Thursday, August 16, 2012

Its done

I left the house today at 10 am to write this post.  It was my day off, but I figured I could do that one LAST post at least..  I walked into Starbucks at the same time as a Barista walked in.  This young man and I have debated and talked about God on numerous occasions.  He's torn between the faith he grew up with and the challenges he sees in the world.  He doesn't like to talk about "church", even when he talks about God.  We talked for ten minutes about people he was worried about.  He asked me to pray.  My heart almost melted.

I walked in the store and saw a church member.  We talked and chatted and I met a friend of his.  Then a new KSU freshman who had just walked in called me and came to meet me.  He got lost twice trying to make it the 1.5 miles, but found us.  We gave him options to look for part time jobs, and the low down on KUMC.  While we were talking, a frazzle mother with a pouting 3 year old walked past. I went an gave her the encouragement I could.  Then I realized the college student didn't have a TV so we went to church and got him one that had been lying around for months.

By the time I finished that, found lunch, and went back home, I decided to try to write the post again.  As I walked back into Starbucks, I saw more people I hadn't for a while.  I tried to make it short, knowing I needed to write this post, but they followed me inside.  An hour and a half later, we had cried, questioned, talked about God and laughed.  

Its amazing what ministry happens when you aren't looking.

What did you learn in the last 90 days?

I learned that God moved then and moves now--and sometimes worrying about the details just gets in the way of God's moving

I learned that I don't understand God, and I'm not sure the Psalmist did either.

I learned that I know more scripture than I ever thought I did.

I learned that I don't always have time to write every day.

I learned that I love reading scripture, but don't always have words as much as I have feelings about it.

I learned that the Psalms aren't as uplifting as I wanted them to be.

I learned God is bigger than I am, and that's awesome.

What have you learned?

Psalm 150 has always been one of my favorites.  I love the unabandoned praise.  I pray I learned most of all that my life needs to be full of praise.  

Pastor Emily 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


What would happen if the whole world praised God like Psalm 148 asked?  What would happen?

What would happen if we would praise God.  With everything we do and everything we say.

I would love to see it!

One more post!  We are almost done!

What have you most learned in the last two months?

Pastor Emily 


Psalm 146 is a justice Psalm!  Reminding us that there is justice for the oppressed!  I love verses 7-9!

How are we trying to help the afflicted, release the prisoner, help the hungry, and open the eyes of the blind!

Worse--how are we acknowledging the ways God is working to release us, save us from our afflictions, feed our hunger and open our eyes.

Today Lord, I'm standing waiting for you to fix me!  I am broken!

Pastor Emily 

Monday, August 13, 2012


I think thats one of the things I'll take out of this study.  Other than remembering more of which Psalm is which--is the amount of scripture that is in my heart that I never knew was there.

Psalm 144 is so familiar.

"What are humans beings that you are mindful of them?"

"I will sing to the Lord a new song!"

"Blessed be the Lord, my rock!"

"Happy are those to whom these blessings fall"  (Praise God from whom all blessings flow?)

God is good--I'm so thankful that I have his word hidden in my heart!

Pastor Emily 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Mouth

Since I was a little girl, my mouth was what I did best and what I did worst.  With it I could be cute and funny or hurting and biting.

Psalm 141:3 reminds me of that.  

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;
   keep watch over the door of my lips.

I need that reminder.  That I can use my mouth for good.  That I can love on people instead of spreading hate.  Its so easy to use our words for evil.  Lord, set a guard over my mouth.  Keep watch over the door of my lips.

Pastor Emily 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

God Knows You

Psalm 139 is familiar, isn't it?  

"You have searched me, and known me"

"Where can I go from your spirit?"

"For it was you that formed my inward parts, you knit me together in my mother's womb"

The words seem so comforting.  We serve a God who knows us. Has known us.  Will always know us.  And loves us anyway.  Knows our deepest secrets and greatest sins.  Knows our greatest accomplishments and loves us anyway.  You were fearfully and wonderfully made!  How does knowing that make your life different?  Better?

That's why in Psalm 140 God can and will protect us.  Because he made us.  Special.  Favored.  Perfect.

Live into that today!

Pastor Emily 

Friday, August 10, 2012

It gets real

How would you use Psalm 137 if you had to preach a sermon about it?  Its a picture of a people.  Downtrodden.  Angry.  Alone.  Frustrated.  Abused.  Forsaken.

And the Psalmist gets real.  He is angry.  He wants revenge.  He feels alone and abandoned.

Sometimes we feel this way.  Sometimes we want these things.  Sometimes we get lost in a world of Psalm 137.

