Pastor's Blog
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March 18, 2014, 12:32 PM

Christ is enough

I am on a list group on Facebook that has a new question every day during Lent.  Today's entry was "Are you willing to say enough?"  What is enough?  Really?  I am currently, as you know, fasting throughout the day from dinner each night to the next day's dinner.  I don't do this to lose weight, or make a statement other than I know there are many hungry people in our community. I will never claim to know how a hungry person really feels, a hungry person who goes without food for days.  I am not limiting my food other than that I only eat one meal a day.  But this has become important to me.  I never thought it would.  It was a call from God to experience hunger this Lent.  So I do this to honor God.  I do this to remember my Savior who died for me over 2000 years ago.  I do this to say Christ is enough for me.  If I had nothing tomorrow, Christ would be enough.  If I have everything tomorrow Christ is still enough.  I hope He is enough for you.

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March 15, 2014, 6:17 PM

I've fallen and I can't get up

Yesterday afternoon I was walking out the back door to the garage and took a tumble.  For those that know me, I tend to fall a lot.  Although I've done a pretty good job in the last 6 months or so of staying upright.  I have hurt my left pinkie to the point it is twice it's size, also black a blue.  My left knee and foot are also painful.

This of course has meant I spent most of the day in the recliner.  I don't normally sit around on a Saturday or any day for that matter.  The opportunity to sit and just be is novel for me.  But we need that time to just be in the present.  That is hard I know.  I am always thinking of things left undone, or what I will need to do for the worship service, or all the things I need to get done.  It is good to just be.

I also realized when asking for prayer from our prayer chain that I rarely pray for myself when I am sick or hurt.   Of course I do pray for situations I am involved in such as meetings or safe travel.  I ask for guidance during the day.  My breath prayer is "Guide Me, Lord" and so that is often a prayer I say.  I think I've been missing out!  I think you all know that prayer is very important to me and I encourage you to pray often.  I do pray often but I need to lift myself up as well.  I would be forever thankful if you would continue to pray for me as I pray for you. 

As I write this my stomach is once again growling.  I slept in this morning until almost 9:00.  Something I never do!  As I got around, slowly with my painful leg, I thought "that is good, I won't have as long to wait to eat."  But all this sitting around as meant the day dragged on and now I am STARVING! 

I do not eat before 5:00 so I still have a little while to go.  But I am planning to (as soon as I post this) to go upstairs and spend some much needed time in prayer and being with my Savior.

Blessings to all.


03-16-2014 at 11:58 AM
Shirley Simpson
You are so awesome! You take the tumbles and get right back up. It's nice to just be. Sometimes I feel guilty if I'm just sitting quietly and thinking. I know I shouldn't if my thoughts are on God and following the path he has put out there for me. Take care. We appreciate all you do.
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March 12, 2014, 3:01 PM

Grumbling and Growling

I awoke this morning to my stomach growling.  How great is that?  What  you say?  Great?  Are you serious, that means you're hungry at 7:00 in the morning.  What will that mean for the rest of the day?  As I write this my stomach is growling.  It has occurred to me that rarely happens.  I am always eating, nibbling they call it, I think.  But since the beginning of Lent I have not nibbled, not once.  When dinner time comes around I am hungry, I relish the food I am eating.  It is not just a meal anymore.

Last night at our first Soup and the Word I was excited to try all the different soups.  I was so hungry I tasted one without waiting for it to cool and burnt the inside of my mouth.  I got up to get a drink a water to cool my mouth and it occurred to me, there are people without clean water.  Oh God, You are pushing me this Lent.  Every time I turn around there is a justice issue in my lap.  Everyone deserves food to eat and clean water to drink.  I'm a certain God is leading me somewhere.  I am praying for that leading to take me where I need to go.  I am praying that I won't stand in the way of God working in my life.


God, please guide me, open my ears that I may hear Your plans for me.  Let me be receptive your leading and prepare me to be open and willing to follow that leading most of all.  Amen.

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March 10, 2014, 11:55 AM

Home Again, Home Again Jiggity Jig

It is good to be home but it has taken a day or so to recover from the travel and time change.  I am not in favor of the time change twice a year.  It will take me a good bit longer to actually feel like this is right time but I went to bed early and and got up late so hopefully that will help.  Now how have I been doing on my Lenten discipline? 

