Thursday, May 30, 2019

How to find Home


Remember the prodigal.  He knew where to find love and hope and home.

In his father’s embrace.  In his father’s home.
Trust that God is extending his love, is reaching out.  It welcoming you.
Let God’s love for you be your central reality.
And then do one thing more.
Share it with others.

You will be glad you did.

Centering our lives on Christ


 Christ did not say "I will show you the way," 
Christ says; "I am the way."
 Christ did not say, "I have the truth," 
Christ says: "I am the truth."
 Christ did not say, "I lead unto life," 
Christ says: "I am life…
No wonder we are
centering our lives on Christ.


Christ is Safety


Christ is safety.  How will you offer Christ’s safety to those around you?  Will you tell them?  Show them?  Take them by the hand and lead them?

Speaking with him daily, even when we come as we are, faltering steps, with perplexities, with the bumps and bruises of life.  We still trust his word:

“I will never leave you, nor forsake you." Will you help others through their trials of life with the assurance: "We are more than conquerors through him that loved us."

Climb the Mountain


Christ brought Peter, James, and John up the mountain, as a new beginning.  To point them in the direction of their heroic responsibilities.  To spread the news.  They were the people who would turn the world upside down.

That was their present moment.

I firmly believe that you are called for this moment.  That you have been set apart for service.  That you understand, from some moment of transfiguration of your own, that everything you do is surrounded and guided by the wonders of Christian living.

And I also firmly believe that it is not a simple task.  That your reality has as many mountains to climb as Moses and Elijah, and Peter, James and John. 

One of the great things about your mountains, is that you accept the challenge.  You climb eagerly.  And willingly. 

The Greatest Good


You have probably enjoyed, as I have, the documentary “Won’t you be my Neighbor” about everyone’s favorite Pittsburgh Presbyterian Pastor, Fred Rogers.  I had a chance to see it again, recently.  Each time I see it, I cherish certain moments, and I discover new ones.

One discover, this most recent time, was Fred saying this:

I think that those who would try to make you feel less than you are, that’s the greatest evil.

          We understand.  And we know that turning his words to the positive side – is in keeping with what Jesus says to us this day:

          I think that those who would try to make you feel greater than you are, that is the greatest good.

          I know that you are going out into a big and sometimes cold world, today.  And this week.  And parts of the world are not very welcoming or safe.  I also know that you are making that world less grim.  More caring.  More loving. I know that your goal is to love those who at first seem unlovable.  And I know that you will reach that goal.

Worship With Us on Sunday Mornings at 11 a.m.

Worship With Us on Sunday Mornings at 11 a.m.

You will enjoy being part of the warm and welcoming congregation here at Shadyside Presbyterian Church.  Here you will find wonderful people who join together to worship, know, and serve our Living Lord Jesus Christ.  After worship, enjoy fellowship and a chance to meet and visit with one another.  We look forward to greeting you here.

Listen to our live webcast, if you cannot be with us in person:






Friday, May 3, 2019

As Your Dear Friend Once Welcomed You - A New Hymn




As Shadyside Presbyterian Church's Director of Music Ministry, Mark A. Anderson, and I were planning worship during this Lenten Season, back on February 21, we were not finding a hymn that we were happy with, to conclude worship on Sunday April 7.  The Gospel lectionary reading for that morning was John 12:1-8, when Jesus shared a meal at Bethany with his treasured friends Martha, Lazarus, and Mary.  

I said to Mark, "Why don't we sing a hymn that you have written?"  His reply, "John, the other option for the first Sunday in April for a closing hymn would be for you to write a text and for me to write the tune. That might be too much, with everything else on your plate, but keep it in mind for future Sundays. It would be great fun to see what we could do."  

What a gracious and great idea!  

So, that is what we did.  I wrote the words; Mark wrote the music.  And the congregation sang our brand new hymn on Sunday, April 7th.  It was a joy to work on the hymn with Mark, and a joy to hear the congregation sing it.  Here's to more collaborations!

Go to this link to the Shadyside Presbyterian Church blog to read more and to listen to the hymn:

New Hymn

Please contact me regarding use in worship.