Friday, November 9, 2007

Broken or Happy

I just finished watching one more rerun of The Parent Trap for the upteenth time. And something caught my eye - the last two images at the end of the film are not of Haley Mills or of any of the other characters, but of two cross stitched banners. The first says "Bless Our Broken Home". As it fades out, a new banner appears, "Bless Our Happy Home".

I suppose that it might seem easy to say that we each have one or the other. In fact, the film might seem to hint that the core family had moved from the first to the second. It might seem that some would argue if we have not put the "broken" family away and become a "happy" family, then something is wrong.

But, it would seem to me, that the real truth lies in recognizing that the healthiest home is really both, rather than one or the other. After all, Scripture teaches that we are broken people and broken people live in broken homes. However, with God's grace, we can be happy even as we are broken.

My prayer is that I would continue to be happy with my family, even as I learn to place my brokenness in the hands of Jesus. May the same be true for you.

Yours because His,

Pastor Patrick

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

May I Never Forget
Floyd H. Johnson

I know not when Christ was born;
But I will celebrate it as best I can.

Though there may always will be trees and gifts,
I hope to always remember a Bethlehem manger.
Where the Son of God was born a while ago.

There were angels and shepherds and kings,
But first there was the Savior asleep in the manger.

Christmas is busy, let me never forget that night,
When the world would be forever be changed.

Christmas is busy, but let me ne'er forget that night,
When I would be forever changed.

Written in response to Lesson 5 of Beth Moore's book Jesus: 90 Days with the One and Only.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Leaf
Floyd H. Johnson

Today a leaf danced across my path.
It did a little jig as it moved along the ground,
urged along by unseen hands.

Dry and tender, it waltzed in step with the trees
who clapped their hands to the tune of some
silent melody.

I moved on, perhaps never again to see that sight,
though leaves will dance and waltz tomorrow.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A Demanding Week

This past week was tough. And I only have our local Christian radio station ( to blame . You see, on Tuesday morning I turned on the radio and was listening to the Morning Show, as it is called. The music was great, the interviews were okay, but then came that moment that would change my life forever. The announcers told the world, and me, that day had been proclaimed "Practice Winter Snuggling Night".

I, liked that idea, called my wife and told her what I had heard. And sure enough we practiced snuggling that evening.

But the silly radio station could not stop when they were ahead. Because now it was Thursday morning and again I was enjoying the music and commentary. And again, the announcer decided to tell the world and me that Thursday was "National Husband Make Dinner Night".

Now this was too much. I mean, I don't mind buying my wife candy on Valentine's Day. I even enjoy buying flowers for her on Mother's day. And getting a small gift for her on her birthday - I'll even do that. But when the local radio station combines snuggling on the day before Halloween and making dinner on the day after Halloween, it really is too much.

Now, I did snuggle. I did make dinner (Meatloaf, Alfredo Noodles, and Green Peas). But, come on now, I have been married for almost 34 years. Why is the local Christian station choosing to pick on me?

Or maybe I should ask, did you get to snuggle this past week? Did you make dinner for your wife this week? If not, it is not too late. Why not do it this next week?

Yours because His,

Pastor Patrick

Thursday, November 1, 2007

You Alone
Floyd H. Johnson

You alone are God,
There is none besides.
      You alone can save,
      All others leave me lost.
You alone give life,
All else leaves me dead.
      You alone show grace,
      All others condemn.
You alone I will worship,
You alone will I serve.

Written in response to Lesson 4 of Beth Moore's Jesus: 90 Days With The One and Only.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bungee Jumping Bishop

These two images show Bishop Violet L. Fisher bungee jumping in New Zealand.



Pastor Patrick

Saturday, October 20, 2007

New Word - Autumnishy

My wife's newest word - AUTUMNISHY.

Definition - "of or pertaining to autumn, like Autumn"

Typical sentence: I am going to make my office more autumnishy.

Yours because His,

Pastor Patrick

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Can I Stop Talking?

Can I Stop Talking?

