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Staff Trax

Trust in the Lord

The readings this week (for Sunday, Jan. 24) all have one thing in common — trusting in God, even if His intentions are not clear at the time. This can be hard, especially when times are tough. Just be still in the fact that God has His hand on everything, and even though you might not see His plan, you need to trust in Him.

The Old Testament reading is from Jonah. God told Jonah to go…

Making Connections

I have always been a bit obsessed about connecting with people. As an Army kid in the '70s and '80s, that meant writing letters when I moved away from my friends. When I went to college in 1989, I wrote to 16 pen pals every week, including my parents and grandparents. I still send 200 Christmas cards every year, and leave my walls plastered with the photo cards of friends until at least March.

Wisdom Comes to Our Minds and Hearts

When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.
Matthew 2:10

As I sit down to write this Staff Trax, it is January 6, 2021, the Epiphany of Our Lord. I know that some of you use the devotional book “The Word in Season.” Today’s devotion focuses on wisdom. When you hear the word wisdom, what comes into your mind and heart? When I…

What a Year It Has Been

Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

What a year it has been — 2020 has solidified itself as a year of events. Some years pass by with ease, while others seem to have us count down to the end of the year.

This psalm has been on my mind every single time bad news or good news has unveiled itself…

Christmas 2020

'Tis the season for families getting together exchanging gifts, reflecting on the year, and spending time with each other listening to old Christmas songs. That’s what I remember. Oh, those were the days. It was just a year ago, I was in Omaha spending Christmas week with my mom and dad. We talked about us kids growing up and coming downstairs at the break of dawn with excitement of what gifts…

The Symbols of Christmas

When we think of Christmas, we think of many things — angels, Christmas trees, hanging lights on our house, bells. Some might think of Santa, though we all know he has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. Do you know why some of these symbols have become a part of our traditions every December?

Angels. We all know the significance of the angels. The angel Gabriel first…

Do Not Be Afraid to Practice Joy!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

For many of us these days it may be challenging to practice joy, but I think it is necessary for our own mental health. So how can we do this? Here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Discover…

The Best Way to Spread Christmas Cheer

… is singing loud for all to hear! OK, as a choir director, I’m biased. I have missed my choirs in 2020 more than I can explain. Normally I would have begun rehearsing the adult choir Christmas cantata in October, and the children’s Christmas program in November — so I am two months behind indulging in early Christmas music.

Salem’s tradition is to have the “Word through Music”…

Thanksgiving 2020

We are almost to the end of 2020, a season usually filled with joyful anticipation as the year ends with family and friends during the holidays. This year, however, will likely be spent by most alone — or at least celebrating with very few — at their homes. However the holidays are spent, this is certainly a year that we will remember always, finding us even more thankful than usual for what…

I Am Listening

One of the first things I learned when I began doing interim pastor ministry was that our first job is to listen.

  • Listen to the history of the congregation
  • Listen to the leaders of the congregation
  • Listen to those you visit in their homes, coffee shop, wherever you can hear their voices
  • Listen carefully, because during an interim people want to be heard

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