General


on and on and on.

Busy time of year for all, but especially for pastors.  Double the visits (in AND out of the office), double the coordination for worship service (guest singers and all), double the extra-curricular (church functions, school functions, life — maybe that should be treble or quadruple the extra-curriculars!), normal exegisis times AND shopping (not this man’s favorite activity!).

I have found that this year my calling is to be particularly nice to folks in the stores.  Eases tensions, brings smiles, makes me want decaf :-).

Well, Sunday is the church’s party, and the unveiling of this years Christmas play — only this year it ain’t a play, it’s a MOVIE!  That’s right, we filmed a movie.  Tomorrow I get to start the film editing.  The filming is over, the audio is done, splice and dice and make sure it’s nice!  Oh, and I’m learning how to use Moviemaker!  Good fun!

May you be a smile in a sea of anger and a calm, upbeat word in a world of seasonal angst.  May God shine not only upon you, but also through you.

Shalom!

So my silence ended, and I am back in the real world.  I WANNA GO BACK!!!!!!

Seriously, coming from the peace and serenity to the hustle and bustle was a bit of a shock.  It seems that whenever I get anytime away, Satan takes time to play! 

The best part of the experience isn’t so much the silence as it is the communion with my fellow pastors.  We share our difficulties and what we feel is an area where we need prayer, we then enter into our time of silence, and then we share how God spoke to us in the silence.

 This time, God was gentle with me.  I had a time of rest, a time to read, and a time to experience peace.  I had several deer walk within twenty yards of me several times.  I saw a mountain goat.  I listened to birds, squirrels and leaves play with each other.  I thought about how beautiful God’s creation is.

Do you take time for silence?  If anyone ever reads this blog, I hope you will share your experience of silence in God with me.

I am fortunate to be a member of a group of pastor’s who love each other.  Twice a year, we gather together (always at unique, different locations) and have a retreat for renewal.  We have a time of sharing, a time of bread breaking, a time of worship, and then we go into a time of silence.

We take a 24 hour vow of silence.  We spend a day reflecting on who we are, what God wants from us, how we are serving God, just resting, whatever you are moved to do.  And God is there!  Just like Elijah found on that mountain, God is palpable in the silence!

Today (in an hour or two), I’m off to the former Devil’s Canyon.  It has been renamed “Methodist Canyon Camp”, and no longer serves as a home for bandits and outlaws.  There, I will join with others to experience the bounty of our God.  I cannot wait.

Tomorrow, I will be silent.  Wednesday, I will be renewed!

In Matthew 22:37-40, we read, “37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.””

Funny, that despite Jesus saying that the entirety of the Hebrew Scriptures is based on these two, we tend to be dismissive of them. Hillel, a great rabbi from the late 1st Century BC, said: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man: this is the whole Law; the rest is just commentary” (Shab. 31a), espousing Jesus view of love as central to living a life for God.

Yet, after nearly 2000 years, the Christian church is known more for its acts of intolerance than for its basic love.

This blog will, slowly, explore the value of living the two great commandments, what Scot McKnight refers to as The Jesus Creed .

Love God, love others. It really is that simple.

And that hard.