But Psalm 138 is hopeful.  "Even though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me."  There is hope even in our most irrational, frustrating, awful times.  There is hope.

That's what the message is.  In the midst of our anger and fear and frustration.  There is hope.

Do you have hope?  I pray you do!

Pastor Emily 

Thursday, August 9, 2012


As I read these two Psalms, I tried to picture how they would be used in worship.  Would they be fast or slow songs?  Would they be sung by a powerful soprano voice or deep bass voice?  Would they come before or after the offering?  What would the acolytes look like?

I know that's probably silly, but a pastor thinks about things like that. I want to know what and how and why.

Then I heard this song.  And I stopped.  And remembered that it was deeper than my questions.

It was about God's steadfast love that endures forever.

Glory be to God.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012


In our divided world of congregations, denominations, families, divorce, political parties, and more--how do we live into the unity that Psalm 133 talks about.

I would figure that in ancient Judaism there was less chance to freely state your opinion.  Less chance to believe it mattered than in our time.  Yet and still they had problems with unity.  

Lets mediate and pray on that today.  How will you find new ways to unite with others who aren't like you?  How will you find new ways to create unity in your family.  In your church?  In your work place?

I want some of the precious oil.  How about you?

Pastor Emily 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Quiet Trust

This is all that needs to be said today.  It might be my new favorite Psalm.  Psalm 131.  It is my goal.  My ideal.  What I would like to be.

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
   my eyes are not raised too high;

For I do not want to consider myself more than you.

I do not occupy myself with things
   too great and too marvelous for me.

Because nothing is too great for you.  But I only need whats simple.  What bring you joy.

But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
   like a weaned child with its mother;
   my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.

Lord, you know quieting my soul is tough.  But I am working on it for you.  I am working on being calm and quiet and hearing you.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
   from this time on and for evermore.

You are why I do everything.  You are my only hope.  You are my everything.


Blessings--Pastor Emily 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Affecting Me

I have to say, I read these Psalms with a heavy heart.  Its been a long last week of ministry.  Life is going at a hectic pace.  And then I awake to the news out of Wisconsin.  A gunman walked into a Sikh temple and shot people in prayer.  Its not ok.  Its awful.  My heart is heavy.

So, when I read another Psalm about smiting our neighbors and cutting the cords of the wicked in half (129:4), my heart breaks.  I wonder if its Psalms and sermons and songs like this that convinced the gunman to walk in and shoot someone in prayer.  I wonder if what we teach has convinced people to hate.

Yesterday in our Youth Service, the Rise, we talked about the Question, "If we believe that Jesus is the Way, why are there so many religions?"  I rethought what I said.  Or tried to say.  I tried to say, we need to respect and love people of other faiths because God could be trying to find their own spiritual paths to bring them to Jesus.  BUT we need to talk to them about Jesus, because Jesus is the best, strongest, most wonderful revelation of God.  The truest form of Love.  The best form of peace.

That's what I have found so missing from these Psalms, and from so many churches.  But then Psalm 130 got there.  The Psalmist cried out to God from the depths (130:1) and talked about the soul waiting (130:5).  Then it talked of the redeemer, the lovingkindness.  I can see Jesus in this Psalm.

That's what I needed this morning--a little Jesus.  Did you find him too?

Pastor Emily 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Unless the Lord Builds it

These were short but sweet!  128 talks about families.  I'm not so sure I'm like an olive shoot, but the metaphors made me thing.

But 127:1 is one that we often see above doors.  Or on building projects.  "Unless the Lord builds the house, the labors are in vain."

It always challenges me to pray more.  To commit my ways to God instead of my own.  How often do you start something without consulting God?  How often do you work really hard on something to ask God to bless it, without seeing if it was his idea in the first place?

Too often, if you are anything like me.  

God, may we follow your will instead of our own!  May we find new ways to love you and to serve you.  Build our houses!  Amen!

Pastor Emily 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

How do you pray?

Reading Psalm 125 and 126 and their pleas for good made me stop and think.

How do you pray?  Do you pray for blessings.  For those you love?  For those you care about?  I do.

Maybe that's what we were to learn from these Psalms.  These Psalms pre-date Jesus and they never pray for their enemies.  Its not in their nature.  I've found myself lately doing a few things:

1) Hoping Russian Gymnasts would fall.  (And feeling guilty about it, but doing it anyway).
2) Praying for people I am angry with, hurt by, and upset by.

How can I do both of those things?  Well, because I'm human.  But, the Christian imperative to pray for our enemies is unique.  How good are you at that?  I'm good at praying like these Psalms--for those who are good.  For those I love.  For the righteous!  I've had to learn how to pray for my enemies.

