Pastor's Ponderings

Filter By:

Here's What I've Been Reading

main image

Here’s what I’ve been reading

The Road to Character, David Brooks.  (Random House, 2015)

For years I have appreciated the comments of David Brooks, New York Times columnist and contributor to NPR.  Although I do not always agree with him, he writes with clarity and thoughtfulness that I find engaging. In The Road to Character, a New York Times Bestseller, Brooks writes in this book about character as the moral identity that shapes who we are and how we interact with other people. Drawing upon a school of education that was once commonplace, Brooks examines the lives of several exemplary public figures in order to discover qualities worth putting into practice in one’s own personal life.

What are the values that inform and guide us through life? Rather than focus on personal achievement (fame, wealth, status) he calls us to focus on those qualities that are more likely to be remembered and valued by others. What would we hope someone might say about us when we are gone? That we had a lot of money, or influence or notoriety? Or that we were kind, brave, honest, loyal or loving?

Brooks looks at various figures to show how through internal struggle and effort they built a strong character worth celebrating and imitating by other.  Along the way, I learned new things about some figures I already knew and added several new heroes to add to my own personal list.  Here are some of those he discusses: Dwight Eisenhower, Frances Perkins, A. Philip Randolph, Dorothy Day and Samuel Jackson.

See you in church,

Pastor Steve

Things to pray for this week:

  • For teachers, students and staff preparing to start a new school year.
  • Ask God to help one person whom you find it hard to like. Ask God to give that person insights into his or her personal problems and ask for the power to let God’s love flow through you to him or her.

Pastor's Ponderings - August 15

main image

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he well never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. "(Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)

Brian Kelley Bauknight, in a little book called Devotions to Leave You Smiling, tells the story of two brothers, ages tend and twelve, who were constantly getting into trouble. Finally they were asked to appear in the minister’s office, one at a time. The ten-year-old went in and was confronted with increasing intensity by the minister. ”Where is God?” the man asked the boy. “Where is God?”

The boy was so terrified that he ran home to his brother, grabbed him, and they went into a closet together where they typically contrived they schemes. The younger brother said quietly to his older brother, “We are in big trouble; somebody has stolen God, and they think we did it!”

Whenever we forget God, or go about our lives leaving God out, we end up in trouble. The wonder of it all is that God is closer than we think and God never went anywhere at all. We just need to keep in mind that God is the steadfast one who assures us of all we need.

See you in church,

Pastor Steve Larsen

Things to pray for:

  • Ask God to forgive your mistakes and sins and give you the strength to forgive others.
  • Pray for your pastors and church leaders.
  • Ask God to help Centennial Memorial United Methodist Church to know how best to serve God and this community.