• 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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.…

  • Faith Reflections

    Proper Posture Matters

    The following is the text from my sermon on June 12, 2016 at FBC JC. The lectionary text was Psalm 5.  You can also listen to the audio file here. Sit up straight. Shoulders back. Stop slouching. Both feet on the floor. Some of you just heard your mother’s voice and, without thinking, adjusted your posture. Those are but a few of the marching orders of proper posture. Last week on our senior trip to Virginia we had a discussion one night over dinner about the “elbows off the table” rule. There is an old saying, “Mable, Mable, strong and…

  • Faith Reflections

    Whatever This Day May Bring

    Early in the morning I cry to you. Help me to pray and to concentrate my thoughts on you: I cannot do this alone. In me there is darkness, but with you there is light; I am lonely, but you do not leave me; I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help; I am restless, but with you there is peace. In me there is bitterness, but with you patience; I do not understand your ways, but you know the way for me … Restore me to liberty, and enable me so to live now That I…

  • Faith Reflections

    A Love that Never Quits

    We’ve got some messed up ideas about God. That God is a mean dictator or a strict parent who wants us to sit up straight and not make a mess or have any fun. That God is moody and impossible to please. The God Jesus taught us about is completely opposite. God is the determined shepherd scouring the countryside for the one lost sheep. God is the frantic woman flipping over all the furniture in the house looking for her lost coin. God is the crazy father who runs out to meet his rebellious son, overwhelming him with love and…