The Morgan Church Devotional

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

Location: Morgan, VT., United States

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

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Who's Driving That Thing?

i remember once during college a friend and i decided to have some fun. it was a spur of the moment thing, which is when fun (and trouble) are most had. we were in his car and for some reason he put his seat down...i told him to start driving and he did...all around campus. as we passed by several different groups of people i told him to honk and i enthusiastically waved at was funny to see the looks on their faces change from odd curiousity to laughter as they tried to figure out who was driving.

was it a right handed steering wheel? i had one of the them when i was in was fun to drive and surprisingly easy. the muffler fell off after a while, but greece didn’t have (or enforce) those sorts of i fit in with the locals, so i never fixed it.

i don’t think driving that way was too dangerous. we were on a closed campus and we were only going 5-10 mph. it was easy to warn dave to turn or stop or anything like that. i wasn’t afraid at all. plus, driving this way required dave to pay attention...which he didn’t always do otherwise.

but i don’t think i would drive that way in town...or on the highway...or any where else, really. driving blind was was fun and fine going 5 mph...but change the scenery and it is dangerous and dumb.

when we make decisions in life...we have to admit a few things. first off, we’re driving blind. blind to how our decisions affect our future. blind to how our decisions affect the future of other people. sometimes we’re even blind to how our decisions affect our (and their) present.

"i didn’t mean for that to happen" or "i didn’t see that coming" are two of the saddest statements we can ever utter. they are also two statements that God NEVER makes.

we can drive blind at 5 mph...

but life doesn’t move at 5 mph, does it?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Get the Led Out...

i want to be led by God. every step. i think one of the first things we have to do b4we begin to understand what it means to be led by God is learning what interferes with being led.

a common bill mallonee metaphor is the idea of communication with God being like a radio receiver...esp if you remember the old days of dial would fanangle that dial and get it in just the right spot to get your radio station in w/o static...if you were driving, it would change as you moved; you were forever reaching for the dial as you drove...esp when a good song was playing. if i was listening to the radio in my room, sometimes my mom or dad would be doing something downstairs and interfere with my station...eventually my older brother rigged up some sort of antenna that which worked well...except for when an airplane flew over head.

currently in our home we don't have cable/sat tv. don't want it either. our poor, deprived kids. but i miss baseball. alot. i listen to games on the radio...but it's a hassle...even tho the radio station is less than 10 miles away, i can hardly get it in. one day, i was listening to the sox playing the indians...and the announcers were obviously indian fans...and then i realized i was listening to a cleveland OHIO radio over powered our little nickle and dime radio station...i tried the old tin foil on the antenna thing...i got to get my older brother to come up and rig somehting up...

what are the things that get in our way? sin, obviously. it's great that our sins are forgiven...i love the thought that all of my sin paid for on Calvary's tree. that Jesus died for all of it (even the sins i will commit tomorrow). i don't have to get hung up on worrying about being forgiven. i am.

i walk in newness of life, bc God has forgiven all of my sins. oh, how i need that!

but, at the same time, i realize that sin corrupts my relationship with Him. it gets in the way...blocks the signal...brings static...confusion.

bad attitudes get in the way...unforgiveness...senses of entitlement ... selfishness ... anger ... well, unchecked anger. self pity...when i think about it, these things are all "me-focused". they aren't God focused...if God is the signal we are trying to tune in, other signals (including "me") just get in the way...
and i'm stuck trying to put tin foil on my spiritual ears in order to hear God...or i get duped into listening to the wrong station.

i want to be led by God. attention.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Rez Sermon Outline

Make a Plan for L.I.F.E.
Not having a plan is a plan to fail
The Morgan Church theme for 2008 is “P.L.A.N. B.:
Producing a Loving Active Network of Believers”
“Plan A”: is our plan for our lives; “Plan B” is God’s

People living according to “Plan A” often live:
Carelessly (sinfully): sexual immorality; impurity, selfish ambition; drunkenness,
Carefully (religiously): factions, envy, dissensions, idolatry
Both ways leads to death (and being unfulfilled)
(Gal 5:16-26)
“Looking for the Living amongst the dead”

God has a plan for you that leads to Life.
and He invites you to join in and Plan for L.I.F.E.!
Being Led by God
A common human need is Belonging—
bc we were created to belong to Him
Until we commit to following Him our hearts are restless
And we fill our lives with “Plan A stuff”
It requires making a choice and a commitment

Being Intentional
Being intentional is not living a perfect life it is
Living a life of ministry
It fulfills another common human need: Purpose

Peter’s story in John 21
Peter made a mistake (he would make more)
But he committed to intentionally doing God’s work

Experiencing Forgiveness
God’s forgiveness fulfills the human need for peace
Peace is not the absence of conflict—it is God’s presence
We experience His presence by:
We must ask God for forgiveness
Trust that He has forgiven us
Remind ourselves over and over we are forgiven
This results in our being willing to forgive others
If we are unwilling to forgive others, it is an indication
We haven’t fully experienced God’s forgiveness

We can Expect God to be at work in us!
We can always expect God to do what He promised
He promised:
Eternal Life His Presence His Peace His Provision

When we Intentionally Follow Jesus, we give Him complete control of our lives
We choose what He wants for us
We develop His character
(we think, act and speak like Him)

If we fail to do so, we ask Him for forgiveness
And re-commit to Intentionally Following Him

We are assured we Belong to Him
Our lives have Purpose
Our hearts are at Peace

Our human need for Hope is fulfilled
Hope brings Meaning

And that is a Plan for L.I.F.E.

