Daily Devotionals

The following “Daily Devotionals” are provided through the

United Church of Christ Website.

To read the full devotional, please click the Title of the devotional and you will be directed to the UCC website. We only keep the current month listed on this page.


April 25, 2018

The Death of Whiteness and the Five Stages of Grief

Molly Baskette

A year or so ago a Facebook friend asked me to relinquish my whiteness.


April 24, 2018

With

Tony Robinson

I’ve been wondering, could God’s real name be “With”?


April 23, 2018

Samuel and the Elders

Donna Schaper

Philosopher and political theorist Herbert Marcuse, 1898–1979, said that, in his time, we had developed an “authoritarian ritualization of discourse.”


April 22, 2018

Are We There Yet?

Kenneth L. Samuel

For many persons, the final words of the celebrated twenty-third Psalm speak to the heavenly abode of an eternal resting place.


April 21, 2018

Lower Power

Mary Luti

The Bible says God is “up there.”


April 20, 2018

“We Shall Walk Through the Valley in Peace”

Richard L. Floyd

The “shadow of death” is a colloquial saying in Hebrew meaning “mortal peril.”


April 19, 2018

Sorry, That’s Not My Gift

Tony Robinson

I’m having second thoughts on spiritual gifts.


April 18, 2018

5 Intentional Minutes with God

Ron Buford

A Facebook intermediary connected me with Beverly, a dear college friend and symbol of so much of who I am – someone I’d not seen for more than 20 years.


April 17, 2018

Heavy Lifting

Emily C. Heath

I recently started lifting weights again after a several months long break.


April 16, 2018

Is Pride Something to be Proud of?

Lillian Daniel

Although many people don’t know it, the famous expression “Pride goes before a fall” comes from the Bible. 


April 15, 2018

We Did Tell You …

John A. Nelson

What’s it going to take, for you to accept the good news? 


April 14, 2018

Pedestals

Vince Amlin

I am standing at a table which holds the oldest telescope in America.


April 13, 2018

Selah

Jennifer Brownell

“Well, I sinned with my husband just last night!”


April 12, 2018

God Loves Complainers

Matt Laney

Sometimes I want to give God parenting lessons.


April 11, 2018

Idol

Quinn G. Caldwell

“Papa?” I hear my seven-year-old calling curiously from upstairs, where we’re supposed to be playing Legos.


April 10, 2018

Fingerprints of God

Molly Baskette

Life has been very messy lately.


April 9, 2018

Facing the Heat

Tony Robinson

If you want to make a difference, you will face some heat.


April 8, 2018

Remove the Pews for Easter’s Beauty

Donna Schaper

What we really hold in common is beauty, not money or objects.


April 7, 2018

Freshness

Kenneth L. Samuel

Our ears know the difference between harmony and cacophony.


April 6, 2018

Nothing New

Mary Luti

Forty days.


April 5, 2018

SHARE!

Richard L. Floyd

My son and daughter were born 20 months apart and so played together as children.


April 4, 2018

Remember Me

Marchaé Grair

I don’t know if I’m supposed to break the “fourth wall of writing devotions.


April 3, 2018

Satin-Lined Coffins

Molly Baskette

I was at the hospital with the family when their elderly mother died.


April 2, 2018

All There is to Say

Emily C. Heath

On Easter Monday the big celebration is over.


April 1, 2018

Rejected . . . then Resurrected

Kenneth L. Samuel

There is nothing cute about being rejected.


March 31, 2018

What Could They Possibly Do?

Donna Schaper

Joseph didn’t have to give Jesus his tomb, but he did.


March 30, 2018

Bearing

Quinn G. Caldwell

The Oceti Sakowin camp had been there for months by then, full of Water Protectors resisting proposed plans for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross a dammed section of the Missouri River not far from the lands of the Standing Rock Sioux.


March 29, 2018

Do This

Kaji Douša

How far are you willing to let God go?


March 28, 2018

Take a Dip

Vince Amlin

I remember the feeling when the principal came into my classroom.


March 27, 2018

Who Owns You?

Matt Laney

Obviously, the answer was, “No way!”


March 26, 2018

Seeming Unseemly

Jennifer Garrison Brownell

Scholars always seem to say something, well, scholarly about this passage, like, “In first century Palestine, the act of wiping Jesus’ feet with her hair would have been an act of unseemly immodesty by Mary.”


March 25, 2018

Triumph of the Weak

Kenneth L. Samuel

Today we mark the triumphal entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem . . . riding on a donkey.


March 24, 2018

The Enemy at the Table

Vince Amlin

There is a restaurant in Pittsburgh called Conflict Kitchen.


March 23, 2018

Christian Privilege

Emily C. Heath

It has become quite common for some American Christians to believe they are being persecuted for their faith.


March 22, 2018

God’s Surprising Choices

Tony Robinson

A friend of mine did a sermon series she called “The Ten Essentials.”


March 21, 2018

Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want

John Edgerton

In my prayers, I often err on the side of praying for things that I could do myself.


March 20, 2018

Jesus’ Syllabus

Mary Luti

I know a professor who’s delightful in the classroom.


March 19, 2018

Love Lifted Me

Marchaé Grair

A minister at my childhood church used to start many of his sermons with a song called “Love Lifted Me.”


March 18, 2018

Lazarus is Dead

Talitha Arnold

Lazarus was dead: to begin with.


March 17, 2018

The Morning Watch

Kaji Douša

Sometimes when I read the Psalms, I skip over the laments.


March 16, 2018

On Death

Quinn G. Caldwell

One way that many talk about what happened in the Garden of Eden — which is to say, one way to talk about the human condition, why it’s so fraught and difficult — is to say that when Adam and Eve ate the fruit, their disobedience, their sin, made death enter the world.


March 15, 2018

Living Word; Living World

John Nelson

The bold, ancient Revelation to John repeats the even more ancient vision of Ezekiel.


March 14, 2018

Viriditas

Molly Baskette

I remember the first time I realized, about 32 winters in, that the trees where I lived in New England lacked foliage fully six months out of every year.


