Journey With John Blog

  • January 13, 2019
    Journey with John “Three Feet Around Us: Becoming a Local Missionary” is a ministry that helps us fulfill our 5-year plan, for building Federated Church’s future, as we reach out to those around us with love.  I’ve been inspired by your stories of how […]
  • January 6, 2019
    Journey with John It comes so quickly, this gift of a new year.  God lays before us adventures yet to be written and journeys to places still unknown.  What does God expect us to become in this new year ahead?  It is such a humbling experience to […]
  • December 30, 2018
    Journey with John Christmas has passed, but, I’m still stuck in Luke’s text wondering – Why did God choose Mary?  And, why did Mary so easily accept God’s call?  Surely, there were more qualified women – better educated, those more financially secure, […]
  • Sunday, December 23, 2018
    Journey with John Having served the church for nearly forty years, I’ve seen my share of bulletin bloopers. Some make me smile, some cause me to giggle and some make me laugh out loud.  A few make me weep….  Here is a sampling of messages not intended by […]
  • December 16, 2018
    Journey with John Recently, I came across a statement that made me uncomfortable with its insistence on looking inward.  I was innocently reading a book of poems, enjoying the sensitive take of the author when the attack came.  It was a poem, for […]
  • December 9, 2018
    Journey with John Have you noticed the Christmas season gets a little longer each year?  Holiday finery surfaced in our stores before Halloween had passed.  I suspect this early decorating frenzy has more to do with profits than mangers and angels.  (The […]
  • December 2, 2018
    Journey with John “Clear off your desks and get out your paint supplies,” were not words I liked to hear as a child.  I viewed it as a burden to bear.  That big, empty piece of paper was intimidating to me.  We were told to create a picture of our own […]
  • November 25, 2018
    Journey with John They gathered for a feast of appreciation.  It had been a year of great struggle.  They came together in gratitude for surviving in this strange new world.  Those Pilgrim survivors endured disease, bitter winter cold, deaths of nearly […]
  • November 18, 2018
    Journey with John Life is a gift of learning, growing, changing.  I am grateful for the faces and hands that have helped me do that. Hands stretched out in welcome.  Faces aglow with a joyful enthusiasm for life.  I have been blessed by the hands and […]
  • October 7, 2018
    Journey with John I don’t have many memories of my Dad.  I was only six when he went to be with God.  But, oh, the few I have are so satisfying.  One of my earliest recollections is sailing through the air and landing in my Dad’s waiting arms.  Whenever […]
  • November 11, 2018
    Journey with John Fred Craddock was one of my Seminary professors.  He was an extraordinary man and the finest preacher I’ve ever heard.  He shared the gospel message in a way that got down to brass tacks.  You couldn’t avoid the message.  I’ve shared […]
  • November 4, 2018
    Journey with John Last week was difficult as we saw signs of hate threaten the lives of two former Presidents and other national leaders.  I am still numb with disbelief at such action.  Then, on Saturday, prejudice raised its ugly head and eleven people […]
  • October 28,2018
    Journey with John You’ve heard it before.  Possibly, you’ve said it.  Undoubtedly, you’ve thought it.  It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know that counts!”  The scholar in me cringes at this for it minimizes the power of education.  The righteous rebel […]
  • October 21, 2018
    Journey with John It’s that time of year when our Nominating Committee is hard at work doing their essential task of securing leaders for the coming year.  I know how busy you are and how much you do in our community, but I pray that if you are asked to […]
  • October 14, 2018
    Journey with John Ireland is a mythical, mystical and magical land where wonder is found at every turn.  I’m so grateful for the time you gave me to explore and ingest this remarkable place.  Breathtaking hillsides convince you that heaven will most […]
  • September 23, 2018
    Journey with John What a rich blessing it was to welcome the Purduettes as our guests last Sunday.  Their music was simply beautiful – such lovely harmonies and stunning melodies.  Each note carefully crafted and shared – so very beautiful.  It was like […]
  • September 16, 2018
