welcome to the hike!

Working out the call!

I currently living in Millersburg or as God whispered in me ear four years ago in PA, "the land of my Fathers!" MILLERS - burg! OK! The best way to describe my life of late, is simply "Pastor-at-Large" I live "outside the box" of our usual expectation of life, family, employment and even culture. I live, breathe, and weave around a four county area as a local missionary and have learned of so many supportive faith communities. I meet people who contact me where they are in their 'hike 'o life."

The hats I wear are that of Life Coach, Writer, Speaker, Retreat Facilitator, Pastoral Supply, Prayer Counselor and well, whatever God calls on me to do (I actually get paid to do all of these things, which is awesome, unless you are helping me with my books!) I also work to "tent-make my mission work" as a church secretary for a sweet fellowship pastored by one of my favorite seminary prof's.

So what do I want to be when I grow up? Stay tuned! The goals are big and staying solvent month by month is a huge victory, but as I see my own heart and others hearts change and grow in my daily walk, I realize, I am not working for treasures on earth....I have direct deposit above. Guess that's a pretty sweet ride! Lacing up my hiking boots...on the hike o' life!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lighting the First Candle - LONGING IN HOPE

 "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness -- on them light has shined." Isaiah 9:2

What a rainy and dreary day here in Ohio as we light the first candle of advent preparation. 
In Zion's morning message we talked about the preparations the world would have us do for Christmas; spending money to buy whatever they tell us we need, putting up lights and decorations over every inch of living space and preparing every recipe that will create an festive apprearance.  All these things can BE OK, but only if we have done the preparations of the heart and can shop, decorate and cook out of the abundance of our joy.
The first preparation is to cut away the layers of add ons to get to the heart of the matter, our hearts to be exact.  I love this C.S. Lewis quote that I have paraphrased,
"Most people if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they DO WANT, and WANT ACUTELY, something that CANNOT BE HAD IN THIS WORLD.  There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give this to you, BUT NO THING OF THIS WORLD can really give you what you long for in your heart" 
The people of Israel, of whom the Old Testament prophets wrote, longed for deliverance from their strife, they hoped to see Messiah.  In our day and age, we realize Messiah came and established His Kingdom.  We now long for the day when He returns as righteousness to correct all the wrongs of the earthly kingdoms and bring eternity and community to end our exile in a world of sin.
So in the darkness, we long for light.  In our isolation, we hope for community.  I will keep walking in this theme this week.  But I encourage you in your own quiet times - To ask God to show you where HE is at in your darkness and CLING to HIM as He walks with you through the dark time, back into the light, LONGING IN HOPE FOR MORE OF HIM.

 "Restore us, O LORD God Almighty;
make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved"
Psalm 80:19

A Prayer: Lord as we look to the birth of Jesus, grant that the light of Your love for us will deepen our HOPE and help us to become Your true light in the lives of those around us. Prepare our hearts for the joy and gladness of your coming, for Jesus is our Hope of our longing. Amen.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hiking to Bethlehem on the hike o' life


Many of you who are reading this followed my lenten daily blog last spring.  I had been toying with the idea of jumping in again at during the Advent season since there are so many wonderful topics to blog about and affirmation to do this came from my young friend Makenna as she excitedly shared with me what she was giving up for Advent the other evening.  As you read this, you might think, you don't give things up for Advent - that's Lent!   But actually she had it right.  Advent really is supposed to be more like Lent! 

If you are reading this, don't panic, but just come along with me for this hike  The early church orginally intended for Advent to be a time of spiritual preparation, of digging deep within your heart to see how you need to be ready for the birth (INCARNATION - a theological term to unpack on a different day!) of God who came to earth in living form for the purpose of OUR salvation.  (Lent is designed to prepare new believer's to join the church and to also remind us of Christ's preparations for His earthly ministry.)

Just ponder John 1:14 in the Message translation:

The Word became flesh and blood,
      and moved into the neighborhood.
   We saw the glory with our own eyes,
      the one-of-a-kind glory,
      like Father, like Son,
   Generous inside and out,
      true from start to finish.
So while we all nicely say we are "getting ready" for Christmas as we put up decorations, purchase gifts, send cards and bake cookies; we really are just piling all those things on the top or our hearts which, really, I can say this about my own heart, NEED A THOROUGH CLEANING OUT DURING THIS TIME OF YEAR! 

 I am NOT GOING TO FAST for ADVENT THOUGH, and I hope my friend Makenna and each of you don't either.  What I am going to do is spend time with God - before the outward preparations (which I also enjoy - IN MODERATION!) - to prepare my heart, my mind and my spirit for more of what God reveals and keeps revealing until He comes again.  Will you join me during this next month on this journey? 

As I begin this journey, as I did the Lenten one, I am not sure where it will lead.  I am  simply being obedient to begin the path.  I invite you to join me and seek God's call in your own life to make thing ready for His Coming ANEW deep within our being.

(I also begin a new journey in my ministry calling as I write this.  Tomorrow I will deliver the first message in a season of interim ministry at Zion United Church of Christ in Ragersville.  I seek your prayers for these messages and this congregation as we walk together to Bethlehem this year.)


Lord - Even as we linger at the abundant table from our thanksgiving feast, we pray that we begin to prepare and examine our lives, still giving thanks for everything we encounter, but allowing You to make us ready for the Coming of Your Son.  We remember the infant born in Bethlehem and the Bridegroom of your church who will come again just as You have said to begin our eternity with you.