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I should be in the office more.

I should be out in the community more.

I should pray more.

I should visit more.

I should spend more time studying.

I should leave now or I’m going to be late to my next meeting.

I read a lot about how pastors are experiencing burnout and are struggling with self-acceptance. But even I know that pastors don’t have a monopoly on feeling the pressures of day-to-day life and second guessing every move. We all have the potential to believe the rumblings that tell us we are not enough, we are not doing enough, we should be farther along by now.

When I am overcome with “I should” moments that rumble “I am not enough,” is it possible I am forgetting that I am a part of something greater than myself?

Brené Brown reminds us that belonging starts with self-acceptance. “Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you're enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.”

In Paul’s letter to the Romans we are reminded of this acceptance with others.

May the God of endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude toward each other, similar to Christ Jesus’ attitude. (Romans 15:5 CEB)

I am grateful for a community of faith who reminds me that I am not alone. I am enough. I am loved.

I should not forget that!

Pastor Jo

September 18, 2023

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I was looking forward to preaching last week’s sermon about how Jesus dealt with a major change in his life and how we can learn from his experience. I didn’t get to preach that sermon because I was dealing with a major change in my life! Oh, the irony! My heart went into atrial fibrillation and I had to be hospitalized for the night. Obviously, my “change of plans” changed the plans of others. Rev. Becky Conner changed her plans in order to preach and preside at the Communion Table for us Sunday morning. My family’s plans were changed, and the friends we were going to meet Sunday for lunch had to change their plans. Other friends changed their plans just so they could be on standby in case we needed them. Our congregation had to change how we blessed the backpacks. So many changes! This Sunday we will wrap up our WordSearch Sermon Series as we consider the experiences of Jesus and Peter. Would we have the feeding of the 5,000 and the walking on the water without the changes that came before these miraculous events? Let us stay curious as to how changes in our community invite us to grow in wisdom and compassion and love for one another. The need for wisdom, compassion, and love is one thing that never changes!

Pastor Jo

August 11, 2023

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In preparation for July 4th I found this information concerning John Adams and the Fourth of July. Because of the work completed on July 2, 1776 by the Second Continental Congress concerning the Declaration of Independence, John Adams thought that July 2 should be the country’s birthday. He was so adamant about it that he refused to participate in Fourth of July celebrations for the rest of his life.

Did Adams ever consider joining the celebration but then his pride got in the way? When do we stand firm or let go? How do we know which cause to defend and which cause to release? Years ago I pondered these questions during a time of prayer. I remembered two events that happened in the life of Jesus--the overturning of the tables in the Temple (Matthew 21:12-13) and when he stood silent before Pilate (Matthew 27:11-14).

I noticed two things. The ruckus Jesus caused in the Temple was to ensure a space for all peoples. The silence before Pilate had to do with what others said about him. For me, I see Jesus as so certain of his purpose and his mission that what others thought about him was not his agenda. Offering freedom to everyone was what Jesus lived and died for. It was why he was resurrected from the dead--so that each of us may find freedom and the space to grow in that freedom.

John Adams? Ironically, he died on July 4, 1826.

Pastor Jo

July 3, 2023

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