    Journey with John One of the benefits of extending a celebration over several weeks is that it gives you an opportunity to recall so many things deserving prayerful attention.  As we rejoice and offer thanks for the 70 years of service Federated Church […]
  • September 9, 2018
    Journey with John “Champions for Christ: Many Hands, One Team, One Mission” is a perfect theme for our 70th Anniversary.  It captures the spirit of Federated Church that has always placed Christ at the center of its life.  True champions for Christ, […]
  • September 2, 2018
    Journey with John There are many reasons worship speaks to me.  For a few moments, we share the presence of God among us.  We release our fears to unite in hopeful prayer, joining in quiet conversation with our Creator.  We sing our joy in the sacred […]
  • August 26, 2018
    Journey with John A Rabbi and a soap maker went for a walk.  The soap maker asked, “What good is religion?  Look at the trouble and misery of the world after thousands of years of teaching about goodness, truth, and peace. If religion is so good for […]
  • August 19, 2018
      Journey with John About nine months ago, my quiet, fairly orderly life took a direction that was neither planned nor wanted.  As we sat in the doctor’s office and cancer was mentioned for the first time, my heart stopped for a moment and my mind […]
  • August 12, 2018
    Journey with John Do you ever begin a task intending to do one thing, only to end up doing something barely related?  That was my experience Monday evening.  Cherilyn and I had been talking about bringing some order to some boxes of old family pictures. […]
  • August 5, 2018
    Journey with John Mystified, troubled and disheartened by the brokenness all around us, I wonder if there is a solution to be found.  How do we heal the wounds of the world?…  A beautiful family explodes into ugly accusations, waging a tiny war, “I […]
  • July 29, 2018
    Journey with John Music has always touched my searching spirit.  Through gentle rhythms and moving melodies, words take on a different texture that minister to my soul.  I am especially drawn to the music of the Church where God’s message is given wings […]
  • July 22, 2018
    Journey with John I am so grateful to our trustees who take such good care of our beautiful building and grounds.  It is a huge responsibility that they tackle with grace and dedication, giving tremendous amounts of time and energy.  I offer a shout-out […]
  • July 15, 2018
    Journey with John In I Corinthians 13:4-7, Paul writes: “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, […]
  • July 8, 2018
    Journey with John There is a marvelous story in Mark 2:1-11 (taken from “The Message).  “After a few days, Jesus returned to Capernaum, and word got around that he was back home.  A crowd jammed the entrance so no one could get in or out.  He was […]
  • July 1, 2018
    Journey with John If you were shipwrecked on some deserted island, what would you be sure you took with you?  Of course, there are a multitude of possible responses – adequate food and water, some good books to read, some sturdy shoes, a cell phone with […]
  • June 17, 2018
    Journey with John Frankly, I am mystified.  From where did the ugliness come?  It is heartbreaking to listen to reports of the base and degrading things people say and think about other human beings.  No “side” is free from blame.  When did we reach the […]
  • June 24, 2018
    Journey with John Life is a journey that leads us to walk unknown paths.  Each one has its blessings and joys that take us to new heights of growth and wonder.  I’m so grateful that one of the paths Federated Church chose to take was one that led to the […]
  • June 10, 2018
    Journey with John It’s been on my home “to do” list for some time.  Actually, it was a substitute for a project I had planned to do last Saturday.  It seemed like the right time had come (meaning I had no excuses!).  After mowing our grass, I got out the […]
  • June 3, 2018
    Journey with John What do you first notice when you meet someone?  Some people are drawn to what a person wears.  Clothes can tell you a lot about a person.  You have different expectations or at least different impressions, when you see a person in a […]
  • May 27, 2018
    Journey with John After yet another senseless bloodbath in one of our public schools, leaving ten beautiful souls lifeless and devoid of a future – we grieve.  We grieve for lost innocence and futures that will never be.  The wailing of the angels is […]
  • May 20, 2018
