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Category: Devotions

What would Jesus do?

Well, Pastor Jim asked some of us to write a devotional or encouraging words for y’all. So, I apologize in advance for Pastor Jim’s judgment error when he asked me!

I would like to invite a little bit of introspection as it relates to how we, as Christ followers, present our beliefs. Especially on social media platforms. Recently one of my wife’s coworkers said (excuse the language in the next sentence) “I’m so glad you are a Christian who is not an asshole.” Wow, what a sobering statement. Is that how people see us? Is that how people see you?

For me, some of the things I see my Christian friends and family post on social media is pretty disheartening. I see people mocking conservatives/Republicans or liberals/Democrats. I think to myself “Why would anyone, who doesn’t see the world the same as you, want to come to your church?” If we are called to be witnesses, shouldn’t our goal be to shine a light that would make someone want to come to our church and experience the love of God?

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

(Eph 4:29)

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

(Col 4:6)

“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

(Matt 5:46-48)

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

(Matt 5:16)

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

(Matt 28:19)

I guess we should go back to the old litmus test “What would Jesus do?” Before you hit that “post” button ask yourself “Would Jesus say this?” or “Does this present my beliefs in a kind and loving way?” Or even (excuse the language again) “Will this make me sound like an asshole?”

I am not saying this to condemn anyone or to tell you to eschew what you believe. I am simply inviting you take a closer look at the words you say and use, and if those words shine God’s light to those around you.

Lane Taylor, musician

Growing the Roots of Our Faith

Bearing fruit during times of drought requires deep faith, deep roots, deep confidence in God’s path for us being bigger than the path we will carve out for ourselves without him.

I love Jeremiah 17:7-8 in relation to the importance of growing the roots of our faith deeply …

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes, its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

As we remain in this time of confusion and more than that, real, known, and recently revealed effects of isolation from one another, I’ve decided to picture myself (and those I love) as beautiful trees, whose roots are reaching deeper with each passing day as they search for stability and nourishment; whose branches stretch longer and more beautifully with each new challenge; and whose leaves blossom and open to absorb the light and reflect our potential and God’s strength to carry us through any drought.

Please stay well!  I encourage you to stretch yourself into the image God has made for you!

Jude Mitchell, church lady

Sunday Service Reminder

This is the eighth (extended) Sunday of Lent. There is no devotion today, so join us in our church this morning at 10:00 a.m. as we live-stream our services on our DCC YouTube channel. You can easily access it by going to And don’t forget to access Julie’s video for your children.

In this together with you,
Jim Howard, pastor

The Warp and Woof of Life

One of my favorite authors and editorial writer for the New York Times is David Brooks. He recently wrote the following: “The virus is a reminder that hardship is woven into the warp and woof of existence. Training a young person is training him or her to master hardship, to endure suffering, and by building something new from wreckage…to redeem it.”

That causes me to think about the fact that Christ redeemed the wreckage of our lives by his death on the cross and how he often uses hardship and suffering to help us see our need of him. If we seek him, he can redeem our lost condition, and he calls us to move towards him and into his open welcoming arms.

The following verses encompass these thoughts:

  • Rev 3:19-20 “Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.”
  • 2 Cor 4:17-18 “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”                                                                                
  • 2 Thes 5:16-18 ”Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

We can learn to endure hardship and suffering with grace and peace knowing that God uses these things to call us to himself and builds into our lives hope, endurance and character.

Don Wolf, elder

Those Who Wait

In Isaiah 40:28-31 we read “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow weary or tired, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” In the amplified version of this passage, in place of the words “to those who wait for the Lord” there is the addition of “those who expect, look for and hope in him.” 

I have been reminded in recent weeks that through the uncertainties we all face with our pandemic, we are to continue to have hope in the Lord. That hope is a hope in the future, it’s an ongoing daily discipline. However, it is important to also consider that we maintain that hope by spending time beside the Master. That waiting involves maintaining our hope by spending time with God and living expectantly under his care knowing that he has everything under control. 

So, what should be the disciplines of our lives? We must consistently affirm that he is our Everlasting Lord and Creator and he never grows weary. He gives strength to the weary and power to the weak. We must wait patiently on him and maintain an active hope. Finally, it seems to me that we must keep running in order for the strength to come so we can continue to soar. Waiting can be done actively as we maintain our hope. 

This is not the time to be sitting on the sidelines waiting for him give us strength. Keep up the pace of doing good and loving others and he promises you will not grow weary. 

Paul Wardlaw, elder

He desires mercy, not sacrifice

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

(Micah 6:7-8)

We are living a great opportunity. Doors are open for followers of Jesus to make his love more real to people. I see it everywhere. The students are eagerly serving those who need food, families are engaged with each other without as many distractions. In Matthew 9:13 Jesus quotes the prophet when he says, “Go and learn what this means, I desire mercy not sacrifice.”

The only way to learn is to do it. How do we do mercy? Jesus’ critique of the religion of his time is not the content. He has no doubt in the Pharisees’ knowledge of Scripture, prayer, or other “fillers.” Jesus and the prophets make it clear that Form matters. As the Body of Christ, we are now the form Jesus takes in the world. 

Right now is when the proverbial rubber meets the road. Every moment we can “do mercy” at an individual level and a systemic level. The Trinity causes our actions to take the shape of Jesus’ love, life, death, and resurrection.

