Resurrection Sunday: We had hoped!

“But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.”   Luke 24:21
Millions upon millions of Christians are worshiping Jesus world-wide this morning , celebrating who He is and what He did by dying on the cross and raising from the dead three days later.  The resurrection of Jesus is the defining moment in history, the defining moment in our faith, and the defining moment in our lives as Jesus followers. There’s often a tangible sense of excitement connected to this global celebration. But we all know that every day does not feel like Easter Sunday.

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4 actions steps to welcoming refugees:
  1. Open your home. Share a meal. Listen to their story. Make a friend. In almost every culture around the globe, the mark of hospitality is inviting someone into your home to share a meal.
  2. Pray for them. Pray with them. Trust God to show up. Many refugees come from religious backgrounds and will be blessed by you caring enough to pray.
  3. Respond to invitations. Eat in their home. Attend their celebrations. Get to know their culture. They’re identity will shift from refugee to neighbor to friend.
  4. Advocate for their rights. Speak publicly. Share the facts. Write to government leaders. Change often  require persistence and sacrifice.
10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. 11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. 12 If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?
Proverbs 24:10-12

Blessing a brother

The name of our friend has purposely been changed and the name of his home country omitted for the safety of him and his family.

I met Pacifico five years ago while volunteering at the COTS Day Station, a warm place for people to come off the streets during Vermont’s frigid winters.  Kate, the peppiest of the COTS case managers, walked in the room and shouted, “Kevin you’re like a minister- right?” I quickly walked over and she continued,  “I have this guy who just arrived in my office.  He’s a pastor from Africa and doesn’t speak any English. Can you try to figure out his situation?”  And for the better part of an hour we used the modern miracle of Google translator to type between English and French.
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Have an old sleeping bag you don’t use?

Many of Burlington’s homeless will spend Homeless-Online-1winter searching for shelter- their chronic addictions often prevent them from entering shelters.  This is one way we can help them stay warm in our sub-freezing temperatures.  At Burlington City Church’s Community Brunch on November 22 we’ll have a sleeping bag exchange where neighbors can drop off and pick up sleeping bags.

You can send sleeping bags to the following address: Burlington City Church, 406 North Ave., Burlington, VT 05401

lessons I’m relearning: celebrate “small” victories

I’m wired to think big vision and strategic steps.  I often think forward, contemplating what might be the next mountain to climb or battle to fight.  In the process of thinking about the big picture, I can often miss the seemingly small yet eternally significant victories along the way- especially when I’m facing external challenges, struggling with internal discouragement, or things are moving slow. Continue reading

lessons I’m relearning: guard your marriage

4G3B6750Years ago as I my wedding to Christin was approaching a good friend and fellow staff member humbly but firmly challenged me: be very careful not to sacrifice your family on the altar of ministry.   Around the same time another close friend and pastor shared what may sound like very simple advice: keep dating your wife Many times over these past fourteen years of being a husband and pastor, God brought these conversations to the forefront of my mind… Primarily because as a laser beam focused, 100 mph guy, I need the divine reminders.
A few specifics I am relearning:

Hiatus over

This past November I walked through the back door from a Sunday afternoon hike with the kids and shared a simple observation with Christin: “I am discouraged.”  I didn’t mean the discouragement that comes from a Empty-fuel-gauge511tough week, a tense conversation, or even riding the ministry roller coaster of starting a church.  I meant real discouragement: the type that lingers in your soul for months and makes you feel like you don’t have anything left in the your spiritual, emotional, or mental tanks. Continue reading