Monthly Archives: June 2014

Faith Sharing: God In Our Traveling – Mary Bernau

mary2God is always with us, especially when traveling.

I think back on family vacations- our greatest memories were the unplanned parts: Our family of four went to Memphis in the Mini Cooper, we saw ALL of Graceland, went to Beale Street for catfish, saw the duck parade at the Peabody and now we are on the Trolley, EXHAUSTED! Then, a lovely woman kindly asks our son to watch up ahead to see something…”That’s Hotel Lorraine, that is where Martin Luther King was shot, I can tell you are tired, but I would like to share my city with you all and this is our Civil Rights museum…I hope you can find time to see it.”


We got off the trolley and five hours later we were so thankful this lady had guided us there. It remains a favorite vacation memory and a beloved discovery…God sent, God was with us!

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God In Our Traveling: Trail Magic

trail magicGod in Our Traveling – “Trail Magic”

Matthew 10:40-42

June 29, 2014


A friend of mine has been hiking the Appalachian Trail.

He has some great stories.

But perhaps the ones that I find the most fascinating,

are his stories of ‘trail magic.’

“Trail magic” is an unexpected act of kindness or generosity given by a stranger.

He speaks of suddenly coming upon a cooler of ice cold soda,

of offers to take a shower in the home of complete stranger.

Trail magic can be as simple as a gift of a candy bar,

or as elaborate as volunteers who set up a grill near the trail and hand out hot dogs.


Trail magic isn’t usually much,

but what makes it “magic,”

is that it usually comes at a time when the hikers are tired, hungry, and lonely.

It can move a hiker to tears.

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Drowning Does Not Always Look Like Drowning

photo 1Drowning Does Not Always Look Like Drowning

Yesterday several of our youth went to Great Waves Water Park. We spent most of our time in the wave pool, enjoying the power of the water as it pushed us about in inner tubes.

The pool was crowded and the lifeguards had their hands full.  There were guards surrounding the pool as well as two or three assigned to walk through it, diligently looking out for swimmers who were having difficulty staying afloat.

It’s hard work to be a lifeguard.  To my eyes, most everyone was flailing about, sinking underneath the water before popping up again, and screaming with fear or delight. They all looked like they could be in danger of drowning.

And yet, in the aftermath of several tragic drownings in our area already this summer, I have heard news reports remind viewers that drowning does not always look like drowning.  In fact, when someone is seriously having trouble, they are often silent because it takes too much air to cry for help.  Rather than moving around, they are often still with their hands spread at their sides – the best position to remain afloat.

Silent Drowning

Sometimes it’s hard to tell when someone is drowning…and that is true of emotional drowning as well.  Not everyone who is feeling overwhelmed by anxiety will call for help.  Not everyone who is inundated with stress will let us know.  Not everyone who is overcome with feelings of depression will appear depressed.

We are like lifeguards: diligently listening, looking, and reaching out when necessary. It is a hard job.  Chances are we’ll easily spot the people who are struggling with the obvious signs of mental distress.  It is more difficult to inquire about the disturbing Facebook post, the subtle change in behavior, or the quiet sadness.

Sometimes the people who are in the most distress are the most silent.  If you are a silent sufferer, know that help is available. If you are concerned about someone but aren’t exactly sure, reach out anyway. Drowning does not always look like drowning.

Faith Sharing: Singing in Our Daily Lives



Faith Sharing by Choir Director Nate Osburn

Singing in our Daily Lives – June 22

  • Thank you Pastor Jen, for starting this sermon series by focusing on singing and music in our lives.
  • So many songs have been a blessing in my life. There are some songs that are so deeply ingrained in our minds because the text and the melody seem to fit perfectly together.

o   This Little Light of Mine – one of the first songs we learn as kids.

o   A Mighty Fortress is Our God – written by Martin Luther himself.

o   And, of course, Amazing Grace – a tune recognized throughout the world. Continue reading

God In Our Singing

singingPentecost 2: God in Our Singing

Isaiah 49:8-13

Psalm 95

Colossians 3:12-17

Matthew 26:26-30


On Friday night a friend and I went to a concert at the Jiify Lube Live amphitheater.

There was a lot of great music,

but to me, the real joy of the concert,

was sitting on the lawn

and singing our hearts out with a group of people we didn’t even know.


This summer at Good Shepherd we will be looking at how God meets us

in the ordinary things we do in life:

working, traveling, planting, weeding, fishing,…

and today, our topic is “God in our Singing.”


Nate shared with us beautifully how God is present in the ordinary activity of singing.

As I think of it, however, singing isn’t really all that ordinary anymore.


In fact I think it’s rather rare that a group of people sing together.

When was the last time your family gathered around the piano for a sing-along?

When was the last time your class at school sang together?

When I grew up, every elementary school classroom had a piano,

and as I remember it, we sang pretty much every day.

But these days, it seems, singing is not something we ordinarily do together.

Rather it happens on special occasions – extraordinary gatherings – like a rock concert.

…That is…unless you come to church.

In church, singing is very ordinary.


For those of you visiting this morning?

Yes we sing together – every week in fact!

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The Most Beautifuller Princess

disney princessesThe Most Beautifuller Princess

On many Thursday afternoons I can be found at Casa Chirilagua, a non-profit faith-based afterschool program in a Latino neighborhood not far from the church. After the 20-25 children arrive, they have snack and then they rotate among 3 stations for 1/2 hour each: Homework Help, Bible Story/Activity, and Reading.

On one particular afternoon recently, I was helping out in the Reading station.  Two second graders came bursting into the room so they could choose their favorite book before someone else selected it.  Their favorite book is, The Disney Big Book of Princesses.

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goTrinity – Commencement

June 15, 2014

Matthew 28: 16-20


I had a thought earlier this week,

that perhaps the best way to proclaim this gospel text

would be to say to you,

“Jesus says ‘Go!’”

…and head out the door!

But I had some second thoughts.

So here we are…


This passage from the gospel of Matthew is known as “The Great Commission.”

A person who is commissioned is given a new role or rank.


Military officers are commissioned.

In the church, we commission mission teams or deacons.

We send them out into the world with our blessing.

We say, ”Go!” –and they do!


Well here Jesus commissions the 11 disciples.

They are given new roles.

They had been students; now they’re teachers.

They were baptized; now their job is to baptize others.


I don’t know what the disciples were thinking about at the moment,

but I imagine they were a bit frightened at the prospect of losing their teacher,

of being on their own,

of being sent out into the world.

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