How are you doing with it?

Lord--Help us to love the unloveable.  Help us to see with your eyes.  Bless those who annoy, hurt, betray us.  Not so they might win, but so that might see the light of your goodness.  Maybe if they change--we can change the world! We love you!  Amen.

Pastor Emily

Friday, August 3, 2012

Four for One

Apologies on missing yesterday.  No excuse other than being overwhelmed.  

Here are my thoughts:

1) Psalm 121 is one of my favorites!  The Sound of Music Psalm!  Such comforting words!
2) Psalm 122 has the best benedictions/prayers for blessings in verses 6-9!
3) Psalm 123 There is a lot of lifting up our eyes.  I like the concept that when we are down, our heads and hearts buried that we can look to God who is above for comfort and strength!  I love it!
4) Do the words in Psalm 124 sound like Our God at all?  Maybe not word for word, but they make me think of it!

I hope your day is going wonderfully!

Praying for you!
Pastor Emily 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Holy Long Psalm, Batman!

Wow!  I've been waiting for 119, its a long one!

But to me its a beautiful picture of seeking after God and trying to do "right".  Trying to be our best. Living into God's decrees does create happiness and contentment--even in the worst of circumstances!

I loved verses 10-11

With my whole heart I seek you;
   do not let me stray from your commandments.
I treasure your word in my heart,
   so that I may not sin against you.

Thats what has so helped me these past two summers.  Finding ways to commit scripture to more than my brain, but to my heart!  

I also loved the end of 120.  Let us find ways to promote the peace of God in our contentious world!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Steadfast Love

Its clear in Psalm 117 and 118 that the Psalmist is reminding us that God's love is steadfast.

Steadfast isn't a word we use often.  Its not a word we talk about or think about.  What does it mean to you?

Steadfast is a word we often use with the word true.  Something that endures.  Is faithful.  Never changes.

This hit me hard today.  This evening for three hours our church will entertain mourners for a 22 year old young man.  We will hold his wife's hand.  Hold his parents hands.  But God's steadfast love endures forever.

They are really being strong.  Believing and trusting despite.  But I know they question.  Where was God.  And yet, God steadfast love endures forever.  

I hope wherever you are, whatever you are going through you can know and say and claim that God steadfast love endures forever.

Pastor Emily 

Monday, July 30, 2012


Psalm 115 really convicted me today.  We have so many idols in our lives.  Food and money and cars and bigger churches, and children and politics and praise bands and computers and Ipads or Iphones.  So many things I worship more than God.  What a great reminder that God is the center!

Also in 116 it talks about the cup of salvation.  We use that image at Revive when we offer the communion cup.  We offer it as the "Cup of salvation."  It was neat to see an OT scripture relate to it!

What did you see today?

Pastor Emily 

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I don't know if its just me, but right now everyone seems to be fighting.  We are fighting against or for Chic-Fil-a.  For or against the US in the Olympics.  For or against the President or Mr. Romney.  For or against this issue or that one.

I wonder what Christ is thinking about us.  I'm not sure that he's very proud.  Are we fighting for real issues, or just fighting.  This Psalm hit me today.

"Who is like the Lord our God,
   who is seated on high,
who looks far down
   on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust,
   and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,
   with the princes of his people.
He gives the barren woman a home,
   making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!"

God is with everyone.  God is with the poor and the needy.  The rich.  The foolish and the wise. The scorned and the scorner.  God is with everyone--so why are we so worried about picking sides?

I want to be on God's side--with his people.  Loving everyone.  

Pastor Emily

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Psalm 111 ends, and Psalm 112 begins by admonishing us to fear the Lord.

"The fear of the Lord is wisdom," the Psalmist writes, "all who practice it have good understanding."

But what does that mean?  What does it mean to fear the Lord.

Sometiems, I fear that our understanding of God--my understanding of God--sometimes gets too friendly.  I talk to God like a friend instead of like my Lord, my parent, my everything.

What would you be better able to understand if you feared the Lord?  What would be different?

Pastor Emily

Friday, July 27, 2012


About 8 pm last night I got a phone call from a parishioner about a family whose son was in a bad wreck.  It sounded important but not critical, so I continued the in depth conversation I was part of, knowing I'd call back as soon as I could.  Fifteen minutes later my phone rang again.  This time I knew it wasn't just a wreck.

A couple's 22 year old son was riding his bicycle to work.  He was hit from behind by a car, and did not survive.  He lives several hours away, and was just married six weeks ago.  I rushed to the family's home.  And we cried and prayed and packed.  They had close friends there already.  A couple from choir came to help them drive down to where he ans his wife lived.  Their Sunday School class came by for hugs.  They were surrounded with love and grace, even in the midst of sadness.

