Friday, May 08, 2015

A Strange and Wondrous Journey

It’s been about a month now since Robbie and I moved to Manhattan, Kansas to enjoy this wonderful town and serve at First Presbyterian Church. Robbie has begun a new job with GTM as a “Customer Experience Representative” and I have been getting my feet wet as an Interim Associate Pastor.  From coffee shops, parks and the campus to pizza parlors, bar-b-que, yoga studios, and a great movie theater, we’ve been getting to know the town and having a blast doing it! It has been a strange and wondrous journey, but we feel like we’re home here in this new land. I’d expand more on our experience, but I still think my first sermon with them says it all. Here’s a link for your enjoyment and to ignite your curiosity;)

Sunday, March 08, 2015

A New Season

This week I shared with our congregation in St Paul, that I have accepted a new call to be the Interim Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, KS (cue cheering K-State fans). I felt God's calling back in 2011 to serve with the dear folks in St Paul, and now God has called Robbie and I to a new season of our lives. 

What a blessing First Presby St Paul has been! I had my first baptisms and weddings, my first Mountain Oysters and my first Airboat ride! I fed calves and learned about irrigation, and oh, I couldn't count how many Kolačy we've shared! We've made labyrinths, enjoyed prayer stations, and played hours of Warewolf, Apples to Apples and Bingo. We celebrated some of the best Thanksgivings I could imagine, and they celebrated with Robbie and me our first year of Marriage. I will always remember each Baptism, the delicious dinners and lunches, and the generous hearts which welcomed us in this congregation and in the community. 

For sometime now, I have felt God calling me(us) into a new season. A season of working with a multi-staff church, where I can learn alongside other pastors and teachers, where I can see how others are asking the same questions we have been in the smaller congregation. I have felt a calling to more adventures in alternative approaches to worship whether that's through technology or through participatory and hands-on worship elements.

The opportunity in Manhattan will give me space to do all of the above and have fun doing it! I'm excited to work with their youth and college students and find ways to connect them to God and to the adults in the congregation. I'm excited to help them dream about what outreach events can cultivate curiosity in their community to draw new people into the fold. I'm excited to share my musical passion and gifts in ways that can reach out to kids and youth and more. I'm excited to share my preaching and creative gifts that I have developed over my time in St Paul.

Most of all, I'm excited for this next journey with my loving husband, Robbie. Again, he will be packing up to move and look for a new calling of his own, and yet this time, I feel less like he's following me, and more like we are taking this next leap hand in hand, journeying into this next season together. We ask for prayers as we are seeking employment for him, and we hope you will celebrate the many opportunities that await us.

We give thanks to God for all of the blessings that have been showered on us already, and we deeply give thanks for our St Paul Framily, which has showered us with love and encouraged us throughout our ministry here.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Who do you say that I am?

As I've been preparing for Sunday's worship based on Matthew 16:13-20, I've been struck by Jesus' question for his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" My curiosity spans from their inner thoughts to our inner thoughts: How would we answer this question? How are we answering this question in our conversations, in the way we live our lives, in the way we interact with one another? How would Jesus respond if we asked him the same question, "But who do you say that I am, Jesus?" Let me know what you think by clicking on one or all of the links below. (Attention: Polls are closed and final results are posted below)

Thanks for your comments! We give thanks that by coming to know Jesus, we are coming to know ourselves in the way God sees us, as opposed to a worldly point of view! Here are our results:

Who do people say that Jesus is?

Jesus asks you, "Who do you say that I am?" How do you answer him?

You ask Jesus, "But who do you say that I am?" How does Jesus answer you?