March 23 VOTD

Sunday: Luke 24:5-6 Plan for LIFE: Being Led by God
But the [angels] said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”
In what ways do people “look for the living among the dead?”
What things might God be leading you away from?
What are the things God may be leading you to?
Some other verses you can look up: Prov 3:5-6; Gal 5:16-26


so, yesterday my son and i were in a local store waiting at the counter while a lady helped us fill our order. she didn’t have children...well, at least i don’t think she had any children.

she very nicely said to carlo "is the easter bunny coming to your house?" carlo looks up at me and i nod

>>we don’t make a big deal about santa, the tooth fairy and the easter bunny (altho last week the tooth fairy "forgot" to show up)...but eb doesn’t do much in our home...easter is far too busy for us to really do anything<<

carlo looks at the nice lady and says "yes".

"is he going to bring you lot’s of toys?" she asks, sweetly. carlo looks at me with eyes the size of kansas...hoping i’ll nod "yes" again.

"is he going to bring you bubbles?" she continues...sweetly as ever. i lean over and say "sssshhhhh".

"is he going to bring you a frisbee? a motorized car?"


"how about a new bike?"


what the heck?!

carlo is about to have a seizure he’s expecting so much!

the lady looks at him, looks at me (i had that "you’ve got to be kidding me" look on my face)...and says in a pathetic voice:

"oh... i guess you’re just going to get some dumb candy, huh?".

yeah. and a hard boiled egg.

now you know why i said she didn't have kids?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ain't no Disco

And I wish I had a map
that would lead me down this narrow path
And show me all the booby traps…
That’s life during wartime

My heart beats and jumps in my shirt
As I lie down there in the dirt
And I didn’t think it would really hurt, like this…but

That’s life during wartime

There are friends, and there are enemies
But when the bullets fly, it’s all the same you see
You just cover your head and say, “no, no, no, not me…”
That’s life during wartime


A promise was given to I…
That I may perish, but I’ll never die…
It just gets so cold when the marsh gets high…
But that’s life, during wartime

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


*disclaimer: i have no idea how accurate the information herein sounded good to me...*

the engineer started the enormous deisel engines. He wore a Casey Jones hat on his head and big leather work gloves on his hands. He took the gloves off when they weren’t needed but he always left his hat on. He said it "made him right for the job".

It took a while to start those engines. Sometimes, in late fall or in the cold of winter, he wished starting up the engines was more like atarting his car; just turn the key and go; you don’t even have to step on the gas pedal anymore, fuel injection does it for you.

But most times he relished in the process. Turn the key and wait. Wait until the fuel warms and is able to fire. It took a patient man. He sometimes thought he would be better off applying this gift of patience to other parts of his life...traffic, his wife, his kids...oh, how he needed to be more patient with them! But a gift is only good for what it’s good for and he had a gift for waiting for these engines.

Soon enough the engines had the power to begin moving and he’d ease the engine down the tracks to pick up the rest of the train. This was always the most dangerous part of the trip. There were other trains in various stages of passage; some coming in, some going out, some warming up or cooling down and there were always men around the tracks, deaf to his train in the din and clang of all those other trains. He had many friends maimed and a few killed in the process. He was glad he became an engineer and was off the tracks. So was his wife.

She had the patience he lacked. She calmly said things over and over to him when he couldn’t hear her. She didn’t scold him for not wearing his earplugs when he was on the train (the reason he cited for not being able to hear her). she smiled serenely at him when he shouted "GOOD MORNING, HON. I LOVE YOU" all the way from the other side of the bed.

but she was glad he was off the tracks.

the engineer picked up his load. They (he still doesn’t know who "they" are) decide that the train is large enough to warrant two engine cars. It’s a good thing he is a patient train man. He walks the half a mile or so to get the other engine and starts the process again.

(In what seems like a half a day later) the engineer has both engines hooked up to his load and begins the long pull. The engines are too big to whine, but whine they do, as they strain to budge the load. There is an art to starting trains; you have to use force, but you can’t jerk it, God forbid stall the engines. As he always does, he leans his weight forward, co-operating with gravity to move the train. He thinks it helps and chuckles everytime he does it, remembering his wife’s good natured ribbing about being able to "will" something into existence.

Soon, the train is chugging along as rough as a ride along the surface of the moon. The engineer likes this part of the trip. He enjoys the fits and starts and the Ralph Kramden like lurches and halts. He enjoys the overwhelming noise of the engines that seems to surround him and embrace him like a heavy winter coat soaked in warm water. He enjoys the pull of the engines and glances at his watch and makes a mental note of when inertia begins to kick in. He enjoys the chug of the engine and gets a thrill at the exact moment when the train’s momentum makes stopping a seeming impossibility.

He thinks of March snow storms and the rough and tumble of winter’s end. He knows that, like Spring, the train is slow in coming, but come it always will.