This past week my family and I stayed at one of our favorite places in the world, Camp Calumet. We spend a week’s vacation at Calumet every year. At the start of the camp session we have a community campfire and we sing songs, watch skits and enjoy the beauty of nature all around us. At the end of the campfire we sing this song: “Down Beside the moonlit waters of Lake Ossipee Lies our beautiful Camp Calumet dear to you and me Swell the chorus speed it onward till the echo rings Let our camp go down in history Calumet we sing.” You may have a place like Calumet, a place you can go to experience the beauty of God’s creation, a place to connect with friends and to remind you of the simple things in life. We arrived at camp after spending two hours fighting traffic, connected to our phones, listening to the news, and tired from the stress of life. But that fades away as we looked upon the beautiful lake, gave our friends a hug and settled into our lodge. We then put away our phones to open a book, we turned off the news and listened to the sounds of our children playing together and we relaxed on the beach as we talked with the people we love most in our lives. I reflected over my time at camp and realized that I have been coming here for thirty years! During that time I […]
When in good company we are told to never talk about religion and politics. Well today I am going to talk about both, specifically I am going to talk about how my church helps me see the world of politics. I am not going to tell you how to vote, I would never do that. I believe that we have the freedom to vote for whom we believe will serve our country the best. But I will tell you that as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) I have certain ways that I live my life. My faith plays an important part of who I am, what I believe and how I see the world. I grew up in the Lutheran church and there have been moments in my life when I have looked into other churches and moments when I have considered leaving the church all together. But I have come back to the ELCA time and time again because I truly believe that God is active in the world and that God is active in the church. So here are some things that I love about my church and things that help me wade through what some have called the “political mess” that our country is experiencing right now.
Camp Calumet has been a home away from home for most of my life. I attended camp as a camper, counselor, senior staff person and year round staff person. Less than a month after I graduated seminary I was a chaplain for a weekend retreat at Calumet. I served as a chaplain for a Christmas retreat but serving as a chaplain during the summer is different. Like most ministry my role as chaplain was to connect with the campers and the staff. I was to provide a short message during the morning devotions and evening vespers service. Besides that I had “free” time. So I went with cabin groups to their Discovery Time (Interactive Bible Study), Unit Time (large group game time divided by ages) and department time (afternoon classes ie swimming, boating, arts and crafts etc). I also enjoyed some time on the beach with my family. Here are 10 things I learned from my week as a Summer Camp Chaplain I am not 16 anymore. Late nights and early mornings don’t bode well for me anymore. Spending the day with my backpack, sneakers, bathing suit and towel may seem fun for the first two days, but my daily step count went from 6,500 to 15,000 a day. I was tired by the end of the day. I was thankful for a day to recoup when I got home. Talking to a large group of kids is scary. When at camp I was talking to 8 year olds and […]
A new year is a great time to look back upon the year past and to look ahead to the future. In this episode Pastor Geoff and Pastor Joe look at some of the things they are excited to do in 2016. Geoff and Joe also share their one word. Want to pick one word for 2016? Something to help you focus and achieve personal transformation? Determine the kind of person you want to become. This goes beyond just wanting to make superficial changes. To really make effective change and work towards a better life you need to drive deep into your soul. Then identify the characteristics of becoming that person. Get a picture of that person and then simply identify major characteristics. Do you see someone who is gentle, or generous? What are the qualities that stand out the most? Third, pick a word. Once you have a list of the characteristics, simply pick a word. There might be fifteen things that you want to change, but resist the temptation to promise you will do them all. Instead, simply commit to ONE WORD. This will provide you with a lens to see the changes you need to make as well as a way to determine whether or not change is actually happening. Understand that this process is hard, but staying focused on your word will help you to struggle in the right direction so that you can actually see God working in your life. If you want to share your word with […]
Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16 How do you live? What are the things in your life that you are most proud of and what are the things in your life that you regret? If we are honest with ourselves, we have things that we are proud of and we have things that we regret. My junior year of college I was lost. I did not know what I wanted to do with my life, I was attending Luther College in Decorah, Iowa but I was not really going to my classes. Instead I was either working at a local restaurant as a cook or I was sitting in my dorm room, alone.
