Time to Sing

Church worship moved online.  Sports canceled. State of emergency declared.  Panicked shoppers. No toilet paper anyplace.  What a strange and wild time we are living in.   While waiting for the customer service at a Walmart, the worker took a phone call and I overheard her saying, “Sir, it is an epidemic. I don’t have enough…

The Stalker

March 24th, 2 years ago, I drove Gabrielle, then 26, to the airport. She then was a flight attendant.  Enroute I brought up a conversation that we had partially had another day.  During that previous conversation, I had asked if she had had any problems with stalkers. The reason I asked was because during training…

The importance of Last Things

It was Maundy Thursday 1983. That is the service before Easter Sunday that celebrates the last night Jesus spent with his disciples. I was sitting in the choir at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Santa Barbara, California. Jimmy Gibson was preaching. Jimmy was an Irish-born evangelist then in his 70s. He’d retired to Santa…

Relationships Bring Hope

The team of 11 missionaries — all from Westside Journey UMC — returned from the Dominican Republic July 29th, 2019.  We experienced great cross-cultural training and a great week of missions work and life impact.   The best moment for me in cross-cultural training was when our group was divided into four different “cultures” for which…

Christmas Eve — almost Christmas

I love Christmas Eve. Although that’s not always been the case. Here’s a line from a journal, years back now, thankfully. “I hate Christmas Eve. It’s too hard. Too rushed. Too many people with too many expectations. Too much stuff to juggle. God, I hate it!” That from a pastor… Thankfully after that confession, I…

Stop the Madness

Those weeks —  there are too many things to do, too many directions to go, emails flow in, text messages arrive, phone calls pull at us, needs hit like Dorian hit the East Coast — you know those weeks and those days.  So do I.    Distraction in those times is like a masked intruder…

The Next Step

Many of you know, I took a sabbatical in 2016. It was time for me to slow down, to walk more than 1,000,000 steps on the Camino de Santiago, and get in touch with my own heart.  What happened was I discovered emotions I had not felt, and learned how much I valued silence, and…

Just Plain Lost…

“Just plain lost.” That’s what this guest in worship had written on his prayer request card.  Life was tough with surgeries, with financial issues, with housing, then he wrote those three telling words which caught my heart.  I had never read a clearer lament.  Lost.  That pervasive sense of hopelessness and despair.  I reached out…

Cancer, Control and Freedom

I have many partial blog posts that I’ve written but haven’t published any for a month. This has been for multiple reasons — the heart, the mind, the stress, the feeling of inadequacy, the dealing with shame, or more likely, shame dealing with me. When I read this post by brother David Beck, a man…

God’s “no one knew was there” Path

(Reprinted from David Beck’s blog)– I’ve shared thoughts from David previously. This dear brother and pastor from Bellevue battling pancreatic cancer is a witness to the faith from the “valley of the shadow.” His words struck home to me today. Sometimes when we are hitting tough situations it helps to hear from a fellow traveler…