The Morgan Church Devotional

a pastor's thoughts about...uhm...stuff

Location: Morgan, VT., United States

follower of Jesus. husband & father. friend. pastor.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Give Me My Rapture

To understand the song better, think "Rapture" in the sense of "being transported by lofty emotion and/or spiritual ecstacy" rather than the idea of believers being transported to heaven.

There are strange things happening every day
I hear music up above my head
Fill me up with your wonder
Give me my rapture today.

Let me contemplate the presence so divine
Let me sing all day and never get tired
Fill me up from your loving cup
Give me my rapture.

Won't you guide me through the dark night of the soul
That I may better understand your way
Let me be just and worthy to receive
All the blessings of the Lord into my life.

Let me purify my thoughts and words and deeds
That I may be a vehicle for thee
Let me hold to the truth in the darkest hour
Let me sing to the glory of the Lord.
Give me my rapture today.

by Van Morrison

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Let God Arise and His Enemies Be Scattered

who and what are your enemies?

of course, there is the enemy...he is. he is a liar and hates the people of God and all that is godly. he comes to steal, kill and destroy...and prowls like a roaring lion...he wants to eat someone. but the Scripture tells us to resist him and he will flee.

but there are other enemies. you read (and write) about them here. our anger, our resentment, our lust, our fear, our self pity, our feelings of helplessness, our hate, our bitterness, our pride, our false humility, our sinful nature...

these are enemies harder to face. one reason is we don't like to admit we have them. they are like spies who infiltrate our ranks and live among us...waiting for the right time to manifest. in the meantime, they are hard to do we kill off "one of our own"?

harder than you would think.

but one thing that will help us is to let God arise! live a life of praise...think about Him, talk about Him, sing about Him...act like other words, live a God centered life...a life focused on you focus on Him, and keep your focus on Him...

Your Enemies Will Scatter.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Can a Lyric Be Any Better Than This?

I will rise from my bed with a question again
As I work to inherit the restless wind
The view from my window is cold and obscene
I want to touch what my eyes haven't seen

But they have packaged our virtue in cellulose dreams
And sold us the remnants 'til our pockets are clean
Til our hopes fall 'round our feet
Like the dust and dead leaves
And we end up looking like what we believe

We are soot-covered urchins running wild and unshod
We will always be remembered as the orphans of God
They will dig up these ruins
and make flutes of our bones
And blow a hymn to the memory of the orphans of God

Like bees in a bottle we are flying at fate
Beating our wings against the walls of this place
Unaware that the struggle is the blood of the proof
In choosing to believe the unbelievable truth

But they have captured our siblings and rendered them mute
They've disputed our lineage and poisoned our roots
We have bought from the brokers who have broken their oaths
And we're out on the streets with a lump in our throats

We are soot-covered urchins running wild and unshod
We will always be remembered as the orphans of God
They will dig up these ruins
And make flutes of our bones
And blow a hymn to the memory of the orphans of God

Orphans of God
by Mark Heard

Monday, April 24, 2006

Did Ye Get Healed?

i've been meaning to post this for a couple of weeks. but lost was quite interesting the other week. it was the one about bernard and his wife...i can't remember her name. rose? i don't know. any way, she was annoyed at him for "doing, doing, doing"...the story goes something like this:

they meet, fall in short order he proposes. she tells him, "i'm dying"...but he still wants to marry her and she accepts.

he then is consumed with finding a healing for her, even tho he doesn't much believe in people being healed. he takes her down to australia to a faith healer, who "because of different energies" cannot heal her...but maybe she can find another spot on the earth where "the energy is right" and she will be healed.

she found that energy on the island.

and now he wants to rescue her! she's already rescued...she knows it, he can't. so he's consumed with the process becoming intolerable to everyone. she embarrasses him in front of every one and, later, he asks her why...why would she do that, if he's only trying to rescue her?

she explains it to him.

and in that little morality play we see the balance between trusting (or being) and doing.

yes we ought to "do"...but not when it gets in the way of "being"...he was so preoccupied with doing for rose, that he forgot to "be" with the process he alienated all the people around him...including her.

when asked what were the works required by God for salvation, Jesus answered "to believe in the One He has sent".

let your doing spring from your belief.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Let's Go Swimming (O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus)

my kids...all least, most kids, anyway, love to go swimming. it' not even hot out yet and there they are in the stream by our house, in the pond at the neighbor's, in a puddle even. they just love to plunge right in.

we adults...we're a bit more sensible. it's cold outside, the water is freezing...what good will come of it??? normal people don't swim now. i mean, i swim...i'm a swimmer! but only in the middle of summer and preferably in a heated pool. then i feel..."refreshed"...or at least i'm wet.

the point is...we like things safe, comfortable, and easy. we don't like to be challenged...we don't like to feel awkward and ill at ease. now, of course, it makes sense when it comes to swimming... i am not going to join my kids in the lake yet...

but it doesn't make sense when it comes to life with Jesus. the only way to live the christian life is to plunge in and be in the water! completely! splashing and dunking and diving...with a child like faith in Jesus. there is no sitting on the edge of the pool, dangling your feet and bemoaning how cold it is.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Is Your Nose Itchy?

