• Faith Reflections

    From Fear to Freedom

    Because I am paying attention to the idea of freedom and the bondage of fear, I have been more aware this year just how much our culture is in bondage to fear and anxiety. Our conversations, our social media postings, our news cycles, and our economic and political rhetoric repeatedly come from a posture of fear.

  • Faith Reflections

    A Prayer for a New School Year

    Blessed are You, O God, our Creator. We thank you for the energy and the spirit that you renewed in us through the summer months. We thank you for the time to enjoy our family and friends and to savor what is important in our lives. Today is a new day and we come before You, the Author of new beginnings, asking your blessing on this new year. Bless this community of administrators, educators, and staff as they prepare for the year ahead. Help them to inspire their students so that learning will not cease at the classroom door. Grant them an abundance of patience, compassion and wisdom. Give them a strong sense of mission that will sustain them through the demands and the challenges that lie ahead. Bless the students throughout our community as they prepare for new beginnings. Calm their fears, nurture their hearts, and strengthen their courage. Help our students and our educators focus on what can…

  • Faith Reflections

    DEFINING WHAT MATTERS

    One of the things I worked on this past week during my Introvert Intermission was a personal mission statement. Sounds like fun, right? Doesn’t everyone spend their vacation working on personal mission statements? It was like taking an adventurous hike through the wilderness … of my mind. I got lost. A lot. Wide open spaces and no sign of life for miles…. You get the picture. Throughout September, our youth ministry taught on Legacy. It is hard for a 16-year-old to think about legacy. How do you think about legacy when you don’t have a ‘one-of-a-kind’ dress for homecoming and no hottie date to take you either. Your life is basically over. Screw legacy. But  a 41-year-old is definitely thinking about legacy as she I realize how fast time goes.

  • Faith Reflections

    STORIES FROM PINE RIDGE

    For the past four Decembers, I have traveled to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota with a team from our church. We partner with Wings as Eagles Ministries who live and work among the Lakota people on Pine Ridge. Pine Ridge is such a complex place. The land is vast and beautiful with the earth showing off her wrinkles without a hint of shame. The layers and gradations of colors in the chiseled and wind-eroded cliffs are vivid testimonies to the countless years that have passed. Oh, if these hills could speak – what stories would they tell.

  • Faith Reflections

    HOLY NUDGES

    Each year around my birthday I go on a week-long trip.  It is an annual trip I take that I affectionately call my “Introvert Intermission”.  It is a gift from my parents where I go away by myself and just enjoy the simple things like reading, the outdoors and silence. Glorious silence. My extrovert friends break out into hives when I describe it but after an incredibly busy summer of mission trips and lots of quality time with quality people, I’m usually counting down the days like a high school senior in May. A few years ago the day arrived and I hit the road to the place I would be staying for the week.  I arrived right around check in time and went into the little reception office where there was a lady folding some towels in a harried pace.  We exchanged greetings and I said I was here to check in.  She set the towels down and came…

  • Faith Reflections

    I HURT FOR THESE PEOPLE

    The story in Matthew 15:29-39 is a familiar story to those familiar with the Bible. The passage is most well known for the miracle Jesus performs when he feeds the large crowd. When I read it recently, it wasn’t the miracle that resonated with me. It was a simple phrase from The Message paraphrase: “…He called his disciples and said, ‘I hurt for these people.'” (vs. 32) In other translations it says Jesus had “compassion” for them – the same compassion Jesus demonstrates in Matthew 9:36 when “his heart broke” as he looked out over the suffering crowds.