Tag Archives: Worship

the wages of sin

I have blogged about the 7 deadly sins before. However, I felt the time was right for a gentle reminder.

These words of Gandhi are especially meaningful at this point in our country’s history. We are fully embracing and living out all 7 of these deadly sins, and there’s a terrible price to be paid.

The consequences for our nation are already being felt, and they will only get worse. We continue to create a dark future for ourselves and our children. And the price grows ever higher.

The wages of sin don’t go down…and there’s no defaulting on the payments.

nothing is to be feared

We cannot control the actions of others. That is a given. But, we can control our response.

One of my favorite passages in the New Testament is in the First Letter of John where the writer talks about the need for loving each other more. In one verse he writes, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear..”

We need to love more, and we need to fear less. As Madam Curie so elegantly states, nothing in life is to be feared. Nothing. So that includes those that don’t look as we do,  those who speak a different language, those that worship differently than we do, those whose sexual orientation is not like ours, and even those who might hate us,

Fear is a powerful demonstration that the depth of our discipleship is too shallow. Our lack of love for those we do not understand is a clear signal that we do not love God enough to understand. We have nothing to fear.

the true spirit of Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!

Thanks to Mike Nelson Program Manager of our Richmond, Virginia office for sharing this photo taken at a meal packaging event done on Christmas Eve at Peninsula Community Chapel. Their gift to the Christ child was to package 70,000 meals for hungry children. That’s the true spirit of Christmas.

May this most special day and this entire holiday season be blessed with lots of love and laughter for you, and may each of you remember that the true work of Christmas goes on throughout the year. Working together we can celebrate Christmas all year long as we strive for a world without hunger.

a prayer for peacemakers

I praise you this morning, God. You alone are worthy of worship and praise, and so I pause to again give you glory and honor for your love, your mercy and your unending grace.

Thank you for your unconditional love and acceptance. Thank you for the grace of Jesus the Christ and for the explosive power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for creating such a perfect world.

This morning I lift up all the victims of senseless violence. Be with the families of those recently killed in Paris, but be with those grieving families in other areas of the world, as well. families in Syria, in Yemen, in Uganda, in South Sudan, in Iraq , Afghanistan, and even here in the United States. Let every member of every family touched by violence feel your love and experience your peace that passes all understanding.

And Lord I would pray that you grant all your children that perfect love that casts out fear. Help us live as your children should live, unafraid of whatever life brings. We now live in an age of growing violence and terrorism. Grant us all the strength and blessing of faith and faithfulness that we might be beacons of hope and light in a world darkened by fear and hatred.

Allow each of us to live alive, fully sharing the love you have first given us. Help us to be agents of reconciliation in every relationship you have granted us. Empower us to speak love and peace in the face of fear, bigotry and hatred.  Grant us the strength to be peacemakers in a world gone mad. And in the end, grant us the blessing of your eternal presence. Amen

 

no “20 minute” rule

Yesterday was a day I will long remember. I traveled from Yei to Morobo, a journey of 32 miles. The trip was uneventful, but took an hour and a quarter due to the condition of the road (which was actually one of the best in the area).

I traveled to Morobo to be the guest preacher at the Charismatic Episcopal Church of Morobo. I had been invited by Bishop Tom Kokanyi to bring the morning message.

I arrived to find the entire church waving tree branches and singing songs of welcome. We had a procession to the church where I was formally welcomed. Then I had refreshments with two Bishops and eight or nine clergy. That was followed with a brief time of prayer for the morning worship service.

As we walked toward the church Bishop Tom told me that there was no “20 minute rule” in this church.  He said, “You preach your heart. You preach until God tells you stop.”

The church was packed and the worship was beautiful. It was spirited and full of joy and praise. After my sermon we had several periods of intense prayer. It was a powerful and moving experience. The service began about 11,  and we concluded sometime after 2. It was a wonderful time of worship, and as the Bishop had told me, no one was watching the clock.

After the service I shared a delightful meal of Posho (a staple dish of finely ground maize boiled to a stiff grits-like consistency) roasted chicken and rice with the Bishop and a number of senior church leaders. The meal was followed with a meeting to discuss the work of the church in Morobo County, especially the Stop Poverty in South Sudan Program.  Then we concluded with a tour of the farm and new cathedral under construction.

The ride back to Yei took a little longer than the ride to Morobo as it was raining. I arrived back at our compound sometime after 4pm. It had been a full day and I was exhausted. But it was a day of worship among bothers and sisters that truly love the Lord. It was a special day, a gift, one I will not soon forget.

 

a prayer for faithfulness

Most gracious and loving God, I come to you this morning to give you praise and offer you my heartfelt thanks. I worship you and open myself to you again.

Grant me your wisdom today. Allow me to see those around me through the eyes of Jesus and to respond with both grace and compassion. Help me be a voice of peace and reconciliation amid the cacophony of mistrust, hatred and fear.

And most gracious Creator, guide me throughout this day and this week that I may always be in the center of your perfect will for my life. Help my heart to stay attuned to the still small voice of your Spirit, and give me the courage to not only listen but to obey.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit grant me the power to be a good and faithful follower throughout this week. Let me prove my discipleship by my every word and action. Help me to be faithful in all things, both great and small.

I give you all praise, worship and honor. Glory be to your Name, both now and forever. Amen