whenever someone's nose was itchy my mom would say they were going to get in a of those old wive's tales, i guess.

but why is it that so many of we who call our selves christians like to pick fights? now, we don't call them fights...we call them debates...or standing up for the truth, or something like that.

at the pastor's retreat we went to dina was talking with another pastor's wife. in the course of their 10-15 minute conversation (their first ever, btw) dina was asked "is your church 'filled with the Spirit' or is it one of 'those' churches?"...uhm...well...yeah...we're kinda dead, i guess. i mean what is a person supposed to answer to that? then she was asked "so what does your church feel about the whole 'gay thing'?" yeah...well.

it isn't that that stuff isn't important, because those subjects are. but what is the point of the conversation? where could it possibly go? if we agree, then what? and what if we don't? then we have a, i mean a "standing up for truth contest".

i told someone about a conference...i thought they might genuinely be interested in it. they would benefit from it...i am sure. they replied "do they preach [insert theological position here]?"'s a marriage conference...i don't think superlapsarianism (or whatever--superlapsarianism is the only theological term i still remember) will come up.

come now...let us major in the majors...our first impulse should be to look for common ground not look for dividing factors.

once, i saw a guy handing out tracts in front of a store and i figured i'd stop and talk with him... maybe i'd encourage him a little bit. our conversation gradually shifted from the important things (like God's wonderfully amazing grace and the need to evangelise) to the not important things (particular denominational stands)...after a while i saw the conversation for what it was, a diversion from those important things...i apologised for side tracking him and took my leave.

to quote hunter (again!)

"some folks look for answers, others look for fights
some folks up in tree tops just look to see the sights
(or just looking for their kites)
i can tell your future, just look what's in your hands
i can't stop for nothin, i'm just playing in the band."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

here we are...

back from the retreat...we had a good time...excellent teaching (i'm sure you'll hear about it)...great time for the kids, too.

be back to posting tmw.


Monday, April 17, 2006

Scandal Rocks Morgan Church Devotional

the smoking gun has learned that the author of the morgan church devotional blog has posted numerous comments on his blog using the alias "anonymous"., thereby atttempting to create the illusion that several people listen to his sermons.

when asked about these outlandish allegations, pmike said:

"well...uhm...oh...i don't kno...hey, did you see how pretty that bella looked on easter?"

anyway...i think that's funny.

i sure did enjoy the easter services this past week. i hope you all did, too. thanks to every one who took part in them...setting up, cleaning up, "building" the cross, decorating, bringing flowers, acting, playing music, reading the really made the services exciting and enriching.

our prayer should be that folks who visited churches this easter would take to heart the message of the Gospel.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Attics of My Life

In the attics of my life
Full of cloudy dreams unreal
Full of tastes no tongue can know
And lights no eye can see
When there was no ear to hear
You sang to me

I have spent my life
Seeking all that's still unsung
Bent my ear to hear the tune
And closed my eyes to see
When there were no strings to play
You played to me

In the book of love's own dream
Where all the print is blood
Where all the pages are my days
And all my lights grow old
When I had no wings to fly
You flew to me
You flewto me

In the secret space of dreams
Where I dreaming lay amazed
When the secrets all are told
And the petals all unfold
When there was no dream of mine
You dreamed of me

By Hunter/Garcia

i am reminded this easter that life isn't always easy for the faithful. there are hurts and disappointments and discouragement...there is heaviness and seemingly endless black tunnels where there seems very little light and what little light there is...well, it is awful far away.

those of you in a better spot...sings songs to them. fly on the wings of the dawn to them. dream dreams for them.

"Bear one another's burdens, so fulfilling the law of Christ."

He is Risen.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Make Your Bed in the Truth

"'I know the plans I have for you' says the LORD. plans meant for good and not for evil, plans meant to give you a hope and a future...".

we all love that verse from Jeremiah 29--and it's a great one. i remind myself of it all the time, because i don't always feel that way. i vacilate between feeling unworthy of God's love and God's plan and feeling forgotten and alone. there are slivers of time when i actually walk in the knowledge of what God has for me...and those slivers are like medicine to make the rest of the time bearable and even enjoyable.

the idea is to continually remind ourselves of God's tell ourselves over and over that this truth is true...and it is true for me! it isn't only true when i feel like it's isn't only true when i'm thinking about it. it is always, always, always true.

we actually have an easy job of it. we get to believe God. that's all. the people asked Jesus "what is the work of God that we might do to please Him?" "believe in the One whom God has sent.", was His reply. that's the work God is looking for.

what should we believe?

1. God loves us
2. God has a plan for our lives
3. The way to know God is thru Jesus and what He has done for us
4. His plan involves loving Him in return and we often do that by loving people, whether they are Xian or not

tell yourself. remind yourself. remember to remind yourself again and again.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sow First, Ask Questions Later

"Sow for yourselves righteousness,
reap the fruit of unfailing love,
break up your fallow ground;
for it is time to seek the LORD until He comes
and showers righteousness on you."
Hosea 10:12

i find this interesting...what he's basically saying is "do your best to work out your salvation with fear and trembling...until God comes and does it for you."

every time we act righteously (do what is right) we sow a seed...every time we love with out reservation, there is fruit to harvest. the NASB says "reap in accordance with your kindness". i like that...

we should go ahead and break up the ground around our hearts...fallow ground refers to ground that was once ploughed, left unseeded and left to harden again. God is interested in doing some planting there. or maybe it's weeding...or maybe it's harvest time.

the time will come when we will be made to be just like Him, because we shall see Him as He is...until then, every one who has this hope purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Do Not Fret...

