• Faith Reflections

    Small Things

    There have been waves of really hard things recently for people dear to me. Grief and loss. Pain and betrayal. Poignant life transitions and bittersweet anniversaries. There have been waves of really hard things for global communities like Haiti and Afghanistan living with unimaginable suffering and uncertainty. I often feel incredibly small in comparison to the big hurts in our world, immobilized by the weight of it all. In God’s kindness, the Spirit reminds me in those moments what God can do with small things. A kid’s lunchable. A widow’s two coins. Zacchaeus. When I’m overwhelmed by the magnitude of…

  • Faith Reflections

    A Pastor’s Plea for Vaccination

    “Our forecasting model shows we should expect to continue seeing increased admissions over the next six to eight weeks,” Royston said. “We receive calls daily from other cities, (including the Springfield area) and other states looking to transfer patients due to capacity issues. We have been unable to accept any of these transfers due to our hospital already being at capacity.” Jessica Royston,  Regional Manager of Marketing and Communications, SSM Health, Jefferson City, Mo I am deeply grateful for the vaccine made free to everyone. I, my family, dear friends, and many church members have completed their vaccination process without…

  • Faith Reflections

    Road Runner: Thoughts on Bourdain

    Last night, I saw the film, “Road Runner: A Film about Anthony Bourdain”. I was a big fan of Bourdain’s show, Parts Unknown, and enjoyed his best-selling book, “Kitchen Confidential.” Anthony invited the world to the table, believing you learn a lot about each other when you share a meal. I savored the conversation, community, and discomfort Bourdain cooked up for us each episode. Bourdain was a complex guy. He was loved, and he was hated. He was compassionate, and he was rude. He lived larged and yearned to be small. He craved the good, and he sought the bad.…

  • Faith Reflections

    What Strong People Do

    How telling the satisfaction we derive from carrying all the bags in one load from car to kitchen. Crooks of arms branded by momentary blood loss. Screaming muscles hushed by the pride of a few extra steps and minutes saved. Saved from what? Who knows. That isn’t the point, dear friend. The point is strong people carry all the bags in one load. But maybe they don’t. Bags or burdens, our approach is the same. We’re weighed down with personal pain, work strain, family needs, relational brokenness, ailing bodies, and fear fatigue – trying to carry it all in one…

  • Faith Reflections

    In the Artisan’s Hands

    If you are from Missouri, you are familiar with Silver Dollar City, an amusement park in the city of Branson. It was a regular summer destination for my family. Shows, rides, taffy, funnel cake, ginormous cinnamon rolls. Clearly the food is a favorite. I especially love the demonstrating craftsmen, mesmerizing onlookers as they carve wood, beat metal, pull taffy, and blow glass into delicate works of art right before your eyes. The glass blowing truly captivates me as I watch them hold the glass over the intense heat, twisting, turning, blowing, pulling, and pinching with their large metal tongs and…

  • Faith Reflections

    Grief and Gratitude

    For the past 23 years of my life, Rev. Dr. Doyle Sager has been a constant -the last 21 as pastor, coworker, mentor, and friend. How easy it is to take for granted “the constants” in life. Health, time, people – all precious gifts often overlooked as everyday guarantees until absence reveals their true worth. Doyle died on January 22 from lung cancer. More importantly, he lived 69 Kingdom-building, wisdom-sharing, coffee-drinking, knowledge-seeking, baseball-cheering, people-loving, God-serving years. I will miss hearing his keys jingle in the lock of the door between our offices. I will miss seeing him walk by my…

  • Faith Reflections

    Losing Focus

    Let me begin this post with a confession: Last week I could not remember my 2020 word for the year. No clue. On December 24, 2020, twelve months betrothed to this word, and for all the chocolate in the kingdom, I could not have told you my carefully-chosen, prayerfully-procured word for the year. I’ve been doing a word for the year rather than resolutions since 2014. It works much better for me to think big picture about the journey I want to walk in the year ahead. You can read about some of my past words here, here, here, and here. Normally, I…

  • Faith Reflections

    Where Did the Year Go

    It has been months since I’ve written on this blog. So much has happened since April 2020, much I never would have imagined nor have wished for any of us. It is a reminder of the gift of not always knowing what is ahead of us. For most of us, to know it all at once would be too much but to live it one day at a time has its blessings. God knows this is the most we could manage. We walk one day or an hour at a time, looking back to God’s faithfulness in our lives and…

  • Faith Reflections

    Paying Attention

    There is a fascinating video online designed to test your awareness. (You may view it at shorturl.at/dBJS4) In the video, there are eight basketball players, four dressed in white, four dressed in black. You are challenged to count how many times the white team passes the basketball. The first time I watched it, I felt proud. I had counted correctly. What I missed completely was the guy in a bear costume moonwalking through the center of the group. I couldn’t believe it. I had been so focused on watching the white team that I missed the bear. On the walk to…

  • Faith Reflections

    Love around us

    Under the Tuscan Sun is a great movie about a writer named Frances who, after learning her husband was cheating on her, gets away to Italy for what was supposed to be a brief tour. Instead, she impulsively purchases a run-down villa. The movie is about the unique challenges and beautiful people she encounters as she restores the home and her life. When Frances first came to the villa, she dreamed she would have a wedding and a family one day at the villa. Towards the end of the movie when she is discouraged, someone she loves helps her see those…