March 13, 2018

We Make too Much of this Poor Life

Matt Fitzgerald

Jesus is demanding.


March 12, 2018

Diving Deeply

Donna Schaper

I live a very safe life and am white enough to trust the police.


March 11, 2018

The Enemy at the Table

Vince Amlin

There is a restaurant in Pittsburgh called Conflict Kitchen.


March 10, 2018

Billy

Matt Laney

Mark doesn’t name the guy so let’s call him “Billy” because he’s a combination of Bill Gates and the late Billy Graham.


March 9, 2018

Grief’s Binoculars

Jennifer Garrison Brownell

My favorite nine-year-old tells me it freaks him out to look at his friend through binoculars held backwards.


March 8, 2018

Talked To Your Neighbors Lately?

Kenneth L. Samuel

The presidential election of 2016 was another stark reminder of how deeply divided we are as a country.


March 7, 2018

Living Water and Leaky Containers

Richard L. Floyd

When you live in the desert you know the difference between green and brown, between wet and dry.


March 6, 2018

Strange gods

Emily C. Health

God’s warning comes too late for most of us.


March 5, 2018

Letting God Be God

Tony Robinson

If Jonah weren’t so sad, he would be really funny.


March 4, 2018

Evangelism for Millennials

John Edgerton

Say what you will about millennials (or better yet, talk to us instead of about us, it’s only polite), but we know something about evangelism.


March 3, 2018

Had To

Mary Luti

Of course he didn’t have to go through Samaria. Most Jews wouldn’t have—it was enemy territory.


March 2, 2018

Why We Worship

Marchaé Grair

I’ve been a church worship leader for decades so I’ve heard every imaginable element of the “worship wars.”


March 1, 2018

Go Back or Go Deep

Talitha Arnold

Two choices: Go back to Egypt or go deeper with God, i.e., deeper into the wilderness.


February 28, 2018

A Tale of Two Jesuses

Kaji Douša

Tracing his finger on the ground, he changed everything.


February 27, 2018

Do Non-Organic Parents Not Love their Children?

Quinn G. Caldwell

Few people are as cruel as parents can be to each other online.


February 26, 2018

Petulant People; Perplexing God

John Nelson

Long journeys can reveal, deeply, the nature of the traveler.


February 25, 2018

Midlife Babies

Molly Baskette

Every once in a while, something (or someone) happens to us that forces us to confront everything we thought we knew.


February 24, 2018

More than a Gentle End

Matt Fitzgerald

Our Book of Worship has a section titled “Order for the Time of Dying.” What wishful thinking.


February 23, 2018

Diving Deep

Donna Schaper

T.S. Eliot wrote that we are “Distracted from distraction by distraction.”


February 22, 2018

Family Resemblance

Vince Amlin

Flint-knapping is the process by which a stone core is shaped into a hand axe or an arrowhead.


February 21, 2018

Jesus is Coming, Look Busy!

Matt Laney

This verse, one of the very last in the Bible, makes me think of two bumper stickers: “Jesus is Coming. Look Busy!” and my favorite: “God is coming …and she’s pissed!”


February 20, 2018

Some of it is Your Fault

Jennifer Brownell

There is so much wrong with the world, and some of it is your fault.


February 19, 2018

Chicken Soup for the Soul

Kenneth L. Samuel

As a prank, I, along with four of my college senior class colleagues conspired to steal the bell that was stationed at a corner of our college square.


February 18, 2018

Did God Say?

Richard L. Floyd

Our scripture lessons for Lent feature a wily bunch of tempters, the serpent, Satan, the devil, who pose questions that cast doubt on the truth of God’s Word.


February 17, 2018

The Greatest

Emily C. Heath

Humility isn’t in vogue in our culture.


February 16, 2018

Asking for Help

Tony Robinson

I once asked Jim Forbes, a professor of mine at Union Seminary, to help me understand the difference between predominately white and predominately black churches.


February 15, 2018

God Still Rules

Kenneth L. Samuel

Rage and rulership are not often mentioned in the same sentence.


February 14, 2018

Showered with Stars

Mary Luti

One by one they came, listened, received. But halfway through, I faltered.


February 13, 2018

Hide it Under a Bucket, NO!

Vince Amlin

When I took my twin five-year old nieces down to the beach on Thanksgiving, I intended for all of us to just dip our toes into the water.’


February 12, 2018

Until the Tenderness is Real

Matt Fitzgerald

When you pray, how do you begin?


February 11, 2018

Justify

Quinn G. Caldwell

They call it l’esprit de l’escalier.  It’s French for “the spirit of the stairs,” or more to the point, “the stair wit.”


February 10, 2018

Pronouns

Vicki Kemper

I have been learning about pronouns lately, how some people stick with the “she” or “he” they’ve had since birth but others prefer “they” or “xe” to reflect who they truly are.


February 9, 2018

Well, Shut My Mouth

Lillian Daniel

I was tempted to skip this particular reading, or to follow it with nothing but a blank screen, the visual version of a woman being silent in church.


February 8, 2018

Have You Been to The Mountaintop?

Tony Robinson

Before Lent begins and the shadows deepen, there’s a flash of light: Transfiguration on the mountaintop.


February 7, 2018

Is this Healing Balm for Me?

Marchaé Grair

These are some of the responses I received to “10 Ways to Actively Reject Your White Privilege,” a Facebook graphic based on a blog post I wrote.


February 6, 2018

Functional Atheism

Molly Baskette

A lot of us claim to believe in God, but then act as if everything depended on us, on our efforts and wisdom, on our ability to keep all the little planets of our concerns in perfect orbit around the great blasting sun of our inner control freak.


February 5, 2018

Memory Work

Tony Robinson

Psalm 145 is an alphabetic acrostic poem, which means that each verse is keyed to a letter of the Hebrew alphabet.


February 4, 2018

Once We Were Strangers

Richard L. Floyd

The various summaries of the law in the Bible include strangers as people to be especially cared for.


