June 22nd, 2022

June 22nd, 2022

ps from ps:We’re going on a journey!!

Well maybe.  Hopefully!  At least as followers of Jesus, we certainly should be.

I know for me and my crew at home, our summer will be filled with lots of journeys.  Trips backpacking.  Trips to camp.  Trips to the lake.  Trips overseas.  Trips with family.  And each of them bring a different excitement and expectation.  What I love about the days leading up to a trip is that we start “to keep our eyes on it.”  We focus on it.  Preparations.  Conversations.  Planning.  And yes, as we slog through the details, road bumps and stressors of prepping for that trip, there are certainly things that can frustrate, distract and stress us out.  

Back in the day, Jesus invited his disciples on a trip.  Invited them to “set their eyes” on Jerusalem.  On the cross.  On what he was here to do.  On the kingdom breaking in.  How did they do?  Well, just like me, they got distracted, stressed and messed up.  We’ll hear on Sunday about these same “cross focused” disciples, upon having some folks disagree with Jesus, requesting if they should “rain fire down upon them.”

Not really “cross focused” guys.  Nice work.

Now in this day, Jesus invites us as disciples to take a trip.  A trip of faith.  Of living into and living out the kingdom of God in each and every one of our days.  

With all you might have going on this summer…in the midst of all your trips, how will you stay cross focused?  How will your hearts be journeying toward Jerusalem?  How will you avoid the pitfalls and asking to “rain fire down” upon the people that disagree with us?  

This is the challenge of being cross focused and not us focused.

May you enjoy your trip this week.  May the excitement of following Jesus be tangible and real.  And may your heart continue to stay cross focused as you journey with Jesus.

Lord, let’s go.  I’m excited.  Help me keep my heart focused.  Amen

Be well, safe and blessed,
ps
June 15th, 2022

June 15th, 2022

ps from ps:Happy Summer!!  

Well it’s not “official” yet but it sure feels like it.  However, in the land of “PS from PS,” it’s summertime.  That means that Devo’s will get a little sporadic over the June/July/August months.  Sometimes they will be written.  Sometimes they will be short videos (Devo’s on the Go!).  Sometimes they won’t arrive because I’m on vacation.

Today….they are Devo’s on the Go! video version.  To access them, just click HERE and it’ll take you to our YouTube page.

Enjoy them.  Enjoy hope.  Enjoy summer.

And we’ll see you in church.

Lord, bless my summer with hope, even when it rains.  Amen

Be well, safe and blessed,
ps
June 8th, 2022

June 8th, 2022

ps from ps:Since the shooting in Buffalo (and many others since then), several of you have asked what can we do?  Dean Jeremiah Smith shared information with me about this March for Our Lives Buffalo on Saturday.  This is just one of the many ways to turn our “thoughts and prayers” into concrete action.  The issue is huge and diverse; from mental health to guns, from racism to social media.  But we have to start somewhere!  Here is his invitation:

Dear People of God,
 
You are invited to join myself and other members of Parkside at this Saturday’s March for Our Lives. The Event Coordinators write, “Buffalo-Niagara knows all too well the cost of gun violence. Given the horrific levels of violence that has occurred in our community and our nation, we believe it is time to shine a light on ALL areas that contribute to this violence perpetrated against innocent adults and children – including Gun Safety and Gun Responsibility. March with us in solidarity. We march for our lives and the lives lost to senseless and often racially motivated gun violence. Together we say NO MORE!
 
By choosing to attend this event, you are committing to participate nonviolently and in accordance with the law, to work to de-escalate confrontations with others, and to obey the orders of authorized event marshals and of law enforcement.”
 
God will judge between the nations, and settle disputes of mighty nations. Then they will beat their swords into iron plows and their spears into pruning tools. Nation will not take up sword against nation; they will no longer learn how to make war.” Isaiah 2:4
 
The March begins at 10:30 and will end at Noon. The official gathering place is Jefferson and Glenwood. The total March will only be about a quarter mile ending in front of Top’s at Jefferson and Riley. However, if anyone would like to gather with other church folks, you can join Katie, Eleanor, and I, at 10:15am in front of the CAO of Erie County 1424 on Jefferson Ave.
 
