Sunday, November 6, 2016


In an attempt to pray and capture the swirling thoughts and feelings of my sleep-deprived brain; feeling the sting of missing worship at my church on All Saints Sunday, yet giving thanks for the new life I cradle in my arms - I offer these imperfect, yearning words.   

A one month old swaddled in sleep.
All Saints Sunday.

Rare quiet moments
To wonder
On the joys and sorrows of life
The tug-o-war playing out in my heart
For life gone by
For life beginning

There is laughter
There are tears
In both.

The passing of time,
How life does change in one year
One month
One week

The close of one chapter
That beckons a new beginning
Whether we want it
Or not.

The whisper of a saint’s final breath
Lingering in the starlit space
Waiting to fill the lungs
Of a newborn’s cry

And the quiet thanksgivings
The bittersweet goodbyes
For those who lived well
Loved hard;
Touched the world with
Kindness and grace

These rare quiet moments
Are yours,

Swaddled safely in the God
Who is yesterday, today
And always.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A New Day

Isaiah 44:1-5; Joel 2:28-29

I have been doing a devotion titled "40 Days with the Holy Spirit" by Jack Levison.  Forty days has taken me all summer.  Today I read two entries in the book, days 35 & 36, and in my reflection time I wrote in the last page of my current red, softbound journal.  One that I started last summer in June.  It's totally not a big deal to end one journal and open another for the first time - but I like to think it is.

Today I read and thought about how the Holy Spirit knows no boundaries.  Duh, right? But how we forget it.  The lines in the sand that we draw to keep us in and them out, the Spirit drenches in holy rain. Soaking us all - all flesh - with the blessings and promises of God.  Words I wish I wrote say for today's reflection say this:
"Horizontally the outpouring of the Spirit extends to all flesh - not just a single people group or state or nation or continent...the words all flesh crush the rigid shell of nationalism, for all flesh elsewhere in the Jewish Bible includes animals (Gen 6:19) and all of humankind (Gen 6:12; Deut 5:26; Psalm 65:2; Is 49:26; 66:23). The prophetic promise of the outpouring of the Spirit breaks every artificial boundary, every self-imposed border, ever pretense to privilege.  The Spirit also drills vertically deep into society, from top to bottom, from distinguished men to their nameless female slaves...There is a remarkable leveling out of society, a devastation of privilege, an obliteration of all barriers, whether of money, age, gender, or status in society."
Jack Levison, Forty Days with the Holy Spirit

Lines in the sand, drenched away by the Holy Spirit.  A vision that sounds warm and fuzzy, but in reality is anything but.  

Today I will go to a parent orientation at the place where Abbey will start pre-school in a few weeks. My baby girl is growing up.  And in the meantime the baby inside me continues to move and dance and kick in my belly - I cannot wait to meet Michael Cayce.

On this day in late July 2016, as I make an ordinary closing of a journal an important moment for my life and spiritual journey, I want Abbey & Michael both to know this (if they ever read it):

On Thursday of this past week, a historical moment was made in our country. Whether you like her or not, Hillary Clinton became the first woman in our nation's history to accept the nomination for presidency by a major political party.
Abbey & Michael, both of you can achieve anything you want.  Both of you can set goals for yourself and reach them.  Although, there will be hardships, failure, and pain along the way.  I hope and pray, through the good and bad times, that you continue along a path that molds you into the beloved people you are created to be. But I ask only this: that you work toward your goals and dreams with compassion. That you remember the message of our faith - from Noah to Moses to the prophets to Jesus - God's spirit drenches all of us with the goodness and blessings of God.  Do not step on others as you walk the path of your dreams.  Rather, reach out a hand to carry others along, and to be led by those very different from you. 

For the Holy Spirit truly does soak us with generosity and compassion and transformation whether we like it or not - if only we let it.  

And all of us - all flesh - are loved by God, the Creator of the world, whether we allow it or not.  

