Journey With John Blog

  • July 28, 2019
    Journey with John The ad read:  Lost dog.  Brown hair, white spots.  Left leg broken, hip injured due to car accident.  Blind in right eye and one ear partly missing.  Answers to the name: LUCKY.  Some might question such a name for a dog like that, but […]
  • July 21, 2019
    Journey with John Every two years around this time, excitement builds in my heart and mind as I think about the reunion that is coming.  For five days, I leave behind the responsibilities of the moment to remember, reunite, and refocus with 3,000+ […]
  • July 7, 2019
    Journey with John Sometimes it is tempting to get caught up in the responsibilities of planning and carrying out and thinking that’s what it’s all about.  How good it is to have those moments to take a breath, give a sigh, sing a hymn and celebrate your […]
  • June 30, 2019
    Journey with John Sometimes a mistake can lead to a clearer understanding of what we’re called to be and do in our Christian walk.  Last Sunday, I was preaching and said, “The walls must disappear, and slave and free, rich and poor, old and young must be […]
  • June 23, 2019
    Journey with John Back in the day, Putch’s Cafeteria in downtown Kansas City had the biggest and best buffet around.  And let’s be honest, there is nothing like a really good buffet.  The buffet is such a lovely creation.  You have the security of […]
  • June 16, 2019
    Journey with John It was mealtime and a flight attendant asked a passenger sitting in coach, “Would you like dinner?”  “Well, what are my choices?”  “Yes or No,” was her quick reply.  Wouldn’t it be great if all our choices were so easy as a simple yes […]
  • June 9, 2019
    Journey with John Recognizing that people of high moral fiber are not necessarily included on the “Top Ten Most Admired List” any more, I remain grateful to those men and women of noble disposition who have formed the foundation of their lives on […]
  • June 2, 2019
    Journey with John I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121:1-2 These words would fill my mind every time I caught a glimpse of Mt. Rainier.  For sixteen years, […]
  • May 26, 2019
    Journey with John It’s no secret that I love the great hymns of the church.  I am drawn to the powerful truths of which they sing.  Often, there is a story behind the hymn adding meaning.  In an age of struggle and heartache, these sacred songs minister […]
  • May 19, 2019
    Journey with John The automobile is a remarkable invention that I appreciate to no end.  Partly, because it’s a mystery as to how the thing works.  Despite my limited knowledge, I DO know that when the needle on the dashboard points to “E” and the orange […]
  • May 12, 2019
    Journey with John I begin by offering “a joyous Mother’s Day” to all who have nurtured, taught, and loved children.  What an important day it is – to honor you who have been molding our future with such grace and strength.  I’ve been card shopping […]
  • May 5, 2019
    Journey with John German author, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, wrote back in the late 1700’s, these words: “A human being should hear a little music, read a little poetry and see a fine picture every day of life, in order that worldly cares may not […]
  • April 28, 2019
    Journey with John From the moment you enter as a Freshman, you begin to plan for that final day when you leave as a graduate.  How you look forward to that senior year, knowing the end is in sight.  With the assistance of family and friends, you design a […]
  • April 21, 2019
    Journey with John In John Masefield’s play, “The Trial of Jesus,” the Centurion in charge of the execution reports to Pilate about the crucifixion of Jesus.  After his official report, Pilate’s wife asks the soldier for details on how the prisoner Jesus […]
  • April 14, 2019
    Journey with John It was a day of ecstasy and agony.  The ecstasy was there in the thrilling reaction of an enthusiastic crowd, giving Jesus the reception he so richly deserved.  Critics were silenced, cynics forgotten.  Enemies of Jesus watched […]
  • April 7, 2019
    Journey with John I hear it a lot.  I say it more often than I should.  It’s a common complaint that becomes an excuse for not acting on some demand on life.  My guess is it is not a new phenomenon.  Perhaps you’ve said it on occasion.  The familiar […]
  • March 31, 2019
    Journey with John Sometimes I forget the significance of what happens in this holy place each week.  A gentle reminder, on occasion, is a necessity.  I’ve shared this story before.  It never fails to minister to my spirit, so I hope you’ll excuse me as I […]
  • March 24, 2019
    Journey with John Friday, I’m getting new shocks for my car.  They reduce the bumps you feel as you drive.  I don’t think about shocks very much, until they’re not working.  Currently, they are not performing well and I’m noticing the ruts in the road.  […]
  • March 17, 2019
    Journey with John As we move forward on our journey to the Cross, this story from “Parables of Life & Death” by Martin Bell convicts me.  He writes: “I’m going to fast,” he said.  “Have you tried to slow down?” I inquired kindly.  He looked at me […]
  • March 10, 2019
    Journey with John It’s the small things in life that are of the greatest value.  Several years ago, a good friend said that as you age, you discover that the things you once held in high esteem because of their price tag or how they appeared to society […]
  • March 3, 2019
    Journey with John One of the things so powerfully portrayed in the Gospels is Jesus’ consistency.  Whether it was Zacchaeus in the tree, Nicodemus at midnight, the disciples on fighting a stormy sea, a multitude of thousands needing to be fed, or a sick […]
  • February 24, 2019
    Journey with John “Stories for Sharing” by Charles Arcodia is a collection of writings that touch the soul.  One, titled “The Picture,” speaks to me.  It’s for all who have something beautiful to share, but are not always affirmed because their beauty is […]
  • February 17, 2019
    Journey with John Mr. Cofer was my high school choir director.  I admired and respected him deeply.  He introduced me to good choral music and I am grateful.  Frequently, as we began a song, he would say, “Heads up!” – meaning – get your eyes out of the […]
  • February 10, 2019
    Journey with John I love the praise songs that declare an intimate, comfortable relationship with God.  I find them inviting.  But I must confess a bias to the hymns that have stood the test of time and remain solid witnesses to the faith.  I am most […]
  • February 3, 2019
    Journey with John During the winter months, Saturday night’s sleep comes with difficulty as I think about what the weather might bring to our Sunday morning.  Will the streets be clear or covered with snow or treacherous black ice, unseen but quickly […]
  • January 27, 2019
    Journey with John The darkest tragedies tend to – at least for a time – bring out the best in humanity.  It’s good to remember the moments when people rise up to their finest selves, looking beyond unspeakable deeds of terror that we see too frequently […]
  • 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 […]