So, as I read these Psalms, these verses from Psalm 109, stuck out to me.

"21 But you, O Lord my Lord,
   act on my behalf for your name’s sake;
   because your steadfast love is good, deliver me.
22 For I am poor and needy,
   and my heart is pierced within me.
23 I am gone like a shadow at evening;
   I am shaken off like a locust.
24 My knees are weak through fasting;
   my body has become gaunt."

That's what I love about scripture.  God uses it to speak to me even when it seems unrelated on the outside.  The people who are so focused on one meaning to scripture always befuddle me--because God speaks to me differently through scripture every day.

Today, I used this to pray for so many families whose hearts are breaking! Tomorrow I might use it for something else.  God works, even when I don't understand it.

What scripture is speaking to you today?

Pastor Emily 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I Could Preach That

When I preach, I love to tell stories.  I think too many of us don't know, or too quickly forget the wonderful stories in the bible (wait, I kinda talked about that yesterday, didn't I?)

Well, too often, I have kept away from the Psalms to preach because they aren't exactly, "stories".  They are beautiful, and helpful and great fodder for songs, but for me hard to preach from.

Psalm 107 can preach!  Almost by itself.  It talks of people hungry, thirsty, broken.  It talks of people oppressed, depressed, and sick with sin.  People like me.  Like you!  And it talks of a God who provides, protects, encourages, and loves.

That's a story that will preach.  It preached to me today.  Did it preach to you?

Pastor Emily 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I love Bible stories.  I've loved them my whole life.  Jacob/Israel, Abraham/Abram, Esther, Lydia, Deborah, Samson.  So many!

So, these two Psalms reminded me of them.  106 talked so much about Moses.  I love that story.  About the underdog who God used in mighty ways.  He wasn't perfect, and God used him too!  It reminds me that not only WILL God use me--but he will use even the people I count out!  Who are you counting out?  Who have you given up on?  Who do you not believe in?

But, maybe my favorite story is Joseph!  Joseph is the reason why Moses was in Egypt (well, maybe Joseph's brothers, but that's for another day!)  I love the Andrew Lloyd Weber Musical!  And our children's music program did a great musical about him last year!  I love retelling that story!  Do you remember it?  Joseph was a dreamer whose Dad loved him more than his other brothers.  The other brothers, being mad and jealous sold him into slavery.  Ending up in Egypt, because he did the right thing and scorned his master's wife (when she tried to seduce him!), he was thrown in jail.  When the Pharaoh found out about his connection to God and his ability to interpret dreams he was taken out of jail and became important in the Pharaoh's government!  He helped keep Egypt from dying from a terrible famine!  During the famine his brothers came to Egypt to beg for food, and he game them some!  In the end he forgave his brothers, even though they did awful things to him!

I love the idea that God can use even our worst situations.  That no matter what pit we are in--God can find us!  I love the idea that forgiveness is possible, no matter what we've done!  I love the idea that God works even in the worst of places with the worst of people!

What battles are you facing?  Have you given up?  God is working.  Lets find ways to be patient, thankful, and wait to see the outcomes!

Love and Blessings!
Pastor Emily 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul

I could barely even read past the first verses of Psalm 103 before I started writing.

So often, I ask Go for blessings--but here, we are asking that our soul blesses God.  How do you bless God?  How is it that what you do blesses God?  What can you do this week to Bless God?

I remember this praise chorus as one of my most favorites.  But I had to go through several others to get there....

Like this GREAT song from Matt Redman!

Or this one by Tye Tribbett

And finally I found it.  Do you remember this one?

It is one that is ingrained in my soul.  Its a song I sing when I am thinking or sad.  One of the things that always seems to calm me is singing.  Praise to God.  

How are you doing with these Psalms?

Pastor Emily 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Why I'm Christian!

There are lots of reasons why I'm Christian.

But as I read these lines in Psalm 102:25-27, all I thought is, "This is why I'm Christian!

Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth,
   and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you endure;
   they will all wear out like a garment.
You change them like clothing, and they pass away;
   but you are the same, and your years have no end.

God is faithful and true.  God will be there long after the earth is gone.  After humans are but a memory.  I so often get caught up in how crazy things are that I forget that.  God is the center not me!  

God is good!

How is your day!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Psalm 100

We are 2/3 done today!  (Its also my Daddy's birthday!)  What great news to celebrate!

I love Psalm 100.  And not just because its short.

1  Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.

How will you make a joyful noise?  What would it sound like if the whole world made a joyful noise?  Can you imagine?