Earlier this fall, I preached two sermons on finding God in times of silence and in times of solitude. You can see the sermons at my sermon blog:

The two sermons were preached as part of a series on the Christian Disciplines - where I attempted to answer the question, "Most of us come to church so that we can know God better. What can I do to know God better?"

I even put it in practice by visiting our local zoo. Rather than trying to see every exhibit, during my five hours at the zoo, I stopped at only four exhibits:

  • The Alligators
  • The Meerkats
  • The Tigers
  • The Polar Bears

And I had lunch. It was designed to be a relaxing time, a time of reflection and retreating. It was good.

One of the other ways that I relax is reading. I like light mystery. For example, I have been reading the books by Lee Goldberg based on the Diagnosis Murder and Monk TV series. Each of these include a bit of comedy and a bit of mystery making them fun to read.

Another series I stumbled on a couple of years ago after watching a Made-For-TV movie on the Hallmark Channel is written by a female author writing under the pseudonym of Lee Harris. The series tells the story of a former Catholic nun who was raised in a convent and naturally joined the teaching staff of its college. At the age of 30, Christine Bennett found herself responsible for the care of a mentally challenged nephew and the recipient of a house along the Long Island Sound. During the course of the seventeen books, she is married, has a child, and solves a series of murders that seem to be dropped in her lap. Written in the first person, they have been fun to read and follow her through the early years of marriage, motherhood, and murder.

I am currently reading the final book in the series. The author told me in a personal e-mail that the publisher was choosing to leave the genre and would not be publishing more books. Though she has another series with another publisher, her hands are tied when it comes to the Christine Bennett Mystery series. She describes the other series as being "darker and harder" - something that I do not find inviting. After finishing The Cinco De Mayo Murder I will have read all the Christine Bennett Mystery books that have been published.

So what does The Cinco De Mayo Murder have to do with finding God in silence and solitude. The question is answered on page 158 of the book. Christine is on the way to visit a college professor who knew her latest victim and that probably had some vital information in finding some resolution to the case. She is moving through the corridors and climbing the stairs of the college classroom building. As she makes her way to the professor's office, she is passed by "an occasional young person" who scoots by with "a cell phone at his ear." At that point the author, writing in the first person, comments, "We have become a society that cannot stop talking."

I was reminded of my words of a few weeks earlier. Can we, can I, slow down enough that I can hear God speaking? Or do I have so much to say that I will no longer listen to God? May I never be so noisy, that I will not or cannot listen to God. Let me always find times of silence, let me always find times of silence or solitude, either intentionally or not, that God can use to speak to me. May the same be true for you.

Yours because His,

Pastor Patrick

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Spiritual Disciplines Word Find

Spiritual Discipline

Y M V D N I V I U * E Y A I V I P K


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What Color Is Your Brain

Your Brain is Yellow

Of all the brain types, yours is the most intellectual.
You crave mental stimulation, and your thoughts tend to very complex.
Your thoughts tend to be innovative and cutting edge, though many people don't understand them.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about science, architecture, and communication.

Our Mailbox Is Gone

Our Mailbox Is Gone

It was a difficult Sunday morning when we woke up and found our mailbox laying on the ground. Though we would not be receiving mail on Sunday, the Sunday morning paper was in the middle of the driveway, not in its normal tube. With two services and a son's birthday to celebrate, it would not get repaired that day. And Monday was scheduled for one of the last matinee ballgames to be played by our local minor league baseball team. It might have been better to fix the mailbox on Monday rather going to the game - but no way was that going to happen. So we again received Monday's paper in the middle of the driveway. And we received no mail.

So Tuesday was set aside for fixing the mailbox - and getting blood drawn for the tests my doctor had ordered. I picked up the paperwork at the doctor's office, when to the lab to have my blood drawn. This was followed by a late lunch with my son (hey, it was 11:00 AM by this time) and a trip to Home Depot to pick up some tools and hardware. By 2:15 we had the mailbox and two paper tubes back in place. We had already missed Tuesday mail - so, other than missing two days mail, the job was not too bad.

I really don't know who knocked down our mailbox. It may have been the person driving the car that delivers our Sunday morning paper, or perhaps the neighbor across the street backing out of his or her driveway. Or maybe just a prank - who knows. But it is back up now.

