"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." - Melody Beattie, author Nearly five years ago, God called me to consider something that had been building for a long time. Upon prayerful discernment, I accepted God's calling to pursue pastoral ministry and applied to McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. While a weekly blog does not offer the space to describe the timeline of my journey, it certainly does provide a forum to express my gratitude and appreciation to First Presbyterian Church of Valparaiso for its continued spiritual and financial support throughout my journey. As I near completion of a Master of Divinity next spring, the won

Where Were You?

Have you ever wondered why some events stick in your memory more vividly than others? If you're like me, there are a handful of events from your lifetime that will always be burned into your memory; events that bring back vivid images in your mind of where you were and what you were doing at that moment in time. Some of you may remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news about the attack on Pearl Harbor or news about the dropping of the atom bombs and the end of the war. I can still picture myself sitting at my 7th grade desk in my one-room country school and being stunned and shaken as Mrs. Jackson, ashen faced and fighting back tears informed us of the a

Welcoming the Autumn

Although there are still warm days to come, the year has certainly turned to autumn. Interestingly, no one really knows where the word "autumn" came from. It is a very old word. It was used by Chaucer in the 1300's and later by Shakespeare, but its origin is lost in the mists of history. The more common word for the season is the word "fall" - - more descriptive certainly in describing the action of the leaves and the "falling" of nature in general. Meteorological fall begins on September 1, and astronomical fall begins on September 21. In any event, the season of autumn/fall is upon us. It is exciting to get back into the swing of things after the more leisurely pace of summer, but often we

When We Are Weak, then We are Strong

Every follower of Jesus knows that he often taught in paradoxes. He turned things upside down. The first will be last. The giver will receive. The dead will live. Many of us struggle to understand these apparent contradictions central to our faith. Paul expresses one of the most difficult, in the 12th chapter of 2 Corinthians, where he describes his struggle with "a thorn in his flesh," an unidentified affliction that he pleads with God to remove. He writes: But God said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I de

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