So we might as well, children of God, dance in the pouring rain of the Holy Spirit and give thanks for a new day.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Prayer for National Day of Prayer

This year, as part of our community ministerial association, I participated in the National Day of Prayer.  I joined several other pastors in this community as well as hundreds around the country to pray for topics such as U.S. military & government, families, churches, education, etc.  My topic of focus was the media.  I thought I would share my prayer here as well.  As the political climate gets hotter and hotter in America, the media has such a critical role.  And I worry more and more every day as to what kind of world Abbey and Baby Bruce #2 (as well as the countless children & youth I care about) will grow up in.

O God of all living beings,
God who touches the world with creativity and color; who equips your people with the gifts of imagination, talent, and inventiveness –

Continue to listen to our prayers today.  As we pray for our great country, we remember all the avenues of media:  from entertainment to news; from the screens of our televisions to the convenience of our smart phones. 

We ask you to open our minds to be thoughtful consumers of information.  We ask for the ability to stretch our eyes and our ears to look for the good things that are happening in our country; to not be so overwhelmed by the negative that we become bitter and complacent.  Rather grant us the awareness to respond to the plight of the poor and the suffering, which make the headlines, and grace us with the awareness to respond to the plethora of stories that never make the paper.  Remind us that your love does indeed bless the large cities and small towns of this country.  Empower our media outlets – from movies to the major news stations – to focus on the stories that bring healing, unity, compassion, and justice to the people of this country.  

O God – your son prayed that his disciples would be united as one people in your love made known in Christ Jesus.  And so we pray that, though we may disagree with our neighbor, though we may have different opinions depending on which media outlet we prefer, though we differ in culture, race, and background – we pray for the ability to focus first and foremost on our shared humanity and on the love that you place within us.  We pray for the courage of our media to deliver honest and fair information.  And on a day in which we also remember the 6 million deaths of Jewish people to the hands of the Nazis, we fervently pray our media not engage in the types of propaganda that once provided the fertile, deadly ground of the Holocaust. We pray our media will not divide us into people of anger and resentment for our fellow American, but rather inform us, educate us, and enlighten us to see all the people of this country – and this world - as our brothers and sisters; all of us wanting the very best for one another. May the information we seek every day be the stories we live out on the streets of our neighborhoods – stories of justice, of compassion, of peace, and liberty.

We pray in the name of Jesus – a man of peace; a Lord of love, Amen.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Perhaps it is the birds, who paint their voices in the skies
that shows us where you are
When we look but cannot see.
When we listen but do not hear.

You are near, you are far.

Your love stretches the movement of their song.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Lent Week Six

"Prayer is not asking.  Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depths of our hearts."  Mother Teresa

Six weeks ago was Ash Wednesday.  The ashes are no longer buried under my fingernails.  Haven't been there in a while.  Gone are the days when Lent crawled by.  This year it sprinted.  It ran like something was chasing it...(maybe Donald Trump was after Lent, too).

I'm not sure if I've changed much since the Wednesday of six weeks ago.  Have you?  My mind races today, too.  Scattered and jumbled like the pieces of a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.  Like those annoying puzzles where the majority of pieces are slightly different shades of ocean blue; it seems near impossible to ever find two that fit together, let alone 683.

What has this season done for me?  For us?  For our churches?  For our communities?  For our world?  Do we even really know....or care.....or really, and I mean, really pay attention?  It's fun and easy to see the tiny purple flowers budding on the trees.  Makes us feel happy and gitty as we put on shorts and sunglasses and kick Winter in the butt.  But are we really paying attention to what it all means for us?  Or....could mean for us?

We ask a lot of God.  I know I do anyway.  And then my mind goes all turbo speed while God just might be talking back.  Things-to-do....things I want-to-do....things I need-to-do....things I think-I-need-to-do.....blah blah blah....

Meanwhile, God, you sit here patiently.  Waiting, listening, sighing deeply, waiting for me to turn and look at you.  To stop and breathe you in.  For real.
I'm not asking anything of you. (I'm not saying it's not tempting to just ask because that's what I do most of the time anyway).  It's easier to ask - keeps me in charge of what I want and what I think I need.

