Monday Morning Meditation 3-29-21

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:10-13
We are where we are.  As I reflect over the past year, I have come to appreciate where we are.  A year ago, our Presbytery requested that all in person activities ceased (and requested is a nice, mild word).  Because of the situation, we did what was right. And it was only for a “couple of weeks”, or so we were told.

As the weeks progressed, we started planning a drive-in prayer service, and that was the best we could do.  In September we reopened live worship, with many limitations.  Again, not the desire, however the best we could do.  With a huge upswing in infections and great caution, we made a difficult decision to shut down through December and January.   As Lent began, we have reopened live worship with some restrictions.  Throughout this time, I have considered a scriptural response.

Paul reminds us to be content in all circumstances.  I add to that using Paul’s words from Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”  While we are still under restrictions against singing in worship, we should rejoice that we have live worship.  We have returned the bibles to the sanctuary and we are opening up more seating in the sanctuary.

While there are still cautions with this pandemic, our church is moving forward and that is reason to rejoice.  Instead of lamenting where we are not (such as singing in the sanctuary), I ask you to join me in celebrating where we are.  


Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 3-22-21

Have you ever gotten stuck with prayer?  You know you need to pray; you even know who to pray for, and your desire is to spend that time in prayer.  But you are stuck.  The words just do not come.

Maybe you are overwhelmed with grief or anxiety, perhaps you are so stressed by your situation that you just cannot say anything.

It is okay.  Just sit in silence before the Lord and let God handle it.

Paul tells us in Romans 8:26-27 that the Holy Spirit will help.  26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

God wants us to pray, not because God does not know what is going on, rather that God wants the relationship.  When we bring our prayers to God, it helps us through the connection as well as verbalizing our needs.

Yet if we are stuck, in those times when we just cannot figure out what to say, the Holy Spirit will step in.  These are the times when we can stay in God’s presence, soak in God’s light, and find God’s healing for these are times of growth.


Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 3-15-21

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near. When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. John 6:1-15

As I meditated on this passage this morning, I envisioned it.  I wonder how many of us have an image, perhaps from a biblical movie, of Jesus up front and everyone sitting, looking forward (kind of like a church service)?  But that is not how we eat meals, is it?  We sit around tables, or on a blanket looking at each other.

That led me to a vision of this large group of people listening to Jesus teach, then, when hearing food was on the way, turning towards each other in fellowship.  As the food was passed around, they all took what they wanted – with plenty for all.

While verse 14 tells us “the people” saw the sign, I wonder how many of the people saw it, how many actually realized from where their bounty came?

Over this past year many of us have been concerned about getting what we need (especially those items that were in short supply).  Now we are concerned with getting the vaccine and getting some semblance of “normalcy”.  In all this concern, have we stopped for a moment to look around at the bounty we still have?

Can we take a moment and give thanks for the bounty which we have received? 

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.  His love endures forever.  Psalm 136:1


Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 3-8-21

Psalm 121

1I lift up my eyes to the hills —from where will my help come? 2My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. 3He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. 4He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. 6The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. 7The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 8The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and for evermore.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of 2020’s mayhem in the United States.  Tuesday March 10th, 2020 started early in the morning with an emergency visit as a member died.  To you who grieve remember “5The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand.” 

News was coming out that things were getting worse.  Throughout the day I was in contact with the chaplain at a retirement community to get updates.  The plan was a long day of visitation on Wednesday, trying to see as many members living there as I could.  Each update changed that plan.  It went from “yes, come on over, we are open” to “emergencies only” to “imminent death only” and finally “sorry, we are shut down.”  All in about 4 hours. 

The same thing happened in the nursing home where my mother was living.  I never got to see her before she passed.

Each of us has our stories of that week, as well as the following weeks.  We all have had our share of this pandemic – yet it continues.  Fortunately, things seem to be changing for the better and hopefully we can loosen more restrictions in a safe manner.

Yet whether under restrictions or not, under pandemic conditions or not, there is one constant: From where does our help come?  Our help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. 

Always remember this.  No matter what is going on in your life, no matter what the surrounding chaos is, God loves you, God is with you.  That is a promise.


Pastor Bill

Monday Morning Meditation 3-1-21

What is your cross?

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Mark 8:34-35

What does God call of you?  Is it something simple or complex? Is God calling you to drop everything or just a few things? 

Do you know?

Perhaps the cross you thought you were picking up is not it.  Maybe what you carried before is no longer what God calls you to carry today.  Maybe you are carrying someone else’s cross – and need to put it down so they can take it up.  Or maybe someone else needs help carrying theirs, and you are like Simon the Cyrene (Mt. 27:32), compelled to pick it up for them.

Lent is a time to slow down and focus on what God is calling us to do.  If we take advantage of the Lenten season, we can spend more time with God and perhaps discern our crosses. 


Pastor Bill