Friday, November 4, 2011

Deep People

It is easy for me to get discouraged as I pay attention to the political process: local, national and international. I have a close friend who’s been in Washington for over ten years and has a high level job in the Senate. Two weeks ago we spoke and she said, ‘I am thinking of getting out. It is just too nasty around here.’

I wonder, considering our beauty pageant elections and sound byte culture, how many of the strong leaders of the past 150 years or so could get elected today? Abraham Lincoln was awkward looking and wore melancholy on his face. Theodore Roosevelt had bagged too much big game; he busted up trusts; he was also a bit too ‘green’. His cousin, FDR, was physically disabled and probably would not impress on the stump today. Harry S. Truman, o.k. I’ll say it, … maybe a bit too nerdy.

Now, I realize that I can be the ‘glass half empty guy.’ I believe that this for me is sinful and I seek help from God. And I share this with you to say, Please, don’t you be glass half empty people! There are enough out there already.

Richard Foster, a favorite devotional writer of mine has said, ‘Superficiality is the curse of our age…The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.’ Of course by ‘deep people’ he means devoted and serious followers of Christ.

How do we become deep people? Well, we recognize where we are and who we are. We are sinners in need of a savior. Deep people look to the Lord for their identity and meaning. Deep people realize that they are brought together by God’s calling and invitation. Deep people also regularly practice submitting their lives and will to the Lord. They do this at home, in quiet; they do this together, in worship. You know some of these deep people. With the Lord’s help we can become like them.

The Psalmist knew of these deep people, too: They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper. (Psalm 1.3)

Today we have the opportunity to follow Jesus Christ with our lives. How we respond determines the kind of people we will become.


Ande Myers

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Serious Call to Discipleship

On Sunday I was reminded again of how valuable a Sunday School class can be to me. We were discussing a difficult passage from Matthew 8 where Jesus calls a person to follow and that person replied, I will after I bury my father. Jesus responds with a shocking statement, Follow me and let the dead bury their own dead. Wow.

We discussed the ramifications of ‘discipline’ and noticed that to be a disciple is a calling we each must consider with utmost seriousness. Becoming disciples is our job to do. We all need reminders.

On Monday, with the good conversation from the day before fresh on my mind, I read an interesting article in Time about Nnamdi Asomugha, the great cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles. (‘Thou Shalt Not Pass’, p. 67, October 3, 2011) In bold I saw these words: In 2010, Asomugha won the Jefferson Award for Public Service, often dubbed the Nobel Prize of community service.

This offseason Asomugha was given a $60 million contract with the Eagles. The article described how important it is to him that he uses his wealth and influence for greater good. He chairs two different philanthropic programs and books numerous speaking engagements, both national and international, where he encourages others to give back.

In the article we learn that his parents, who were Nigerian immigrants, were quite strict. He and his siblings were not allowed to watch t.v. but were encouraged (translated ‘made’) to read. (I wonder, is it harsh to forbid t.v.? Each family can decide.) His parents made it a priority to go to expose their children to the great needs of the world. His family would lead food drives and visit homeless shelters regularly.

So, how does a person become a good steward of $60 million? In short, Asomugha developed the habit of giving back. This can be a hard habit to develop, but once it does, it tends to stick. When the millions came his way, he already knew how he would use the money.

The article in Time never mentioned Asomugha’s faith and I know nothing of his personal life…but his story clearly speaks to me on the issue of discipleship. So, how are we to be faithful in the big things in life? Well, it seems clear that we must practice faithfulness. And we tend to get the most frequent practice in the small things. It also helps when we start as soon as we can. According to Jesus, discipleship is very serious stuff.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011



Recently I’ve thought a lot about stewardship. Maybe it was all the study about Solomon’s great influence and opportunity two weeks ago for the message. (Or maybe it was the next week thinking about Esther and her faithfulness in a tight spot.)

Stewardship can mean faithfulness with your physical and monetary possessions. But this is not all. As I heard recently, it can mean, Learning to live on less so that others can have more. This is not all, either.

I remember a story I heard told by Frederick Buechner several years ago about an incident in his ministry. He reflected on leading a retreat at Laity Lodge and what he shared as he was asked to tell part of his story. Here’s what he said:

It took place in the 1930's during the Depression when there wasn't much money; an awful lot of drinking was going on in the world and in my family; an unsettled and unsettling time even for a child of ten, which I was.

The episode I described concerned a time when my father had come back from somewhere. He had obviously had too much to drink. My mother did not want him to take the car. She got the keys from him somehow and gave them to me and said, "Don't let you father have these." I had already gone to bed. I took the car keys and I had them in my fist under the pillow. My father came and somehow knew I had the keys and said, "Give them to me. I have got to have them. I have got to go some place."

I didn't know what to say, what to be or how to react. I was frightened, sad and all the rest of it. I lay there and listened to him, pleading really, "Give me the keys."

I pulled the covers over my head to escape the situation and then finally, went to sleep with his voice in my ears. A sad story which stood for a lot of other sadness of those early years.

When I finished reading it, Howard Butt, who is head of the Butt Foundation which finances Laity Lodge, came up to me and said something for which I was utterly unprepared. He said, "You have had a fair amount of pain in your life, like everybody else. You have been a good steward of it." (‘The Stewardship of Pain’, a sermon preached in 1990)

Today will you be a good steward of all you’ve been given (and of all the Lord has brought you through?) Someone dear to you may desperately need it.


Ande Myers

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Resilient Life

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith...

~ Hebrews 12.20-1

Recently we’ve looked at ‘The Resilient Life’ as a topic of study and reflection. On some level each of us desires to live with resilience. We want to live lives of faith and hope in the storms of life and in the calm.

