A Good Thing To Do: Love St. Stephen

Yesterday, our small town engaged in the Love Your City experience, as churches all over our town took to acts of generosity that celebrated the goodness of God toward people in our little hamlet.

Carnivals, BBQ’s, car washes, playground painting, chocolate giving and many more activities led us through the day, and last evening we concluded with a worship concert in the town square.

While I can’t speak for everyone, for me it was a rich day. For twenty years I’ve participated fully and frequently in what I call “church mouse” activities – activities where everyone gathers their greatest enthusiasm to set up, tear down, advertise, play, work, sweat, laugh and generally give their all to the next event that will change life as we know it.

I admit, that I feel I’m a bit jaded in comparison to the enthusiasm of young and old that often surrounds me in these events. My Christian worldview in constant shift, the endless years of “big events” and the artist in me always clamoring to be more completely “outed,” all play a part in diminishing my exhuberance at events that are expected to trigger the dawn of a new era.

And yet, I always know that its good to participate, and good for my family and community, so I do it. God works with our innocence, and our acts of goodness. I believe that. In the end, after reading and creating improvisational stories with kids for a few hours (a favorite book gets 3 reads – Horton Hears A Who), then leading worship with our band in the evening, I can honestly say that I think the whole experience was a good thing. I’m tired, but it was good.

So, to give generously, to express care in small ways, to do so with others who share your confidence in Jesus, is a good thing. One little girl, her face smeared with red freezie and cookie crumbs said it this way at the end of a story I read to her:

“That was some good.”


Sheltering Mercy: Prayers Inspired by the Psalms

Sheltering Mercy, along with its companion volume, Endless Grace, helps us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. This book contains 75 prayers drawn from Psalms 1-75, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning in the Psalms. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

This artful, poetic, and classic devotional book features compelling custom illustrations and foil-stamped hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms.