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Not Ashamed

In this Sunday’s gospel reading, Jesus says, “Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38)

This reminds me of the bold, unashamed witnessing our youth have, not just the youth in Salem, but the many others I see. They are not…

Love Jesus

What a great week it was! It started with a Super Bowl win, and continued with Ash Wednesday with the start of Lent and Valentine’s Day to focus on the loved ones in our lives. Specifically, we tend to focus on our spouse, partner, or significant other. While there is nothing wrong with celebrating Valentine’s Day and spending time with our loved ones, it is important that we do not overlook…

Listen to Him!

How many times do teachers and parents find themselves saying, “Are you listening to me?!” I remember my uncle giving directions to his five kids, and when they didn’t respond he’d raise his voice and say, “Acknowledge!” My cousins told me later that they had no idea what that word meant, except to say “OK, Dad!” after he said it.

This week we wrap up the season of Epiphany…

God Winks

My soul longs, indeed faints for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
— Psalm 84:2

Have you ever been so preoccupied with life that you end up overlooking the surprising and unexpected ways that God shows up as you go about the routine activities of everyday life?

I must admit that sometimes I can become so fixated…

Healing Prayers

When we pray for someone who is sick or gravely ill, it feels different than when we speak to God in our prayers every day. We may be asking for a miracle or for comfort and peace. We may feel that we are completely surrendering ourselves to God as we ask for healing for someone we care about. We ask God to give the doctors the knowledge to heal, or we may say to God that if it is in your will to…

The Grieving Journey of a Loved One’s Loss

I find it hard to believe that 2024 is already here. We all experience that feeling when we lose a loved one. Do you ever think about how that may change your life? We all change emotionally, but we also change mentally, as well.

I have had experience with this when I lost my grandfather, Jack Ussery. I remember how I found out my grandpa died. Not in very much detail, but I think my brain…

Come and See

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” … Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming…

A New Year

The start of a new year — new goals … new resolutions … a fresh start to try something new or improve on oneself.

Maybe we will change habits that we do. Our lives change when our habits change for better or for worse and are one of the most powerful influences in our lives.

Praying and daily reading is to focus on oneself. Pick early morning before the house wakes up, even…

The Story Behind “O Little Town of Bethlehem”

There are so many rich histories behind our favorite hymns and carols! Since we’re doing our Lessons and Carols service this Sunday, I’d like to share one of my favorite carol stories:

Phillips Brooks was a young preacher when he gave the funeral address for President Abraham Lincoln. Not long after, he took a sabbatical from preaching to visit the Holy Land, hoping to find peace…

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

During Advent, many congregations sing the beautiful hymn “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus.” For good reason. The hymn speaks of our desire to be set free from our fears and sins while also expressing a need for Jesus, the “joy of every longing heart.”

When evening falls on Dec. 24, Advent will finally give way to Christmas, a time when many of us will gather for Christmas Eve worship…

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