Week in the Word: What Will You Do With Your One Wild and Precious Life?


hanks chapelThis is the message I preached on Sunday, January 13th,  at Hanks Chapel United Church of Christ in Pittsboro, NC   I hope it blesses you!  If you find yourself in or near Pittsboro, please join us!   Hanks Chapel has Sunday school at 9 AM, with worship beginning at 10 AM, and is located at 190 Hanks Chapel Loop, Pittsboro, NC.  We also have Bible study most Wednesday nights at 6 PM at our fellowship hall.


What Will You Do With Your One Wild and Precious Life?

Call to Worship                              based on poem by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

grasshopper7Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

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Week in the Word: Our Border-Crossing God

I love the movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close! The autism depiction in this film is accurate and heartfelt. I also love Henri Nouwen’s work, which influenced Fred Rogers.


This is the message I preached on Sunday, January 6th,  at Hanks Chapel United Church of Christ in Pittsboro, NC   I hope it blesses you!  If you find yourself in or near Pittsboro, please join us!   Hanks Chapel has Sunday school at 9 AM, with worship beginning at 10 AM, and is located at 190 Hanks Chapel Loop, Pittsboro, NC.  We also have Bible study most Wednesday nights at 6 PM at our fellowship hall.


Our Border-Crossing God

Call to Worship

native american nativityWhen the song of the angels is stilled,

when the star in the sky is gone,

when the kings and princes are home,

when the shepherds are back with their flocks,

the work of Christmas begins:

to find the lost,

to heal the broken,

to feed the hungry,

to release the prisoner,

to rebuild the nations,

to bring peace among the people,

to make music in the heart.

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Today’s Word with Joel & Victoria Osteen Ministries

Today’s Word with Joel and Victoria
Today’s Scripture
“…For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
(2 Chronicles 20:12, NIV)

Choose Worship Over Worry
You can’t worry and worship at the same time. When the devil brings you thoughts of worry, anxiety and fear, don’t believe them! Instead, let those thoughts be a reminder to you to thank God that the answer is on the way! That’s what King Jehoshaphat did. The people of Judah were surrounded by three major armies. It didn’t look as though they had a chance. This godly king was probably bombarded with thoughts of fear and anxiety. But he gathered the people together, lifted his eyes toward heaven, and prayed the simple prayer in today’s verse. Jehoshaphat’s prayer was answered. God told the people to march right into the enemy’s camp, singing and shouting praises on their way. Notice, they weren’t worrying—they were worshiping—and God delivered them. Today, choose worship over worry and move forward into victory!

A Prayer for Today
“God, thank You for Your forgiveness. I know that I don’t deserve it, but I praise You for faithfully forgiving me. Help me to clear any roadblocks in my path by forgiving others, even as You forgive me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

The Story We Tell Ourselves


Am I enough? Am I worthy? Do I contribute to some greater good?   What impossibly high standard do I still hold myself compared to what I would think reasonable of another person?

What story am I telling myself? 

Will people like me if they really know me? Would they run away? Am I too opinionated or am I not judgmental enough? Am I engaged or is it okay to rest, retreat and just be? 

What kind of please others, what will they think of me kind of expectations do I have of myself? 

Am I aging gracefully, or do my forehead wrinkles and sagging parts make me unattractive? Am I keeping healthy enough or still feeding into the impossible societal standards of weight, exercise, and beauty? 

What kind of pressure am I still putting on myself? 

Am I letting myself rest? Am I finding…

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Week in the World: Lingering and Looking for Light in Life’s Uncertain Shadows


hanks chapel easterThis is the message I preached on Sunday, December 2nd,  at Hanks Chapel United Church of Christ in Pittsboro, NC   I hope it blesses you!  If you find yourself in or near Pittsboro, please join us!   Hanks Chapel has Sunday school at 9 AM, with worship beginning at 10 AM, and is located at 190 Hanks Chapel Loop, Pittsboro, NC.  We also have Bible study most Wednesday nights at 6 PM at our fellowship hall.


Lingering and Looking for Light in Life’s Uncertain Shadows

 Isaiah 9

But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

2 The people who walked in darkness

have seen a…

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Voice of Purpose

My Joyous Feature

Voice of that purpose of life.

Opening up with full wisdom.

Into that soothing touch for that speechless moment.

Center in that mindful spirit.

Eagerly to use that voice with that truthful moment.

Out into that pure moment when a voice can be spoken very clearly.

Feeling like there’s a moment to overcome that some-spoken lifestyle.

Purpose can cherish the voice straight forward.

Unique with a purpose taste of movement.

Realize there’s that moment to speak of.

Perfection can cherish that voice with a dependable sense of reality.

Opening up that pure moment with a caring response.

Staying strong will carried it onward.

Empowering that voice to that genuine moment to say things out loud.

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Missionary Thought for the Week of January 21, 2019: The Process of Relating to God By Aimee O’Connell

Originally posted here: https://www.mission-of-saint-thorlak.com/mission-activities/missionary-thought-for-the-week-of-january-21-2019-the-process-of-relating-to-god

The Annotated Catechism for Autistic Thinking: Know, Love, Serve and Be Happy with God

[Readers, please note: Ordinarily, the respect due to God is expressed by capitalizing the H in pronouns. However, writing about familiarity in relationship uses a lot of pronouns – and that capital H is becoming distracting. God deserves respect, yes; but he does not demand it to the point of distraction. We considered what it would mean to drop the capitalization in favor of increasing comfort and familiarity, and it feels right. We mean no disrespect to God by using lowercase pronouns. We offer it to God, in love, as a sign of our desire to grow closer in familiarity with him, intending no offense.]

Last week, we began looking at the Baltimore Catechism’s proposal that God created us to know him, love him, serve him and be happy with him in the life to come.

We suggested seeing this first as a task list given in order of importance, with each step intended to prepare us for the next, flowing with a natural logic. We can’t love someone without knowing them. We can’t serve someone without loving them (and, before any buzz starts, we already have Missionary Thoughts lined up to go more deeply into that word “serve,” especially wondering how it can lead to happiness when it sounds so contractual). Yes, each step is a foundational block, and each successive step builds further on the previous one. But it is not a flat, linear progression.

It is a dynamic process, a progression of modules leading one to the next and then building upward, constantly adding more layers for each completion of the cycle, day after day in our lifetime. The four together are a constant, living process.

Know God, Love God, Be Happy with God, Do things for God.

This process, in fact, describes building a relationship with anyone:

The process runs like this: When an enduring relationship is forming, what we discover about someone (= getting to know them) eventually gives rise to a particular fondness. We can feel this as we feel love toward our family members, or toward our friends, or in the general sense of the value and dignity we feel toward others. But then, we begin to concretely “love” in the verb sense by showing affection, or speaking affirming words, or including people in our activities as we might invite a friend, a guest or someone on the sidelines without a partner to participate in what we are doing. We love by giving gifts, making food and welcoming visitors. Loving can be offering to drive somewhere, or answering the phone when we are already tired, or forgiving those who overstep their boundaries with us. If we notice, knowing (taking in concrete, measurable data) gives way to loving (forming an abstract conclusion) which gives way to doing, or serving (concrete action motivated by abstract feeling).

Thus, loving forms the bridge between knowing and doing (or, serving), which leads to being happy with each other in the relationship. As each module augments the other in the process, a foundation is formed. The process repeats and repeats and repeats in the rhythm of the relationship, and it grows more each time.

So, how easily can we replicate this process when our someone (God) is not three-dimensional?
Knowing: Books, videos, homilies and Scripture are some of the many formal ways we can know God, but evidence and ideation of God occurs frequently and much less formally. Imagination can be the best tool for us to encounter God interiorly and to make deeply personal and emotionally relevant observations that will help us know him better.

Loving: Can we yet sit back and reflect on what we are reading, what we are hearing about God, what we see in creation around us, through natural beauty and the love of animals, and feel a connection with – even a fondness for – God? Maybe so… or, maybe not yet. Maybe it comes and goes. If all we do is believe he is there, eventually, we’ll find him… but only if we pay him attention and remember to include him. He is just like any one of us who are not easily seen or heard above the others in the room. Silence does not mean he is not interested and not participating in our lives.

Serving: Moving from the abstract toward the concrete, how can we enact our love of God by responding to what we know about him? How are we to know what delights him, what needs he has, or what he might ask as a favor? We can’t give God rides to the store, or buy him gifts, or make him dinner. We can’t listen to his hard day’s work stories or let him stay an hour past when we told him we had to go. However, in Matthew 25:35, Jesus says, “When you do it for the least among you, you do it for ME.” We can love God by loving his proxy, the person in front of us. Service becomes a tool to discover and express our love, not a mandate – but more on that next week!

Being Happy With God: Relationships take time. Few of us are ever lovestruck instantaneously, but rather, we cultivate familiarity and comfort by giving our attention to knowing others here and there until they becomes part of our everyday and less an awkward silence in our lives. The same is true of God. Loving God means feeling the comfort of his being silent with us the way we welcome our friends to be silent with us… and to let us comfortably be silent with them.

Calling Writers and Bloggers!

Is there a section of the Baltimore Catechism you find particularly suited to commentary and annotation through the lens of autistic thinking? We welcome submissions and may publish your idea article in a future Missionary Thought! Send your submissions to mission.of.st.thorlak@gmail.com.