Listen Well… and Live!

On Mary and Martha and the burdens we (need not) bear:

If one has not listened, one’s service will be life crushing.

If one listens, one’s service will be life giving.

Remember, Jesus’ yoke is easy and burden light.

In him you can find rest for your soul.


Hard Word Wednesday

I’ve got news for you. Your children – your loves, your heartbeat, the center of your universe – they aren’t yours. They do not belong to you. Not ultimately anyway. What’s more is they aren’t even their own.
So here’s the challenge you have as a parent and/or spiritual parent.
“Your” children belong to God. They are his. His creation has been entrusted to you – to lead, care for, nurture, and shepherd – for their good and his glory. Not yours. 
This is not an easy job. It is a task we’ve perhaps taken too lightly, if we’ve even considered it at all.
And here’s the other thing. We won’t lead them well if we aren’t listening to the right voices.
Whose voice has the most influence over you? Whose voice are you teaching them to listen to?
PS Don’t let there be anything more important… Our Leadership Cohort is reading Lead Like a Shepherd. Author Larry Osborne notes how important it is to teach our children well and make and help them make wise decisions and right priorities:

On the other hand, the odds are incredibly high (nearly 100 percent) that he will learn the life lesson that his parents are unintentionally teaching him: church is important . . . unless there is something more important.

Osborne, Larry. Lead Like a Shepherd: The Secret to Leading Well (p. 68). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

What I’ve Learned about My Use of Social Media the Last Two Days

Sunday I challenged you to monitor your use of social media with In Moment or another similar app.
Here’s what I’ve learned about my use of social media the last two days:
Time (spent on my three accounts-FB, Twitter, Instagram):
  • Sunday under an hour
  • Monday just under 40 mins
I check FB. A Lot. But I don’t generally stay on very long. I check Twitter less frequently but scroll more, usually looking for posts by a select few people, organizations, etc.  Instagram-don’t even check it everyday.
Anecdotally, most of my time seems to be spent reading articles I find via social media sites–Christianity Today, the Babylon Bee, The Gospel Coalition, and various news sites. Most of these I could check without social media, going directly to their websites (assuming we don’t consider websites social media, but that’s another conversation).
I will withhold a verdict on whether My use is excessive until a few more days pass.

Are you paying attention? How are you doing?

Reverend John


Joy is not bound by happy circumstances or the pleasantness of the moment. Joy is not opposed to these things but joy abounds in trusting the promises of God, even in the midst of troubles.

The Magnificat, Mary’s beautiful song found in the first chapter of Luke’s gospel, is a great reminder of the power of promise. Mary lifts her praise not after water is made wine or the lame given fresh legs or deaf ears opened. Mary lifts her praise not after resurrection or ascension. Instead, the pious maiden rejoices in a day that has yet to arrive in its fullness.

Mary sees the darkness has begun to fade and knows the sun will rise. And she rejoices in the promise of what is to come.

Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

Peace Perseveres

Peace is not merely the absence of conflict, preferable as that might be.

Peace rests not in our circumstances or our reputation or our potential, as much as we might like for it to.

Peace is, instead, found in and founded on the promises of God, especially the promise that came through the prophet, the promise of Immanuel, God with us.

In this way peace is akin to hope, looking beyond immediate circumstances and persevering even in the midst of conflict, knowing that though sorrow may last for a night, joy will come with the morning.


Hope Is an Action Virtue

Hope sings today tomorrow’s song of celebration.

Hope basks in the sunlight still shrouded by clouds of darkness.

Hope sees possibility in the midst of today’s improbability.

Hope is an action word.

May we have such hope in Christ, Amen.