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  • Created on Monday, 30 July 2018
    RENEWAL LEAVE UPDATE #12 The town square at Sainte Mere Eglise Driving through the countryside of the Normandy region of France feels a bit like entering the world of an animated Walt Disney film. The green fields, bushy hedgerows, lolling cows, and medieval-period stone houses, churches, and barns call to mind many stories that we learn...
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  • Created on Monday, 23 July 2018
    RENEWAL LEAVE UPDATE #11 The St. Columba window in St. Margaret’s Chapel at Edinburgh Castle In the year 563AD, an Irish monk named Columba set out in a wicker boat covered with leather across the treacherous Irish Sea in search of a new place to establish a Christian community. Columba’s reasons for leaving Ireland appear murky through ...
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  • Created on Thursday, 19 July 2018
    RENEWAL LEAVE REFLECTION #10 “ In walking, we acquire more of less.” Robert Moor, On Trails: An Exploration The hiker monument at the end of the West Highland Way, Fort William, Scotland. The 96 mile trek of the West Highland Way ends at the end of a pedestrian shopping plaza in the city of Fort William in northern Scotland. After six da...
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  • Created on Monday, 09 July 2018
    RENEWAL LEAVE UPDATE #9 At the summit of Arthur’s Seat overlooking Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth. We have now entered a new phase of renewal leave as Jennifer and I traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland to prepare for hiking the West Highland Way. We arrived in Scotland on Friday and spent a couple of days exploring Edinburgh (one of the be...
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  • Created on Wednesday, 04 July 2018
    RENEWAL LEAVE UPDATE #8 I’ve been enjoying some time at home over the last week, doing a lot of reading, enjoying time with Jennifer, and breaking in a new pair of hiking shoes for the next phase of renewal leave. I also had the chance to have a mid-leave session with my spiritual director, Rev. Pam Roberts of the Centered Life Counselin...
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  • Created on Tuesday, 26 June 2018
    RENEWAL LEAVE UPDATE #7 Me with Tim Sprowls and Barry Drusedum— my brothers from another mother and roommates at IUP. I’ve just returned from a great couple of weeks back home in Pennsylvania, where I spent some time studying in libraries, looking for obscure Civil War monuments in Gettysburg (see last week’s post for details), visiting ...
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  • Created on Monday, 18 June 2018
    RENEWAL LEAVE UPDATE #6 The “veterans” of the 11th PA Reserves at the monument of the original regiment in Gettysburg – Rick Grossman, Bob Kaylor, Mike Cobb, and Chuck Cubbison I spent the past week of my renewal leave in Gettysburg, PA, doing some research on long-term pastorates at the Lutheran Seminary and, later in the week, having a...
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  • Created on Monday, 11 June 2018
    RENEWAL LEAVE UPDATE #5 I had the privilege of preaching at the Tunnelton Presbyterian Church in Tunnelton, PA, on Sunday morning. This was my grandparents’ church and the church where I was baptized. In many ways, this was like coming full circle—coming back to the church where my spiritual journey began. For this week’s update, I’m pos...
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  • Created on Tuesday, 05 June 2018
    RENEWAL LEAVE UPDATE #4 Joel Kershaw and I taking a break near Copeland Falls at Rocky Mountain National Park I have been in Estes Park, Colorado, this week enjoying some time for retreat thanks to the generosity of Linda Aldrich and Felipe Rodriguez who graciously let me use their beautiful cabin for a few days. Estes and Rocky Mountain...
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  • Created on Tuesday, 29 May 2018
    RENEWAL LEAVE UPDATE #3 “ Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” – Han Solo, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. This weekend, I went into a screening of the new Han Solo biopic, the latest installment in Disney’s, well, “Disney-fication” of the Star Wars saga , with few expectations. After ...
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  • Created on Wednesday, 23 May 2018
    “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! One of the keys themes of my renewal leave is transition, and certainly one of the most profoun...
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  • Created on Wednesday, 16 May 2018
    It’s been a little over a week since the congregation and I bade farewell to one another as I embarked on a 15-week renewal leave, the first extended leave I have ever taken in nearly 30 years of full-time ministry. This time is a tremendous gift and I’m grateful to the congregation and our leadership for the opportunity to renew, retool...
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  • Created on Monday, 26 March 2018
    CONCLUSION OF THE LENT SERIES “THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS” MARK 15:16-39 We began today’s Palm Sunday service by reading about the parade that took place in Jerusalem when Jesus came into the city But some historians believe that there were actually two parades that day. There was the procession of the Roman cohort, led by Pontius Pilate, ...
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  • Created on Monday, 19 March 2018
    PART 5 OF “THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS” ROMANS 6:1-14 So far in this series, we’ve been looking at the cross and the meaning of Jesus’ death through the lens of history and the message of the whole Bible. In the first sermon, we looked at the scandalous nature of crucifixion in the ancient world and, in the second, we talked about how the m...
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  • Created on Monday, 12 March 2018
    PART 4 OF THE SERIES “THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS” MARK 8:27-9:1 During this series, we’ve been dealing with the question, “Why did Jesus die?” That’s certainly a vital question, but it often causes us to fail to ask an equally important question: “Why did Jesus live?” If we paid attention only to the atonement theories that the church has ...
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  • Created on Monday, 05 March 2018
    PART 3 OF THE SERIES “THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS” GENESIS 15; I CORINTHIANS 15:1-4 "I passed on to you as most important what I also received: Christ died for our sins in line with the Scriptures; he was buried and raised on the third day in line with the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3-4). This is Paul’s concise way of describing the gospel—the ...
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  • Created on Tuesday, 27 February 2018
    PART 2 OF THE SERIES “THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS” 2 CORINTHIANS 5:13-6:2; JOHN 8:31-36 WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? That’s a question I’ve been hearing a lot these days. Looking at the news, watching people’s behavior, seeing the ways in which humans seem bent on destroying one another and themselves, it’s a question that many people are ask...
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  • Created on Monday, 19 February 2018
    PART 1 OF THE LENTEN SERIES “THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS” 1 CORINTHIANS 1:18-25 In 1857, archaeologists working on the Palatine Hill in the city of Rome unearthed a home that once belonged to the Emperor Caligula and, after his death, became a boarding school for imperial page boys. While they were sifting through the rubble, they came upon...
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  • Created on Monday, 12 February 2018
    JEREMIAH 31:31-34; GALATIANS 1:1-12 We have reached the conclusion of our series on Reform, but as with most things related to reformation, the end is really only the beginning. Once we learn the cycle of reform, we begin to look for the new future God wants to bring to his people and we anticipate what life might look like within it. Th...
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  • Created on Tuesday, 06 February 2018
    2 KINGS 23:21-23; 1 CORINTHIANS 11:23-26 We have come to the fourth stage of King Josiah’s reform this week, which we read about in 2 Kings 23:21-23. It’s a few short verses but some of the most powerful in the story. In this stage, Josiah re-institutes the Passover festival as an ongoing practice for the whole nation of Israel. It’s an ...
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