Posted by: Bob Clark | May 16, 2019

What did you say?

I was reading in the living room when I heard my wife from the kitchen excitedly saying, “The whisk is one of my favorite kitchen tools.”

I put my book down and asked her to repeat what she had said, just to make sure I heard her correctly.

Yep.

So now I am sitting there, book in my lap, pondering, “People have favorite kitchen tools?”

And after a minute or so I am thinking, “My wife has a favorite kitchen tool, and it’s the whisk?”

And finally, “It took me nearly 40 years of sharing life with this woman to learn this about her?”

This weekend we celebrate 40 years of marriage and I gotta tell you, I love it everytime I learn something new about her.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 14, 2019

Priceless

Yesterday I had a phone conversation with someone who has been my friend for almost 50 years.

It’s not unusual for us to talk to each other, even when separated by hundreds of miles. Through the years we have talked on a regular basis.

After all these years we don’t have to build up to talking about important matters. We can just dive right into the deep waters.

Through the years we have talked each other through a lot of life’s ups and downs.

Since that conversation I’ve been thinking about how wonderful it is to have a friend you can trust implicitly.

Priceless. Just priceless.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 13, 2019

Slow Motion Miracles

One woman was abandoned as a child by her mother. Another woman was assaulted as a child by her mother. And there they were in the gathering yesterday for Table and Word.

They ate the sacred meal. They soaked up the message of Jesus.

And gathering by gathering, meal by meal, message by message, a slow motion miracle is taking place in their hearts, minds, and lives.

These woman have worked hard to break old family patterns. These women, by the grace and power of God, are living out their lives as loving mothers of children who will never experience the same kind of heartbreak and pain that their mothers experienced at the hands of their grandmothers.

It’s work, hard work. And it’s a miracle, a slow motion miracle, rolling out over a period of years.

Thanks be to God.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 9, 2019

It’s Complicated

For the most part, our church pays more attention to the church calendar than the calendar of Hallmark-inspired holidays. So our gathering Sunday will be focused on the fourth week of Easter. But without question, the elephant in the room will be Mother’s Day.

Throughout my years of ministry, Mother’s Day at church has always been, how shall I say, complicated.

Complicated.

Some families will have three, maybe four, generations of happy mothers with their children. Others will be mourning the fresh loss of a mother or grandmother.

Complicated.

Some mothers will be snuggling their second or third baby while other women will be silently suffering infertility, miscarriages, or stillbirths.

Complicated.

Some will enter the gathering with thanksgiving for a tender, loving mother who taught them about and showed them the kindness and grace of God. Others will come, dragging behind them heavy memories of being assaulted, neglected, abandoned, or abused by the one person above all who they should have been able to trust.

Complicated.

And with a day this complicated, what could be better than a fourth week of remembering, wrestling with, and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 8, 2019

Circuit Breaker

I’m not exactly sure what went wrong, but I completely lost control of my calendar over the last three weeks and nearly drowned.

There were a couple of emergencies, some unexpecteds, and some scheduling difficulties that created a perfect storm.

For the past three years I have scheduled a day-long silent retreat for the first Monday of each month (moved to Tuesdays when a holiday falls on that Monday).

The silence is a good discipline for me since I am regularly in situations where I have to talk. The silence recenters me on God. It reminds me that the world goes on when I am not talking.

And this month, my silent retreat came at just the right time to help me reset. It served as a circuit breaker to shut down my activity before fire broke out.

While I have renewed my commitment to the healthy rhythms of my rule of life, I will probably experience another perfect storm. And when I do, I may need this circuit breaker again.

Lord, have mercy.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 7, 2019

Tenderhearted

Tenderhearted.

A word I don’t hear much anymore. I want to hear it more.

A quality I don’t see much anymore. I want to see it more.

A life I don’t live much anymore. I want to live it more.
Tenderhearted.
A tenderhearted person lives a blessed life; a hardhearted person lives a hard life” (Proverbs 28:14 MSG).

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 6, 2019

A time for silence

About six weeks ago I found myself in a conversation that drifted into a topic that made me a bit uncomfortable.

I listened carefully and at one point thought I was going to have to respond, or more accurately, push back. But just as I was preparing to make my case, I had a strong gut feeling that I should remain quiet.

And that is what I did.

One day last week it became clear that staying quiet was exactly what I needed to do.

There is a time to speak out, no doubt; but there is also a time for silence.

I’m thankful I got it right, at least this time.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 3, 2019

Laying down my life

I need courage, and lots of it, to lay down my life. Sometimes I need that courage day by day. Other times I need that courage hour by hour. But if I am being honest, most days I need that courage minute by minute. Today is one of those days.

Almighty God,

Give me courage to lay down my life, right now, in this moment.

In Jesus’s name,

Amen.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 2, 2019

Always

Yesterday I was reminded how much I have to learn, how much I have to grow.

That kinda discouraged me for a while, but then it hit me–I never want to stop living and learning, stretching and growing.

Always living and learning.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 1, 2019

The practice of prayer

This week I was reminded of David’s practice of praying seven times per day (Ps 119:164), Daniel’s practice of praying three times per day (Daniel 6:10), Jesus’s practice of getting up at dawn to pray or even pull an all-nighter in prayer (Mark 1:35, Luke 6:12), and Peter’s practice of observing hours of prayer (Acts 3:1; 10:9).

Reading these practices reminded me that having a plan to practice praying can be good, healthy, and soul-nourishing.

It also reminded me that we make time for what we value.

And oh yes, it reminded me that without a plan to practice prayer, it is easy to fail to pray.

Want a more enriching prayer life? Plan a practice of prayer.

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