Grace causes us, through the Cross, to not have to worry about whether we feel “at one” with everything. We don’t even have to feel “at one” with ourselves. Through grace, we are one with God as much as God is one with godself (and God is three separate persons, and one). This contradiction is Absolute. This is good news because Holy Week and Easter is a transformation of ugly struggle into beautiful struggle. Now there is New Life. 

The form of this New Life of Christ’s body (us, yet also ascended) could be something totally new now. It can be based on the Image of God in every human. Every human is as valuable as the universe. We have an opportunity to contrast the world that bases value on production, merit, accumulation, fame, or innumerable other things. Let’s get to it!


Stefan Seeling, student ministry director

A Troubled Heart

Faith, gratitude, thankfulness, and hope can be difficult in situations of high stress, anxiety and fear. “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1, 27). Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? Actually, it can be. God gave a wonderful gift to those of us who truly believe that God is in control and loves us. We know ourselves as Christians. That gift actually does allow our hearts not to be troubled when we put our faith and trust in God and truly turn over everything to him.

Prior to me gaining that revelation of Jesus Christ, a troubled heart came easily. Problems at work, relationships, money, a seemingly never-ending winter, stay at home lockdowns, conspiracy theories and a myriad of other annoyances could really pull me off my game. Now I can merely thank God in every circumstance for the blessings I know he has bestowed upon me. A real “this too shall pass” attitude is part of that gift. The “blink of an eye” time that we have been given on this earth, that sometimes seems to take forever, is also a gift. Good times, bad times… all of it. We get stronger through our trials. That said, I can’t wait until Christ comes to take me home. In the meantime, I’ll savor the time and blessings God gave me. Thanx LORD.

Mike Kermode, food bank director

Do Not Be Afraid

We have been quarantined now long enough for me to not remember exactly when it began. I’ve noticed some discomfort and that many are even disturbed or mightily fearful. I do remember the gospel stories about storms on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples actually feared for their lives. One of them even walked on water for a few steps. Jesus’ advice was an often-quoted command “Do not be afraid”.

Well if we’re not supposed to be afraid, what are we to do? When my superstar wife Grace was diagnosed with cancer, we were afraid. Brian Myers gave her(us) a framed copy of a paraphrase of Romans 8:28. It says, “The Lord may not have planned that this should overtake me, but He has most certainly permitted it. Therefore, though it were an attack of an enemy, by the time it reaches me it has The Lord’s permission and therefore all is well. He will make it work together with all life’s experiences for good.”

Hebrews 12:5 quotes Proverbs 3:11-12, “My son, think of the Lord’s training as important. Do not lose hope when he corrects you. The Lord trains the one he loves. He corrects everyone he accepts as his son.”

So, now as this time continues, I am concentrating on trying to learn the lessons our God is placing in my path.

Lord grant me discernment and wisdom to learn from this experience. Perhaps if I just learn to live life fully in all circumstances that would be enough for now. However, I believe the Lord’s gifts are boundless and never ending. Amen!

Frank Butler, elder

The Green Light

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

(Luke 10:43-45)

There was a time in my life when I was just plain angry. Life was cruel as only a middle-class, well fed, highly educated, well-traveled white boy in a posh, white-bread-community can understand. And on a particular day I vented my anger toward God. I said that I wasn’t even sure that I believed he was there. I really did want to know, though, so I said, “If you are there, I want to know. So, you have the green light to do whatever you need to do in order to get my attention.” I didn’t really expect much from this prayer and I certainly didn’t expect the personality behind the universe to usher in a whole new level of uncomfortable into my life. But that’s what happened. 

It started the next day when I was walking down one of the many hallways in the school after all of the students had left. On my way to my classroom I passed some trash on the floor. Odd that I should notice it and even more unsettling when I felt a strong voice telling me to go pick it up. “No! I’m not picking that up. It’s not mine!” Yet it spoke still stronger! “Why should I? I didn’t throw it on the ground!” But no matter how hard I argued the voice was unrelenting. I finally succumbed and walked back the 50 feet to pick up the trash and put it in the trash can. 

Now, some 19 years later, that voice is still with me and at its insistence I have more than once cleaned out clogged urinals and picked up trashed bathrooms. I have given ice cold Gatorade to road crews on sweltering days and tipped trashmen, cart pushers and postal workers. I don’t tell you these things to toot my own horn; that’s not the point. I really can’t take credit for any of it. 

I tell you these things because they reveal the heart of the Lord. God’s spirit in me sees these people. He knows them and loves them. He is concerned about them. And because He sees, I see. And as I follow his leading in serving the least of these, I find I am somehow more whole. I have more peace and love in my heart. I am more ready to listen and love, to apologize and forgive. It is as if by participating in God’s reconciling work I am being reconciled and that is a win-win. 

Still and regrettably, all these years later, I remain in many respects that selfish, over privileged white boy. But now, were someone to ask why I would bother picking out a piece of chewed gum from a urinal in some random bathroom my response would be, “so that whoever the unfortunate one is who has to clean this bathroom to feed his family doesn’t have to deal with this mess today and maybe that’ll make his day just a little bit better, and maybe he will grow to know the love of the Lord that much more.” And this makes me smile because I know that the Lord is still at work in me and in the world.

Rob Schmidt, pastor of worship and arts

Lent – Week 8

This is the eighth (extended) Sunday of Lent. There is no devotion today, so join us in our church this morning at 10:00 a.m. as we live-stream our services on our DCC YouTube channel. You can easily access it by going to

And don’t forget to access Julie’s video for your children.

In this together with you,

Jim Howard, pastor