February 3, 2018

The Word that Shapes Us

Talitha Arnold

The Connecticut congregation I served for six years used it, so I did, too.


February 2, 2018

Building

Kaji Douŝa

Most people who pass our church suspect that it is closed.


February 1, 2018

Out of the Depths

Emily C. Heath

My first call out of seminary was to a children’s hospital.


January 31, 2018

There Will Never be Another Now

Ron Buford

“Don’t miss this special time right now.”


January 30, 2018

The Next Generation

Tony Robinson

As we grow older, what’s our job?


January 29, 2018

The Sinai Sabbatical

Matt Laney

Rev. Moses was gone a long time on his Mt. Sinai sabbatical, and the church got impatient.


January 28, 2018

Know-It-All

Vince Amlin

I was walking with my friend Quinn in an unfamiliar city.


January 27, 2018

You Will Have Trouble

Vicki Kemper

Does your church cause such a holy ruckus that your neighbors beg you to leave? Or do they even know you’re there? 


January 26, 2018

The Beginning of Wisdom

Emily C. Heath

A few years ago I began adding something new to my prayers every evening.


January 25, 2018

“Follow Me”

John A. Nelson

Really? Jesus said “Follow me” and Matthew walked away from everything and followed?


January 24, 2018

Walking Trees

Mary Luti

This is the only time Jesus asks the person he’s healing whether his efforts are producing the desired effect.


January 23, 2018

Giving What You Have

Kenneth L. Samuel

One Sunday, an irate woman announced to some members of our congregation that she would be leaving our church and changing her membership.


January 22, 2018

Written By Committee

Jennifer Brownell

“Ok, ok,” I’ve heard said (or said myself) in more than one committee discussion about written policies or procedures,  “Can someone volunteer to work on this and bring it back next time?


January 21, 2018

Fishing in the Anthropocene

Donna Schaper

The Anthropocene age – the one now, where humans are dominant to a self-destructive degree – is forcing us to reconsider animals.


January 20, 2018

Untouchable

Tony Robinson

A cruise ship passenger emerged onto the deck.


January 19, 2018

Scorched by Holy Fire!

Richard L. Floyd

The prophet Jeremiah wasn’t the kind of guy you would invite to your Christmas party.


January 18, 2018

Follow Me

Donna Schaper

The W-2 forms are filling up the mailboxes.


January 17, 2018

Paragons, Problems, and Possibilities

John A. Nelson

We’ve heard this one, more than once.


January 16, 2018

Truth and Power

Kaji Douša

He was there for the inauguration, standing before him for the prayer service.


January 15, 2018

You Can Keep Your Cheap Gratitude

Lillian Daniel

Have you ever noticed that the authors of gratitude books have pretty awesome lives?


January 14, 2018

Holy Spirit Who?

Matt Laney

That Paul could size up a church in no time.


January 13, 2018

Your Eyes Saw My Unformed Body

Vince Amlin

This year on All Saints’ Day we hung up a picture of our son, Simon.


January 12, 2018

Evolve

Quinn G. Caldwell

At some point, Disciples turn into Apostles.


January 11, 2018

Say By Letter and Do When Present

Jennifer Brownell

Back in the dark ages – I’m talking about the late 1990’s now – my husband-to-be and I were courting long distance.


January 10, 2018

The Reveal

Quinn G. Caldwell

John gets a lot of attention for his big personality: the outfit, the food, the yelling, the insults, the splashiness.


January 9, 2018

Sibling Empathy

Mary Luti

When my mother turned ninety, she entered her funeral instructions on a form entitled, ‘In the Event of My Death,’ a phrase she found amusing, as if death were something that might happen, or might not.


January 8, 2018

Here Comes the Judge

Kenneth L. Samuel

I remember the first time I was summoned to appear in traffic court for a speeding ticket and some unpaid parking violations.


January 7, 2018

Well Pleased

Vicki Kemper

Every year it is the same.


January 6, 2018

Lost and Found

Donna Schaper

It takes more cultural competency than I have to appreciate being covered by a multitude of camels.


January 5, 2018

The Easter Chicken

Tony Robinson

I once heard a story about an “Easter Chicken.”


January 4, 2018

Signing up for the Loyalty Program

Richard L. Floyd

Many of the companies I do business with, such as on-line retailers, airlines, and hotel chains, have “loyalty programs.”


January 3, 2018

For All That Will Be, Yes!

Talitha Arnold

Dag Hammarskjold wrote this affirmation in January, 1953, a few months after becoming the second Secretary-General for the 8-year-old United Nations.


January 2, 2018

God’s Not Done With You Yet

Kaji Dousa

Someone once joked to me that advertisers lose interest in us once we hit 25 years old.


January 1, 2018

New Year, Old Me

Emily C. Heath

It’s that time of the year when every website, magazine, and Twitter feed is selling January 1st-dated potential.


December 31, 2017

I Had Planned

Talitha Arnold

King David had great plans, but God had other plans.


December 30, 2017

Today Could be Christmas

Martin B. Copenhaver

Sometimes I think that Christmas, properly celebrated, would not be a fixed date on the calendar.


December 29, 2017

The Planet in Praise

Kenneth L. Samuel

Make no mistake about it, the entire earth is a declaration of God’s awesome power to create and sustain life with wondrous beauty and fathomless splendor.


December 28, 2017

Presented to God

Donna Schaper

My little brother’s linen and frilled baptismal robe hung in the coat closet at my house for decades.


December 27, 2017

Who Am I?

Tony Robinson

Martin Luther described sin as life curved in upon itself.


December 26, 2017

How’s the Weather?

Lillian Daniel

It’s the day after Christmas, and I have no idea what the weather is wherever you are reading this.


December 25, 2017

Christmas Day

Jennifer Brownell

At the end of the midnight Christmas Eve service, we blow out our candles, the lights come back up and everyone cheers and hollers “Merry Christmas!”


December 24, 2017

The Wondrous Gift is Given

Richard L. Floyd

Christmas gift giving should be a simple matter, but often isn’t.