So I'm not asking anything of you today, God.  I'm just trying to put my heart in your hands.

I'm just trying.... to shut up.....and put my heart in your hands.


Monday, February 29, 2016


How comfortable are we with the silence?
When it sticks into our conscious like the cut of a blade

Piercing our already noisy day with the shrill of quiet
Does it hurt?  Does it sting?  Do we wonder

What do I do?
Now what do I say?

I must pick up something quick, fast
This cannot be right.

How comfortable are we?

If the silence is where God truly dwells
I fear we are too comfortable

To let it last for long.

Saturday, February 20, 2016


For Abbey - February 19, 2016, on her second birthday.


I held out my hand and yours clutched around my finger.
We stepped out onto the empty street
Each step a careful new beginning;
Unchartered territory.

Looking down we watched our shadows lead us,
not knowing or caring where they took us or how long it would take.

The sun was bright and the wind quick,
A breezy reminder that winter still lingered somewhere in the clouds.
We stretched out our arms wide
You were so little you almost sailed away;
And clenched my finger tight.
I would have sailed with you.

Up in the sky a bird was gliding from barren tree to barren tree.
Her wings too big and the trees too bare, she could not hide from us.
And you squealed with joy.

We crossed the yard and waved to cows munching dry grass.
You attempted their language; they replied with blank stares.
Still, you smiled.

A big and simple day.
Winter's reprieve, if only for a moment,
Let a girl explore her world through brand new eyes,
And let her mommy do the same.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


I wonder how many days

God had dirt and ash and mud

under her fingernails

After the work of that first creation.

Where the soil of the ground sprang forth

New life

And being.

I wonder if God

picked at the tiny residue

from underneath those rugged nails,

Or if she scrubbed at them under a brand new

And shiny stream of water.


If she let the dirt and ash and mud


as a reminder of her great work

and great love

for her creation.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Grace is Dust

If you have ever stood in the middle of a room in your house and been overwhelmed by the mess of it, you may relate to these scattered thoughts of mine.  Yesterday I was reading a short devotional on my phone and the commentator compared God's grace to dust.  Yes, dust.  The tiny particles floating in the air all the time - but that we can only see in the sun's light.  My pet peeve!  I abhor dust.  I get so annoyed by what seems like mounds and mounds of never-ending dust in our house.  And dusting is just a joke we play on ourselves.  We think we're getting rid of it, we think we're cleaning, but in reality we're just moving the dust from one place to the next! It's the same with vacuuming.  Sure the vacuum picks up some stuff, but other dirt flakes or dog hair resting ever so gently under the dining room table or huddled in the corner are only getting blown to another location in the house - it's a tease!

I am embarrassed to say - dust is a bane of my existence.  So how on earth could this commentator compare God's beautiful grace to the nuisance of dust?! it or not...dust is every where.  All the time.  Every day.  Right in front of our faces. it or not...grace is every where.  All the time.  Every day.  Right in front of our faces.

Most of the time we have no clue that dust is accompanying us at our dinner table.  But when the sun shines, when it beams through our front window on a clear, cold winter's day, we see it...tiny particles floating in the air, seemingly carefree and happy to be annoying the crap out of us.

And...if we're honest, most of the time we have no clue that God's grace is accompanying us at our dinner table - or wherever we might be.  Yet when the sun shines upon some aspect of our lives - whether literally through our front window or metaphorically in an act of forgiveness or compassion or friendship or love - we see though it is a tiny dust particle floating in the air, seemingly carefree and happy - and, sometimes even, annoying the crap out of us.

With dust and grace, we have two options.  We can do what I typically do:  say a few choice words while going after the Pledge and a rag, cursing because I just did this yesterday.  While at the same time yelling at the dogs to stop scratching because it only makes the problem worse.  And by that point my entire mood has shifted.  I'm frustrated and edgy and completely self-absorbed by the absolute mess of my house and I know all too well I'll have to do this again tomorrow.

