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!