I must say remarkedly well.  Yesterday I ate too much at dinner and felt like I had cheated.  I hadn't of course but it still felt that way.  One of the interesting things that has come out of this in just these short days is when I am hungry and even when I am eating I am painfully aware of those who go without food.  I am also more aware of the fact that I don't need as much food as I normally eat.  I have heard of those people who eat to live and wonder what that means.  I hope as I go forward I will become more like that. 

It has occurred to me that United Methodist for the most part do not give something up for Lent.  Until a few years ago I had never done such a thing.  But I have heard from more than one how giving something up is a testament to their faith.  They are able to share their faith in tangible ways by talking about what and why they gave something up.  Then I heard a cute story about one of our young people.  Ash Wednesday I told a joke:  A little boy had just returned home from an Ash Wednesday church service. The little girl from next door asked him what the smudge was on his forehead. He replied, "It's Ash Wednesday." "What's Ash Wednesday?" she asked. "Oh," he replied, "It's when Christians begin their diet." So this young boy is telling his classmates and his teachers a version of this joke.  First off I love that he was paying attention and secondly what a great witness he is. 

Last week I said I would post the prayer that was prayed in my class.  Well here it is.  I hope you find meaning in the words.

There is  time to be born and it is now


There is a time to be born and a time to die.

And there is a time to be born,

So we turn to you, God of our life,

God of all our years,

God of our beginning,

Our times are in your hand.


Hear us as we pray:

          For those of us too much into obedience,

                    birth us to the freedom of the gospel.

          For those of us too much into self-indulgence,

                    birth us to discipleship in your ministry.

          For those too much into cynicism,

                    birth us to the innocence of the Christ child.

          For those of us too much into cowardice,

                    birth us to the courage to stand before

                              principalities and powers.

          For those of us too much into guilt,

                    birth us into forgiveness worked in your generosity.

          For those of us too much into despair,

                    birth us into the promises you make to your people.

          For those of us too much into control,

                    birth us into the vulnerability of the cross.

          For those of us to much into victimization,

                    birth us into the power of Easter.

          For those of us too much into fatigue,

                    birth us into the energy of Pentecost.

We dare pray that you will do for us and among us and through us what is needful for newness.

Give us the power to be receptive,

                    to take the newness you give,

                    to move from womb warmth to real life.

We make this prayer not only for ourselves, but

                    for our school at the brink of birth,

                    for the church at the edge of life,

                    for our city waiting for newness,

                    in eager longing.

There is a time to be born, and it is now.

          We sense the pangs and groans of your newness.

          Come here now in the name of Jesus.  Amen.


--Prayers of Walter Brueggemann


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March 7, 2014, 12:37 PM


Right now I am sitting in a classroom at Platte Woods United Methodist Church in Platte Woods, MO.  The rest of my class and the others here are downstairs in the basement having lunch.  I am in prayer and study.  It is quiet except for what I hope is heat blowing through the vents.  Our teacher read us prayer for lunch and it is a prayer I think we can all appreciate.  I will share it here and through email next week.  

Perhaps because of this prayer, I began thinking about how we are  all praying for each other this year.  I hope you are continuing to pray each day for your persons or families.  I have been so blessed to pray for each one I was given.  Some of those I am praying for don't even know that I am but others do because I am trying to send out cards every week to a few people.  I enjoy sending out cards almost as much as I enjoy receiving them.  I think of them as simple acts of kindness.  Sometimes I am sure God gives me people to send cards to because I have heard how receiving one came at just the right time.  

I wonder what simple act of kindness each one of us might do during Lent.  Pay for a cup of coffee for the person behind you in line, smile at the person who has a frown on their face, say hello to someone you never spoke to before, etc.

Our journey in Lent gives a chance to be closer to God.  Be willing to take a chance.


03-08-2014 at 8:52 PM
I applaud you for your lenten discipline! I know you will be not only successful, but your relationship with God will be so much stronger.

Regarding the 'simple acts of kindness comment,' I was reminded of a very nice lady at the Washington DC airport who asked if she could help me figure out the self-checkin machine. In return, I asked her if she would like my subway fare card, "which might have $3+ on it--maybe less." She teared up and stated that was the nicest thing anybody had done for her in a long time. I then also teared up because I was reminded that God puts me in situations ALL THE TIME where people do nice things for me. So I am committing to do a better job of being kind and showing God's love however I can. Those small acts of kindness may just be what makes a person's day!

Do well in your classes......
03-07-2014 at 1:58 PM
Betty Houten
Vonda, you are so special. I also pray for you and Tom.
It has been a pleasure having name to pray for daily. It certainly allows or makes me to be still and talk to God.
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