Messages don't always get through. Mailboxes do get hit. E-mail gets lost in cyberspace. Mail gets misdirected or delayed.

But there is one group of messages that do always get through - they are the messages we send to God. He hears our prayers, He answers our prayers, He knows our needs even before we express them in words. And if we keep our hearts open, we may also find that God is willing to speak to us.

And when the relationship has to be rebuilt, when we are ready, God is in the business of repairing it.

The mailbox never has to go missing when we are communicating with God.

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father’s throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.

In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
Of those whose anxious spirits burn
With strong desires for thy return!
With such I hasten to the place
Where God my Savior shows His face,
And gladly take my station there,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since He bids me seek His face,
Believe His Word and trust His grace,
I’ll cast on Him my every care,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
May I thy consolation share,
Till, from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height,
I view my home and take my flight:
This robe of flesh I’ll drop and rise
To seize the everlasting prize;
And shout, while passing through the air,
“Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!”

Yours because His,

Pastor Patrick

Monday, August 13, 2007

Trinitarian Doctrine

I am occasionally asked about the trinity. I usually summarize it this way:

  1. There is only one God
  2. The Father is called God
  3. The Son is called God
  4. The Holy Spirit is called God
  5. No one else is called God

Though I am sure that I was introduced to the Athanasian Creed in seminary, I do not remember it. I recently stumbled across it - and find it to be a much more inclusive statement of the Trinitarian doctrine.

Athanasian Creed

  1. Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith;
  2. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
  3. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;
  4. Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.
  5. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.
  6. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.
  7. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.
  8. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.
  9. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.
  10. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.
  11. And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.
  12. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.
  13. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.
  14. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.
  15. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;
  16. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
  17. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;
  18. And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.
  19. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;
  20. So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords.
  21. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.
  22. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.
  23. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
  24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
  25. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.
  26. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.
  27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.
  28. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.
  29. Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  30. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.
  31. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world.
  32. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
  33. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.
  34. Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.
  35. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God.
  36. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.
  37. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;
  38. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead;
  39. He ascended into heaven, He sits on the right hand of the Father, God, Almighty;
  40. From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
  41. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;
  42. and shall give account of their own works.
  43. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
  44. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.

On a side note, my wife and I considered naming our first son Athanasius. I am glad we did not - we chose "Jonathan Edward" instead.

Yours because His,

Pastor Patrick

How High Can You Go?

During our morning worship service we give an opportunity for members of our congregation to choose a number of songs to sing. This morning someone suggested Hymn 418 from the United Methodist Hymnal, "We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder."

Sitting in the back of the church was our Church Lay Leader - a man who spends a great deal of time on a ladder. After church we thought that this might be a good theme song for his job - and he agreed.

There was only one problem - the ladders he regularly works on only go so high. They reach the top of many buildings, but there are some that he cannot reach with the ladders he has available. But Jacob's ladder has no limits - except those put there by God. If we take the time to climb Jacob's ladder, who knows how far we can go in service to the master.

We are climbing Jacob's ladder,
We are climbing Jacob's ladder,
We are climbing Jacob's ladder,
Soldiers of the cross.
Every round goes higher, higher,
Every round goes higher, higher,
Every round goes higher, higher,
Soldiers of the cross.

Sinner, do you love my Jesus?
Sinner, do you love my Jesus?
Sinner, do you love my Jesus?
Soldiers of the cross.

If you love him,
why not serve him?
If you love him,
why not serve him?
If you love him,
why not serve him?
Soldiers of the cross.
Afro-American Spiritual
Yours because His,
Pastor Patrick

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Are You Being Watched?

My wife and I received a complement this week. A wonderful, unexpected complement.

It came from a former student of mine - a young lady that now works for my wife in our college library. Over the past week or two, the library has been moved from its old cramped space to a beautiful building which includes a 24 hour computer lab and a on-site cafe situated near a fire place.

During the school year, my wife supervises 20 students - as she is responsible for the circulation department and the computer lab. During the summer the number of students is greatly reduced, but so is the work load.

