Pastor’s Blog

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 [...]

A Christian Reflection on COVID-19

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 [...]

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 [...]

For Such a Time as This

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 [...]

Now That’s Hospitality!

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 [...]

Personal Letters

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 [...]

In Real Life

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 [...]

Doubter’s Anonymous

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 [...]

The Big Story

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 [...]

Take It Outside

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 [...]

The Truth of Trusts

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 [...]

Spiritual Capital

“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 [...]

Dare to Imagine!

"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 [...]

Love Embodied

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 [...]

Don’t Bury It!

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 [...]

Now, what do you say?

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 [...]

If Only…

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 [...]

You Do 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 [...]

Good News and Good Deeds

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 [...]

Community with a Cause

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, [...]

A Week of Holy Passion

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 [...]

Seeking Jesus, Serving Others

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 [...]

Dual Citizenship

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 [...]

Encouragement for You

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 [...]