2   Worship the Lord with gladness;
   come into his presence with singing.

Yes!  Too often I worship because I have to.  Not with gladness.  You being glad and thankful is worship in and of itself!!!

3 Know that the Lord is God.
   It is he that made us, and we are his;
   we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

This verse!  Hits home!  I know the Lord is God.  I know that God made us.  And that I belong to him!  How would people live their lives differently if they knew they belonged to God!  That they can roam around his pasture as his people!

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
   and his courts with praise.
   Give thanks to him, bless his name.

Yes!  Come into his gates with thanks!  And his courts with praise.  Treat him like the King he is!  We don't have kings.  We have presidents who we can say mean things about.  We have celebrities who we try to find dirt on.  People we try to knock down.  No one today is worthy of praise.  No one but God!

5 For the Lord is good;
   his steadfast love endures for ever,
   and his faithfulness to all generations.

Steadfast Love!  Steadfast Love!  Its what we yearn for.  What we search for!  Its the core of our being.  We want to be loved, steadfastly.  


Pastor Emily 

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Psalms 97 and 98 remind me of heaven.  They seem like the Psalmist vision.  They talk of the sea and the ocean and God's throne.  They talk of lightening and melting mountains and heavenly choruses. 

My question today is what do you see Heaven like?  What does it look like?  Feel like?  

What is heaven to you?

Pastor Emily 

Friday, July 20, 2012


Sing a new song to the Lord!
Sing God's praises!

Do you like to sing?  I have grown up loving music, and knowing I have no musical talent.  I still remember playing my Michael English cassette tape, singing along and telling my mom how great I was. I told her I should sing it as a solo.  She gave the sweetest non-committal, truthful answer ever.  Something like, "Sure Emily, but I think that was written for a man, right?"

I wasn't exactly crestfallen, instead, I was sure I should show her that I could do it.  Then proceeded to chicken out.  I practice though.  I love music. I listen to all kinds of music and love to sing along with it when I can!  Thankfully, I try to spare you of my "talents"!

But I love to sing.  Do you love to sing?  Its something that we as a culture are losing.  The only places we sing together are some concerts and church.  I love the idea of raising our voices TOGETHER to God!

These two Psalms spoke to me at a basic level.  Did you know that the areas for singing and for speaking are in two different hemispheres of our brain.  When I worked with the elderly, I knew people who had lost the ability to speak.  To remember their own names.  But you would play amazing grace and they would sing.  Or hum.  They still remembered the songs, even when they forgot the words.

So SING!  Sing a song!  Sing it proud.  And sing it to God!!

Have a great day!
Pastor Emily 

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Wow.  What two interesting Psalms.

I love the images in 93:3-4 about the flood having voices.  I feel like that sometimes.  My to do list has voices.  My demons have voices.  My insecurities have voices.  And they all crash.  Sometimes they muffle God's voice!  But God is mightier!  

I think Psalm 94 is interesting.  Maybe its my love of questions.  I am intrigued by verse 20.  "Can a wicked ruler be your ally; one who wreaks havoc by means of the law?"

I bet David felt like that!  I feel like that sometimes with people who use God's Word or promises for evil.  The pastors or holy people who proclaim God says things that I've never heard or understood.  

What about you?  What insights did you get from the questions?

Pastor Emily 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I think Psalm 91 should be on the prayer list of anyone you know who is battling disease!  What a beautiful reminder!  Verse 7, "Even if a thousand people fall dead next to you, ten thousand right beside you--it won't happen to you!"

Verse 14, "God says, 'Because you are devoted to me, I'll rescue you!  I'll protect you because you know my name!"  Verse 15, "Whenever you cry out to me, I'll answer!  I'll be with you in troubling times.  I'll save you and glorify you.  I'll fill you full with old age.  I'll show you my salvation!"

Amen.  I have nothing more than that!

Leaning on the promises today!

Pastor Emily 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Full Story

(Just a piece of personal privilege--Psalm 90 has played a big role in my sermon prep for this week.  I'm looking at the theology behind the the song I'll Fly Away, and many point to Psalm 90:10.  I can see it..can you?)

Psalm 89 was such a lovely story.  

It began by proclaiming God's favor (1-2) and then talked about God's covenant with David (2 Samuel 7:4-17, Psalm 89:2-4.)  It goes on in the next 14 verses to talk about the power and righteousness of God and the importance of our response.

Then comes more detail about the covenant.  That God promises to sustain and support David and his line.  Here to me in verses 19-37 the line between David and Jesus gets blurred.  I love verse 33.  The verses leading up to it talk about when Israel runs away and abandons God and how God may punish Israel.  Then Verse 33, "But even then I won't take my loyal love away from him.  I won't betray my faithfulness.  I won't break my covenant. I won't renege on what crossed my lips!"

