What to Do When You Think You’ve Found the Perfect Church

As the old saying goes, if you think you've finally found the perfect church, run like crazy before you ruin it.

Church has been the influence that has pushed me, challenged me to a greater faithfulness, and stretched me outside my comfort zone. It has also been the pebble in my shoe, the sandpaper which has knocked off some of my rough edges. There's no doubt about it:  Church can be difficult. By definition, church is… Continue reading What to Do When You Think You’ve Found the Perfect Church

How Do You Whet Your Appetite for God?

"Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God--it whets our appetite." ~Eugene Peterson

Sunday Scripture In these days of social distancing, even our worship has taken on a new look and a different feel. An act that has typically conjured images of white-steepled buildings--or polished praise teams, lasers, and smoke machines, depending on your church background--is now taking place in front of screens, in living rooms with only… Continue reading How Do You Whet Your Appetite for God?

When Your “Perfect” Plan Has Crashed and Burned

Lean into your calling as you lean into the God who has called you.

It all started as a strategy for outreach. We sat around a table and began to dream out loud, trusting that the fire of shared passion and the wisdom of group process would yield creative ideas for communicating the love of Christ to our community. I don’t mind confessing that I loved my dream. We… Continue reading When Your “Perfect” Plan Has Crashed and Burned

Sunday Scripture ~ Psalm 24:1

The last rays of sunshine slant their filtered light through the trees, while dragonflies and toddlers chase each other on a summer evening.  A backyard circle of lawn chairs holds the body of Christ, gathered around Truth that transcends seasons.  Before we break out the watermelon and set the fire pit ablaze, our pastor rises… Continue reading Sunday Scripture ~ Psalm 24:1

The Search for a Church that Feels Like Home

Finding community can be a long and challenging process, but the rewards are worth the wait.

Slightly hard of hearing in his Sunday suit and tie, the smiling usher boomed a greeting into the cold and cavernous narthex. “You forgot to set your clocks ahead, right?” Immediately the disjointed pieces of that chaotic Sunday morning fell into place: The full parking lot, the strangely empty narthex--yes, we were an hour late… Continue reading The Search for a Church that Feels Like Home

Making a Commitment to Blessing

Making a Commitment to Blessing

The ping of a message changed my day: "Let's take food to a friend who needs encouragement." "Well, why not?" I asked myself, and began pondering the joyful outcome that always arises from random acts of blessing. I've always wanted to be an extrovert -- or at least an optimist. Failing at both, I'm thankful… Continue reading Making a Commitment to Blessing

A Bundle of Letters on the Church’s Doorstep

When a pastoral search goes well, everyone wins. Last year when a soft-spoken lobsterman rose to his feet and challenged us at Spruce Head Community to seek a shepherd who would lead us and love us, we began praying and seeking to that end. The seeking and the finding has united us, and we are… Continue reading A Bundle of Letters on the Church’s Doorstep

It’s Not About You — And It Never Was!

There's always a certain amount of eye-rolling that goes on in a household overrun by teens and young adults. My husband and I are amazingly un-cool. His humor is entirely "Dad-jokes." My questions and observations are overwhelming evidence that I'm over-thinking everything.  But here's one tiny bit of wisdom that has been passed down without… Continue reading It’s Not About You — And It Never Was!

The Freedom is in the Falling

Because I'm a planner, I carry a planner, but the truth is that my planner carries me.  All pristine and un-besmirched, the 2017 edition holds out the promise of glorious accomplishment and blessed organization in a life that often feels like spinning plates and chaos management.  Shannan Martin started her marriage and motherhood in much… Continue reading The Freedom is in the Falling

The Paradox of Flourishing

One of the great joys of middle age has been the privilege of watching my oldest son and his wife parent a son who is made in the exact image and likeness of his energetic, curious, strong-willed dad.  Like all new parents, they are executing this balance of firmness and warmth, freedom and structure, love… Continue reading The Paradox of Flourishing