My wife completed her move this week. For the first time in her life, my wife has an office, a real office, of her own. Not a cubicle, not a desk set up with a three other desks - an office with a desk of her own that is not shared with anyone else.

To help her celebrate the move, I had a dozen roses delivered to her office. They came in a bright red vase that goes well with the cherry wood finish on my wife's desk.

And that is when it came, the complement. She said it to my wife - "You and your husband have the example of the perfect marriage." Now, if she had just met my wife, we might question it. But this student has known me for two years and my wife for a year-and-a-half.

Do we have the perfect marriage - no way. If you knew us 20 years ago, you would have thought we we had the marriage least likely to survive. At that time, both my wife and I wished the other one would leave - but we were both too weak to leave. And then God started working in our marriage - and we started working at our marriage. It was 17 years ago that a mutual friend commented on our marriage that she never had never seen a couple work harder at their marriage. I don't know if that is true or not; but whatever work we did, has paid off. Do we have the perfect marriage - no way. What we do have is a good marriage, one I am proud to be part of and one I enjoy being part of.

But there is another lesson to be learned. And it is this - we are being watched. Our faith is being lived out before others. We have no idea who is watching, but others are watching our successes and our failures. I wonder what else I am teaching others as I live my life. I trust that I set an example that will draw others to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Savior, like a shepherd lead us,
much we need thy tender care;
in thy pleasant pastures feed us,
for our use thy folds prepare.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Thou hast bought us, thine we are.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Thou hast bought us, thine we are.
Attr. to Dorothy A. Thrupp, 1779-1847

Friday, August 10, 2007

What Do I Miss?

My wife and I are taking a brief weekend trip away from home. On the way here Sandra saw a ground hog (or some similarly sized critter) walking up the bank along side the road. I never saw it - and sorry that I did not.

I know that those critters are there - they are usually dead when I see them, hit by some vehicle or another. But I rarelly see them alive. And that is sad.

But I am also left wondering what other blessings God may bring my way that I miss. I may not be driving the car, but so caught up in my life that I do not see what God is sending my way. I really want to see all that God has for me - yet I miss it. I am too busy, I am to involved, I am not listening to God, even when he is there.

Maybe tomorrow I can see more of what God has for me. I trust the same is true for you.

Open my eyes, that I may see
glimpses of truth thou hast for me;
place in my hands the wonderful key
that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!
Clara H. Scott (1841-1897)

Yours because His,

Pastor Patrick

Monday, May 28, 2007

Somebody HAS to be wrong ...

I am a member of a private USENET group. Recently we began discussing a significant difference in the practice of our faith. Earlier this week I added the following thought in response to the comment in the second line.


Someone wrote:
> Someone HAS to be wrong.

Could it be that everyone is wrong?

Scripture teaches that we are all broken - first, because as a created being we are not God and therefore limited in what we know and what we can do. Second, we are also broken because of the fall - the fall teaches every area of our lives has been touched by man's fall. We are not as bad as we can be, but there is not an area of our lives that has not been effected by the fall. This includes our theology.

Our goal is to understand God to the best of our ability, but because we are broken people, we can be assured that conclusions that we come to are not perfect.

All of us will do the best that we can do, but it is only God that knows how it really all fits together. For me, this means I hold tightly to my conclusions; but at the same time I must show enough grace to allow that others may be more right and me more wrong.

When I get to heaven, I will ask God to help me to understand how it is really supposed to fit together. In the meantime, I will do the best that I can and trust that others will do the same.

Yours because His,

Pastor Patrick

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Joshua and Pain

Some thoughts Joshua and the problem of pain

  1. We all deserve to die
  2. Part of what makes us so mad is that we want everyone to experience God's grace - but God never promised this
  3. The stories standout because they are the exception - not necessarily the norm
  4. Grace is offered to all - but we must be willing to accept it.
    1. Rahab
    2. Gibeonites
    3. lots of small towns that were not destroyed.
  5. In spite of the flaws, we want God to let us be us
  6. Instead, we need to let God be God

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Picture

Today I was sitting in the church and looked up.  A picture caught my eye, a picture that I must have seen numerous times in the past.  The first thing that caught my eye was the smiling children walking along a spring path with what looked like cherry blossoms in the background.  I suppose it is okay for children to smile, but it looked like all the children had the same smile.  Their mouths were open, a bit of teeth were showing and they were all looking up.  The picture got stranger and stranger when I realized it made no difference whether a child looked from the right or the left.  It made no difference whether the child was a boy or a girl.  It really bothered me that these children could all be smiling - that just is not the life know for myself or for my children.  But then something happened ...

