• Faith Reflections

    Watching Somebody Love

    “Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.” Donald Miller in Blue Like Jazz I love this line from Donald Miller’s book. Miller was talking about how some people learn to love something – like jazz music or God – because they witness someone loving jazz music or God and it moves you. You can’t argue with it and sometimes it doesn’t make sense yet the evidence is in front of you in how a person loves. A few summers ago our youth group worked with a guy named Joe while on mission in Oklahoma City. Joe was a volunteer…

  • Faith Reflections,  My Life

    Back in the Boat

    Several years ago I attempted to learn to water ski. Some friends had the cabin and the connections – an awesome lady who was a professional water skier and a ski instructor. The plan came together with ease and I said yes – eager to try something to new. But there was a big part of me that was afraid. I wanted to learn to ski but water skiing involves water apparently. I’m not a fan of water since a rafting trip went terribly wrong in 1997. I was on a youth mission trip to Wyoming and we were rafting the Snake River near Jackson Hole. My raft of youth and adults…

  • Faith Reflections

    I Got This, God

    Several years ago I went to a counselor for the first time because I had been struggling with depression for over a year. It took me awhile to admit I needed to see someone and it was only when things got really bad that I finally made the call. I remember clearly the first session in this nice woman’s office. I cried for quite awhile and then I said the only thing that I could say that would free me to share with her my struggles: I just need you to know that I’m going to feel really bad about coming in here and talking about myself and not asking…

  • Faith Reflections

    Love Languages

    My sister and I have several things in common. We are in helping professions, we consider chocolate a gift from God, and we adore her kids. Oh, and we both think we have an awesome sister. We are also uniquely different. I like to stay up late; she doesn’t. She always did her homework first thing; I did mine last. I enjoy the great outdoors; she prefers a world free of bugs and insects. Another way we are different is expressions of love. I love fresh flowers and a beautiful bouquet brightens my week. My sister could care less for flowers that will be dead in four days. So, when…

  • Faith Reflections

    Checking Off the Right Stuff

    Hi. My name is Melissa and I’m a list person. (Hello, Melissa.) I love lists. I believe in lists. If I do something and it wasn’t on my list, I write it on my list so I can have the satisfaction of marking it off my list. When I complete a task, a simple check mark fails to capture the profound awesomeness of my productivity and efficiency. I eradicate it from existence with the repetitive stroke of my pen or, even better, a single stroke of an extra wide sharpie that has the final word even as it vanquishes all others. I hear cheers from imaginary friends as I stand…

  • Faith Reflections,  My Life

    Basketball and God

    I doubt many folks think of God when they think of basketball. I’m sure a multitude of prayers have been lifted up from courts and stands across the nation with the desperate hope of a buzzer-beating shot. But on the daily, not so much. I certainly didn’t relate the two until a couple of months ago. I was in the middle of a personal retreat, wrestling with my soul-crushing inability to allow God’s love to define my worth rather than work and ministry. It was an agonizing couple of days struggling to traverse the deep canyon from head knowledge to heart knowledge. My head knows God’s unconditional love constitutes my worth. My heart, however, tends to…

  • Church Ministry,  Sermons

    Dying to Live: A Sermon

    Preached on Sunday, September 18, 2016 at First Baptist Church, Jefferson City, Missouri. Click here to listen to the audio. Luke 9:18-27 We are launching a new sermon series today titled “Because of Christ, everything has changed.” This series is the second in a series of sermons related to our Setting Sail visioning process. Over the past two years we have prayed and dreamed together about what God is calling us to be and do and now we are launching out in faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit, setting sail in obedience and anticipation of God’s dreams for us. Today we begin our focus on Life-Changing Faith.…

  • Faith Reflections

    A Prayer for Peace Within

    Oh God, gather me now to be with you as you are with me. Soothe my tiredness; quiet my fretfulness; curb my aimlessness; relieve my complusiveness; let me be easy for a moment. O Lord, release me from the fears and guilts which grip me so tightly; from the expectations and opinions which I so tightly grip, that I may be open to receiving what you give, to risking something genuinely new, to learning something refreshingly different. Forgive me for claiming so much for myself that I leave no room for gratitude; for confusing exercises in self-importance with acceptance of self-worth; for complaining so much of my burdens that I become a burden;…

  • My Life

    Love Anyway

    There is so much hatred and fear filling the airwaves and news feeds these days. Fear does not look good on the people of God. We are suppose to dress ourselves in with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience and over all that wear the coat of love. (Col. 3:12, 14) Right now thousands of mamas and children are starving to death in displacement camps after escaping ISIS in Fallujah. I’m thankful for organizations like Preemptive Love Coalition, a global movement of peacemakers changing the way we engage the world’s most polarizing conflicts by confronting fear with acts of love. Join me in giving. $35 feeds a family of six…