Monday, January 23, 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday Supplication - To Readily Seek Your Will

O Lord, help us to answer the call of our Savior Jesus Christ. Help us to seriously and readily seek your will for our lives. Help us, by our words and actions, to proclaim the Good News of Jesus to all people. Help us to recognize the salvation he brings and to share that salvation with the world around us.

Thank you for the forgiveness and renewal you give to us through Christ Jesus.  Help us to be forgiving toward each other. And help us to become a redemptive and healing community. Help us to make a saving and healing impact on the world around us.

O God, life is often more than we can face on our own. Help us to navigate our way through our many challenges and conflicts. Help us to live with integrity and care toward others in authentic Christian fellowship. Help our Valley community to be an instrument of your grace, your truth, and your peace. Make us a blessing to our community and our world.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Favorites - Tyler Burkum Concert

This should be a fun evening of music.

at the Hastings Arts Center
Saturday, January 21, 2017 - 7pm
$20 Online / $25 at door
SEASON PASS Subscribers: This is one of the featured concerts on your pass.



Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thursday Thinking - T.L.C. for S.A.D.

Here is a wonderful article from a young friend of mine.
How to Really Care for a Loved One 
with Seasonal Affect Disorder
by Cassie LaFollette
Upwrite Magazine, January 12, 2017

On the coldest winter mornings, we often experience a physical taxation: our feet flinch on the hardwoods, our legs move a bit arthritically, and as we enter the day, we notice an overall slowing of body. Even the young are impeded by their marshmallow coats. For some people, the season pries its way past a regular chill of the bones, and they find their very dispositions are caught adrift. Both my husband and my dad can identify with this, and through the years my problem-solving self has been frustrated at how hard it can be to help.

There is plenty of great advice on the web about how to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), including lists of products that simulate natural light and myriad noonday exercise tips. Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I look at these my brain kind of shorts out. It’s hard enough to implement my own self-care habits, let alone someone else’s. The how-to slideshows all begin to feel the same: like receiving only the first half of a recipe, just the ingredient list with no direction on how to make it all work together in context of our already busy schedules and depleted energy reserves.

Thankfully, I have managed to find a few unexpected things that seem to really help...


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wednesday Words - Winter Morning Walks

Just as a dancer, turning and turning,
may fill the dusty light with the soft swirl
of her flying skirts, our weeping willow –
now old and broken, creaking in the breeze –
turns slowly, slowly in the winter sun,
sweeping the rusty roof of the barn
with the pale blue lacework of her shadow.

"Winter Morning Walks" by Ted Kooser from Winter Morning Walks: 100 Postcards to Jim Harrison, Carnegie-Mellon University Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 2001.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday Tome - Answering God

Yesterday morning, my wife and I started reading this book aloud together. We're expecting some refreshing and helpful insights from Eugene Peterson and the Psalms.

Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer
by Eugene H. Peterson

Publisher's Description...
Eugene H. Peterson speaks to Christians who realize the necessity for prayer and yearn for it but who find their prayer unconvincing and unsatisfying. Addressing the causes of this dissatisfaction, Answering God offers guidelines for using the Psalms as dynamic tools for prayer.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday Supplication - The Radiance of Christ's Glory

Almighty God, Your Son, Jesus, is the true light than enlightens all people. Help your church to be illuminated by your Word and Spirit. Help us to shine so brightly with the radiance of Christ's glory that he is known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth.

Forgive us our sins. Renew us by your Spirit. Show us how to act, think, and live as Christ.  As you have forgiven us, make us merciful and ready to forgive those who have sinned against us. Give us the courage and the grace we need to restore relationships, heal brokenness, sacrifice our rights, and humble ourselves in order that we might experience forgiveness and reconciliation in our families, our friendships, our church, and our community.

Thank you, O God, for the freedom from sin made available to us through Christ. Thank you for the saving and transforming power of your Holy Spirit. Renovate our hearts and minds. Help us to want what you want. Make us people who delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your name.

Through Christ, we pray. Amen.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Favorites - Tyler Burkum Concert: Jan. 21

January 21, 7:00pm

Hastings Arts Center
216 4th Street East
Hastings, MN  55033
Phone: 651-437-4320

We are excited to have Tyler return to the Hastings Arts Center stage!

A study in contrasts, smooth, organic vocals with a pop sensibility, offset by instrumentation and arrangement harkening a bygone era, the music of Tyler Burkum speaks to both new and old in one fresh breath. A native of Minneapolis, MN, Tyler's music speaks truthfully and without frills of his life, love, family, and home. The songwriting and composition Burkum displays are reminiscent of when folk, blues, rock n' roll, and soul were one.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wednesday Words - Winter

A little heat in the iron radiator,
the dog breathing at the foot of the bed,

and the windows shut tight,
encrusted with hexagons of frost.

I can barely hear the geese
complaining in the vast sky,

flying over the living and the dead,
schools and prisons, and the whitened fields.

“Winter” by Billy Collins, © 2014 by Billy Collins.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday Tome - News of the World

This week's tome is another recommendation from my wife. She read this one over the Christmas break and thought it was marvelous. She reads constantly, so when I hear her give a book high praise, I know it deserves it. Sure hope I get a chance to read this one.
News of the World
by Paulette Jiles

Publisher's Description...
It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.

In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.

Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forging a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.

Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a kidnapper himself. Exquisitely rendered and morally complex, News of the World is a brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.