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Approaching Thanksgiving Day

Approaching Thanksgiving Day and maybe more family time than usual, it might serve us well to realize that there are some for whom these Elton John lyrics speak their reality —

You may not believe it
But I don’t believe in miracles anymore
And when I think about it
I don’t believe I ever did for sure
All the things I’ve said in songs
All the purple prose you bought from me
Reality’s just black and white
The sentimental things I’d write
Never meant that much to me


I used to be the main express
All steam and whistles heading west
Picking up my pain from door to door
Riding on the storyline
Furnace burning overtime
But this train don’t stop,
This train don’t stop,
This train don’t stop there anymore


You don’t need to hear it
But I’m dried up and sick to death of love
If you need to know it
I never really understood that stuff
All the stars and bleeding hearts
All the tears that welled up in my eyes
Never meant a thing to me
Read ’em as they say and weep
I’ve never felt enough to cry

When I said that I don’t care
It really means my engine’s breaking down
The chisel chips my heart again
The granite cracks beneath my skin
I crumble into pieces on the ground

— Seldom will we hear their words that clearly; seldom may they themselves even be as aware of what’s going on within themselves as clearly this song presents it. 

But seldom will they be with someone who cares as much about them as you and I do. 

Pray for what St. Paul recommends in Colossians 3:12, “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”

And let them know that you and Somebody Else really do care about them.

If it’s appropriate, even let them know about my humble blog that’s Fresh Brewed Daily right here.

By the grace of God, that train does stop here, and I hope they would as well.



A New Word from Eli

Elijah Slifer is a young adult who’s active in a church I served.

Back in May we were talking about basic theological understandings and perspectives, and it’s with his gracious permission that I share this with you.

He said he’s neither a hardcore conservative nor a flaming liberal.

We kicked this around a bit, then he suddenly laughed and hit me with a new word he and I think he made up —


I like that, don’t you? There’s a lot packed in there.

Good stuff, Eli, good stuff!



Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life? 

Jesus asks that in Matthew 6:27.

How do you answer?

And then how do you live in light of that answer?


Maybe you’re like others of us, and need to go back and re-think our answer.

And our subsequent behavior.

Sprinting Through a Marathon

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

— Hebrews 12:1-3

“When living seems too much to manage, circumstances too difficult to cope with , the future too gloomy to consider — call time out. Stop and discover the nurturing, renewing gift of the Holy One: rest.” Disciplines 2017, page 347.

A handful of years ago, working with my District Superintendent and with the gracious permission of the Effingham (IL) United Methodist Church, I was granted a brief study sabbatical.

During that month I looked at why some people are able to go the distance in life and finish their race strong, while others don’t.

“The Disciples of Grace” was a class that enriched my understanding in that time and since. One simply profound take away: while it’s God’s gift of grace through Christ that saves us, living into our salvation requires something on our part.

Some of that is the stewardship of our physical and emotional resources.

We talk about pacing ourselves. But that pace can increase until we’re furiously, and foolishly, trying sprint our way through a marathon.

Some of us need to reach back into our heritage —

“I will give you rest,”

God promises us in Exodus 33:14,


“Come to me, all you that are weary

and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest,”

Jesus beckons to us in Matthew 11:28.

Maybe you’re like others of us.

Maybe your own exhausted panting is drowning out what those Scriptures offer us.

Then today, let’s make one small change and actually “call time out. Stop and discover the nurturing, renewing gift of the Holy One: rest.”

How will you do that today?

And when?




46% of Us

“Forty-six percent of American adults have a friend or loved one who has struggled with drug addiction,” says this week’s issue of Time magazine.

Addiction is at its essence a hijacking,” it goes on.

“Parts of the brain that are dedicated to rewarding behavior and triggering feelings of satisfaction and calm are kidnapped.”

Forty-six percent of us are close to someone who knows how true those words are.

Some of us may be there ourselves.

There is hope.

There is help.





Prayer is.., part 2 of 2.

Quick Review: my pastor, Rev. Harvey Gaither, said in his sermon this past Sunday that “Prayer is action.” This came in the context of yet another tragedy, in this case a Texas church shooting the previous Sunday that left many dead and many more wounded. Some Christians say they’re tired of praying and want to see the Church spring into action.

Okay…whaddya think?

Seems to me that Harvey’s right, and is in line with the best of our various Christian traditions and denominations: “Prayer is action.”

I’ll bet you noticed that he did not say that prayer is the only thing we’re called to do.

If you read what have been called “the red letter parts” of the New Testament, just the things that Christ Jesus said, we have a clear call to both pray and to make a difference.

I’m with Harvey: “Prayer is action.”

Especially when we listen.

And when, if possible, we then take follow-up prayerful action.

It’s kinda like that classic line, “Don’t pray for God to guide your path if you’re not willing to move your feet.”



Prayer is….

Every time there’s a tragedy of some sort, social media is filled with two things from Christians: some saying they’re praying, some saying they’re tired of us just praying and want some action.

This past Sunday, my pastor, Rev. Harvey Gaither, said in his sermon that “Praying is action.”

What say ye?

Give that some prayerful thought, and let’s think together about this tomorrow. See you back here then.