Connections October '21

October 31

A blessed Reformation Day to you!

Sunday worship will be at 8:30 and 11:00 with Sunday School between services. (Wear red!)

Tomorrow is All Saints Day.

Today three of our LOGOS youth will be confirmed, and next Sunday, All Saints Sunday, five of our young children will be receiving their first Communion.

Please pray for them, and all our children.

The prayer of the day today:

Almighty God, gracious Lord,

we thank you that your Holy Spirit

renews the church in every age.

Pour out your Holy Spirit on your faithful people.

Keep them steadfast in your word,

protect and comfort them in times of trial,

defend them against all enemies of the gospel,

and bestow on the church your saving peace,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

The service will be posted online

October 30

Then [Jesus] took a loaf of bread,

and when he had given thanks,

he broke it and gave it to them, saying,

“This is my body, which is given for you.

Do this in remembrance of me.”

Luke 22:19

I get to meet with a number of our youth this morning to prepare for First Communion. They will join us at the Communion table on All Saints Sunday, a week from tomorrow. Please pray for them.

What do we want them to know as we prepare for this great gift?

In the Small Catechism, Luther focused on the words: “For you.”

Luther asks “what is the benefit” of Holy Communion?

His answer:

“The words "given for you" and "shed for you for the forgiveness of sin" show us that forgiveness of sin, life, and salvation are given to us in the sacrament through these words, because where there is forgiveness of sin, there is also life and salvation.”

The Holy Communion section of the catechism ends with this admonition.

“the words “for you” require truly believing hearts.”

Jesus makes a promise, and in faith, we receive the gift.

May God gift you, and our youth, with truly believing hearts.

Peace, Pastor Phil

Worship tomorrow. Wear red! Confirmation service at 8:30.

October 29

All who are with me send greetings to you.

Greet those who love us in the faith.

Grace be with all of you.

Titus 3:15

My younger bother turned 60 yesterday.

As one person replied when I mentioned this: “He’s young!”

Yes, he is.

It was good to talk with him.

It had been a while, and we shared some laughter and caught up a bit.

I need to do that more often, catch up with my siblings, check in, keep connected.

I suspect that the same is true for our faith community. We need to keep in touch. It is good to re-connect when we have not been together in a while. It is easy to lose track, and then, it can become more and more difficult to bridge the gaps that grow between us.

I think often of the passage in Hebrews, where we are encouraged to avoid the habit of neglecting worshiping together. The reason? Because of the need for “encouraging one another…”


I hope to see you in worship on Sunday. It is Reformation Day, so consider wearing red. Remember to keep our confirmands in your prayers.

Peace, Pastor Phil

October 28

Jesus came to Galilee,

proclaiming the good news of God, and saying,

“The time is fulfilled,

and the kingdom of God has come near;

repent, and believe in the good news.”

Mark 1:14b-15

Sunday is Reformation Day, a day to celebrate the gift of Gospel insight, and the call to continual renewal in our lives. It is also a day to celebrate Confirmation with 3 of our youth. I hope you will be able to be here with them at the 8:30 service as they make their Affirmation of Baptism…

I liked an insight by theologian, Dr. Steven Paulson, who was a theology professor at Luther Seminary when he wrote the book; “Luther for Armchair Theologians.” There he says that we “never advance beyond baptism.” (pg. 22)

That is to say; you belong to God, because God has washed over you with the water and the word. That is the beginning, middle and end of the story.

Nothing needs to be added to that wonderful gift.

When our Confirmands gather with us on Sunday, we affirm what has already been done. We affirm God’s loving claim on them, and invite them to walk all of their days in this abiding promise.

I invite you to join with our youth in the invitation spoken at the Confirmation service:

You have made public profession of your faith.

Do you intend to continue in the covenant

God made with you in holy baptism:

to live among God's faithful people,

to hear the word of God

and share in the Lord's supper,

to proclaim the good news of God in Christ

through word and deed,

to serve all people,

following the example of Jesus,

and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth?

The confirmand is invited to respond:

I do, and I ask God to help and guide me.

May God help and guide us all, and may our Reformation Day celebrations be a renewing gift for your walk with Christ.

Blessings to you today, Pastor Phil

October 27

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

On Reformation Day, three of our youth will be celebrating their Confirmation. Please keep Kamryn, Helyn and Dellana in your prayers.

The World Series began yesterday, and I will probably pay pretty close attention to these games. However, I believe that the service of Confirmation for our youth is much more important.