December 23, 2017

Lowly

Tony Robinson

Years ago I appeared in one congregation’s home-grown musical rendition of the “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” based on the book by Barbara Robinson (no relation)—a story of how the neighborhood terrors, the horrible Herdsmen kids, end up being the unlikely stars of the Christmas pageant.


December 22, 2017

At Home

Donna Schaper

We got a dozen chickens in June.


December 21, 2017

Like A Box of Chocolates

Kenneth L. Samuel

“Momma always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”


December 20, 2017

Holy Applause

Matt Laney

A conflict is brewing in the church I serve, inspired by a sharp uptick of questionable behavior in worship over the past few years: Applause. 


December 19, 2017

Ridiculous Stories

Emily C. Heath

There are some truly ridiculous stories in Scripture. 


December 18, 2017

Sweat, Mess and Prep Cooks

Matt Fitzgerald

Our dentist is next to Alinia, the sixth best restaurant in the world.


December 17, 2017

A House for the Homeless Messiah

Molly Baskette

I’ve moved to a new metropolis recently. 


December 16, 2017

Real

Quinn G. Caldwell

Every once in a while, some well-meaning person of goodwill will refer to my son’s birth parents as his “real” parents.


December 15, 2017

Are You the One?

Vince Amlin

Over the last few years, Christmas has gotten political.


December 14, 2017

Desire

Mary Luti

Waiting is the hallmark of Advent, yet the Advent psalms and prophets speak more about longing than waiting.


December 13, 2017

Preaching to the Choir

John Edgerton

The Psalms often have signature lines at the top, things like “a psalm of David” or “a song of ascents.”


December 12, 2017

“Pant” for God?

Kaji Douša

You’ve got this.


December 11, 2017

I and Thou

Donna Schaper

Are the rich an I or a Thou?


December 10, 2017

The Someones

Jennifer Brownell

In the grocery line, a magazine cover catches my eye. Someone Beautiful is leaving Someone Glamorous to begin a relationship with Someone Powerful.


December 9, 2017

Predator

Quinn G. Caldwell

Are you prepared for a world without bacon?


December 8, 2017

Scoff Not

Donna Schaper

This Advent series is about animals.


December 7, 2017

Enemies No More

Richard L. Floyd

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is observed on this day to honor the 2,403 victims of the surprise attack in 1941 by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service on the U.S. Naval Station at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii.


December 6, 2017

St. Nicholas

Mary Luti

When his wealthy parents died, Nicholas of Myra gave away a fortune and gave himself to the church. 


December 5, 2017

Rats and Cats Rejoicing Together

Matt Fitzgerald

Isaiah says destruction will happen at the end of time.


December 4, 2017

The Invasive Reign of God

Vince Amlin

The air potato is an invasive vine that came to America in 1909.


December 3, 2017

Why Are You Here? 

Ron Buford

Here, the eccentric John the Baptizer is like a rock star, with crowds mobbing him for an odd form of ritualized bathing practiced by a Jewish sect called the Essenes.


December 2, 2017

Liberation

Kenneth L. Samuel

Make no mistake about it. 


December 1, 2017

Locusts and Chocolate

Emily C. Heath

A non-Christian friend of mine registered a complaint last year.


November 30, 2017

Blessed

Kenneth L. Samuel

The beautiful city of Palm Springs is nestled in the Coachella Valley of Southern California along the rolling splendor of the San Bernardino Mountains.


November 29, 2017

Plowshares into Swords

Matt Laney

This is the prophet Joel talking. And he’s pissed. He’s itching for battle.


November 28, 2017

Freedom of Speech

Vince Amlin

There is a lively debate in our country about the First Amendment. 


November 27, 2017

Still We Leap

Vicki Kemper

“I love the recklessness of faith,” he said. “First you leap, and then you grow wings.”


November 26, 2017

New Church Year’s Eve

Emily C. Heath

It’s new year’s eve in the church.


November 25, 2017

Animals, Human and Otherwise

Quinn G. Caldwell

Did you catch that?  In today’s story, which comes near the end of the whole ark episode, God makes a covenant not just with Noah and his descendants, but with every living animal, everywhere.


November 24, 2017

“Ah, Tim, You…”

Mary Luti

Since childhood a man I know has been attracted to Something.


November 23, 2017

A Thanksgiving Gathering

Lillian Daniel

My father was not a good cook, but he believed himself to have certain “specialties.”


November 22, 2017

The Death of Church

Elissa Johnk

Sorry, Zechariah.  Read any newspaper and you’ll hear that religion is less like Zechariah’s branch – spreading understanding as it grows – than a stump.


November 21, 2017

Think Outside the Water Bottle

Donna Schaper

Worthy of a call? Could I get a rain check? A way out of my home in I-don’t-know-how or I-wish-I-could? 


November 20, 2017

Hallelujah Anyhow

Tony Robinson

Thanksgiving is coming up later this week. 


November 19, 2017

Bad News!

Richard L. Floyd

There is lots of bad news in the appointed lessons for today.


November 18, 2017

Dwell with Me

Marchaé Grair

Where do you dwell?


November 17, 2017

Teach Us to Count

John A. Nelson

My late father was fond of quoting a 19th century statistician and explorer who wrote, “Whenever you can, count.”


November 16, 2017

In Hiding

Kaji Dousa

“Kertyschoo!” sneezed naughty Peter as he hid from the angry gardener, Mr. McGregor, in Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit.


November 15, 2017

In the Ups and Downs, God Levels Things Out

Lillian Daniel

People who are facing a serious illness tell me they have a new respect for how changeable life is.


November 14, 2017

Dinner for Trespassers

Matt Laney

For my twenty-sixth birthday, my wife (of two weeks) got us both arrested.


November 13, 2017

Trail Maintenance

Vince Amlin

We’ve only just met Ruby, but now we’re piled into her SUV on our way to the trailhead. 


November 12, 2017

Cities of Refuge

Jennifer Brownell

In ancient times, cities of refuge like Bezer were designated as safe places to await trial for those who had mistakenly caused another’s death.


