Archive for the 'Lent' Category

First Sunday of Lent 2017 – Matthew 4:3-4

This is my final post on this WordPress platform.  Thank you for years of likes and, from time to time, comments.  I hope you will follow me to Church Health’s website where I will continue to nurture my faith and hopefully nurture yours as well.  As I tell my coworkers who receive this post by email every day: “Have a blessed day.”  Butch

Friday, March 3, 2017 

Matthew 4:3-4The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

In the Karate Kid, Mr. Miyagi instructs Daniel to have “Balance!”  Jesus is instructing us in the same way in this passage.  For optimal health, we need both a measure of nutritional sustenance and a measure of spiritual sustenance.  Take both, daily.

Gracious God, may we feel your overflowing love in us today and every day.  Amen.

First Sunday of Lent 2016 – Matthew 4:1-2

Thursday, March 2, 2017 

Readers: My blog posts will begin appearing on the Church Health website (built on the WordPress platform) beginning Monday, March 6.  I hope you will follow me there.

Matthew 4:1-2Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.

I have never used fasting as a spiritual discipline, but I have known people who found it an extremely effective way to better connect with God.  As people of faith, we are challenged to find our own ways to walk closer to God.

Loving God, help us move toward you so that we may be better disciples.  Amen.

First Sunday of Lent 2017 – Matthew 6:19-21

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Matthew 6:19-21“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Part of the discipline of Lent is to take time to intentionally reassess our lives and our faith.  It is a time to redefine our priorities.

Loving God, help us to know your will.  Give us the strength to act in ways which honor that knowledge.  Amen.

Have a blessed day,

First Sunday of Lent 2017 – Genesis 3:2-5

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 

I hope you will follow me to my new home on the Church Health website.

Genesis 3:2-5The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Temptation confronts all of us.  Broken resolutions to ourselves and others provide all the evidence we need of the power of temptation.  BUT God stands ready to provide support for our journey and forgiveness for those times when we fall short.

Loving God, give us strength for each day of our journey through life.  Be our guide.  Be our beacon.  Amen.

First Sunday of Lent 2017 – Genesis 2:15

Monday, February 27, 2017

This is the last week I will be posting on this blog.  My blog is moving to Church Health’s website.  I hope you choose to follow me there.  I will continue to share my blog on Facebook and Twitter.

Lent begins this week with Ash Wednesday.  Our passages for this first Sunday of Lent offer the following four scriptures from the lectionary: Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7; Psalm 32; Romans 5:12-19 and Matthew 4:1-11.

Genesis 2:15The LORD God took man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till it and keep it.

The creation narratives of the first and second chapters of Genesis might provide ample opportunity for debate, but I love this vision of our role on Earth as its caretakers.  We are asked to be good stewards of God’s creation.

Creator God, thank you for this wonderful day.  Help us to understand our role in caring for your masterful creation.  Amen.

Palm Sunday 2016 – Luke 19:35-36

Friday, March 18, 2016

Luke 19:35-36Then they brought the colt to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on it, they set Jesus on it.  As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road.

Military victors would ride into towns on horses, on mighty steeds.  By riding in on a colt Jesus was conveying his mission was one of peace.  Jesus came to Jerusalem in peace, but we know in hindsight that by the end of the week he will be killed through a violent death on a cross.

God of peace, forgiveness and mercy, help us to honor the variety of images of you that will be represented in the many faces we will meet today.  Amen.

Palm Sunday 2016 – Luke 19:33-34

Thursday, March 17, 2106

Luke 19:33-34As Jesus’ disciples were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”  They said, “The Lord needs it.”

And they let the disciples have the colt.  We have had a rash of robberies in my Memphis neighborhood, something which has rarely happened in all the years I have lived here.  But now whenever a stranger or two are walking on our sidewalks or standing by a car, the neighborhood social media site lights up with warnings.

God of us all, help us to lead with trust in one another.  Help us to be better neighbors to all our brothers and sisters.  Amen.

Our Upcoming Move to Crosstown Concourse Memphis 2016 – Psalm 118:22-23

Wednesday, March 16, 2015

Psalm 118:22-23The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.  This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

Today is the day for our third State of the Center Address, and the last one before we move into our new home at Crosstown.  We will move from thirteen buildings spread over Midtown Memphis to three floors and 150,000 square feet in our new vertical village.  I know some are anxious, even scared.  Others are excited beyond belief.  Honestly, I am somewhere in between.  But when I read this passage, I immediately thought of the dilapidated eyesore that Sears Crosstown had become, and I smiled as I realized what God was making possible for us.

Wonderful God, architect of all creation, thank you for the many blessings you have bestowed on us individually and on the Church Health Center organizationally.  Amen.

Palm Sunday 2016 – Psalm 118:24

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Psalm 118:24This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

My parents begin each day holding hands and repeating this verse together.  It is a simple but powerful verse that can set the tone for one’s entire day.

God of wonder, bless us and the services we offer in your name today.  Amen.

Palm Sunday 2016 – Psalm 118:1

Monday, March 14, 2016

We will celebrate Palm Sunday this week.  Jesus will enter Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna!”  But as you know, next week the shouts will turn into “Give us Barabbas!”  There are only two lectionary passages for Palm Sunday and they are: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29, Luke 19:28-40.

Psalm 118:1O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!

If you are like me, you have moments in your life where you just know God had to have played a role in the outcome.  In your quiet time today, take a personal inventory of all those moments across your life, and give thanks to God.

Steadfast, loving God, while it is sometimes hard for us to sense you, thank you for being an active presence in our lives.    Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Lent 2016 – Psalm 126:3-4

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Psalm 126:3-4The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.  Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the watercourses in the Negeb.

The Negeb or Negev is a desert region of southern Israel.  With an average annual rainfall of about eight inches, this is a dry, desolate region of the world.  As I am typing this, there is a downpour going on outside my Memphis home, and the image of life-giving water flowing through a desert is moving.

Life-giving God, help us to fully appreciate the abundance you offer us in everything, even something as simple as a glass of water.  Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Lent 2016 – John 12:3

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

John 12:3Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

One reference I consulted said that by today’s standards, the nard with which Mary anointed Jesus’ feet would cost about $3,000 per ounce today or nearly $50,000.  We are reminded by Mary’s act that we are to give God our very best.

Loving God, may the words of our mouths, the meditations of our hearts and the actions of our hands and feet helping one another, be acceptable to you.  Amen.


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