Last year, about this time, I shared this great Yogi Berra quote:

“Love is the most important thing in the world,

but baseball is pretty good, too.”

Yes, love is the most important.

The central point of the Reformation, was and is the love of God.

May the love of God remake us every day. As our youth are Confirmed, may we all recall the gifts God gives to us and all the world through Jesus Christ.

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

October 26

He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread.

And forgive us our sins,

for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.

And do not bring us to the time of trial.”

Luke 11:2-4

I liked this devotion from the writings of Father Henri Nouwen, who was a Catholic priest, professor and theologian.

“Maybe the reason it seems hard for me

to forgive others is that I do not fully believe

that I am a forgiven person.

If I could fully accept the truth that I am forgiven

and do not have to live in guilt or shame,

I would really be free.

My freedom would allow me to forgive others

seventy times seven times.

By not forgiving,

I chain myself to a desire to get even,

thereby losing my freedom.

A forgiven person forgives.

This is what we proclaim when we pray

“and forgive us our trespasses

as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.”

This lifelong struggle lies at the heart of the Christian life.

This coming Sunday is Reformation Day. One key theme of the Reformation is freedom. I like how Fr. Nouwen ties together forgiveness, freedom and the Christian life.

May we celebrate the freedom to love that is ours in the gift of forgiveness.

Pax, Pastor Phil

October 25

May those who sow in tears

reap with shouts of joy.

Psalm 126:5

I think I’ve mentioned the podcast daily devotion - Pray-As-You-Go It begins with music, most always scripture in song.

In yesterday’s Pray As You Go, the song was a setting of Psalm 126. The conclusion of the song, the artist sang a refrain:

“all those who sow weeping, go out with songs of joy.”

It was striking. She sang of joy in a rather mournful way.

In our Wednesday noon class this past week, we wondered about a verse like Psalm 30:5: “Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

What do you do with that promise when the morning has weeping too? You weep, of course.

Yet the promise of God still holds.

The promise of joy is accompanied by life. The joy, at times, might be sung out in a rather restrained way, for there are other circumstances at hand. Yet, the love and presence and care of God; mean that even our times of mourning are accompanied by a certain joy. Joy rooted in the fact that all that we see, is not all that there is, and God’s loving kindness will accompany us all of our days.

May the joy of the Gospel shape all your days.

Peace, Pastor Phil

October 24

Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost

Worship at 8:30 and 11:00- Sunday School between services.

The Prayer of the Day for today:

Eternal light, shine in our hearts.

Eternal wisdom, scatter the darkness of our ignorance.

Eternal compassion, have mercy on us.

Turn us to seek your face,

and enable us to reflect your goodness,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


Sunday blessings to you!

October 23

Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.”

Mark 10:51

Tomorrow we will hear the story of Jesus healing blind Bartimaeus. Once he can see, what does Bartimaeus do? He follows Jesus.

You and I are also called to follow Jesus.

Interestingly, the very next verse begins the story of Jesus’ Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem. Bartimaeus sees and follows, and heads down the pathway to the cross.

This is the shape of our journey. We are called to cross-shaped lives of love and service.

May God guide you in your serving.

Peace, Pastor Phil

October 22

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ,

whom we proclaimed among you,

…was not "Yes and No";

but in him it is always


II Corinthians 1:19

For some reason, Paul’s contention that the Word of Jesus which we proclaim is always “Yes” came to mind for me today.

Jesus Christ is the bearer of the promise of God’s love and redemption. Go all the way back to Abraham, to Genesis 12; “…in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Jesus is the one who brings to fruition, God’s promise.

There is a lot here for us in this word from Paul that is so deeply life affirming.

Not halfway.

Not yes and no.

Not part time.



You and I - through our adoption into God’s chosen people by our baptism into Christ - we get to live that “Yes.”

Yes, indeed.

Peace, Pastor Phil

October 21

Indeed, the word of God is living and active,

sharper than any two-edged sword,

piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow;

it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

Our Wednesday noon Bible study met yesterday, and we continued our conversation about Bible passages to carry with us in our lives in Christ. (I encourage anyone who is interested, come and join us!)

A number of things come to mind as we have talked.

My main insight from our time together has been this:

The Bible belongs to us.

These are words God has given us, so we may learn about God’s great love for us, the awesome comfort God promises, and the amazing call to serve.

These words, this book, our Bible, is not some holy relic we worship. It is not some archaic remnant. It is the living word, which we read and know, which we recall and pray and to which we listen often.

May the Word of God, living and active, speak clearly to you of your belovedness, and your call to serve.