November 11, 2017

What You are Getting Into

Molly Baskette

Last month, four American soldiers died, ambushed on a routine mission in Niger.


November 10, 2017

Risky

Quinn G. Caldwell

Esther is a Jewish woman living in the Persian Empire.


November 9, 2017

Old and New

Mary Luti

Wallace Nutting (1861-1941) was a Congregational minister, entrepreneur, and antiquarian. Appalled by the shoddiness of machine-made things, he championed old things made by hand. 


November 8, 2017

Truth and Tradition

Kenneth L. Samuel

My Pentecostal/Holiness upbringing was full of religious traditions and restrictions.


November 7, 2017

Just Like Us

Bob Thompson

Elijah is one of the most theatrical and mysterious figures in the Bible. 


November 6, 2017

Broken Hearts

William H. Armstrong

Like an old broken record that keeps playing the same tune, the verse about the brokenhearted is constantly replaying in my mind.


November 5, 2017

Exalted

Tony Robinson

2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.


November 4, 2017

The Weightier Matters

Richard L. Floyd

Jesus was quick to spot religious hypocrisy.


November 3, 2017

Harlot or Hotel Owner: What’s in a Name?

Talitha Arnold

“Rahab the Harlot.” That’s what I first learned about the woman of Jericho who saved the lives of the two Israelite spies. Perhaps you did, too. 


November 2, 2017

Refuge

Kaji Dousa

When our adversaries come against us, they will try a number of tactics. 


November 1, 2017

Saints-in-Training

Emily C. Heath

Martin Luther famously said that while we live we are all simultaneously saints and sinners.


October 31, 2017

Altar Egos

Molly Baskette

When I was in college, Halloween was our high holy day. 


October 30, 2017

It’s Time

Ron Buford

A friend complained about his mom, a wealthy woman who by inheritance wanted for nothing . . . but was miserable.


October 29, 2017

1%

Matt Laney

Once there was a man who had everything money could buy: an opulent seaside mansion with an infinity pool, servants, a ten-car garage, helicopter, you name it.


October 28, 2017

Word to the Wise

Vince Amlin

In July, I helped convict a guilty man. Contrary to this proverb, it does not feel like a blessing.


October 27, 2017

God of Second Chances

Vicki Kemper

I would like to tell you the story of Shirley Hines, whose spirit was crushed when Hurricane Harvey wrecked her late mother’s coffee cups.


October 26, 2017

Holding on a Little Too Tight

Emily C. Heath

I hope that my death is still many years away.


October 25, 2017

Proof

Quinn G. Caldwell

Jesus Christ lived, suffered and died, returned, and is right now doing stuff that matters for your life.


October 24, 2017

Um…

Mary Luti

Um… Let’s see if I have this right


October 23, 2017

Possessing What’s Ours

Kenneth L. Samuel

I own a fairly modern MacBook Air PC, but I can hardly create a flyer, create a Power Point presentation, do a Podcast, or even execute a successful ‘cut and paste’ maneuver.


October 22, 2017

Let Go of the Dark

Donna Schaper

When I talk to people who are living in the dark, darkly, I often try to retrain their vision.


October 21, 2017

Being “Convicted”

Tony Robinson

“I’ve heard a lot of sermons in the past ten years that make me want to get up and walk out,” wrote Garrison Keillor.


October 20, 2017

Repentance in Pew 16

Tony Robinson

The prelude ended, the minister got to his feet, went to the pulpit and boomed out, “O sing to the Lord a new song!”


October 19, 2017

Our Blessed Guides

Richard L. Floyd

Our culture prizes originality. No one wants to be considered an imitation!


October 18, 2017

Blessed are the Broken

Marchaé Grair

I walked into a bar eager to go to a storytelling event, where people volunteer to tell their most personal stories to strangers.


October 17, 2017

Holy Pique

John A. Nelson

Really? That’s the take-away?


October 16, 2017

Lasting Peace

Kaji Dousa

knew a form of these words before I’d even heard of Philippians.


October 15, 2017

Seven Deadly Apps

Lillian Daniel

It seems that for every ancient sin, there is a social media app. 


October 14, 2017

Excellence is Not the Most Excellent Way

Matt Laney

In her book, Overachievers: The Secret Life of Driven Kids, Alexandra Robbins documents an unhealthy culture of excellence and overachievement among middle and upper class American youth.


October 13, 2017

Look to the One

Vince Amlin

Stop. Wherever you are. At work. On the train. Checking email in bed. Whatever you are worried about – whatever you’re fearing, dreading, planning – that thing that you can’t get out of your head: Have you prayed about it?


October 12, 2017

Ruinous Empathy

Molly Baskette

In her new book Radical Candor the management guru Kim Scott (a veteran of Google, Apple and Twitter) gives us a new framework for how to be the best boss: care personally, and challenge directly.


October 11, 2017

Prey

The Psalm doesn’t say why, exactly, the deer is panting, so the hymn writers fill in the blank: the deer is being hunted.


October 10, 2017

God Has Already Chosen. Now It’s Your Turn.

Jennifer Brownell

I’ve walked the nature trails around our neighborhood pond many times and seen rabbits, birds, even the occasional deer. 


October 9, 2017

Go to Sleep. Good Night.

Mary Luti

If you’re a parent, or if you’ve cared for a child overnight, you’ll recognize this drill: Read story, say prayers, position bunny, plant kiss, douse lights, tiptoe out.


October 8, 2017

Lord of Liberation

Kenneth L. Samuel

Liberation Theology is a lens through which God is understood and related to as the Divine Being who sets us free from the sins of every kind of oppression.


October 7, 2017

God’s Hand

Matt Fitzgerald

The church I serve is near the Moody Bible Institute.


October 6, 2017

Hardness of Heart

Donna Schaper

Hardness of heart is a spiritual matter in love relationships, divorces, between siblings – and in the garden.


October 5, 2017

The Immoral Majority

Tony Robinson

Lazy minds love expressions like, “Most everyone thinks,” or “Many people believe,” and “Everyone is saying . . .”