Here is the event’s Facebook Page if you would like more information. Buffalo Niagara March For Our Lives Facebook Event Page 
 
May our thoughts and prayers turn into faithful action.
 
Peace,The Rev. Jeremiah SmithDean
Dear God, may we work together in all ways to bring an end to this violence.  Amen

Be well, safe and blessed!
ps
June 1st, 2022

June 1st, 2022

ps from ps: “Self care” – got my run in this morning. Check mark! My self care is done.

But the term was broken open today for me by my Coach. For years and years, I’ve loosely defined self care as “sustainability.” You know, if I don’t take care of myself, I can’t keep this up. Or, I have to practice to self care to take a break from the chaotic days, scenes, news and events or I’ll have a mental/physical/spiritual health melt down. But the problem with that is then self care only becomes a pause. A time out for a few seconds or minutes so you don’t implode and self destruct before jumping right back into the same exact thing you were doing before. What’s the defination of insanity?

True self care is change. It moves us from rest to renewal. It recenters and adapts you. It becomes fulfillment and not just refilling. It regains health and invites you to carry that heralth forward. True self care puts you at a different place and going back to the exact same pace, place, spot, routine and process is just incongruent.

We’re moving into the season of Pentecost where the Holy Spirit inspires change and renewal in people for what will become generation after generation.  The Holy Spirit doesn’t invite us into a pause or a rest stop or a moment.  Instead, we are invited to a new type or care for ourselves and the world around us.  We are invited to be a church.  Not the brick and mortar type but instead the flesh and blood type.  

That flesh and blood needs care too.  

With all the universe has thrown at us in these days, it’s more important now than ever. Don’t take a “time out” or “practice” self care. Be changed by it. Be fulfilled by it.  Be recentered by it.  And be released to be the church through it.

Dear God, allow space for self care that full changes me.  Amen

Be well, safe and blessed!
ps
May 25th, 2022

May 25th, 2022

ps from ps:I’m sad today.  Sad and worn out.

I know I’m supposed to write something inspirational to you today.  But I got nothin’.

I guess I just want you to know that it’s ok to not be ok today.  Or any day.  Every time.  Each instance.  When evil crawls out from under a rock, grabs a weapon that can enhance that evil and takes lives.  Again.

I know God stands with us during these times.  I know it.  And count on it.  I couldn’t continue without it.  

But for the love of all that is good, can we get an intervention here Lord?  A path to fix this?  A plague against those who hurt so many?  Anything??

I guess that’s up to us.  Again.  To be hands, feet, presence, votes, action, teachers, watchers and lovers as the intervention.  Again.  But dear God, this is not easy right now and we sure could use some strength.

Dear God, this is not easy now.  Give us strength.  Amen

Be well, safe and blessed!
ps
May 18th, 2022

May 18th, 2022

ps from ps:This is more information than devotional today.

If it would be helpful in your healing and grieving, I would invite you to join us anywhere in Amherst on the sidewalks this Saturday afternoon.  If you’d like to bring a canned good or non-perishable item, we will collect those and get them straight to FeedMore for the Jefferson St area.  

Daily Bread will begin working with FeedMore to take prepared meals down the area starting later this week.  Please talk with Leslie Boynton if you can volunteers with prep, service or clean up time.

We will be ready to unleash heaven into this hatred for weeks and months to come.  Once this goes off the news cycle, St. Paul’s will still be there.  

In the weeks to come, we will be taking the lead of our Cultural Awareness Team on some of our next steps forward.    But the work to battle racism and hatred like this needs to go deeper than the quick vigils and memorials.  I hope you will join me in this work.

Please keep praying for our City’s recovery and healing as we grief together.


Be well, safe and blessed!
ps