A blessed day to you, Pastor Phil

p.s. Is there someone who would like to host coffee hour on Sunday?

Give me a call is you care to take this on for us.

October 20

May those who sow in tears

reap with shouts of joy.

Psalm 126:5

It is strange that we so often believe that being a Christian means we will not suffer. I just read a comment by someone who felt that growing up in the Church, he was led to believe that he should never experience depression.

Could it be that our delight in the great gifts of the Gospel cause us to often speak only of the positive? To only suggest that life is grand? To bypass the difficulties that inevitably come our way?

Could it be that we have mistaken optimism for faithfulness?

The Psalmist knew that acknowledging the tears and heartbreak of life were a healthy confession of the realities of our struggles. Not only that, all that we experience is lived as God’s chosen people. We may know difficulties and sadness, yet we bear these realities as those who also live in the promise of God’s loving presence.

“May those who sow in tears” the Psalmist prays; “reap with shouts of joy.”

And Psalm 126 concludes:

“Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,

shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.”

May you know the presence of God in every circumstance,

Peace, Pastor Phil

October 19

For great is his steadfast love toward us,

and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.

Psalm 117:2

Martin Luther lived in an age of great uncertainty. He had struggled mightily to measure up to the demands that he understood God was making of him.

Once the the Gospel turned him from working to be worthy, to see God’s great love for him, the promise given through Jesus Christ moved him to life and hope.

Often, the “religious” approach to life becomes a grim set of rules. In these systems, God is quite remote, and their prescriptions for life really don’t work for anyone.

Most importantly, love is lost.

It is the faithfulness of God that transforms the world, as the Psalmist knew. “For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.”

May the faithfulness of God be a gift to you today,

Blessings, Pastor Phil

October 18

But now thus says the LORD,

he who created you, O Jacob,

he who formed you, O Israel:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by name, you are mine

Isaiah 43:1

Wired magazine posted an article from the recently published book; “How God Works: The Science Behind the Benefits of Religion.”

Dr. David DeSteno, a psychology professor, says that research shows that religious rituals can be proven to help people psychologically. He says: “When it comes to finding ways to help people deal with life's challenges, it would be strange if thousands of years of religious thought didn’t have something to offer.”

He admits that it was a matter of hubris that he and his colleagues were surprised by these findings.

He concludes from his research that people can benefit from some religious rituals, without any belief in God.

I wonder what we might think of that.

Worship and prayer can be proven to be good for our psychological health. That is nice, but I suspect we’d all see this as a supplemental gift.

The reason we worship, the reason we pray, is that God has called us by name, and in response to this great Good News we live our lives in relationship with the one who has created us.…

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

Sunday, October 17

21 Sunday After Pentecost

Worship today is at 8:30 and 11:00

The Prayer of the Day today is:

Let us pray.

Sovereign God, you turn your greatness into goodness

for all the peoples on earth.

Shape us into willing servants of your kingdom,

and make us desire always and only your will,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Sunday blessings to you!

October 16

The LORD is my shepherd,

I shall not want…

Psalm 23:1

“The Lord is my shepherd.” This favorite Psalm has spoken words of comfort to countless people through the centuries. I wonder how often we have read these words, recalled this verse, found peace in their promise.

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

This reflection by Frederick Buechner, Presbyterian minister and writer is so excellent, I am going to conclude this devotion with his insight:

"I shall not want," the psalm says. Is that true?

There are lots of things we go on wanting, go on lacking,

whether we believe in God or not.

They are not just material things

like a new roof or a better-paying job,

but things like good health,

things like happiness for our children,

things like being understood and appreciated,

like relief from pain,

like some measure of inner peace

not just for ourselves but for the people we love and for whom we pray.

Believers and unbelievers alike,

we go on wanting plenty our whole lives through.

We long for what never seems to come.

We pray for what never seems to be clearly given.

But when the psalm says "I shall not want,"

maybe it is speaking the utter truth anyhow.

Maybe it means that

if we keep our eyes open,

if we keep our hearts and lives open,

we will at least never be in want of

the one thing we want more than anything else.

Maybe it means that, whatever else is withheld,

the shepherd never withholds himself,

and he is what we want more than anything else.”


Peace to you, Pastor Phil

October 15

I lift my eyes to the hills,

from where does my help come?

Psalm 121:1

Psalm 121 is a favorite for many of us.

The magnificence of the mountains inspires wonder.

The Psalmist links the wonder of creation, and the wonder of God’s faithful care for each of us.