October 4, 2017

The God Who Speaks in Whispers

Richard L. Floyd

When I found my way back to God as a young man (or God found me, take your pick) it began with a deep longing.


October 3, 2017

As Sure As the Hairs on Your Head

Talitha Arnold

Samson was at a dead end.


October 2, 2017

Shackles of Defeat

Kaji Dousa

The apostle Paul spent a good portion of his Christian life in prison thanks to a state that had no idea what to do with him.


October 1, 2017

Humble

Emily C. Heath

True humility is not about putting yourself down, but rather about realizing that the people who surround you are no less special than you.


September 30, 2017

Like Night and Day

Vicki Kemper

It turns out there is another planet in our solar system—right next door to us, in astronomical terms—that could support life as we (sort of) know it.


September 29, 2017

The Gate of Heaven

Matt Laney

John Phillip Newell shares a rabbi’s insight on Moses and the burning bush. 


September 28, 2017

Searchlights and Penlights

Martin B. Copenhaver

Sister Helen Prejean, the Roman Catholic nun who wrote the book Dead Man Walking, said in a lecture, “I’m always asking God for a searchlight.


September 26, 2017

Disagreeable

Emily C. Heath

Malcolm Gladwell, the journalist and author, has a theory.


September 25, 2017

Footnote

Quinn G. Caldwell

Not being in school any more, I don’t pay as much attention to footnotes as I used to.


September 24, 2017

Visiting

Mary Luti

For the sake of the church at Philippi, Paul chose to remain. 


September 23, 2017

Somebody Say Something

Kenneth L. Samuel

National Geographic reports that the world’s newest religion is no religion.


September 22, 2017

Christian Inactivism

Matt Fitzgerald

In 1937 H. Richard Niebuhr wrote that in a moment of political crisis, there are four kinds of inactivity.


September 21, 2017

Becoming New

Donna Schaper

I don’t want to pick a fight about baptism so much as to say that the ritual itself may need a good long look.


September 20, 2017

Faith Is Simple (But Not Easy)

Anthony Robinson

I was fired up about faith moving mountains, but suddenly stopped short by “Forgive, if you have anything against anyone.”


September 19, 2017

The Comfortless Time

Richard L. Floyd

When I was eighteen years old my mother died.


September 18, 2017

Unify Us

Marchaé Grair

Many church folks are guilty of confusing assimilation and unity to the detriment of the people they try to welcome into churches.


September 17, 2017

Slinging Mud

John A. Nelson

A friend said that she was ready to tackle most sorts of household repair.


September 16, 2017

A Psalm for a Rough Day

Bob Thompson

Most days I love being a pastor.  Today’s not one of them.


September 15, 2017

Behold the Author’s Care

Lillian Daniel

At a writing workshop at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, our teacher, Sands Hall, gave us exercises from her book, Tools of the Writers Craft.


September 14, 2017

Victory Dinner

Matt Laney

Leadership coach Marshal Goldsmith often encounters “winning addiction” in his CEO clients.


September 13, 2017

That Kind of Fig Tree

Vince Amlin

This fig business has always confused me. 


September 12, 2017

Look Up, Stay Up

Jennifer Brownell

Summer at the lake, and I’m trying out a borrowed paddleboard.


September 11, 2017

Never Remember

Molly Baskette

The memory of the national tragedy that befell us on September 11, 2001 turns 16 years old today.


September 10, 2017

Bird Armor

Quinn G. Caldwell

When the artist Seamus Moran visited the Tower of London, his attention was arrested by a disturbing sight: standing amid the rows of suits of armor for men and horses, a little metal outfit, maybe two and a half feet tall.


September 9, 2017

Present Imperfect

Mary Luti

Hypocrisy comes in many varieties. 


September 8, 2017

Light from the Least

Kenneth L. Samuel

When thick, palpable, complete darkness descended upon the Egyptians, I wonder why none of them seemed to notice that the Children of Israel had light.


September 7, 2017

Not as Hard as God

Matt Laney

Pharaoh is an idiot.


September 6, 2017

Metaphor

Donna Schaper

One of my favorite hobbies is overdoing metaphors.


September 5, 2017

Standing on Holy Ground

Talitha Arnold

Moses must have laughed out loud when the voice from the burning bush told him he was standing on “holy ground.”


September 4, 2017

Silence is Golden!

Richard L. Floyd

I was taught never to say, “Shut up!” It was considered rude. So I still don’t.


September 3, 2017

Another Way

Tony Robinson

I started my ministry in small, rural churches.


September 2, 2017

Something New Under the Sun

Vicki Kemper

Is there a more depressing line in all of scripture?


September 1, 2017

Ready to Move

Emily C. Heath

Do you ever feel like God’s not paying attention?


August 31, 2017

The Friday Feeling

Molly Baskette

But it was more what she was leaving than what she was going back to that upset her.


August 30, 2017

Stop Trying to Find Yourself

Lillian Daniel

Individualism tells you that you are special and unique.


August 29, 2017

Subversive

Matt Laney

Years ago, newly-minted from seminary and serving my first church, I preached a fiery sermon on the counter-cultural ministry of Jesus.


August 28, 2017

Party Poopers

Vince Amlin

On the last night of our retreat at Plum Village, a Buddhist monastery in France, the nuns who led my small group invited us to a potato barbecue.


August 27, 2017

Transformed Nonconformists

Vicki Kemper

How easy it is to use this scripture to justify our self-righteous refusal to go along with any ol’ thing.


August 26, 2017

Baking with the Pharisees

Emily C. Heath

Jesus was trying to tell the disciples to be wary of the false teachings of religious authorities like the Pharisees and Sadducees.


August 25, 2017

Super-Human

Quinn G. Caldwell

Earlier this summer, two women visiting Panama City Beach in Florida heard screams and saw two young boys hundreds of feet out from shore.


August 24, 2017

A Glass Darkly

Mary Luti

A cartoon shows a pastor meeting with the chairperson of the church council.


