Be Kind? Improvise! I Mean, Innovate! (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Thursday, March 12, 2015

For years, I have led prayer, coordinated prayer, and taught prayer. In several churches, and a number of settings, classes, and groups. This post shows me, yet again, that it is all meaningful. Just coming alongside of a hurting person, letting them know that I am there, I care, and will remember them in prayer? Makes it all worthwhile.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, March 11, 2014

prayer stone and bible

Be Kind? Improvise! I Mean, Innovate!

I certainly have done quite a number of things in the past three decades. In the church, I mean. Anywhere from teaching Sunday school to driving the church bus. Leading junior church, or substituting as organist, to being a Stephen minister. Or sitting on the missionary committee, to serving as director of Vacation Bible School. And those are just a few of the positions or ministries I did before I started seminary. During and since graduation I moved into a whole different level of service.

God has gifted me with quite a number of gifts and graces. I certainly acknowledge that I have always enjoyed whatever I have done in the church. God has tapped me on the shoulder quite a number of times, too. I’ve risen to the occasion, pretty much wherever or whenever I am (or was) needed. I have come to think of myself as a jack-of-all-trades, since that is what I’ve been. A generalist, not a specialist. (Although I do have a couple of areas of specialty now, true enough. But this post isn’t about them. Maybe a later post will be.)

But let’s get to the point of this post. Enough with the background, you’re thinking.

I am a great partner in ministry! I’ve been doing service for a long enough time to realize that I work well in cooperation or in partnership with other people. Take the prayer ministry I am coordinating at the church where I’m a member. Sure, I coordinate the emails, and keep track of the prayer requests and praises. I readily admit that without the faithful praying people who receive the prayer emails and pray through them each week, the prayer ministry would fizzle and dry up.

I know that God is honored through the prayer ministry. I have also had people come up to me (out of the blue!) and bring me requests. Sometimes urgent requests, as well. I know I’ve mentioned them in at least one recent post, too. Of course my chaplain skills come to the fore, at a time like this. Also my Stephen training. And I can think of the material I studied in several seminary classes which is quite applicable, too.

Yes, it is a joy as well as a responsibility to need to step up to the plate, especially when I don’t even know it’s coming. When something sneaks up out of left field and hits a person, in other words. I am so glad I am there to help them get through the difficult time, or the surgery and rehab, or the expected-but-still-terribly-sad death, or whatever else might be some burden the other person is carrying. This evening, I had the privilege to pray for a frightened person after a confirmation of a disease from the doctor. This dear person is afraid and anxious. So, of course I will add this name to the prayer email!

Dear God, thank You for the grace and mercy with which You hear all of our earnest prayers. We especially pray for this dear one I just found out about tonight. Dear Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation:

(Suggestion: visit me at my daily blog for 2015: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

Living Life, Being of Service (Feature Friday!)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, August 1, 2014

circle of hands

Living Life, Being of Service (Feature Friday!)

It’s been a while since I graduated from seminary. More than nine years. I attended a United Methodist seminary here in town. (No, I am not a Methodist. Perhaps I’ll tell you about that, sometime. Not now.) A friend of mine graduated in the same class, and he returned to the section of the country he came from—the Dakotas. Yes, Duane has been serving UMC churches out on the plains ever since graduation.

Duane and I are Facebook friends, now. I’m afraid the Dakotas are a bit far afield for me, at present. (But one can wish—and dream.) From time to time, he puts up some interesting and amusing posts, and shares some wonderful photos. Two days ago, he put up a link to an article on the Dakotas UMC Conference webpage. Intrigued, the headline got me. I followed the link. Sure enough, the story was more than worth it. (And, thanks to the anonymous reporter who wrote up this article for the Conference webpage!)

I quote from the subject of the article, a teenager in a Sioux Falls high school: “James 2: 14-26 challenges us to show our faith by our actions. I share my faith with others by my actions,” Anne Reinhiller said. Anne does exactly that—shows her faith through her loving actions. She works in her local church (where her mom and dad are co-pastors). She serves on the technology team in the congregation, helps out with Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, and participates in the living nativity in December.

Even though she is young, at seventeen, Anne has not had an easy life. She faced bullies a number of times in her short life. But, faith in God has helped her, through bullies, through moving several times to difficult places, as well as through her loneliness. She continues to serve God as Director of the Nightwatch, which is a cooperative feeding ministry. The Nightwatch works with and feeds the poor of the Sioux Falls area. Anne “coordinated the serving schedules, kept the motorhome supplied with paper products, as well as filled with fuel. Through the ministry of the Canteen, over 7500 meals are served to the needy of Sioux Falls each year.” [to quote the Conference article]

This past June, Anne was honored with the (well-deserved!) Denman Award for Evangelism, at the Dakotas UMC Conference held in Rapid City, South Dakota. Truly, Anne is an example for those who strive to live out their faith in Christ. And, she shows by her presence on the ministry team that God can use people of all ages, in all sorts of ministry.

