Recently, a Buddhist monk returned from a 75-day silent retreat in northern Vermont. One of the first things he asked was what he’d missed. Our world has changed dramatically in a short amount of time. There has been the upsurge in COVID-19, the dramatic response, and the continued fall out. There was the death of George Floyd… Continue reading Pastor’s Blog
It has been very strange, and difficult, times that we’ve been living through. The amount of sickness, and death, has been tragic. The impact on the economy has been devastating. The significant societal change, virtually overnight, has been stunning. It’s hard to imagine when life will return to normal. When we will no longer need to wear masks and practice… Continue reading A Christian Reflection on COVID-19
It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Coming As we are in the season of Lent preparing to celebrate Easter, I’d like to share one of my favorite sermon illustrations popularized by Dr. Tony Campolo. The Friday in the meditation is Good Friday when Jesus was killed on the cross and everything looked bleak contrasted to Easter Sunday… Continue reading
Christine and I recently were blessed by God to become first-time grandparents on December 27, 2019 when Elodie was born to our daughter, Liz, and our son-in-law, Zach. God is working through this new experience for me, the love that I have as a grandparent, to give me a fuller understanding of God’s love for… Continue reading Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until… Continue reading Endings & Beginnings
I know a funny little man, as quiet as a mouse, Who does the mischief that is done in everybody’s house! There’s no one ever sees his face, and yet we all agree That every plate we break was cracked by Mr. Nobody. The finger marks upon the door by none of us are made;… Continue reading The Helper: Get to Know Him!
When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s… Continue reading For Such a Time as This
One of the simplest, and greatest joys in life is experienced in a very common way: eating together. And getting together over a shared meal with time to spare is even better. I don’t know about you, but I have many great memories of the dinner table. At home as a boy, with our extended… Continue reading Now That’s Hospitality!
In my desk at work, I have file marked, “Memories.” In it are three separate folders, all containing personal letters. The first set is letters that my mom saved that were from me while I was in Army boot camp back in 1986. The second set is marked “UMass letters” and are letters that I… Continue reading Personal Letters
It’s a feeling of being not-quite-there. It’s visceral, and it’s sensory at the same time. Your visual faculties need adjusting as things don’t look quite right. You’re taking steps, walking slowly, even a bit gingerly so perhaps you won’t lose your balance. It’s like the world you’re in isn’t quite real. Know the feeling? We’ve… Continue reading In Real Life
On April 11, 1986 I arrived at Fort Benning’s “Welcome Center” for Army Basic Training. I was immediately briefed on what I was allowed to bring with me to my company (and it wasn’t much). There would be dire consequences for being caught with anything prohibited. We were then given the opportunity to enter a… Continue reading Doubter’s Anonymous
Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday. What do all these have in common? These three days Americans are urged to spend their money in preparation for the gift-giving season that climaxes on Christmas Day. Our consumer economy has most certainly learned how to capitalize on what many call, “The Season of Giving.” God,… Continue reading ‘Tis the Season – for Spiritual Gifts
Wouldn’t it be awesome to see a live dinosaur? I well remember when the movie “Jurassic Park” came out in 1993. I was particularly interested because I thought, well, it would be the closest I’d ever get to a live dinosaur. And I was so excited about it, I not only watched the movie, but… Continue reading The Big Story
Not being a native New Englander, one thing I very quickly noticed as a newcomer from the Midwest was that the roads around the area are very curvy! Even a drive to the grocery store, a mere 1.4 miles away, includes several bends. I’m amazed at home many times my hands must cross my body… Continue reading Slow Down in the Curves
When I was a kid, I loved to go fishing. During my Junior High years, mom would drop me and a couple friends at a lake and we would fish all day long. When I got old enough, I’d ride my bike. One morning, I really hit the jackpot! Just like the family cat after… Continue reading Take It Outside
As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. (Mark 2:14) As we read the stories about Jesus in the Bible, it’s easy to see how the first disciples followed Jesus. They just left what they were… Continue reading The Truth of Trusts
“It takes money to make money.” Americans instinctively understand the concept of financial capital, which is money used by businesses to start and continue producing products and services. The more money is moving in a certain sector, the more businesses thrive. Then there’s the concept of social capital, which are social networks of relationships among… Continue reading Spiritual Capital
"I can only imagine what it will be like When I walk, by your side I can only imagine what my eyes will see When your face is before me." Those are the first few lines of MercyMe’s 1999 hit song. They invite the listener to exercise their imaginations forward to a face-to-face encounter… Continue reading Dare to Imagine!
