Growing in Grace

Attitude, Cancer and Prayer

There’s no more stark realization than hearing cancer has attacked your body and you must defeat it to live. That happened to me four years and five months ago. So it’s a very moving experience every year when I attend the Relay for Life, celebrating that I’m a survivor/thriver, and joining hundreds of people from…

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Positive Self-Talk

What we inwardly tell ourselves is important. Although it’s not the only factor in physical performance, researchers and practitioners have seen positive results for a long time. We act on our perceptions and beliefs, whether we are aware of them or not. For example, those who believe it’s a dog-eat-dog world will see only one-upmanship…

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Growing Generous Souls Is Now Out!

I’m pleased to announce that my new book is now out: Growing Generous Souls: Becoming Grace-Filled Stewards! It invites church leaders and individuals to stop racing from one activity to another and instead to focus on being rather than on compulsive doing and consuming. The book includes reflection questions and resources to help people move…

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Christ Is for All!

Jesus Christ came to show God’s love for us all, with no exceptions! Despite the devastating decision of the recent United Methodist General Conference, thousands, even millions of us United Methodists gladly welcome LGBTQ people into every aspect of the church and ministry. In addition, there are currently 973 Reconciling Congregations across the U.S., and…

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A Radiant Grace

I often picture God’s grace as a multifaceted jewel, reflecting God’s Light from different angles, each in a different way from the vantage point of a person’s unique life and circumstance. Just think of all the facets, all the rays of light, for all of us human beings! It may shine amethyst in a person’s…

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Fear Not

Have you ever noticed how often, when the angels showed up in the Bible, the first thing they said was “Fear not”? I admit I’ve had some direct encounters with the Living God over the years, but I haven’t seen an angel so far. I mean the wings-and-light kind. If I had, I might be…

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Congruence: Eugene Peterson

             There was so much more to Rev. Eugene Peterson, the author of The Message, a version of the Bible, than I had known about him, despite years spent with that volume in daily devotions. I knew he was a Presbyterian clergyman who had pastored a church for decades, but I didn’t know he was…

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Gratitude’s Three Foundation Stones

Gratitude is not just a feel-good approach to life. There I sat at a Greater Good Gratitude Summit, a gathering to promote the evidence-based practices of gratitude. Dr. Robert Emmons, coordinator of the event, said gratitude is “a heightened and focused intellectual appreciation” where we focus on the abundance of our lives instead of on…

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Communion Community

For many years now, whenever I’ve celebrated Holy Communion I’ve silently prayed for each person by name as they come forward to receive the bread and dip it into the cup. I started this early on as a pastor and have continued it as my personal participation worshiping in the congregation. Ever since doing research…

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Gratitude and Resilience

“If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully,” said poet and activist Maya Angelou. “However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present . . . gratefully.” Citing this phrase, church historian, consultant and author, Diana Butler Bass wrote a marvelous article on…

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Recovery, Symbols, and Gratitude

It’s been two-plus weeks now since coming home from hip replacement surgery. Needless to say that’s major surgery. I was hugely grateful that my immensely popular surgeon (whose operations are routinely booked several months in advance) slipped me into a cancellation, after a year of increasing pain. Each day is an improvement in minor but…

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I Am Blessed!

Last week I got to hear Rev. Dr. Alex Awad, pastor of East Jerusalem Baptist Church, professor at Bethlehem Bible College, and retired missionary for the United Methodist Church. A Palestinian Christian who was born in Jerusalem, he is a direct descendant of those first disciples at Pentecost. But because he is a Palestinian, he…

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