Whether by face-to-face contact, in feeding ministry, or through social media assisted by personal computers and other electronic devices, Anne strives to help. She tries to reach out to her corner of the world. And, she is indeed making a difference in many lives, even before she’s graduated from high school. Praise God for Anne, and other young people who are like her. Here’s praying for you, Anne!

(For further information, go to: http://www.dakotasumc.org/news/anne-reinhiller-teenager-lives-out-her-faith-in-service/ )

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Breakfast, Friendship, Encouragement!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, April 26, 2014

friends who ask about you and then really listen

Breakfast, Friendship, Encouragement!

I took the opportunity to have breakfast with a group of friends this morning. You know the usual drill: eating, laughter, friendly conversation together. There were a group of us at the restaurant this morning, but I focused especially on one friend. We talked in depth, and had excellent communication! And I think I was open, encouraging, and helpful.

As I reflected on that personal conversation this morning, I honestly tried to be kind. I know it comes with the territory. Yes, I’ve been a chaplain for the past number of years. And yes, now I am an interim pastor. So, I “ought” to be kind, tenderhearted, encouraging. All of that.

I can feel the special training come to the fore, but I don’t think it’s forced. Not at all.

I do try to come alongside of others. I do use the ministry of presence I learned in seminary. But today I also reflected on where I came from, in my childhood and adolescence. I was a chubby child, and turned into a chunky teen. Talk about an awkward child! I didn’t have the opportunity to learn much about the social niceties when I was growing up, for a lot of reasons. So, I was behind most other folks in my social skills when I reached my late teens and early twenties.

Ever feel like you’re on the outside, looking in? That was me. Figuratively, I was outside on the sidewalk with my nose pressed to the glass. Looking inside, at all the cool kids. Yup, that was me. So by the time I started seminary at forty, I was still trying to play catch up. Seminary was a charm school of sorts, as were my internships. My learning curve was rapid! Pastoral care and active listening were two skills I immediately found useful.  I also continued to develop the practice of general courtesy and caring, with some amount of success.

So—here I was, at breakfast today. All of this background information was subtext, as I had interactions across the restaurant table. And lo and behold, I found myself being encouraging, of service. Kind. Actively listening. Not because I had to, but because it was natural for me to be that way. I am continuing to try to do daily acts of intentional service. And not surprisingly, I suspect my loving, caring actions are right on the money. Bingo.

My good friend and I had a wonderful time, talking in depth, making a true, real connection. This is not a new thing for me, but I felt it in a special way today. Have you ever felt God being pleased with you? I mean, in a genial and affirming way? That’s what I felt earlier today after I talked with my friend.

Just so, I try to be honest, open and willing in my thoughts and actions. Kind, helpful, encouraging. I hope I was encouraging to my friend—to all of my friends—today. God willing, I pray so.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Be Kind? Improvise! I Mean, Innovate!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pray Pray Pray 1 Thess

Be Kind? Improvise! I Mean, Innovate!

I certainly have done quite a number of things in the past three decades. In the church, I mean. Anywhere from teaching Sunday school to driving the church bus. Leading junior church, or substituting as organist,  to being a Stephen minister. Or sitting on the missionary committee to serving as director of Vacation Bible School. And those are just a few of the positions or ministries I did before I started seminary. During and since graduation I moved into a whole different level of service.

God has gifted me with quite a number of gifts and graces. I certainly acknowledge that I have always enjoyed whatever I have done in the church. God has tapped me on the shoulder quite a number of times, too. I’ve risen to the occasion, pretty much wherever or whenever I am (or was) needed. I have come to think of myself as a jack-of-all-trades, since that is what I’ve been. A generalist, not a specialist. (Although I do have a couple of areas of specialty now, true enough. But this post isn’t about them. Maybe a later post will be.)

But let’s get to the point of this post. Enough with the background, you’re thinking.

I am a great partner in ministry! I’ve been doing service for a long enough time to realize that I work well in cooperation or in partnership with other people. Take the prayer ministry I am coordinating at the church where I’m a member. Sure, I coordinate the emails, and keep track of the prayer requests and praises. I readily admit that without the faithful praying people who receive the prayer emails and pray through them each week, the prayer ministry would fizzle and dry up.

I know that God is honored through the prayer ministry. I have also had people come up to me (out of the blue!) and bring me requests. Sometimes urgent requests, as well. I know I’ve mentioned them in at least one recent post, too. Of course my chaplain skills come to the fore, at a time like this. Also my Stephen training. And I can think of the material I studied in several seminary classes which would be applicable, too.

Yes, it is a joy and a responsibility to need to step up to the plate, especially when I don’t even know it’s coming. When something sneaks up and hits a person out of left field, in other words. I am so glad I am there to help them get through the difficult time, or the surgery and rehab, or the expected death, or whatever else might be some burden the other person is carrying. This evening, I had the privilege to pray for a frightened person after a confirmation of a disease from the doctor. This dear person is afraid and anxious. So, of course I will add this name to the prayer email!

Dear God, thank You for the grace and mercy with which You hear all of our earnest prayers. We especially pray for this dear one I just found out about tonight. Dear Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

@chaplainelizagrace