Or - the other option - is to accept dust and God's grace as a part of life.  It doesn't mean we have to like it all the time, either.  We can try to remind ourselves that even the cleanest houses have dust particles floating in the air.  And we can try to remind ourselves that even the people we disagree with most or dislike most are also recipients & bearers of God's amazing grace...God's grace cannot be isolated or controlled or kept neat and tidy for a select few even though we wish it were that way sometimes.  This realization can increase our capacity for compassion, understanding, and kindness.  (Because if you think about it, that's the hardest part of being human.  We know we don't have to love everyone, but we really have to be kind to everyone.  Our world shows us that kindness & understanding can be a matter of life or death).  

If we can accept both dust and grace as integral parts of life, then perhaps we will calm down for a moment and realize that we spend too much energy trying to keep everything so neat and tidy and mess-free so that by the time we've finally given up, we are too exhausted to do anything else.  Especially anything that really matters.

So, if God's grace is like dust, I will try to let it be.  Let the sun show me that those tiny flakes of grace are there, floating and present all the time.  There for me.  There for you.  There for (insert name).

I'll take in a deep breath, which is likely accompanied by dust, exhale and realize - hey, I'm still alive and okay.  It really is okay!

I'll say a prayer of thanksgiving (rather than a curse) for the beauty of the sun shining over a frosted winter yard and beaming into my front window.  I'll hug my dog only to make her have to scratch some more.  I'll watch the dust recirculate through the air and, with all my strength, I will push away the urge to grab the can of Pledge.  I'll breathe and realize it's still okay.  There is important work to be done in this world, and with God's grace, I have a part in it.

The dust will be here tomorrow.  And all of us will still be okay.  How do we know that?

Because the beautiful, perfect and often messy grace of God will be floating around us too.  And, hopefully, we'll breathe it in.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Prayer for Anyone, Anytime, Any Day

Maker of Heaven & Earth,
Creator of my soul
Sculptor of my body.
Be with me now.
I am willing to listen,
But I may not be ready to respond.


Forgive me.
Grant me peace.
Teach me love.
Show me compassion.
In mercy and in courage,
Bring me back to prayer again.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

At Home Worship: Sunday January 24, 2016

First Christian Church, Glasgow KY
Worship @ Home
Sunday January 24, 2016

Gathering Words
Take some time to pass the peace of Christ with those gathered near you.  If you are worshiping in solitude, ask for Christ's peace to enter your heart in this time of worship, prayer, and reflection.
One:  May the peace of Christ be with you.
All:  And also with you.

Opening Hymn:  Come Thou Font of Every Blessing

Call to Worship
One:  The Spirit of God is upon us.
All:  We are called to be God's people.
One:  The Spirit of God is upon us.
All:  We are called to be the Body of Christ.
One:  Come, let us worship God who binds us together in love and service.  (

Opening Prayer
God of comfort and hope, we praise you for the good things that you have given us.  We thank you for warm homes and beds in winter storms.  We thank you for food to keep us nourished and healthy. We thank you for friends, family, and church community to support, comfort, and gift us with life and love.  We pray for all who are cold and have no shelter, especially in snow and ice.  Help us to always find ways to reach out to people and animals in need.  Show us how to be your hope in a world that is broken.  Hold fast to all who are struggling in these frigid days and hold fast to the places in our hearts that keep you near to us.  We continue to pray the prayer that Jesus taught:
Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.  Amen.

Gloria Patri 
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.  As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.  World without end.  Amen.  Amen.

Children's Moment (attached is an activity sheet that can be printed out for one-time, home use.)

New Testament Reading - you may read from your Bible or click the scripture below.

Personal Reflections & Group Sharing
1) What is this story about?  Re-tell it in my own words.
2) What in this passage sticks out to me - whether good or bad?  Why?
3)  What do I find challenging/exciting about the mission of Jesus?
4)  How is God speaking to me in this passage?

Things to Consider:  Jesus was Nazareth's hometown boy.  Here we find him coming back home to share with the people his mission from God.  If we continue reading, we will find that the people get upset with him and try to throw him off a cliff!  Yikes!  Jesus says that no prophets are accepted in the prophet's hometown  (Lk 4:24).