Oh how lovely!  God won't break his promises!

Then the speaker changes again!  It talks about when David let go of the covenant, and his feelings that God let him down (38-45).  Then David's petitions to be let back in God's graces.  Verse 48 might also refer to Jesus, "Who lives their life without seeing death?  Who is ever rescued from the grip of the grave?"

And it ends with a Bless the Lord forever.

I love this Psalm.  What did you think?

Pastor Emily

Monday, July 16, 2012

All My Fountains!

One of my favorite contemporary Christian artists is a worship leader named Chris Tomlin.  He is based out of Atlanta, and leads worship at Passion City Church downtown.  What I love most is that most of his songs come directly out of the Psalms.

Today's Psalm is the basis of one of our favorite new worship songs.  It doesn't seem new to us, because Crossroads debuted it shortly after it was introduced at Passion 2010.  But as far as worship music goes, its very new!  We were amazed in Mississippi that the group from Texas had never heard it!

Here is some praise music--inspired by Psalm 87:7.  All my fountains (springs!) are in God.  I am thankful today for the ability to praise!

Pastor Emily  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Restoring Faith....

I've said it several times this week.  I'm sick of the Psalms.  I wonder thinking back to last summer if I got sick of the New Testament.  But we do that with time too don't we?

"I'm sick of this school year".  
"I'm sick of the heat of summer"
"I'm sick of my life"

We have mid-life crisises, we get frustrated half way through semesters, we just want to quit.  We get fed up with our kids some days.  We get the urge to find a new church.  A new spouse.  A new life.  Its part of being human.

And in the middle of that we complain.  Like the wandering Israelites.  We groan and mumble and complain.

Then we get to beauty.  In our Roadtrip at Revive we called them Landmarks.  Graduation.  A sunny, cooler day.  Our spouse does something extra sweet and kind.  Our kids come and snuggle before bed.  Our pastor preaches a refreshing sermon, or the choir sings an anthem.

Or we come to a verse like this, 
"Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet.  Righteousness and peace will kiss." (85:10)

And suddenly we see the beauty in the Psalms.

Or like this:
"You are my God, be gracious to me Lord!  For all I do is cry to you all day long."  (86:2b-3)

And suddenly I am convicted.  To stop my complaining and open my eyes.  To see the beauty that lies in the poetry.  To hear God's voice again.

Where are you today?  Are you arguing, complaining?  Maybe read Psalm 85 and 86 and you'll find some hope.  Maybe spend 10 minutes listing the good things.  Maybe find some time to love on someone else who might feel forgotten.  I bet it might change your tune!

Pastor Emily 

Friday, July 13, 2012

A thousand days...

Some of my favorite verses....

Psalm 84:10-11

For a day in your courts is better
   than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
   than live in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
   he bestows favor and honor

What lovely words!!!  One day with God.  One day with love and peace and prosperity and joy is better than a thousand anywhere else!  I think sometimes of those who don't have a relationship with God.  I think about those who don't feel the love that God bestows on me.  I can't imagine! 

God is good!!!  I am so thankful for all of you!

Pastor Emily


Psalm 81 is a Psalm of Celebration.

The Psalmist asks us to play songs and shout for joy!  When was the last time you celebrated?

We celebrate birthdays and new births and each other.  We celebrate new jobs and retirement and sometimes the end of someone's life.  But do we celebrate the every day?  Is our worship a time of celebrating God?

I had someone remind me this week of how celebratory worship can become.  When it becomes rote.  When we just do it to do it.  Its one of the reasons I like to change things up.  This week in worship when the congregation clapped with me to "I'll Fly Away", my heart soared!  How did you celebrate God this week?

Pastor Emily

Thursday, July 12, 2012

String of Pearls

I have to be honest--

These Psalms are starting to run together.  They are all the same.....

I know that's not true, but it is starting to feel that way.

So today you get pieces.  Thoughts.  A couple things:

1) Psalm 79:11 would be a great prayer for someone in prison, especially on death row.
2) Psalm 79:8-9 make me very happy, and I would pray them a lot!
3) I love how Psalm 80 uses the names of the tribes of Israel
4) 80:4 makes me sad--God getting angry with my prayers!  Although I'm sure I can be frustrating!
5) I probably could have written a lot about the vine.  I like that metaphor!

Sorry for the choppiness, and the lateness!

Hope you all are great!