Chances are, you are reading this on a computer - or perhaps a smaller electronic device of some kinds. Chances are not good you are reading it on paper. And it is nearly impossible that you are receiving this message verbally, in person. You might possibly remember the long-distance telephone ad slogan: “The Next Best… Continue reading Love Embodied
That’s a question that the German Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer asked at the same time that his native country came under the political influence of Adolf Hitler. The answer to that question - that Jesus Christ the man is Jesus Christ, God Almighty - would guide and sustain Bonhoeffer for the next 11 years. In 1933,… Continue reading Who is Jesus Christ, for us, today?
This Advent season at PCC, we’ve decided to do something a little different than we’ve ever done before. Ok, actually, very different. On the first two Sundays after Thanksgiving, we conducted a reverse offering, and gave every family in the church $100! But with this gift came this instruction: Use it to BLESS someone else… Continue reading Don’t Bury It!
That’s a question every parent, and grandparent, has asked hundreds (if not thousands) of times. And there’s two probable answers to the question, depending on the circumstance: please or thank you. With the days growing shorter and football season growing longer, we are getting closer to that most fundamental of American holidays: Thanksgiving. It’s a… Continue reading Now, what do you say?
All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along. (Galatians 2:10) We’ve probably all had the experience of not being able to see something that was right in front of us, whether it’s a set of keys, a screen door, or… Continue reading If Only…
“Franklin! Franklin! Slow down!” These were words that my Grandma said to my Grandpa when he was driving the car and I was sitting in the back seat. Grandma was into safety before safety was in. She always required me to have my seat belt buckled, and we crossed the road looking both ways and… Continue reading As if Your Life Depended On It!
They were out in the countryside with no restaurants nearby and 5000 hungry men, not to mention women and children. When they reported this obvious fact to Jesus and advised him to send the people away to get dinner, Jesus said something shocking. “You give them something to eat.” And they did a quick check… Continue reading You Do It!
Free Gift! What do you think when you hear those words? I know the first thought that comes to my mind. “Ok … what do you want?” I’m suspicious that if I don’t have to spend money, then what I’ll have to spend is some of my time. And when someone I don’t know… Continue reading Good News and Good Deeds
Recently, I’ve read the book Our Kids, written by Harvard Professor Robert Putnam. In it, he argues that there is a widening opportunity gap for today’s kids. Children from homes with lower incomes are facing greater and greater challenges than ever before. Why? Among other reasons, they lack something Putnam calls “Social Capital.” Plainly speaking,… Continue reading Community with a Cause
Extreme. That’s a word that brings to mind such images as mountaintops, whitewater, deep snow with sub-zero cold and hot sand with blistering heat. I spent two hours this past (week?) just reading and reflecting on the events of Holy Week, and that’s the word that came to mind. Jesus entered Jerusalem to a cheering… Continue reading A Week of Holy Passion
In 1955, it was 1 million. In 1963, 1 billion. In 1976, 20 billion. 1984, 50 billion. 1996, 80 billion. And on April 15, 1994, 100 billion hamburgers had been served by McDonald’s franchises all over the world. After that, they stopped counting. That's a lot of hamburgers. But as many and as much as… Continue reading Seeking Jesus, Serving Others
For me, undoubtedly one of the highlights of my Christmas memories for 2016 will be participation in our play, entitled, “Everyone’s Christmas Story.” Plays are fun, and they are a lot of work! The more I take part in the rehearsals, though, the more fun it gets. At first, I’m just scrambling to remember my… Continue reading Everyone’s Christmas Story
Dual citizenship occurs when a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen of more than one state under the laws of those states. Some states do not allow for renunciation of citizenship, and so becoming a citizen of another country makes dual citizenship the only option. Other states do not allow for dual citizenship, which… Continue reading Dual Citizenship
Some conversations change your life. You just don’t expect them to be with one of your kids. Several years ago, my daughter Leslie came home and said “...What’s the single most important thing you do as a leader?” I looked at her and said, “That’s easy. The single most important thing I do is make… Continue reading Encouragement for You