3 times David tells us not to fret in the beginning of Ps 37.

don't fret over evil doers.
they will soon wither like the grass
instead, make it your purpose to do good.
you will be blessed.
don't fret when other people succeed.
don't get angry.
be still before God.
trust Him, He has a plan.
don't fret.
it only leads to evil.
problems aren't (properly) solved when
the motivation is anger or jealousy.
we tend to imitate the evil behavior we're opposing.
do God's will in God's way...
what God wants in the way God wants.

in the end, that is all that matters.

Friday, April 07, 2006

God is Full of Mercy

we are full of reasons for Him to be merciful.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Is It All Really Down Hill From Here?

last wednesday i commented that "life couldn't get any better than this". i laughed as i hit enter and thought, watch i'll get diagnosed with cancer tmw...

well, it wasn't cancer. but i certainly had a time of it thursday-sunday. i had some discomfort wed night...but didn't think much of it. when i got up on thursday, i felt sick...not sick to my stomach...just different. as the day progressed, so did the much so that i went and laid down (on the job!)...i woke up shaking...i was so cold and i couldn't get warm no matter what i did. shaking and shivering...teeth was very odd, to say the least. and my stomach, ouch!

i took my temp and it was 102...i figured that was high enough to call the dr. by the time i got to the dr (thanks, pat) it was 102.5...they sent me over to the hospital, they popped in (i wish it were so easy) an i.v. and gave me some pain killers...took blood out of both arms...poked, prodded and further violated me...all the while being very nice and attentive about it.

i've heard thing about nchospital...but in our family we've been there 6 times and they have been extremely professional and thourough every time. i think we are blessed tohave a quality hospital in our area. God bless them.

they sent me home at about 1030 pm with a bottle of pain meds and 3 bottles of a lovely little drink called barium, which i spent the entire next morning sipping on. at 9am i went back to the hospital for a ct scan...and the final verdict...diverticulitis, which is an enflamed (and infected) condition of diverticulosis...currently, i have just a little pain, and a sick stomach from the antibiotics i have to take.

not cancer...but makes me appreciate the little blessings of last wednesday.

Some Folks Would Be Happy...

Just to have one dream come true...
fm "mission in the rain"

i don't talk much about dreams...sometimes they are from God...i don't think this one was:

i dreamt i was going to do a funeral at a CYO (somehow, this CYO--catholic youth organisation--was on a military base of some sort)...the family was late, and then late again and then late again. every time they were late i had to talk a walk (not i wanted to take a walk, but like i couldn't stay there for some reason). because it was oppressively hot, each time i took a walk i had to remove my shirt and tie walk in the t shirt i was wearing.

on one of these walks, i passed down an alley...there was guy playing a pretty good guitar, and i thought i would try to recruit him to play in church on the way back. as i passed him i kind of nodded and gave him a thumbs up (something i doubt i would do in awake life...btw) and kept walking. there was a sense of mission on this walk.

after i got to the turnaround point i began my way back and a guy began walking a step or two ahead of me. just as i did, he had a guitar slung over his shoulder and there was a sense that we were traveling together. after a short distance, i realised that this was none other than neil young. "wow!", i thought (not a star struck wow!--even in my dreams i think i'm too cool for that-- but a wow! what in the world is neil--like he's an old friend--doing here?). so, off we walked together to the CYO to do a funeral. i was disappointed to not find the guy in the alley playing guitar...he must have went inside for tea or something, i thought, but i'll remember the place and come back later.

when we got there, bill c. greeted us--he also with a guitar over his shoulder. he was old friends with neil...and he was waiting for us. i realised i left my shirt someplace else...i just had on slacks and a tshirt...i can't do a funeral in this! i thought...what was i going to do? neil had on a sweater and i called to him as he and bill went down the stairs, guitars still slung over thier shoulders...but they kept walking.... not blowing me off, but being a little deafened by years of rockin'...he didn't hear me.

i was in a bit of a panic. it was a decent t shirt, i, if i only had neil's sweater...oh well...i walked around...looking for someone to help me...but there was no one...

then i woke up.

this all is interesting for the following reasons:

1. while i often remember dreams, they are usually fleeting and i'm grasping for the details. this one was full of details...right down to neil young's hat with a feather in it and the pony tail of the guitar player i heard--even the tshirt i was wearing...

2. why neil young? i like his music...but i could easily name 10-15 musicians i'd rather meet/have in my dream.

3. CYO? oh i don't know...

4. military base? don't know about that either...but it was very familiar and unlike any military base i have ever been on.

5. the cameos: bill c. knowing neil... ron and val from the local funeral home...even the picture of the guy who's funeral it was...hauntingly familiar.

who knows?