Love and blessings!
Pastor Emily 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Love Story

Psalm 78 sums up the Bible to me.  Its the story of Israel. The story of a people who loved God, but got it wrong.  Again.  Again.  And Again.  They disobeyed God.  They hurt God.  They turned away.  And no matter how angry God became, he forgave.  He kept trying.  He kept loving. He kept forgiving.

Are you at the end of your rope?  Are you scared and alone?  Are you sitting in the consequences of your sin?

God is reaching out for you too!  God reached out with every tool he had.  Even his son. Himself.  He gave up heaven for you.  Read Psalm 78, and know you are loved.  Complete.  Worth saving.

People will tell you that God is hateful.  That God hates you and others, but its not true.  You are worth it.  You are loved.  Don't let someone else tell you differenly.

You are worth it. God is merciful.  That's our story.

Pastor Emily

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Psalms 75 and 76 talked to me of Judgement.  Maybe I was just in that mood.  

From the heavens you uttered judgement;
   the earth feared and was still
when God rose up to establish judgement,
   to save all the oppressed of the earth.


At the set time that I appoint
   I will judge with equity.

But it is God who executes judgement,
   putting down one and lifting up another.

And I thought about my day.  The times I decided to be judge.  To put others beneath me.  To find reasons to think they weren't good enough.  

And I cringed.  Judgment is God's.  And God's alone.  So, when we judge.  Put ourselves above, we are being the boastful ones.  The wicked.  I needed that reminder today.  That judgment belongs to God.

Jesus--Forgive me of trying to do the things that are yours alone.  Forgive me for trying to judge in your stead. Forgive me for the sideways glances, evil thoughts, and fake smiles.  Fill me with your love so that I can see with your eyes.  In your name we pray!  Amen

Pastor Emily 

Monday, July 9, 2012


The end of Psalm 74 struck me.  The Psalmist recounted from verse 15 on the things the Lord has done for Israel.  How often do we forget the good works of God?  How often do we sit down and write out what the Lord has done for us?

It connected with Psalm 73 for me in verses 4-9.  The Psalmist reminded me that sometimes those without suffering easily forget God.  They think they are the reason why their life is good, they forget God.

I wonder how often I forget?

Here, let me remember.

God has given me wonderful parents who help, love, and support me even when I don't deserve it.  I'm so thankful for this chance to live near them again!

God has given me a healthy body, mind, and spirit so that I can be a blessing to others!
God has given me steady, stable, good paying jobs, so I've never worried about where my next meal might come from.

God has supported me when I cried, helped me find good friends and pastors who have held my hand through the rocky roads of life.

God has put me in places to help people and shine his light in the world!
What has God done for you?
Pastor Emily 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Escape Route

I was talking with my ever wise mother about our Psalms studies, and as always she gave me perspective.  (She really is amazing if you've not met her, you should and will be blessed!)

She said, "Don't forget David did have real enemies.  Other nations, in his own family.  When he is talking about arrows and being saved from armies, it may be metaphor to us, but its real to him!"

I started thinking that maybe we should have read some more Old Testament before we read these.  Hear more of David's story.  Maybe some blogs going forward I'll tell some more of those stories and give some scripture references.

 Regardless, when I started to write for today, those words were fresh on my brain.

As I read Psalm 71, verse 3 jumped out at me.  "Be my rock of refuge, where I can always escape."  I always wonder why we want to escape this world.  When we could stay and make a change.  When we could make things better, why do we sing longing for heaven.  I have always wondered.

But then I thought of David.  He needed to escape from enemies on Earth.  He wasn't being metaphorical.  How privileged am I to have no one chasing me?  There is no one at home abusing me.  I'm not a soldier.  I don't have bill collectors calling every minute or sending me letters.  I don't have a landlord trying to evict me.  I might disagree with what is going on politically, but no one is "out to get me".  There is no need for me to escape.

But I bet there are people who need it.  So I started to pray.  Deeply, heavily.  For those who need to escape.  That God can be their rock and refuge.  That in the middle of their storms they will find safety!  That they will let God be their strength and song!  Praying that this Psalm can help those in need today, and that I can get out of my own head and love on them!


Pastor Emily

(I also loved all the "lets" in Psalm 72:15-17)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Story

I loved youth choir.  It was probably my favorite part of church in Middle School.  I loved my youth director.  She was spiritual and talented and helpful and real and loving and wonderful.  I looked up to her and loved her and wanted to be her (although I still can't sing!)

We had a picnic to celebrate choir tour one year, and she asked if anyone wanted to find a scripture to share and talk about.  No one raised their hands--except me!  I had about 20 minutes to find a scripture and talk about it--my first "sermon!"

So, I opened up my Bible to Psalm 69.  And ever since then it has spoken to me.  It spoke to me as a sixth grader who thought her world was caving in on her.  And to me today when I feel like things aren't going as I want them to!  I love this Psalm.