August 23, 2017

Too Much of What We Want

Kenneth L. Samuel

Upon their exodus out of Egyptian slavery, God instructed the Hebrews to abandon the worship of idols their parents engaged in while they were in bondage, and to direct their devotions toward the one God who had heard their pleas and secured their liberation.


August 22, 2017

“I’ve never driven a golf cart and I hate Kid Rock.”

Matt Fitzgerald

I don’t travel much, but I’ve been to Canada. Here’s what I heard: “Oh. You’re an American.


August 21, 2017

Did we come all this way to meet no one but ourselves?

Lillian Daniel

Tamar Elad-Appelbaum was raised in an orthodox Jewish community in Jerusalem.


August 20, 2017

It’s What’s Inside

Tony Robinson

One August day, when I was a young pastor, a group of people showed up at the church office demanding to know if I had been “born again.”


August 19, 2017

The Great Laboratory of Love

Richard L. Floyd

A pastor friend of mine is known to have told his congregation, “If there isn’t somebody here who rubs you the wrong way you need to come around more often.”


August 18, 2017

A Funeral for a Frog

Martin B. Copenhaver

“Shady is dead,” my wife Karen said to me, with more concern than grief in her voice.


August 17, 2017

Worth a Second Look

John A. Nelson

Idolatry is bad: soul-killingly bad.


August 16, 2017

God is still sleeping

Kaji Douša

The idea of Jesus sleeping seems…bizarre.


August 15, 2017

Follow Me

Traci Blackmon

Whenever I read the gospel accounts of how Jesus organized The Discipleship Movement I am reminded of how important it is to understand the roles of both leader and ally.


August 14, 2017

No Condemnation

Matt Laney

A woman’s son committed suicide following decades of hard living that caused deep pain to himself and others.


August 13, 2017

Take Care

Vince Amlin

There are so many ways to get care wrong.


August 12, 2017

Nerds for Jesus

Molly Baskette

The YA fiction writer John Green redeemed nerdiness for us all.


August 11, 2017

Godsplained

Jennifer Brownell

Sounds to me like you were Godsplained, Apollos.


August 10, 2017

Ladder

Quinn G. Caldwell

Should you one day make it to Jerusalem, you will no doubt also make your way to what many consider the holiest site in the world: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.


August 9, 2017

Anybody Need a Pie?

John Edgerton

It’s pick-your-own blueberry season in New England.


August 8, 2017

Finding God in All the Wrong Places

Martin B. Copenhaver

On a number of occasions I have hiked in the interior reaches of the Grand Canyon.


August 7, 2017

Wisdom, Like

Mary Luti

There’s wisdom that comes with growing old.


August 6, 2017

Why is Eating so Enjoyable?

Matt Fitzgerald

When I was a child my mother made us name one thing we were grateful for each night before dinner.


August 5, 2017

“Like Amen to That”

Tony Robinson

Ask, seek, knock — each one ups the intensity level. 


August 4, 2017

Staying on the Trail

Richard L. Floyd

I have belonged to a hiking group for nearly 20 years.


August 3, 2017

God’s Hands

Talitha Arnold

God has no hands but ours.


August 2, 2017

Killers Like Me

Kaji Douša

With a deep sigh, I watched as he walked away, having left a beautiful urn of what was described as a hearty bush–“You really can’t kill it, trust me”–and some resilient flowers in the perfect spot.


August 1, 2017

Armor

Emily C. Heath

If you’re like me, Scripture passages about war and armor are difficult. 


July 31, 2017

Pets in Heaven

Dwight Lee Wolter

Many children learn to love through their first pet, and losing a pet is often their first experience with death and grief.


July 30, 2017

Lessons from a Lonely Lobster

Lillian Daniel

It stinks to be single in a couple’s universe.


July 29, 2017

Don’t Hide

Matt Laney

Have you ever knocked on someone’s door and hoped they wouldn’t answer?


July 28, 2017

Manuscript Preacher

Vince Amlin

“I hate the Prayers of the People,” I confessed to my co-pastor. 


July 27, 2017

Courage in the Storm

Vicki Kemper

The apostle Paul was speaking to other seasick souls on board a pitching ship.


July 26, 2017

Fearfully and Wonderfully

Emily C. Heath

I’m always amazed by the permission culture gives us to comment on other people’s bodies.


July 25, 2017

Just Deserts

Quinn G. Calwell

Every time I read the story of Jacob and Esau, I’m struck again by how much Jacob. totally. sucks.  Like, a lot.


July 24, 2017

Stepping Away

Mary Luti

It’s an age-old question: “Why don’t you come when I need you?”


July 23, 2017

Pray for those Who Persecute You

Tyler Connoley

Jesus told me to love my enemies, but Buddhism taught me how. 


July 22, 2017

The Killer Said “Grace”

Matt Fitzgerald

The killer brutally murdered a teenaged girl. Twenty-one years later he was still awaiting execution.


July 21, 2017

One Landmine at a Time

Donna Schaper

Most people can’t stand criticism, much less persecution.


July 20, 2017

You Feed the People

Tony Robinson

“We can’t do this . . . we don’t have the money.” 


July 19, 2017

Lots of Follows but Few Friends

Richard L. Floyd

The affection and intimacy Jesus had for his disciples offers a model of friendship that is in contrast to much of what passes for friendship in our time.


July 18, 2017

Don’t Wait

Martin B. Copenhaver

In the last decade or so of my father’s life he developed an interest in wine. 


July 17, 2017

The Dance of Faith

John A. Nelson

In a preaching conference, the Rev. Dr. Thomas Long told about the time he was approached by a parishioner with an interest in contemporary church music: “Could we start a praise band?” Dr. Long replied, “Sure, as long as we start a lament band, too.”


July 16, 2017

Just Love

Kaji Douša

I do whatever I can to avoid talking about sex in church.


July 15, 2017

Mansions of Mysterious Metaphors

Lillian Daniel

The 1843 children’s board game The Mansion of Happiness used a sixty-seven space spiral track to teach children the various Christian virtues and vices.