Caleb was sent with 11 others to scout out Canaan. Ten said, No way, but Caleb and Joshua said, With God’s help we can do this. Forty years later Caleb was still a fighter…He lived The Resilient Life.

Eli failed miserably as a father. His two sons became priests and made a mockery of the ministry under Eli’s gaze. They would be punished by God. Eli’s eyes had grown dim yet, when the Lord called Samuel, Eli recognized that God was speaking to the boy and he told him how to listen. Eli had allowed the Lord to heal him of his failure and he was in his 90’s when he mentored Samuel.

Sunday we will focus on Solomon, a king known for his prayer for wisdom, his judgment (one in particular), his riches and his building of God’s house, the Temple. He ruled a long time and did great things, yet he lost focus in the living of his life. And he was the wisest person to ever live! I hope you’ll be here as we seek God’s guidance as we reflect on Solomon’s life. I am very excited about what there is for us to learn.

Just so you know, it is a privilege to be your pastor and I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday. Let’s commit again to living The Resilient Life.



Friday, July 15, 2011


In a wonderful message from twenty years ago, Benjamin Reeves told of a story he had heard earlier in his life. It seems there was a wealthy individual who was leaving on an extended trip. He placed blueprints in front of his secretary and told him, ‘I’ll be gone for ten months. Here are the plans and specs and funds to cover the cost.’

Here is how Reeves told the story:

The astute employee saw a chance to feather his own nest. He hired a crooked contractor, employed unskilled labor whenever possible, and put cheap, inferior material into the building. When it was finished, it had the appearance of magnificence, but was really a poorly constructed, insubstantial shell.

When the employer returned and went with the secretary to see the building, which looked quite beautiful overlooking the lake, he asked the secretary, "What do you think of it?"

"I think it's wonderful," the secretary replied.

"I'm glad you like it. I'm retiring from business; I won't need your services much longer and I want you to have a nice house in your retirement. This house is yours."

Sunday we’ll focus on the conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount. This is the key verse:

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock…

~ Matthew 7.24

Sunday we’ll focus on the subject, Builders. I hope to see you then.



Friday, June 10, 2011

The Telephone

I have just hung up; why did he telephone?

I don’t know…Oh! I get it…

I talked a lot and listened little.

Forgive me, Lord, it was a monologue and not a dialogue.

I explained my idea and did not get his;

Since I didn’t listen, I learned nothing,

Since I didn’t listen, I didn’t help,

Since I didn’t listen, we didn’t communicate.

Forgive me, Lord, for we were connected,

And now we are cut off.

~ Michel Quoist

There are many ways we pray. We confess; we ask on behalf of someone else; we ask for ourselves and our families; we give thanks.

But Quoist’s brief poem (prayer) reminds us of something we know: Prayer is to be a dialogue not a monologue. So, how do you nurture listening to God in your life?

Maybe you hear God’s voice in nature or through a friend or through worship or in Scripture. Whatever the case, I’ve learned that listening can only occur when I make an effort to pay attention.

Yesterday morning I went out onto my patio to do just this. Because of a finicky little dog and a three year old little girl, my sleep had been disrupted in the night so that I was not able to make it to the patio as early as I would’ve liked. Yet, the morning was cool, the coffee was hot and my life was open. I was paying attention.

Psalm 24, so overlooked because of its close neighbor, 23, came to mind: The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…

Over the cool breeze, under the brightening sky, feeling the mugginess, watching the squirrels work or play – it is hard to tell the difference – and listening to the birds sing I knew, This all is the Lord’s. And my life is, as well.

What a great way to start the day.



Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Monks of Portsmouth Abbey

On Palm Sunday the New York Times published an interesting article: ‘Monks Embrace Web to Reach Recruits’, by Tanzina Vega. I found it quite interesting. Here’s how it began:

The Benedictine monks at the Portsmouth Abbey in Portsmouth, R.I., have a problem. They are aging — five are octogenarians and the youngest will be 50 on his next birthday — and their numbers have fallen to 12, from a peak of about 24 in 1969.

So the monks, who for centuries have shied away from any outside distractions, have instead done what many troubled organizations are doing to find new members — they have taken to the Internet with an elaborate ad campaign featuring videos, a blog and even a Gregorian chant ringtone.

(Read the original article here: )

As I looked at the pictures and read the stories of these dozen monks, I realized that they really want their chosen mode of calling and practicing Christianity to continue. They have developed a Facebook page to reach younger generations and are also experimenting with a blog – but, as of now, are afraid that they are not quite ready for Twitter! One priest said it this way, If this is the way the younger generation are looking things up and are communicating, then this is the place to be.

I was impressed by the maturity of these men who spend much of their days in prayer and in silence yet connect with and minister to the world for Christ’s sake and do it in new and different ways. When faced with new possibilities, they were curious and longed to be faithful. No circling the wagons here. This is Christian maturity.

I noticed that this article appeared on Palm Sunday, a day the world is reminded to drop our preconceived ideas of what the Messiah looks like and how the Messiah works. On this day we are to embrace Jesus Christ who comes God’s way and in God’s time and who comes ‘in the name of the Lord.’

I also see connections between these monks reaching out and inviting younger generations to participate and our challenge to spread the Gospel, as well. One monk’s comment was telling, Our power is very limited. In the end it’s God who is calling people to himself and calling to people to live in union with him. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t do our part.

So, will you do your part? What if it means changing your mind … or your practice?

Do you like these ideas, or not, or do you have questions? Let me know.