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Little Bird

"Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" Matthew 6:26 

This verse is one I know by heart. I love to sing the song, "His eye is on the sparrow", and, as a born worry wort, I repeat this verse frequently to myself as a reminder that I'm not supposed to worry, God has it all under control. And yet I’ve never been comfortable with the fact that the little bird doesn't seem to be doing any work. I usually find myself asking what happened to the verse, "God helps those who help themselves?” Especially in this area of the country, we are used to working hard to invest our gifts, receive a profit, or fulfill our responsibilities. Those who don’t worry about tomorrow and just live for today are seen as reckless or irresponsible. Doesn’t God want us to be prepared? Doesn’t God want us to be good stewards of the blessings that we have received? Aren’t we called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength? “Exactly,” I hear Jesus saying back to me. “The little bird does keep busy, but she rejoices and enjoys each leap, each dive, each climb. Sometimes she heads out seeking after the gifts of God, other times she sets at work looking for what God is calling her to build, daily she listens for whom God is calling her to care for and daily she sings praises of thanksgiving.” As we see the trials ahead of us, as we find ourselves in difficult situations, Jesus says to us, “Don’t get lost in your work. Look for my work, join in, and you will discover treasures you had never imagined."

If you look close enough at my singing bird on the branch, she only has one leg. I drew this bird during preparation and reflection for a memorial service for one of our dear members, Bernie. She lost her leg to cancer, as a young, busy, strong willed wife and mother of two boys. Her sons said she never let them help with dinner or the dishes, because she didn't need any help. I could choose to define her by all of the struggles that she overcame in life, but I will always remember her as one of the most sincerely happy people I have known in my entire life. When I sing with our choir, I stand next to her pole which was mounted to the ground to help steady her later in life. She had a beautiful voice and was known as one of the funeral "sisters" who were frequently requested to honor their friends and community members at their services. Even more dazzling than her pure voice, was her gorgeous smile. Such a lovely, gracious and joyful bird, may we all find such joy with Jesus in our hearts.

Monday, January 19, 2015

3D Labyrinth

 This Sunday we took a 3-Dimensional Labyrinth based on the Temptations of Jesus as he is sent into the wilderness following his baptism. We provided both a walking and seated version, but I have heard that the walkers got the most out of it. I know I've gotten in all of my 10,000 steps in the past two days, walking through it, setting up, so it was a good "food for the body, mind and soul" kind of worship service. I have been asked to share it, for friends far and near, and congregation members who were unable to attend. Please feel free to use these ideas to create your own "3D Labyrinth", but until then, open your heart and your imagination and join us for the journey. This is how we began.
Instructions if walking: take at least 40 steps between each station. After you finish the third station, walk back past the second and first stations, remembering what you did there and looking to see what others have done. Remember how you answered the questions, and consider what God has revealed to you in this journey. Return to your seat after you pass station 1 for the second time.

Instructions if seated: Use the circles on the image posted above to symbolize the three stations. Take 7 deep breaths to symbolize the 40 steps between each station, and imagine yourself going up a hill. Use the circles and a crayon or pencil for completing the activities. After you complete the third station, take another 7 deep breaths and imagine yourself descending the hill. Remember how you answered the questions, and consider what God has revealed to you in this journey.
Station 1: The Baptismal Font

1. Baptismal font
The devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’*”
  • What would you be tempted to turn these stones into? Take a stone, wipe the water away and write down what thing of this world you want to satisfy your hunger? A stone may have several words written on it.
  • How might God be providing for that hunger in a different way then you are wishing/praying for?


Station 2: The Choir Loft
Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’ ”
Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’*”
  • Take a marker and write a word on your hand to remind you of a time when you were hurt and God did not send his angels to prevent the pain. 
  • Take a band-aid and place it over the word. (If you are doing the seated version and would like a band-aid, simply raise your hand.)
  • How has God provided healing in the midst of this pain or through this pain? Write a word on the band-aid to remind you of your healing.

3. Front steps
"Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”
“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.’*”
  • As disciples of Jesus, we are called to go into the world, loving one another as Jesus loved us. Use the chalk to write a word or draw a picture of how we might serve one another in our community instead of “ruling over” it and “taking control” as the devil suggests.

Monday, January 05, 2015


On Christmas Eve I shared an exploration of a new character "Rebekah, the Shepherdess". This time I included several of my modern art pieces (mostly designed in Canva) to help create the atmosphere and add to the story. My genius video editor (the distinguished Robbie Collins) added them to the video below, so that you can experience the story as well! Enjoy!