Hard to believe that just about two weeks ago I was gathered with a family in the living room as the EMT's attempted, unsuccessfully, to bring the Patriarch of the family back from a massive heart attack - that a week later we'd be gathered again with friends, family, and church members to celebrte his life and cry over our loss, and that today I will be rejoicing with a young couple and their family and friends as they embark on the mysterious journey known as marriage. The Bible says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." The ups and downs of life seem to be the threads that weave together to make life what it is. I have to admit that at times, facing any one stitch or strand, good or bad, up or down, joy or sorrow, I struggle to see the bigger picture of this amazing tapestry of life and community. What I do know is that it is a privilege - a gift - and I believe a uniquely human thing to walk together with another through the great mystery we call "life." Thankfully, at least for a few hours this afternoon, my journey takes me into joy. Thankfully, when the path plummets to places not so joyful - even painful - I know I, and those I journey with, don't have to be alone. We have a Shepherd who goes with us.
What a great morning Heather and I had with Sheldon and Liz Traver. I had my first espresso courtesy of Barista Sheldon and munched on scrumptious homemade crepes filled with blueberries and raspberries. But the most delicious part of the morning was the simple yet profound joy of Christian Community and the chance to connect in Christian conversation with a young couple committed to touching their world for Christ. So encouraging to have friendships like this. Liz invited us back with genuine enthusiasm, and I intend to take them up on their offer! Don't think I realized how hungry I was for such a simple connection. Sheldon has a passion to see people connected in close-knit groups and we dialogued at length about how to help the folks who come to SCN find the connection, encouragement, and support of a small group. I'm thinking, "Offer crepes!"
Anyone else out there excited about being in a small group?
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Stephen Leonard wisely points out that “goodbye is a reminder that you both part under God’s mercy, and will meet again only because of His mercy.” SCN has said a LOT of goodbyes recently. As autumn approaches we bid adieu to summer more aware of how precious such mercy is. Of course to have a “goodbye,” you have to have had a “hello” in the first place – a springtime out of which friendships and partnerships come to life. Speaking of spring and summer and the harvest season, sometimes I wonder if winter isn’t a kind of Sabbath in which not only the soil rests in preparation for a new season of life and growth, but perhaps the soul of the farmer as well, that he or she may find the spiritual, emotional, and physical strength to say “hello” to sowing, growing, and reaping once again?
The last few weeks have felt like a kind of relational “winter” for us after so many “goodbyes.” Let us pray to the LORD of the harvest that we might be renewed by His Spirit and encouraged to say some new “hellos” to those who come into our lives. Believe it or not, we have been graced with many new faces within the SCN Community. Even as many familiar faces say, “goodbye,” many more are hoping to say, “Hello.” I am hoping that together, we’ll commit to connecting with one another through worship, in fellowship, and for discipleship on Sunday mornings and throughout the week in small groups. In fact, we’ll be learning together how to better love God, each other, and our world beginning next Sunday, October 2nd, when we launch a 40 Days of Love experiment. Please don’t miss it. And bring a friend – even one you haven’t said “hello” to yetJ
Until God’s grace and mercy unveil the Kingdom of no more goodbyes,
Connecting with God and Others,
Good mid-morning! As I was sifting through some of my "stacks," I came across this little poem I wrote while attending a funeral service for a woman whose life was cut short by cancer. As I pondered the place the husband now found himself in, these thoughts came to mind. Perhaps they'll speak to you on some level today.
"One day, one of us will sit where I sat today. What will we look back on? A wife of grace and beauty? A husband faithful and true? A life lived as one loving God and each other to the full? A family following faithfully a heritage in Christ marked by love? Will we sit and ponder such things and thank our God above? For one day, one of us will sit where I sit today. Can you think of anything better to build a life on along the way?"
Hey everybody, I am somewhere between half awake and half asleep and not sure which half has control of my brain right now, but I am SO excited to have SCN's website finally up and running! I am like a kid on Christmas morning and can't seem to stop playing with my new "toy"! I came across the blog feature and thought I'd dabble with it a bit. To be honest, I have no idea how to get started, so I thought I'd just ramble a bit, and hopefully stumble into a decent conversation eventually! Maybe tomorrow after some much needed sleep ... and maybe a little coffee!
Welcome to Daily Grinds
I chose “Daily Grinds” for a name because everyone has them. For some they show up at the workplace, for others it is on the freeway, maybe at school. “The Grind” comes to us all at some point, and in some ways at every point in our lives. Of course, these grinds aren’t always bitter and burdensome. Sometimes the daily grinds are evidence of the most positive moments in our lives – the satisfaction of a difficult job well done, confidence hammered out on the anvil of much preparation. And sometimes, quite unexpectedly, "the grind" gifts us with moments of grace – some monumental like the birth of a child, others more mundane, like a great cup of coffee and some casual conversation with a good friend. In fact, I came across a website for a coffee company in New York called, The Daily Grind, that confirmed my inspiration. Perhaps sifting through the “grounds” of my day-to-day will give you a glimpse into your own Daily Grind.
Just your average guy (ok - a little below average in the height department!) that is trying to make my way in this world. I have been the pastor of SCN since 1998 and just celebrated 22 years of marriage to my wife, Heather, (obviously way above average in the wife department!) on September 2nd. Aside from sardines and anchovies, there isn't much I don't enjoy in life.