I looked up - not way up, just the three inches from where the children stood smiling to what they were smiling at.  There in the focal point of the picture was Jesus.  He was carrying another smiling child, holding the hand of another young girl, also smiling.

The minute I saw Jesus I relaxed and I felt a smile on my own face.  It was as if it was okay for children to smile in His presence.  I am not so na├»ve as to think that Jesus makes everything okay, but it was also a relief to know that the artist was not merely painting smiles to paint smiles.  Rather, he was reminding us all that Jesus did love the children.  It is also a reminder that Jesus loves us.  One day we each, as believers, will be at home with Jesus.  And I am reminded that is okay to smile when I think of Jesus.

Pastor Patrick

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Publishing Sermons

I have spent much of the last couple of years experimening with inexpensive tools that can be used to publish my sermons. Let me review three tools I have looked at during that time:
    I started two or three years ago posting my sermons here - it took a great deal of work to post a new message and then each message has to be approved by the site administrator. If they choose to not approve a message, there is no indication what rule or policy has been violated so that the message can be edited, if appropriate.

    The biggest advantage of Sermon Central is the availability of a large database of sermons - free after contributing 40 sermons. Sermons posted on SermonCentral are also searchable from LOGOS Bible Software. I fear sermons published here are often used by those looking for sermons they may want to preach as their own.
    By using a blog to post my sermons, it is easy to allow my parishioners access to my public site. If I had to retype every sermon, this could be a tiresome task. But there is an easier way. can import MS Word,, or StarOffice files. Once imported, the same program can also publish to Other programs can post to the Blogger and to other blogging sites as well. I like The Journal - for this purpose.

    This is my prefered method of posting my sermons.
    Bible Explorer is a free Bible search tool. It also has an active set of community of offerings - which can be used for posting sermons. Sermons have to be cut and pasted into the internal word processor and made available to the entire Bible Explorer community.

    Bible Explorer is the least well known of the these three tools. But it has the potential of being made available to large number of people who are looking for Bible reference material - rather than just previously delivered sermons.

I expect that there are other useful tools for publishing sermons - I would be interested in finding other ways to distribute my sermons.


Pastor Patrick

Sunday, March 11, 2007

On-Line Bible Study Tools

On-Line Bible Study Tools
  1. Nave's Topical Bible
  1. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
  1. Torrey's Topical Textbook
  1. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown)
  1. Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible
  1. Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament
  1. Wesley's Explanatory Notes
  1. NET Bible (Study Bible)
  1. e-Sword (Free Bible Study Software)
  1. On-Line Bible Atlas (By Bible Chapter)
  1. On-Line Bible Atlas (By Historical Context)

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Life is Short

This next week I will be preaching on "Judgment". Sometimes illustrations fall into my lap.

I was reminded this week that life is short. Though the Northeast was quite warm for the first third of the winter, over the past two weeks we are having our share of cold weather and snow. Monday was no different - or so we thought.

You see, Monday was the day that a college student died. I spend a great deal of time with a group of elderly believers and see there struggle with the difficulties associated with aging. But young people don't have those kinds of struggles. But yesterday a college student died.

The accident was not her fault. The other driver was cited for going through a red light, excessive speed, and driving without a license. The college student was not at fault, but she died yesterday.

Though I do not know, I would guess that the student was about 22 years of age. I am 56 years old. It could have been me - I could have died yesterday. The college student, to the best of everyones knowledge, was a believer. She was ready for whatever God expected of her. And she died yesterday. I am a believer and I am ready for whatever God may expect of me.

Where is your faith today? Is your faith in all the good you do or is your faith in Jesus who alone is good?

