. I mean, I'm sure they are long gone from this life, but still. Words can be so incredibly hurtful and harmful, and unlike the broken bones that result from sticks and stones being thrown, the pain inflicted by words may never heal. A word out of your mouth may seem of ...

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