Worth Reading:

An interesting article in a series: N. T. Wright answers “What makes a good biblical scholar or theologian?” 

This quote struck me as especially relevant as a scholar-practitioner of worship.

But to a Christian studying all this I would say: your personal reading of scripture (especially the Psalms), your prayer, your participation in the church’s rhythm of sacramental worship on the one hand and service to the poor (in whatever form) on the other – all this will form you as a person, including (but going beyond) who you are as a thinking person, in ways you won’t see at the time and perhaps not ever. But it will create and sustain a life in which your historical and theological study will be informed and infused with the life of the Holy Spirit; not to make you a perfect or infallible theologian or historian but to guide you in many appropriate directions and, not least, to give you courage when attempting difficult tasks and consolation when you fail (as we all do), as well as humility on the odd occasions you might really succeed.

Being formed and shaped in the image of God is a primary goal of Christian life. While in seminary, I was frequently reminded not to let my study of God overshadow or replace my relationship with God. In ministry, working for God easily substitutes with spending intentional time in the presence of God. My commitment has been to a daily devotional time as my day begins. That practice has expanded, and I believe, is the most sustaining aspect of my ministry and my life.

How do you integrate the pursuit of knowledge with faith formation?

God is Present (Howard Thurman)

God is present with me this day. GOD is present with me in the midst of my anxieties. I affirm in my own heart and mind the reality of His presence. He makes immediately available to me the strength of His goodness, the reassurance of His wisdom and the heartiness of His courage. My anxieties are real; they are the result of a wide variety of experiences, some of which I understand, some of which I do not understand. Continue reading “God is Present (Howard Thurman)”

Clerical Collars and Ecclesiastical Titles: 5 Reasons they are needed in the Church

Thoughts? How important are symbols?

The Millennial Pastor

“Just call me Erik”

I have never said these words out loud in the context of pastoral ministry.

Sometime just before or during my childhood, there was a movement toward informality in the church. Many pastors stopped going by “Reverend Last Name” or “Pastor Last Name” and started going by just “First Name.” At the same time, there was movement away from clergy attire (although for many Lutherans, collars and vestments had only been reclaimed a few decades earlier).

When I began seminary in 2005 and graduated in 2009, it was more-or-less the norm that clergy would expect to be called by their first name by parishioners, church goers from other churches and colleagues. Wearing a clerical collar was a hotly debated option for many seminary students.

I often got the sense that my desire to be called “Pastor” seemed stodgy and formal to some. And while seminary students of…

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Ash Wednesday: Showered with Stars

Sicut Locutus Est

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“…For dust you are and to dust you will return.”—Genesis 3:19

Halfway through the line I almost lost it. Until that moment I’d been in a ritual groove, looking my parishioners in the eye, dusting them with ashes, calmly delivering the ancient admonition, “Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return.” One by one they came, listened, received. But halfway through I faltered.

It wasn’t that I suddenly realized the gravity of what I was telling them, that they were breathtakingly fragile, that at any moment they could dissolve into elemental bits, that someday they would. I’d been feeling the heft of that truth all evening.

So no, it wasn’t that I was giving them fatal news. It was that they wanted to hear it. It was that they’d lined up to hear it of their own free will. They knew exactly what the message was going…

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2017 Lenten Daily Devotional

Peace and grace to you!

Lent is a season in the Christian calendar with special emphasis on the sacrifice our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, made for us.  Many of us observe this time with fasting and other spiritual disciplines to foster greater reflection on the life, ministry, suffering, death and resurrection of our Messiah.  As a result, we often become more aware of our sins and shortcomings and experience a greater depth of repentance in our lives.  On Ash Wednesday, we are reminded that “we are dust…and to dust we shall return” as we receive ashes upon our foreheads as a mark of who we are…but also a visible declaration of Whose we are!

In addition, Lent reminds us that Jesus came to bring victory to us. He was already sovereign…Lord of lords and King of kings. We stood on the outside in bondage to sin and death. But through our belief and confession in Him, we find ourselves on the winning side…ready to receive our crown as inheritors of the Kingdom.

This devotional is centers around the image of the Potter found in Jeremiah 18. Jeremiah ministered during a period of deep turmoil in his nation…a time when God called for repentance and reminded the people of God’s sovereignty.  Each Sunday, you will read through this entire passage.  While this may seem repetitive (and it is), my prayer is that you will find yourself immersed in what it means to be formed and shaped by and for God. Further, we may also reflect on how God’s purposes manifest in our world and our actions as followers of Christ.  All the other days, you will read through passages from Jeremiah, the entire Gospel According to Mark, Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, and other selected texts that further increase our understanding and immerse ourselves in God’s will for the people of God who are clay in God’s hands….

I pray that you will use this devotional guide to help you reflect and to draw nearer to God during this season when so many distractions vie for our attention.  Each day is divided into seven segments.  You will be given a song, a Scripture passage, and a reflective thought within each devotion.  The rest comes from your own prayerful reflection and the Holy Spirit.

You may complete this time in 10 minutes or an hour—it’s up to you!  On the next page, you will find a summary of what each segment means and intends to accomplish.  If you have further questions, feel free to contact me directly.

In Christ,

Rev. Cheryl

Click below to download a free electronic copy of this devotional.

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Broken Pieces Shattered Clay

by Rev. Cheryl A. Lindsay

 

Broken pieces.

Shattered Clay.

 

Made for a purpose.

Shaped for God’s will.

 

Damaged by life.

By circumstance.

By struggle.

By self.

 

The pressure doesn’t stop.

Didn’t stop.

Won’t stop.

 

Can it be stopped?

Can clay be made stronger?

Shatterproof?

Expandable?

Malleable?

Pliable?

 

Are broken pots put back together…

Or scrapped for fresh material?

 

Are broken pots beyond repair

 

Or can they be re-salvaged?

Should the broken pieces

Be shattered back

Into clay…into dust

That can be made

Back into clay…

 

With just a little water?

 

And placed back on the Potter’s wheel?

 

Take my broken pieces

And add Living Water

Place me back in the Potter’s Hands

And make me brand new

 

A vessel to be used

For Your purpose

For Your will

For Your glory

 

In Your image

And

In Your hands

 

Whole. Shaped. Molded.

 

Clay – broken no longer.

 

Advent Daily Devotional


PEACE AND GRACE TO YOU!

Advent is a season to reflect, remember and anticipate. During this time, we remember the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We anticipate the time when He will come again. And, we reflect on the meaning of His coming, past and future, in our lives.

The Advent Calendar begins four Sundays before Christmas, which falls on November 27 this year. Our focus text for the season is the First Letter of John. The call to discipleship is a call to growing deeper in Christ and like Christ. Therefore, “all who have this hope in Him purify themselves.” In other words, the writer emphasizes that the hope we find in Christ should manifest itself in how we live our lives in relation to God and to one another. The gospel is lived. We not only “tell it on the mountain,” we show it in the workplace, the grocery store, and in rush hour traffic. That is a challenging task for all of us, but it is made immeasurably easier when we begin each day devoting it and ourselves to the Lord. In truth, that is the only way we can purify ourselves – by relying on God to do the work in us and having a receptive heart and spirit.

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Click below to download a free electronic copy of this devotional.

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