I invite you to take note of the beauty of this snow covered landscape around us (now that our sidewalks are clear!) and to consider that God has created you with a similar beauty.

Consider that the one who has formed this vast and amazing universe, formed you as a similar wonder.

The Psalm ends with this marvelous line: “The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.”

May all all our goings and comings - our transitions from one place to another, all the transitions of our journey, be accompanied by the knowledge of our wonderful creator, who keeps us always close.

Peace, Pastor Phil

October 14

The LORD is my strength and my shield;

in him my heart trusts; so I am helped,

and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

Psalm 28:7

Our Wednesday class met yesterday, (because it was Wednesday, ha!). We are talking about what Bible passages can be helpful for us to carry with us in our lives in Christ. We have made lists of important verses, and many passages from the book of Psalms were included in our lists.

Many of these verses extol the faithfulness of God.

We can trust that God will be with us, no matter what.

“The LORD is my strength and my shield…” The Psalmist proclaims. While few of us have ever used, or even seen a shield, we know the comfort this poetry offers. God will watch over us, God is worthy of our trust, the help God gives is a great gift, and we respond in gratitude for such generosity.

The Psalms sing out this good news in beautiful images that can help shape our prayers, and shape our lives.

Pax, Pastor Phil

October 13

For God alone my soul waits in silence;

from him comes my salvation.

Psalm 162:1

Well, we heard about it for several days, and now the snow is upon us. It seems there has been a certain sense of foreboding since this storm was first forecast. A sense of expectancy has permeated the past few days. We knew the predictions, now we see what actually took place. As I write this, the snow isn’t done, so I guess we could say that the story has yet to be completed…

The Psalmist looks for God, and expresses a clear anticipation of God’s faithfulness.

For God alone my soul waits in silence;

from him comes my salvation.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,

my fortress; I shall never be shaken.

I don’t know about you, but I am put off by those who talk about the end times, and all that goes with such predictions and etc...

I am struck by Mark Allan Powell’s observation that it can be good for us to have an expectation of Christ’s return. (Chapter 7, Loving Jesus) Dr. Powell is not interested in predictions of the date of Jesus’ return. We are often told to refrain from predicting the end, and I suspect this includes talk of these being the “last days” because of some political event, or this or that natural disaster.

But, Mark Allan Powell suggests, the attitude of expectancy, like the anticipation we have when waiting for a beloved family member to come for a visit, is good for our relationship with God.

I don’t know about you - I CAN wait for the next snowstorm!

Our waiting for God is a faithful expectation that God will be faithful, that God will save, that the Psalmist is right when declaring “steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord.” (Psalm 62:12)

Blessings, Pastor Phil

October 12

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.

Worship the LORD with gladness;

come into his presence with singing.

Know that the LORD is God.

Psalm 100:1-3a

The Psalms have been called the prayer book of the Bible. We might also consider the Psalms the hymn book of the Bible. (I believe more hymns have been inspired by the Psalms than any other single book in the Bible.)

Yesterday I suggested that one might take a single verse and pray it during the day, sort of like a mantra.

Today I want to invite you to consider an entire Psalm, one of my favorites, Psalm 100.

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.

Worship the LORD with gladness;

come into his presence with singing.

Know that the LORD is God.

It is he that made us, and we are his;

we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

and his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him, bless his name.

For the LORD is good;

his steadfast love endures forever,

and his faithfulness to all generations.

I love to share this Psalm with new parents. When that new baby arrives, new parents are sure that the entire world should join in the celebration. I suspect, as well, that this is a time like no other, where we are in tune with the Psalmist as he tells us to “Know that the LORD is God. It is he that made us, and we are his…”

I would love to hear from you a favorite Psalm for times of celebration. Send me an email - or give me a call - or stop on by, I’d enjoy hearing your insights.

Blessings to you today. Pastor Phil

October 11

“Let the words of my mouth

and the meditation of my heart

be acceptable to you,

O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

Psalm 19:14

I suspect that we would be wise to spend more time praying the Psalms.

One way you might do this is to recall a single line from a Psalm, and reflect on that line as a prayer for a day.

Psalm 19 was read in worship just a few weeks ago. There are two (at least!) great lines in this Psalm that could well shape your day in life giving ways.

Verse 1: “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.”

and Verse 14: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

The first might open our eyes to God's creation and help us to see God's presence around us. The second might help shape our words and thoughts in helpful ways.

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

P.S. I would love to hear from you if there is a particular Psalm, or verse or phrase that you like to carry with you. Send me an email - or give me a call - or stop on by, I’d enjoy hearing your insights.