For the past few years I have adopted three words to help lead and guide me throughout the year. This has been a practice of Chris Brogan since 2006 and I adapted it for myself. I have had some success with this type of focus. I think it did help me in creating an internal drive to accomplish what I need to accomplish. However it was also overwhelming. Here are the words that I used in the past 2011 – Acceleration, Mindfulness, and Learning 2012 – Simplify, Share and Balance 2013- Transform, Practice, and Completion 2014 – Create, Compete, Complete
I am excited to announce that I have accepted a new call to Faith Lutheran Church in Gardner, MA. Below is the letter I sent to the people of St. Mark’s. I am thankful for everyone’s support during this time of transition. Many thanks to Pastor Keith Anderson for help with the letter. January 22, 2014 Dear Friends of St. Mark’s, It is with both joy and sadness that I write to you. The joy I greet you with is the news that I have accepted a new call to serve as pastor at Faith Lutheran Church in Gardner, MA. The sadness is that in order to pursue this new call I will resign as your pastor. My last Sunday will be March 2nd. I want to let you know that this has been a difficult decision to make. You are wonderful people. My family has come to know and love both the community of Baldwinsville as well as the community of St. Mark’s. Together, over the course of the last six years, St. Mark’s has accomplished quite a bit. We’ve watched our youth program blossom and grow by creating opportunities for our youth to be engaged with ministries beyond the walls of our church, we have seen growth in our community dinners and expanded that ministry by delivering to homebound people, we celebrated our 60th anniversary, we have done necessary improvements and upgrades to our church building, we have created a memorial garden, we have grown to recognize the […]
Since 2011 I have participated with picking 3 words to help guide my year. This idea has come from Chris Brogan and it has helped keep me focus on my goals throughout the year. Chris wrote last year about this process: If there were a hierarchy to planning out your year, it would look like this: The big story. Vision. Goals. Plans and Milestones. The daily calendar. You could argue which goes first, a vision or a big story. I’d accept either. But to me, a vision is a story told in goals, so I put it below the big story. The big story is that which we want to believe about our life and our goals and our plan. The vision is how you lay that out into something you can do. Goals are a way of knowing that you’re headed in the direction of your vision and your story. Plans and milestones are what make up goals, and if this doesn’t land on the calendar, you don’t have anything. The three words are a shorthand representation of your bigger story. It’s kind of like how an icon isn’t the software program. It’s just a way for you to mentally access all the work you’re doing. Make sense? I really believe in creating a vision for ourselves and to be intentional about what we do and how we do it. Some of my past goals have been 2011 – Acceleration, Mindfulness, and Learning 2012 – Simplify, Share and Balance 2013- Transform, Practice, and Completion My words […]
For the last two years I have picked three words that guide my actions, the way I live. Instead of picking out one or two tasks for the year, I have words encapsulate ideas, visions, hopes, dreams and then I work the rest of the year to make them specific ideas. Chris Brogan has inspired this practice. I still have some work to fully master this concept but each year it gets easier and better. As Chris says “The big story is that which we want to believe about our life and our goals and our plan. The vision is how you lay that out into something you can do. Goals are a way of knowing that you’re headed in the direction of your vision and your story. Plans and milestones are what make up goals, and if this doesn’t land on the calendar, you don’t have anything. The three words are a shorthand representation of your bigger story. It’s kind of like how an icon isn’t the software program. It’s just a way for you to mentally access all the work you’re doing.” I have done this for the last 2 years and here were my words 2011 — Acceleration, Mindfulness, and Learning 2012 — Simplify, Share and Balance My words for 2013
After reading Chris Brogan’s post last year on three words replacing the traditional New Year’s Resolutions I was hooked. I picked Acceleration, Mindfulness, and Learning as my three words. I feel like they served me well throughout the year. This year I have three words which are going to take my life and my family to the next level. Over the next three days I want to share them with you and more about what they are going to mean for me this year. I totally agree with Chris when he says “Resolutions are often too vague, or too directed towards one goal. It might be “quit smoking” or “lose 20 pounds” or “get hired.” These are all fine aspirations, but I challenge you to dig deeper, to find three words that could be used as lighthouses to guide you through stormy seas, that can be used as flags on the battlefield of your challenges, words that will bolster you and give you a direction that goes beyond the goals you might attach as a result of these words.” So I have dug deep and I have prayed about and pondered what my three words will be for 2012. I will also take some action steps to properly executing and keeping focus on my words. I hope to have month-long goals but some might be longer and others shorter. My 3 Words for 2012 are:
This video reminds me that I can do anything that I put my mind too. I have lots of dreams in my life and I will not let anyone (Including MYSELF) tell me that I can’t do something that I want or feel called to do. This video clip is a great reminder to me that message as I stat off a new year. I tend to read a lot of blogs, some inspire me, some make me think, while others make me laugh or teach me something (for a listing of my favorites click here). One of the blogs that I read alot is by social media expert Chris Brogan. Chris has posted that he does not believe New Year’s resolutions help him very much, instead he is fond of choosing three words to provide a focus for the new year. I really like the idea!! I have posted my thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions, and instead of picking one word, this year I am going to pick three that I am going to use to propel me into 2011 and beyond. Here is a list of my three words: Acceleration: This is an important one for me, I want 2011 to be about acceleration. To me this means moving constantly. I want to move, move, move all the time. I want to get things done in a timely fashion. I don’t want to sit around, I want to be up and out in the world moving. For me […]