Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Prayer is your gift to a friend

This past weekend I became a patient instead of a person who visits patients. While I was at the Yale New Haven Hospital the Chaplain stopped in to visit. We had a nice talk and found that we had several common connections. It immediately put me at ease.

After a few minutes she came to that awkward pause that often comes in a pastoral visit. I knew she was trying to determine if she should offer to pray with me or not. I have been in that spot before especially with someone I don't know that well. She was saved by the nurse who came in to draw blood so she said her good byes and left.

Afterwards it got me thinking. How do we know when it is appropriate to pray with someone going through a tough time? I think the answer is to simply ask. Let the person you are visiting tell you. I know that I always covet pray. I would have told her to "go ahead." People will also tell you "no thanks." You will never know unless you ask.

I want to encourage you to be bold with people you know, especially if you have a good relationship with them. There is nothing more powerful that you can do for someone you care about than to pray with them. It says you care deeply and want the best for them. Afterall prayer is taking their concerns and well being and bringing it to God's attention.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Giving them good news

As I was coming home this afternoon I noticed a news van parked on an overpass. My first thought was "What horrible thing is happening in Norwich today?" Then I caught myself. Why does the presence of a television new crew signify bad news? Maybe it is because that is all that we seem to find on the evening news. Stories of corruption or tragedy seem to fill the air waves. If we are not hearing about the war in Iraq we are sure to find out that one of our neighbors was involved in something illicit.

So where do we find the bearers of Good News? I wish I could say it was in the church. You and I know that God's love is often preached from our pulpits on Sunday mornings. But too many of people see the church, and the church sets the bells ringing just like that news van. Many of our friends and neighbors only hear judgement and damnation flowing from our lips. As a result when they see us or think of the church, they connect it to "bad news."

Maybe we need to be more intentional in our sharing. We need to find ways to show the love of God in our actions. We need to speak words of compassion to those who are lost and hurting. We need to reach out wit love. We need to be more like Jesus. When people saw him, they swarmed to be near him so they could bask in his love.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Do it yourself

I was expecting Sue to come by this morning. Every two weeks she comes in to do some light housekeeping. She mops the floors, washes the counter tops, goes over the bathrooms and does some vacuuming and dusting. In order to get ready for her to come in I usually make sure all the dishes are washed and the house is picked up.

I was running late this morning so I was feeling a bit frustrated. My daughter had a friend over and they did some baking and the sink was filled with pots and pans. I was rushing around like mad trying to get things in order for Sue when the call came. She had to go to another job and wanted to know if it was alright if she skipped us this week.

The funny thing is that although I was disappointed, I was a bit relieved. I finished up the dishes and then went about the house dusting and picking up and by the time I was finished, everything looked pretty good.

It made me think about the number of times we expect other people to do things and get disappointed when things don't work out. Maybe in those moments we are being called to take the initiative and do it ourselves. Maybe we are the "somebody" that God is calling to do the job that day.

Have you been thinking of someone recently. Then give them a call, drop them a card or go visit them. someone else could do it, but maybe God is calling you to do it today.


Monday, February 19, 2007

Pause to give thanks

Well, it is very cold outside and I am glad to be inside. Yesterday we hosted the monthly luncheon for those who are down on their luck. Although most of the people who came to the church had some place to go afterwards, a few of them are probably huddled out in the cold tonight.

We take so much of what we have for granted. We don't even think about the fact that we have a place to stay tonight as a blessing. We live in a society that pushes us to accumulate more and more things so that we are never satisfied with what we already have. As a result we don't stop to consider how fortunate we are and how many blessings we possess.

Right now I want to invite you to name ten things that you are thankful for and take a minute to thank God for them. I guarantee that if you and I did this every day we would come away with a greater sense of God's presence in our lives. He is so good.