October 10

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship at 8:30 and 11:00-

Sunday School between services.

The Prayer of the Day for today:

Almighty and ever-living God,

increase in us your gift of faith,

that, forsaking what lies behind

and reaching out to what lies ahead,

we may follow the way of your commandments

and receive the crown of everlasting joy,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


20th Sunday after Pentecost worship will be posted online

I hope to see you here in worship, Pastor Phil

October 9

“Truly God has listened;

he has given heed to the words of my prayer”

Psalm 66:19

In her book, “Prayer in the Night” Episcopal priest, Tish Harrison Warren reflects on prayer, using as her framework, a prayer from the liturgy for the close of the day, Compline.

One insight she offers, is that the prayers we receive from the Church can be a great aid to us in our own praying. We do not always need to fashion our prayers from our own imaginations, from our own thoughts. Sometimes we may well be too weary for such work. The prayers we receive are an especially rich gift when we need such help.

Here is a favorite from our hymnal. May these words be a part of your prayers today.

O God,

you have called your servants

to ventures of which we cannot see the ending,

by paths as yet untrodden,

through perils unknown.

Give us faith to go out with good courage,

not knowing where we go,

but only that your hand is leading us

and your love supporting us;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Blessings to you: Pastor Phil

October 8

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said,

“You lack one thing;

go, sell what you own,

and give the money to the poor,

and you will have treasure in heaven;

then come, follow me.”

Mark 10:21

Here is an interesting thought. The rich man in this story, the man Jesus loved, he went to Jesus for a reason.

The story begins: “As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?””

He knew that something was missing.

Mark tells us that he went away shocked and grieving.

Even the disciples were perplexed by this, saying to one another “Then who can be saved?”

Jesus response is golden: “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

I wonder. Is that the end of the story, the man walking away grieving? Or did those words work on him, and bring about a change? Did he recall the reason he went to Jesus in the first place, and then, more and more easily, he found himself leaving things behind, and living in God's love? I like to think so.

May these words work on you, to call you to follow Jesus and to live in God’s love always.

A blessed weekend to you, Pastor Phil

October 7

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said,

“You lack one thing;

go, sell what you own,

and give the money to the poor,

and you will have treasure in heaven;

then come, follow me.”

Mark 10:21

Jesus looked at the man, loved him and invited him to follow. Mark tells us: “When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.” This, I believe, is the only time in the Gospels Jesus invites someone to follow, and the possible disciple turns down the opportunity.

I wonder what it means that Jesus invites him to sell all he owns because of something within the man that Jesus sees.

One commentator offers this interesting and challenging reflection on this story:

"If we imagine Jesus looking at and loving us, I wonder what is the 'one thing missing' he would see. And what is it that he would ask us to do in order to finally be fully following him?” - David Ewart

One more thing, I don't know about you, but at first, I suspect that whatever Jesus would ask might well leave me walking away grieving. Yet, what if the call Jesus offers this man, and the call Jesus offers to you, leads to healing and life? I believe it does.

Bless you in your response to Jesus’ life giving call to follow,

Pastor Phil

October 6

"But many who are first will be last,

and the last will be first.”

Mark 10:31

The Gospel reading on Sunday, Mark 10:17-31, has some challenging and even difficult words from Jesus. ““How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” (v. 23) This was almost too much for the disciples, how much more so for us!

In a sermon on this text, Professor Will Willimon suggests that there is both peril and promise in our encounters with Jesus…

He uses this story to illustrate:

The story is told that Clarence Jordan, that great Southern, social prophet, visited an integrated church in the Deep South. Jordan was surprised to find a relatively large church so thoroughly integrated, not only black and white but also rich and poor; and this was in the early sixties, too. Jordan asked the old country preacher, "How did you get the church this way?"

"What way?" the preacher asked. Jordan went on to explain his surprise at finding a church so integrated, and in the South, too.

The preacher said, "Well, when our preacher left our small church, I went to the deacons and said, 'I'll be the preacher.' The first Sunday as preacher, I opened the book and read, 'As many of you as has been baptized into Jesus has put on Jesus and there is no longer any Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, males or females, because you all is one in Jesus.'

Then I closed the book and I said, 'If you are one with Jesus, you are one with all kind of folks. And if you ain't, well, you ain't.'"

Jordan asked what happened after that. "Well," the preacher said, "the deacons took me into the back room and they told me they didn't want to hear that kind of preaching no more."

Jordan asked what he did then. "I fired them deacons," the preacher roared.

