• Church Ministry,  My Life

    Pay-What-You-Can Cafe: Meals with Dignity

    About a year ago on our way to author Anne Lamott’s book reading in Kansas City, I was having a conversation with three ladies from our congregation on our growing desire to invest in our community. As a church, we are growing in our understanding that we are here for our city.  God has placed us in Jefferson City and wants us to reveal His kingdom in this place. That requires getting out of our building and truly investing in lives and meeting needs. As we dreamed about ideas, one of the ladies, Heather Feeler, shared an article she had recently read about a ministry in Denver, Colorado, called the…

  • Church Ministry

    Bloody Church

    Writing is really quite simple; all you have to do is sit down at your typewriter and open a vein.  Red Smith Open a vein . . . quite simple?  I think not.  Painful . . . most definitely.  Messy . . . usually. In the days of early medicine when people would be under the daze of a high fever, doctors would open their veins to bleed out the “bad blood” so that the person might heal. Do successful writers open a vein?  Do writers who resonate with people bleed out?  In doing so, do writers heal? Does the opening of the vein benefit more the writer or the…

  • Church Ministry,  Faith Reflections,  My Life

    Hunger

    The doctor’s office was simple and bleak.  The walls were empty except for the chipping beige paint on stone walls connected to a stone floor.  There were two worn cots with a simple white sheet on each one and a small wooden desk with a chair on either side. This was the room where a young Somali mother brought her dying, infant son and the room where I came face to face with a malnourished baby.  This wasn’t an infomercial and there were no famous actors and film crews pleading to me through the television. Less than a foot away from me was a baby boy – barely breathing with sunken cheeks…

  • Church Ministry

    Our African Cow

    I own part of a cow in Africa.  I was thinking of her today and what a beautiful cow she is.  I haven’t seen her but she is beautiful because of God’s story in her.  Like so many of us – beautiful because of God’s story in us. In June, we went to Kenya to spend time with our friends and our partners. On the second morning, our partner Joel picked us up to take us to the House of Hope. ‘How did you sleep last night, Joel?’ I asked. ‘Not so well.  Our cow.  She died.’ Thinking my broken English was too broken, I said with the deepest compassion…

  • Church Ministry

    The Word on Church

    Stephen Colbert makes me happy. There aren’t too many folks who can make recession humorous. Wouldn’t it be liberating to have a time in church services for “The Word” and it referred to a Colbert-type segment rather than Scripture? The preacher could be preaching but the projection screens show little comments along the way that help to clarify what is really being said. There are several preachers that could really benefit from this. Actually, it would be the congregation that would benefit. Preacher man says “God says, ‘love your neighbor’.”. Screen says “Unless he is gay… or Muslim… or Jew … or a Democrat …. or …” Preacher man says…

  • Church Ministry

    Isaiah 58 Sermon

    Preached on February 6, 2011 at First Baptist Church, Jefferson City, MO Empty Stomachs, Empty Worship Isaiah 58:1-12 If you’ve ever seen a Charlie Brown cartoon on TV, you are familiar with Charlie’s teacher, Mrs. Donovan.  Whenever she talks in the cartoon all you hear is the “Waa –wa – waa – waa” sound of a trombone.  Only by the responses of Charlie Brown and his beloved pals do we have any clue as to what the teacher is saying.  I think of Charlie Brown’s teacher whenever I read this Isaiah passage and also when I think of 1 Corinthians 13:1 which reads, “If I speak in the tongues of…

  • Church Ministry,  Faith Reflections

    The War that Never Ends

    Since I first saw the Invisible Children film nearly eight years ago, I’ve been a fan of the Invisible Children organization. They are doing big things and doing them well. For the past eight years, I’ve followed Africa’s longest running war.  My introduction to it is due to a film by IC.  Since then, they have kept thousands around the world informed about what is happening and providing very practical ways for people to get involved in helping to end the war and to provide a different life for the millions effected in Uganda, Congo, Sudan and the Central African Republic. I was thrilled to learn a few weeks ago…

  • Church Ministry,  My Life

    Leaving On a Jet Plane Again

    I’m writing this at 5:37 am as Dr. Lory Feeler and I wait for our flight to the Dominican Republic. We are spending a few days with our partners, Servant’s Heart Ministries, in Sosua, DR. SHM is a Canadian-based ministry and we are their only US partner.  They want to grow their contacts in the US and need to develop the means for Americans to give charitable donations.  One of our major goals is to work through this issue to help SHM go to the next phase of their ministry. We also want to spend some time talking about the future of our partnership. We’ve been partners going on four…

  • Church Ministry

    Pickled People Make Poor Parishes

      One blog that I follow is the Naked Pastor.  Dave Hayward has some great thoughts and challenges for the church through his cartoons. So many times, I’ll see his latest and laugh at how well he captures life in the church.  This was his latest that he posted today and I love it (and hate it!).   I love it because it is so right on!  I hate it because it is so right on. Why does it seem that the most pickled, sour-faced individuals are found in the church?  The Church – the bride of Christ, the beloved, the one who supposedly knows the Story.  Seems like we…

  • Church Ministry

    The Ministry of Presence :Missional Church Network

    More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not…