    Journey with John Pentecost is such a life changing event; it fills me with wonder at the mystery that is God.  God’s love was so great for the people that crucified God’s own child, God sent another part of God’s self to be a permanent Guide and […]
  • May 13, 2018
    Journey with John Trying to wade through the “ocean of schmaltz” in the Hallmark section of Payless, I was searching for an appropriate Mother’s Day card for my wife who is a superb Mom.  I came home empty handed.  (Sorry, Cherilyn!)  I grumbled for the […]
  • May 6, 2018
    Journey with John The nearer we got to our destination, the quieter the bus became.  Our guide, the epitome of joy and a spirited teacher about her beloved nation, grew tense and distant as we approached.  Her narrative lost its luster as she reported […]
  • April 29, 2018
    Journey with John The image is still so clear in my mind.  A large stone marker – a tombstone – greeted my entrance through the iron gate.  The epitaph was carved into the stone in eight languages, accenting its universal, all-inclusive message.  It was […]
  • April 22, 2018
    Journey with John A little boy was selling pencils door to door for a nickel each.  He greeted a woman at the door and began his sales pitch.  He said, “Ma’am, would you like to buy one or two pencils from me?  I’m selling these pencils at a nickel […]
  • April 15, 2018
    Journey with John I was in fifth grade when I discovered its wonder-working power.  We gathered in the gym for an assembly where our guests were from the high school!  The crowd grew quiet as the older students convened on the risers down front.  Out […]
  • April 8, 2018
    A Journey with John The palms have been waved.  The Alleluias sung.  The large crowds have come and gone.  The Easter victory has been proclaimed throughout the world once more.  We are a resurrection people!  And now comes the fun part – making our […]
  • March 20, 2018
    Journey with John Every now and then, go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work, your judgment will be surer.  –  Leonardo da Vinci Even in the 16th century, it was recognized the need to get away to refresh the soul a […]
  • March 10, 2018
    Journey with John God speaks to us in so many amazing ways.  I shouldn’t be surprised that the Almighty would choose to reveal a holy truth through a biology lesson.  I was at a spiritual retreat.  Susan Briehl, a Lutheran pastor, was our speaker.  She […]
  • March 5, 2018
    Journey with John The stories, where Jesus healed people of their unclean spirits, have always intrigued me.  I am especially drawn to Mark 5:6-9, where the man with the demon recognizes the power of Jesus and falls before him.  “When he saw Jesus from a […]
  • February 25, 2018
    “The one true freedom in life is to come to terms with death, and as early as possible, for death is an event that embraces all our lives. And the only way to have a good death is to lead a good life. Lead a good one, full of curiosity, generosity and […]
  • February 18, 2018
    There are many moments in worship that I love, but the ones that bring me the greatest joy are when our youngest children come to share in the service. There’s just this wonderful energy that fills the sanctuary. I loved the excitement last Sunday of […]
  • February 11, 2018
    Among my valuable experiences along life’s journey was being employed by McDonald’s as a fry cook back in the late 1970’s.  It didn’t pay much of anything – I think it was $2.85 an hour. I was in Seminary and was soon to be married. I don’t think I […]
  • February 4, 2018
    In in my office, next to my desk, rests a statue titled “The Circle of Unity.”  It was created from a single block of wood showing three people interlocked – holding each other in balance. It was made in the Congo. It speaks to my soul, never more so […]
  • January 28, 2018
    It’s one of the best sounds in the world – right up there with a good choral group singing Mozart or someone shouting “Who wants ice cream?”  You know, sweet sounds to tame the savage beast and satisfy the deepest need. I’m talking about children […]
  • January 21, 2018
    “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” I remember chanting that little charmer as a kid, stopping only after the first time I was a receiver of hostile, ugly words. To say words can never harm me could only come from one […]
  • January 14, 2018
    It’s an easy discussion to fall into with anyone who has a similar history.  It begins with the question, “Do you remember…?”  That starts a rich exchange that retraces those events that have enhanced your life.  “Do you remember your first dance?”  That […]