Yours because His,

Pastor Patrick

Friday, January 26, 2007

A New Light

A New Light?

With a big "thank you" to this month's Congress On Evangelism

It must have been too early in the morning. My wife and I got to the car this morning and found the dome light turned on. At that point we worried - would the car start? It did! Life was good. My wife decided that the light being on was okay - after all it was not the "main thing". We quickly remembered, she was right, since the dome light is not the "main thing", but the "Light of the World" is truely the "Main Thing".

I know that I too often let the little things get in the way of the Main Thing. May I never forget to keep the Main Thing the main thing.

Pastor Patrick

Sunday, January 14, 2007

It Is Sunday - And I Am Tired

It has been three weeks since I preached my last sermon. I spent most of one week recouperating from Christmas; four days traveling to Myrtle Beach; four days attending the UM Congress on Evangelism; three days returning home; and one week teaching my first week of classes for the Spring semester. Finally, I prepared and preached my first sermon for the new year. And now I am exhausted.

I know some think preaching is an easy task - but I have discovered in my 9-1/2 years in the pulpit, that preaching is work, real work. It takes time to prepare and it takes time to deliver the message. But there is more - preaching is a spiritual activity and as such it is a perfect target for a spiritual attack.

Though I know it is not true, I sometimes fall under the illusion that preaching is all about me. But the truth is, it is not. Preaching is about Him - not somewhat, not partially, not incidently. Preaching is about Him. Each sermon I prepare, each sermon I preach, should lead my hearers to Him. And when I do that, I should expect to challenged. And when I am challenged, I should not be surprised to feel drained.

Tonight I feel drained.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Walking On Water

The pond is just about frozen (finally) - but it still looks like water. The ice would never support a fisherman, but you can still see ripples in the ice where the water froze before it could settle to a crystal smooth finish.

Given the rather longish fall weather, I think the thin ice also confused the migrating geese. Yesterday as I left campus I found three or four geese wandering around the frozen ice - all looking rather confused. They did not seem to understand why they were walking on the water rather than wading in it. It was a rather funny sight.

I wonder what it would have been like to see Jesus that night walking on the water. Or, better yet. to see Peter climb out of the boat and do the same, if even for a moment or two. I expect everyone, but Jesus, would have been confused. It too would have been a strange sight.

As I prepare to leave the safety of the boat for new waters, I am reminded that Jesus is there to catch me. It may feel confusing, it may feel frightening, it may feel uncertain. But like Peter, I can call out, "Jesus save me." I must never forget that Jesus is there to pull me in when I feel most alone.

Pastor Patrick

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

A Christian Reponse to Robotics

I teach one section of course entitled "Today's World and Its Great Issues". It is a senior capstone course required of all students before they graduate. One of the major assignments in my section is to explore the possible responses of believers to the growing presence of robots in our society. Details of the assignment can be found at

It is not my intention to present a future to fear - but to have students think about what it means to be human.

Next week students will respond to Bill Joy's article "The Future Does Not Need Us." How would you respond?

Yours because His,

Pastor Patrick

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Patrick - hey that is not my name!

Though this is not my first blog, this is my first attempt at blogging. You see a number of years ago I wanted to find a way to give members of my parrish access to my sermons. I started to use SermonCentral (, but found it to be a clumsy way to put sermons on-line - especially for layman. When I stumbled on, a number of years later, I tried to give it a try. For a number of years I have been using as a tool to post my sermon outlines. You can find those posts at

By the way, that is my name - "Pastor Floyd".

So why Pastor-Patrick, if that is not my name? Shortly after coming to the Garland United Methodist Church, I was introduced to one or two of the young people in the church as "Pastor". But the introduction was misunderstood - they heard me called "Patrick" and the name stuck. Since that time there have been a number of teens that refer to me as "Pastor Patrick."

Having two names is not too unusual. Abram became Abraham. Saul became Paul. Jesus assumes the title "Christ" as if it were a name.

So, as Pastor Patrick, I begin to blog for the first time.

Yours because His,

Pastor Patrick (aka Pastor Floyd)