Think about a "homecoming" moment in your life?  Was there ever a point in your life when you left what was familiar for a period of time and then came back?  What was that like?  Were you welcomed back into the community with open arms?  Was there a sense of rejection?  Did people have a difficult time accepting you for the person you became?  Did you experience the grace & embrace of old friends and family?  If you have never had an experience like this - think about someone who has or an event in the world that deals with coming back home, rejection, or acceptance of others.  Where do you find God's embrace in situations like these?  Or have you ever felt rejected by someone whom you tried to share God's love with?  What did that feel like?  How did you respond?

How does our church - FCC Glasgow - respond to this passage?  How does FCC Glasgow respond to Jesus' mission in ministry?  How is God's Kingdom reality (as detailed in this passage) different from our reality?  What is your role and what is our church's role in bringing God's reality to our community & world?

Praying for One Another
Call to Prayer:  Be Still and Know

FCC Prayer Concerns:
Buddy A.
Soni G.
Sharon M.
Jennifer F.
Pearl B.
Larry F.
Ronnie K.

FCC Ongoing Prayers:
Ed & Bobbe S.
Julie C.
Marjorie T.
Gunnar E.
Lola P.
Dennis B.
Tina C. & Family

Sympathy & Prayers to the family of Joe T. Jr. (Bruce T.'s uncle)

Prayers of thanks & safety to all city officials, first responders, and clean-up workers helping to keep our city & county safe during this storm.

Take time to lift your prayers to God silently, or share joys & concerns and pray aloud with those gathered with you. 

A Time of Communion & Offering
Take bread and juice (of any version you have available in your home) and spend a moment reflecting on the gift of the bread & cup for you.  Also reflect upon the ways you can share your gifts to God and with the ministries of FCC. 

Say aloud the Words of Institution, or click the video to hear them.


Offer silent Prayers of Thanksgiving for the communion meal or pray aloud with those gathered near you.
Eat the Bread and drink from the Cup.
Serve one another.

Closing Hymn:  I Love to Tell the Story

Go in Peace to share and to live the love of God in this world.  Amen.

FCC Week at a Glance:
1.  All Church activities for Sunday Jan 24 have been cancelled due to winter weather.  Everyone stay warm, safe, enjoy time with family & friends,  and check in on your neighbors and church family!

2.  Tuesday Jan 26:  Worship Committee Meeting 10:30 am in Fellowship Hall.  Bible Study @ Noon.  Elders Meeting @ 6:30 pm.

3.  Wednesday Jan 27:  Disciples Kid's Club (grades 1-3) 3-4 pm.  Youth Group @ 6 pm.  Choir Practice @ 7 pm.

4.  Youth Ski Thing is this weekend Jan 29-30.  Please turn in forms & money to Anne Bruce no later than Monday Jan 25.

5.  Sunday January 30:  FIFTH SUNDAY.  Notice the change in schedule.
Jeff Crane will be preaching!!
  • 9 am Sunday School
  • 10 am One Worship Service (including Children's Worship & Wonder)
  • 11 am Lunch & Projects (TBA).  Contact Martha Martin if you wish to contribute to the lunch!
Other Announcements:
  • Youth who are interested in Discipleship Class will meet with Anne Bruce on Sun Jan 30 at 9 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall.  Parents please come to this informational meeting.

  • Cookies for College Kids:  Please bring cookies to Fellowship Hall on Sunday Feb 7.  The Membership Committee will package cookies to be mailed on Monday Feb 8.  Please bring cookies in disposable containers!

  • The Season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on February 10th.  To recognize this special season, we will have a worship service at 5:30 pm to receive the ashes; followed by Potluck dinner at 6 pm in the Fellowship Hall.  Therefore Potluck has been moved from Wed February 3 to Wed February 10!!!  Potluck hosts are the flocks of Mike Chesnut & Carol Pike.  Please take note of this change and we hope to see you on Feb 10 for a time of worship, fellowship, and a shared meal.