"Then what happened?" asked Jordan.

"Well," said the old hillbilly preacher, "I preached that church down to four. Not long after that, it started growing. And it grew. And I found out that revival sometimes don't mean bringin' people in but gettin' people out that don't dare to love Jesus." (As told in Hauerwas and Willimon, Where Resident Aliens Live, Nashville: Abingdon, 1996, p. 103).

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

October 5

Indeed, the word of God is living and active,

sharper than any two-edged sword,

piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow;

it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

We hear from Hebrews 4 this coming Sunday. James Howell, theologian, author and Methodist pastor in Charlotte, NC had an interesting reflection on Sunday’s text. Interesting, he says, this “word” is “piercing” and not “comforting.”



Dr. Howell makes an interesting suggestion - that Hebrews might help us consider what we will find in God’s word. It is living, active, piercing and true, filled with promise, yes, but also a surgical capacity…

Perhaps this might shape what we look for in scripture.

In what ways might God be shaping you?

What things might we need to have cut out of our lives, in order to more fully live out our Gospel calling?

The word of God is living and active, may we look diligently to see the many ways God is at work each day, and may we find ourselves as faithful participants in God’s redeeming activity in our world.

Pax, Pastor Phil

October 4

God saw everything that he had made,

and indeed, it was very good.

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart

Genesis 1:31

Yesterday we heard a part of the creation story from Genesis chapter 2. Creation.

When we speak of creation, we look into what it means to have a creator, to receive life as a gift, what purpose our lives might have, and so much more…

I doubt I would ever know about the existence of The Westminster Catechism, (written 375 years ago for the Church of England and the Church of Scotland) if it weren’t for the wonderful opening question and delightful answer:

Q. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Indeed, God has created you. What has God created you FOR?

To love God and to enjoy God forever.


How are you to enjoy God? Off by yourself?

We know better than that…

In these beautiful fall days, let us receive the beauty as an amazing gift, let us look for others with whom to rejoice, and maybe, just for a second, entertain the notion that God has put forth this beauty, so you could enjoy it all and share it with those around you.

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

October 3

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

The Prayer of the Day for today:

Sovereign God,

you have created us

to live in loving community with one another.

Form us for life that is faithful and steadfast,

and teach us to trust like little children,

that we may reflect the image of your Son,

Jesus Christ,

our Savior and Lord.


I hope to see you here in worship, Pastor Phil

October 2

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,

clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness,

humility, meekness, and patience.

Colossians 3:12

In our tradition, we tend not to observe the feast days of the saints. There are lots of reasons for that, but there can be a gift in taking note of exemplary followers of Jesus.

Yesterday I was listening to the devotional podcast “Pray-As-You-Go” and they mentioned that it was the feast day of St Therese of Lisieux. They said: “She is known for her ‘Little Way’ a commitment to carry out little acts of charity, and to make continual little sacrifices to God.” They asked about how her “spirituality of little acts of kindness made with great love” might impact your following of Jesus. (They sort of asked that, it serves my reflection for today to suggest that this was their question, but I digress…)

The idea of “little acts of kindness” being a way of life sounds quite inviting. Often, that is the best we can do, isn’t it? Small acts. Little ways to show caring and consideration. Simple kindnesses extended to those around us.

It might be interesting to spend a week, dedicating oneself to the ‘Little Way.’

Whatever way you go, know that Christ goes with you, with love and grace.

Peace, Pastor Phil

October 1

“The word of God is living and active,

sharper than any two-edged sword…”

Hebrews 4:12a

I am going to begin leading a class at Noon this coming Wednesday. It is titled: "Key Bible Passages for Life in Christ."

I want to invite reflection on what Bible verses might be most important to us as we seek to be guided by God’s word in our lives.

The Bible has such an amazing breadth of guidance and proclamation for us. From Psalm 23’s assurance, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” to the poignant promise of Psalm 34; “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit…”

From Jesus’ declaration from the cross, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do…” to the amazing word from the angel, “He is not here, he is risen…”

There is so much more. Creation, Abraham and Sarah, Moses, the prophets, the Christmas story, the parables, the disciples, their betrayal, the sham trial and more.

I am not sure where this class will lead us, but I can imagine that it will be lively, interesting, and I suspect that each week we will touch on the promise of God’s love and life, forgiveness and hope.

Please consider joining us. Please, whether or not you do, join me in considering what verses you might want to include on a list of “key passages…” I suspect a few come to mind that give you pause, and bear promise to you as well.

A blessed weekend to you, Pastor Phil