"Save me, God because the waters have reached my neck!  I have sunk into deep mud.  My feet can't touch the bottom.  I have entered deep water; the flood has swept me up!  I am tired of crying.  My throat is hoarse.  My eyes are done with waiting for my God!  More numerous than the hairs on my head are those who hate me for no reason.  My treacherous enemies, those who would destroy me are countless.  Must I now give back what I didn't steal in the first place!" (69:1-4)

But then it ends hopeful!  "Let the afflicted see and be glad! You who seek God--let your hearts beat strong again because the Lord listens to the needy and doesn't despise his captives!" (32-33)

God is good!  Are you crying out to him in the depths of your despair?  What scripture comforts you in those times?

Pastor Emily 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Poetic License

I haven't spent much time thinking about the actual poetry of the Psalms.  Maybe some of that is my lack of understanding of poetry in general, let alone of Ancient Hebrew Poetry. Maybe it was my want to "find God" that pushed out anything else.  Maybe it was my wrestling with all the battle images.

Regardless, in Psalms 67 and 68, I saw the beauty of the poetry!

Psalm 67 sounded like a song we might sing today...."Let all the people Thank you God!"  Finally an actual refrain!  

And the metaphors in Psalm 68 all the metaphors. "Like smoke is driven away." "Like wax melting before fire" (v.2).  Heaven pouring and showering abundant rain (v.8-9). The processions in vs. 24-27 and the wild animals in v.30.  It was beautiful!

Where did you find beauty in these two Psalms?  Have you found ways to find the beauty in the Psalms?

Pastor Emily 

O God of Creation!  Thank you for the beauty of your creation. The beauty of the world and of the creation of our minds.  Thank you for your wonders!  May we treat your creation with the care that you would!  In your name we pray!  Amen.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Two Psalms without smiting!!!  So excited.

I love the way Psalms 65 and 66 talk about the amazing things God has done for us.  Calming the seas.  Dressed in Raw Power.  Providing us water.

But I'm struck in Psalm 66 by the Psalmist wanting to share the stories.  66:5 "Come and see God's deeds; his works for human beings are awesome."  66:16 "Come close and listen up, all who honor God; I will tell you what God has done for me!"

Who was the last person you shared your story with?  The reasons why God is important to you?  You story? Lets go out and tell the world.  They will listen--but will we tell them?

Pastor Emily 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth!

Happy Fourth of July!  I wish my ramblings made sense today--but I have two different thoughts on two different Psalms today!

Psalm 63:1 "God, My God! Its you--I search for you!  My whole being thirsts for you!  My body desires you!"

I kept thinking of Thomas in that.  When he sees the risen Christ and says, "My Lord, My God!"  I know the idea of everything I am thirsting for God.  Its when I'm dry and tired.  I have cried my eyes out.  I have worked myself to the bone.  My enemies surround me (am I starting to write like the Psalmist! HA!).  Those verses resonated with my soul today--especially with as hot as it has been!

Psalm 64 was fascinating to me.  See, he talks again about God piercing and destroying the enemies, and then 64:9 says, "Then all people will honor God, will announce the act of God, will understand it was God's work."  I wonder if bad things can be God's work.  I have built a theology based on the idea that God doesn't cause or do evil.  But the Psalmist clearly believes that God work could include death and destruction.  How do you reconcile the two?

Hope you are having a great time with friends and family this holiday!  Be safe!!!

Pastor Emily 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rely on God

I hear the stories all the time.

"He cheated on his wife with his secretary and he was the pastor!"

"She lied about her age."

"He cheated me out of that money."

"She stole my identity"

Too often we do evil to others.  Today's readings were Psalms 61 and 62, but I saw much parallel between Psalm 60 and Psalm 62.  

60:11, "Give us help against the enemy, human help is worthless."

62:9, "Human beings are nothing but a breath.  Human beings are nothing but lies.  They don't even register on a scale, taken all together.  They are lighter than a breath".

The problem is we are told to rely on others.  To rely on ourselves.  But we are imperfect, sinful, ugly.  We need to work with others.  We need to work for ourselves. But, our reliance can't be on others, but on God.  The more we try to fix things ourselves, or let others fix them for us, the more they will let us down.

Its time we change our perspective.  Start realizing that humans are fallible, and might disappoint us, but there is one who will never disappoint!

Lord--Let us put our expectations into perspective.  Let us love you more than we can ever imagine.  Let us forgive the fallible nature of ourselves and others.  Let us remember, we are nothing compared to you!  Amen!

Pastor Emily