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 36 #liftupforlent

Today, whenever you encourage someone (and by now you should be well practiced), imagine the ripple effect you are creating. Know that whenever you make someone feel encouraged or good about themselves, they are much more likely to make someone else feel that way. And that person is more likely to encourage yet another person. There really is something to the whole pay-it-forward thing. When the problems of the world seem ...

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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 29 #liftupforlent

May the God of endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude toward each other, similar to Christ Jesus’ attitude. Romans 15:5 [Common English Bible] One of the things I fail miserably at every day is the effort to be more Christ-like. Where Jesus was kind and patient and gentle, I tend to be cranky, impatient and snarky.  Perhaps this is why I'm drawn to encouragement as a spiritual discipline. I like ...

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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 26 #liftupforlent

There is no parent in the world who doesn't feel from time to time (or every freaking minute of every freaking day) that we have no idea what we're doing, and that we're likely screwing up our kids for life. So one of the best ways to encourage a parent is to say something nice about his/her kid. Not just a generic compliment about how smart or talented the child is, but something that ...

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