July 14, 2017

Savior

Matt Laney

This “savior” stuff doesn’t come naturally to our contemporary, self-reliant, “can-do” culture. 


July 13, 2017

Holy (Waste)land

Vince Amlin

Brownsville, Texas is home to one of the most famous birdwatching spots in the country. 


July 12, 2017

Procrastinators Unite…Tomorrow

Marchaé Grair

Leaning in to God’s plan for me isn’t always easy because I am a control freak.


July 11, 2017

Welcome Home

John Nelson

In early 1993 a large group of Guatemalans, after nearly ten years of exile, had negotiated a return to their homeland.


July 10, 2017

*Gasp!*

Quinn G. Caldwell

I used to scoff, pretty hardcore, at certain ways of reading the Song of Songs.


July 9, 2017

Damned if He Does…

Mary Luti

We may not admit it, or even know it, but most of us harbor fixed notions about what a real Christian is like, or a perfect parent, or an ideal pastor, or a good citizen.


July 8, 2017

He’s Got Our Back

What’s your favorite verse or story in the Bible?


July 7, 2017

Parents Who Try Too Hard Risk Obscuring God

Matt Fitzgerald

Being parented is difficult.


July 6, 2017

This Is Real

Vicki Kemper

If you’ve spent any time in museums or wandered wide-eyed through an ancient city, you know how it goes.


July 5, 2017

Never Give Up

Tony Robinson

The old coach had been invited to give the high school commencement speech.


July 4, 2017

Our Four Freedoms Report Card

Richard L. Floyd

On January 6, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave his State of the Union address, which became known as the “Four Freedoms Speech.”


July 3, 2017

I Love Your Law

Talitha Arnold

On this Eve of Independence Day and its celebration of freedom, today’s Psalm instead praises a restriction on freedom,  i.e. God’s law.


July 2, 2017

Cup of Water Crisis

Kaji Douša

Things were different, she noticed. “His bones hurt,” her son told her.


July 1, 2017

The Most Stressful Part of Sundays

Emily C. Heath

I would rather write five sermons than lead the children’s lesson at church.


June 30, 2017

Everything I Need

John A. Nelson

A woman I knew, a Quaker, would occasionally use the second person in its archaic form.


June 29, 2017

You Too

Matt Laney

I was not a model student in my younger years.


June 28, 2017

Something of Value

Vince Amlin

My co-pastor is fond of saying, “No one has to be convinced to go see stand-up comedy. No one’s there because they think it will be good for their kids.They go because it’s funny.”


June 27, 2017

I Have a Frisbee

Vicki Kemper

There’s undivided, and then there’s complete.


June 26, 2017

Multitude of Sins

Vicki Kemper

How the subject came up I don’t recall.


June 25, 2017

Not Peace

Quinn G. Caldwell

Most of us long for peace.


June 24, 2017

Knowing What You Know

Mary Luti

A blind seminary student announced in class that if Jesus offered her sight, she’d refuse.


June 23, 2017

Remembering Grace

Emily C. Heath

Perhaps this is wrong, but I have a hard time trusting church people who never admit imperfection.


June 22, 2017

Until the Tenderness is Real

Matt Fitzgerald

When you pray, how do you begin?


June 21, 2017

Cat Brains

Ron Buford

Ever notice the way cats can seem to treat their owners as if their owners exist to solely fulfill their cat desires?


June 20, 2017

This Retirement Stuff Is Hard

Tony Robinson

“We’ve got to talk, this retirement stuff is HARD”


June 19, 2017

Out of Bounds

Richard L. Floyd

The people of God have always wrestled with the question of where God’s Spirit is at work.


June 18, 2017

Introverts and Extroverts

Martin B. Copenhaver

I am convinced Jesus was an introvert.


June 17, 2017

Small Letter, Big Spirit

John A. Nelson

Scripture sets so many traps.


June 16, 2017

Expecting an Answer

Kaji Dousa

Are you prepared to trust in God’s response?


June 15, 2017:

When “Sorry” Seems to be the Easiest Word

Lillian Daniel

After a terrorist atrocity, I hate seeing Muslims at a news conference being forced to apologize for something they didn’t do.


June 14, 2017:

Stoned

Matt Laney

The good news is, stones and stoners don’t have the last word.


June 13, 2017:

Many Gifts, One Spirit

Vince Amlin

Singular Spirit of infinite gifts, be manifest in me for the common good


June 12, 2017:

UnAshamed

Molly Baskette

We have a shame problem in America.


June 11, 2017

Created

Jennifer Brownell

You are created in God’s image. That means showing up, speaking up, living out the purpose for which you were created, whatever that may be.


June 10, 2017

Art, Unseen

Quinn G. Caldwell

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that one of the great things about art is that it is not, strictly speaking, needed.


June 09, 2017

Choosing Justice

Marchaé Grair

The gospel makes it clear that this Christian journey requires decisions about our allegiances.


June 8, 2017

Atheists Could Be On To Something

Matt Fitzgerald

Atheists are wrong, but they could be on to something. Maybe God is gone. Absent.


June 7, 2017

Still Not Dead Again Today

Martin B. Copenhaver

Change is not a sign of death.  It is a sign of life.  Only the living change.


June 6, 2017

Fresh Towels

Donna Schaper

Do you have a story about “treasure in earthen vessels”?


June 5, 2017

The Joy of Dependence

Tony Robinson

“Dependence” is frowned upon in our society, while “independence” is seen as a good thing.


June 4, 2017

The Giver of Life

Richard L. Floyd

If the presence and power of the Holy Spirit at that first Pentecost marks the beginning of the church, the Spirit’s work was not finished on that day.


June 3, 2017

The Eve of Pentecost

Talitha Arnold

The first Christians had to trust God with no clue as to what God had in store for them. How did they do it?


June 2, 2017

The Value of the Dark

Kaji Douša

The “darkness” that “isn’t dark to you, O God,” according to my favorite Psalm, 139, is a tough term to unpack.


June 1, 2017

Learning New Languages

Emily C. Heath

Every year on Pentecost Sunday I get the feeling that the church misses the point.