Summer Sundays

Summer getaways allow for creative Sunday worship experiences

Sundays in the summer
often find us missing church.
The family cottage beckons. Grandkids, too.
We’re hiking in the mountains
or we’re camping by the beach.
Time away is what we all need to renew.

And yet we still can worship
even when we aren’t at home.
There is cause to praise God in the great outdoors.
The backdrop of creation
prompts the lyrics of our hearts
as we dodge the rain or see an eagle soar.

On each Lord’s Day, let us seek Him.
In the silence He will speak
as we hear a call to worship from a lark.
Summer Sundays can be sacred
if we praise God where we are
near a campfire at dawn or after dark.

70 Lessons

What I’ve learned in seventy years of living

This past weekend was not only Easter Sunday filled with a weekend of meaningful commitments, it included a milestone birthday. In addition to starting my tenth year as chaplain at Covenant Living at the Shores, I began my eighth decade of life.

In the midst of a busy weekend I found an hour to reflect on lessons I’ve learned in seventy years of living. Some are quite obvious. Others are deeply personal. Some are borrowed from people I respect. All of them provide a peek into what I value.

1. George Bailey isn’t the only one who’s had a wonderful life.
2. Years go by faster the older you live.
3. Parents know more than we give them credit for.
4. Everybody has a story worth sharing.
5. Asking questions is the key that unlocks a person’s story.
6. The Creator desires a personal relationship with us.
7. Jesus is the means by which that relationship is made possible.
8. Change is hard.
9. Change is inevitable.
10. Beauty can be found everywhere.
11. Work that you love isn’t work.
12 Worry empties today of its strength.
13. Today is a gift.
14. Gifts are meant to be unwrapped and enjoyed.
15. Memories are a lasting treasure no one can steal.
16. Debt is a heartless seducer.
17. Living life in 24-hour capsules brings time-released joy.
18. Sunsets and ice cream make for cheap dates.
19. Stick trees silhouetted against a sunrise redeems winter blahs.
20. Working out helps our bodies work better.
21. Physically fit people die healthier.
22. Adversity makes us strong.
23. Love is a universal language.
24. Every memorial service we attend in one closer to our own.
25. Music is oxygen for the soul.
26. Children are a gift from the Lord.
27. Adult children keep you talking to God.
28. Grandchildren provides the joys of parenting without the responsibilities.
29. Poetry that rhymes is easier to understand.
30. Walking in the woods allows you to walk with God.
31. Pets provide a picture of God’s unconditional love.
32. The death of a pet is equivalent to losing a member of your family.
33. Grief is the price you pay for really loving someone.
34. Christmas doesn’t mean a thing without Easter.
35. Easter is not possible without Good Friday.
36. Eating humble pie requires swallowing pride.
37. It’s more blessed to give than to receive.
38. Receiving is harder than giving.
39. Bad things happen to good people.
40. Good things happen to bad people.
41. You can never tell someone you love them too often.
42. A shared joy is a doubled joy.
43. A shared sorrow is half a sorrow.
44. Spending time with older relatives is a priceless gift to them (and you).
45. Memorizing Scripture pays dividends now and later.
46. Taking the initiative to restore relationships takes courage.
47. Handwritten letters and notes are more valuable than e-mails and texts.
48. Mementoes on a desk or a shelf recall moments we dare never forget.
49. Forgetting God’s faithfulness is the most common kind of memory loss.
50. Those with the most money often have the most worries.
51. We begin our lives and end our lives wearing diapers and sleeping most the time.
52. Family traditions sustain values and perpetuate memories.
53. There is nothing more sad than watching alienated siblings at a parent’s funeral.
54. Learning the love language of your mate does not require a degree in linguistics.
55. When you get married, you marry a family as well as your mate.
56. You tend to sleep better with a window cracked open.
57. Making small talk with strangers can lead to big opportunities.
58. Shopping at a thrift store is like going to a museum.
59. Furnishing your home or wardrobe at a thrift store saves you money and benefits others.
60. Beginning your day with coffee and prayer makes you alert to life and the Lord.
61. Taking time to visit a relative’s grave gives cause to pause and reflect on the brevity of life.
62.  Taking pictures with a smartphone is an inexpensive way to express one’s creativity.
63. The church is a community of people not a building or a certain denomination.
64. There’s nothing like a pandemic to unmask what really matters in life.
65. When you lose your job unexpectedly you discover flavors of grace you didn’t know existed.
66. Unbelievable offers generally are.
67. Gratitude is the prelude to worship.
68. Mulligans aren’t just for golf.
69.  It’s easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.
70. Birthdays are a necessary rest stop on the interstate of life.

Waiting for Worship

What does God have in mind for me today?

As I sit in silence
for the service to begin,
I wonder how the living Lord
might speak to me again.

Will it be the songs we sing
or in the pastor’s prayer?
It just might be the sermon
or a need somebody shares.

Maybe God will touch my heart
through laughter or a sigh,
or even through distractions
like a newborn’s hungry cry.

Whatever means God chooses
as He bends my ear His way,
I will worship God expectantly
for there’s something He will say.

Sitting by a Cozy Fire

There is just something about a blazing fire that warms the soul

Sitting by a cozy fire
listening to John Rutter’s choir
frees me from the quicksand mire
of daily life demands.

The dancing flames invite my gaze
and penetrate the inner haze
of foggy thoughts from stressful days
and deadlines yet unmet.

And in the fire’s warmth I find
a respite from the daily grind
and faith to trust when I am blind
to how God cares for me.

It’s the Year of the Lion

Listening for Alsan in Everyday Life

When God speaks,
I want to hear
against the backdrop of constant distractions.

Amid the din of doing life
in the midst of mounting pressures
and maintaining routines
(all the while pursuing dreams),
I want to sense His presence
and hear the essence of His heart.

When God speaks,
I want to know what He is saying.
And even if it means a moratorium from praying
(because my words can often get in the way),
I am willing to be still
to know that He is God.

Greg’s book,
When God Speaks
is listed on the
BOOKS menu
at $14.99 from
Lulu Books.