October 2009

Proverbs 6: 4-5

Don’t procrastinate— there’s no time to lose.
Run like a deer from the hunter,  fly like a bird from the trapper!
The Message

When we know that we have a task or project to complete waiting to the last minute produces an inferior product.  So how do we move beyond procrastination? We make excellence the greater priority. The challenge is “just enough to get by” is the mentality of many people.  This produces mediocrity. The pursuit of excellence is a discipline that challenges us to immediately begin projects and engage in precision planning on a personal level and organizational level.

Every workshop attendee deserves to hear the best presentation not one that is just good enough.  Every congregant deserves to hear my best sermon not one that is thrown together.  Every person attending a meeting deserves to have the best agenda to achieve the mission vision and values of the organization.

Our text focuses our attention on three things that will help us to move beyond procrastination

  1. The time is now, tomorrow will be to late
  2. Eliminate distractions, they can be costly
  3. Passionately pursuit is essential

Patients have spiritual needs to address

By ALLYSON HELVIE Hospice ChaplainPublished: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 6:42 p.m.

When a person is diagnosed with breast cancer, there are many facets to what happens in his/her life. We are surrounded by a medical model of health care, and one has test after test to determine the exact type of cancer.

By the time one receives a final diagnosis, she has encountered several doctors, nurses, technicians, and many other medical personnel. She has met with non-medical professionals to address her financial and emotional concerns.

With her medical plan in place, her physical needs are being met, and she has excellent support from the team of medical caregivers. There is another important aspect of her life, as well. Human beings are “whole” persons, and there is a spiritual aspect that should not be looked over when caring for those who are undergoing cancer treatment.

Many feelings may arise in times such as this: guilt, loneliness, fear and anger. People may begin to question God and ask, “Where is God in all of this?”

There may be other questions, such as “How could God allow this to happen to me? Why me? How do I cope?”

Read the Entire Article

I find this article extremely helpful.  I have have experienced a greater awareness among our congregations about cancer and pastors are swamped with people outside of their congregation on a spiritual journey trying to understand how God is involved in their cancer.

By Melissa Lauber

We create the changes that unfold in our world. Sometimes that’s for the best and sometimes it’s not.

“Do not be deceived. God is not mocked; for whatever a man sow, this he will also reap.” – Galatians 6:7

In the musical “The Fantastics,” the fathers sing: “plant a radish, get a radish, not a brussel sprout.”

Margaret Feinberg, in her book, “Scouting the Divine: My Search for God in Wine, Wool and Wild Honey,” delves deeper into this theme. She writes:

“There’s a lot at stake. If I could just get this one principle to take root in my heart, it would change the way I live – making me more intentional, move loving and wiser in the words I use and the actions I take. Though this Scripture principle induces a healthy amount of respect and fear, I believe it unleashes a much more powerful sense of hope. No wonder Paul concluded, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. (6:9)

“When I embrace a life that is pleasing to God – one that chooses righteousness over being right, one that chooses kindness in the face of rejection, one that chooses love rather than silent withdrawal – something comes alive in my heart and in the hearts of my community. I may not see the fruits of such choices immediately, but there will come a day when the good fruit is harvested.”


  • What specific things will you plant today to help grow disciples?
  • In the larger picture, how are the choices you’re making and the actions you’re sowing shaping your life and your community?

Today we pray for the people and ministries of the Connectional Table, which meets this evening.

Not all change is tidy and inspiring. Sometimes change is the result of a difficult, frightening experience. The Rev. Jeff Jones of Liberty Grove UMC (macpastor@gmail.com) explores his experience with a recent illness and how he found God, and the church, present in the details.

“The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants. Then all these other things you need will be given to you. So don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

— Matthew 6: 33-34, New Century Version

I never did feel bad. My old doctor stopped using our medical plan and I had to find another doctor. The new doctor saw something she didn’t like in the blood work and had me go to a kidney specialist. He did not like the blood numbers either and had me go to a urologist and ordered many tests.

After going through MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, and lots more blood drawn, they determined that I had a tumor growing on my right kidney along with a cyst there too. The urologist suggested that I go to the hospital as soon as could be arranged and have the kidney removed to prevent the continued growth of the tumor. It was 5 centimeters at the time and they felt that it was malignant. About 95 percent of kidney tumors are.

My dad e-mailed Bishop Schol for prayer and it turned out the week after my diagnosis was annual conference weekend. At the conclusion of the clergy executive session, Bishop Schol invited me up to be prayed for. Prayers play an absolutely powerful roll in this story, one answer to prayer after another. Following the prayer time, several of my clergy friends came up to me to offer their support, and Debbie Scott said I should talk to NIH and her doctor, for she had the same condition and through laparoscopic surgery, they didn’t remove her whole kidney, only the part that had the tumor on it.

I spent several days e-mailing her doctor and each of my first six emails came back as not deliverable. But somehow, God works in the efforts that even computers don’t understand and I got an email back from her doctor inviting me to come and be examined for a possible inclusion in their cancer study of kidneys at NIH. The week after conference, I was seeing a kidney specialist and was being welcomed into the program. I was now scheduled for surgery on Monday July 6th. I was to report to NIH on Sunday July 5th for the preliminary preparations for the surgery.

I invited my congregation, Liberty Grove UMC in Burtonsville, to come for a prayer service for strength and healing on Wed. June 24th. Seventy five people responded to the invitation, some of them coming from former parishes to lay hands on me and pray for me. Prayers are truly answered.

I had the surgery, it took five-and-a-half hours. They were able to remove the cyst and the tumor and leave 75 percent of my right kidney in me. I spent the week on the oncology ward at NIH. Prayers were said for me constantly and probably from around the world, thanks to my father’s connections. The Caring Bridge organization helped me create a website to gather prayers and well wishes and to allow us to share our story.

On Elaine’s birthday, the 16th of July, the doctor called to tell me the tumor was an oncocytoma tumor, BENIGN! I would not have to go through the chemo or radiation treatments. I would be watched because I have a very tiny cyst on the left kidney but if it’s the same, I’ll have that cared for down the road, NIH will keep track of me and prayers will be continually offered on my behalf.

Now the timing for all of this is amazing. It’s the kind of timing the passage of Scripture reports on. I could spend the summer recovering because the schedule is scaled back. I have a crew of excellent certified lay speakers who preached for me and covered the needs at the church. The prayers of numerous people helped restore my strength.

Now that Labor Day has come I’m back to work at about 75 to 80 percent. My follow up visits show my blood work and urine are right where they are supposed to be. My doctor reminded me to take it easy for four to six months, because of the major surgery, even though the small holes for the robot surgical team have healed up very well. My family and congregation are supporting the recovery process.

I share all of this because God is able to do far more than we can even imagine. Ephesians 3:20 promises us that. So whenever you are faced with challenges and are thinking about being stressed or worried or anxious, just pray and let God’s plan work for you, as you seek first the kingdom.


Thank you. Lord, for providing what we need. Thank you Lord, for the prayers of others who walk along beside us during such challenges. Thank you, Lord, for answered prayer. All this we pray with grateful hearts for your incredible love for us. In Jesus’ name, we pray.  AMEN.

Today we pray for the churches and people of the Washington Region.