In a pastor…

Where does God show up? In a pastor!!

I spent some time this summer in Cookson Hills, Oklahoma at the Cookson Hills Center with the youth group from my church. As a group, we taped and mudded drywall, painted, worked with jewelry, fixed siding on a house, sanded concrete floors, moved a couple from their home of 14 years, picked up sticks, cooked ate and sang together. It was a good week, challenging and life-giving. Here is a bit of what I discovered:

Pastor Deb

Wednesday during lunch at the senior center, I saw the pastor of Stilwell Mission United Methodist Church, Pastor Deb. She was wearing a wonderful cross necklace. I commented on her necklace we chatted for a second about it and then we both went on with our day.

#iseethismoment  Central theme to my next blog...

 

On Thursday, we watched the amazing puppet show that the youth performed for us. I asked the women, Sherri and Jenny about the vitality and life that I felt in this small church. They both believed that their pastor was the reason for their vitality. Before Pastor Deb they had less than ten people in worship every week, after only a year, the church had more than doubled that amount. They had amazing plans for being a positive force in their community; they were excited and enthusiastic about their church. This was a church, tiny, and full of vitality.

What was it about Deb that brought vitality and life to her church? Well, of course I asked her. I asked how she accomplished so much, before she answered, Colleen, our host (and boss!) for the week, told me it was Deb. She is an amazing pastor, who simply cares. She shows up to preach, cares about how her people are doing, and understands their needs. Deb simply loves her congregation.

But Deb did something I will never forget. As we were eating dinner on Friday night, she gave me the beautiful cross I saw her wearing earlier in the week. I don’t remember what she said, but I DO remember how I felt. When she gave me her necklace as a gift, I felt like she believed in me. I felt like she saw something in me that I have a hard time seeing in myself. She had confidence in me, where I sometimes do not. And in that moment I knew, she turned the church around, not because of her amazingness…but because of her ability to see the amazing gifts in others and sincerely communicate what she sees. I am grateful for Deb and her gift to me. It is not every day that someone makes it so clear that they see something in you. It was a powerful gift that I am forever thankful for. Thank you Deb!!!

 

You have one wish…make it count!

If you had one wish, what would it be?

Lectionary for July 15, 2012 – Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

#Fight via tiffkeiMark 6:14-29

I had quite a few questions I read this text for the week.

Like:

Why does Mark interrupt the story of Jesus sending the apostles out to tell us about the death of John?

Why did the daughter listen to Herodias?

What is Herod really afraid of?

This particular verse leads me to look within myself: “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” What would I wish for? What would you wish for? Offered almost anything the nameless girl seeks the council of family and ends up with John the Baptists head.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I would end up with someone’s head.

Take a moment to answer these three questions:

First question: what is your wish?

Second question: try to remember your thoughts over the last week or two. If your wish was built only from the thoughts you’ve had…what would the resulting wish be?

Are your thoughts dominated by money or stuff? Would this wish be an endless supply of cash?

Do you spend your time in bitterness, angry with someone that betrayed you? Would this wish be someone’s head on a platter?

Do you spend your time in gratitude and thanksgiving? Would this wish be for other’s joy and happiness?

Third question: do your answers match?

May God’s light lead you way today and every day. Peace and Blessings to you.