Commander Andy, our outpost commander, for Royal Rangers boy’s ministry went out for knee surgery last week, and so I am filling in for the rest of the year. My son-in-law James is now the outpost commander. I am his second and a spare set of hands in ministry.

Last week James and I met to set up the next six weeks of classes for the boys. Last night I was assigned the task of the Bible study. I was to teach from Acts 1:8 and Acts 2:1-4

 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.


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Jesus said “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”

So we talked last night about asking God for the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts so that we could have power.

This afternoon sun my noon time prayers the Lord impressed upon me this thought…


Now that thought gave me pause. How different is this thought from the way most of the world views the acquisition of power?



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My morning routine is pretty rigorous. Mornings are the best time of the day for me to get things done and I find it really easy to habit stack in the morning.

HABIT STACKING- Habit stacking is a special form of an implementation intention. Rather than pairing your new habit with a particular time and location, you pair it with a current habit. This method, which was created by BJ Fogg as part of his Tiny Habits program, can be used to design an obvious cue for nearly any habit.

It seems my mornings are times when I have the most habits which I can easily link other activities to. I make the coffee, walk the dogs, make my bed while listening to my daily Bible chapters. I make breakfast and sit with Mom to do our Storyworth question (although lately we have been having a hard time getting to these as other topics of convo come up). I feed the birds, empty the dehumidifier and check the furnace level.

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Tuesdays are especially in need of the morning habit stacking. Tuesdays are staff meeting days, and so I give two hours of the morning to meeting with the church staff to go over the week at work. This means two things: It means I lose two hours and that a good portion of my brain space is used up by noon. Tuesday afternoon s sometimes not very productive. So I need to get certain things done in the morning. Not just all the things I mentioned, I also need to make sure the finishing touches are put on my sermon for Sunday and I am as you can see trying to make sure that writing and doing my devotional video is part of this morning routine.

Of course that means a few things might have to give as there is only so much morning to go around. I think I will leave the dishes in the sink for this afternoon.

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One of the benefits of being connected with our fellowship is the opportunity for intentional spiritual direction.

Having a spiritual director or a spiritual presbyter, as they are called among us, is a new thing for our network. I have always had a presbyter, but the job descriptions of these pastors of pastors has been so broad and the regions they cover so vast it was always very hard to have deep connection with them.

My section is Western MA. I pastor the eastern most western church in a region that stretches from my town on the New Hampshire border all the way to the New York border and south to the Connecticut border. My presbyter pastors a church about an hour and a half from me in Wilbraham MA. He oversees 18 churches over a large territory with a variety of needs in very diverse communities.

My spiritual presbyter, Pastor Vinnie, is from Lynnfield MA. He oversees two pastors as a spiritual presbyter. His job has nothing to do with the running of our churches. His job is to help us personally and spiritually as pastors.

He calls me about once a month to check in. Our calls focus on how my spiritual life is going, what my personal struggles are and how I am doing with the work of God. I love talking with him and praying with him. We are building a relationship of trust and conversational confessional discipline. It is good for my heart and it is new to me as a pastor. I have not had this connection with a pastor before and it feels good. It feel healthy. It feels….hopeful.

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My Food Map

One of my goals this year is to work on my personal health by losing some weight. I have lost about twenty pounds since Christmas and gained back five. Net loss is 15 pounds.

This last month I have struggled to continue the habits I started in January. Of course January kicked off with a vegetarianfast which by nature was time bound. I was never going to keep the pace that I started with. That means I didn’t really start the behavior modification of dieting until February.

I am learning that real ground is only going to be gained if I do the slow work of changing my habits: shifting coffee drinking to water drinking. exercising daily, learning to limit my sweet consumption (not eliminate), learning to fill up on low density foods rather than high density foods, and practicing real meal prep not just microwaving.

Above all I have to change my mindset about food. That means discovering what, when and why I eat. Hence the food map above. I am noticing that many of my calories are taken in when I am tired. I am a late night snacker especially when I watch the tube at the end of the day.

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I don’t know if I can eliminate this behavior, but maybe I can begin to limit it.


Little Bits

I am trying to apply atomic habits to my everyday life to bring about big changes “An atomic habit is a regular practice or routine that is not only small and easy to do but is also the source of incredible power; a component of the system of compound growth.” James Clear .com

One of the atomic habits I am building is spending 20 minutes a day working on the house and yard.

I am trying to put this twenty minutes in either right before I go to mid day prayer or directly after lunch.

The other day I spent my twenty minutes breaking apart the temporary holding gardens I had built two years ago. In twenty minutes I was able to deconstruct the outer hull of these gardens.

On another day I filled in holes around the yard using some of this dirt.

I haven’t succeeded in making this habit a part of everyday life but I will keep practicing until I do.



Hebrews 9:27 states, ” it is appointed for men to die once.”

My dear friend and ward Grace passed from this life into eternity last night. I had just visited her in the morning. She was tired and a bit confused but we had a nice visit before she went off for a midmorning nap.

Is this grief I feel? It is not sadness really. I find it hard to be sad for her. I know where she is now and I know she has entered into a new life, an eternal life, which she had lived all of this life waiting for.

I feel an empty space in my heart where a connection once dwelt. It is a connection I had for nearly forty years. It is a connection I know I will have again when I make my own journey to where she is. But it is a connection that for now is severed. If that is a sense of grief, then I guess I am grieving. It is: A divine sense of emptiness; A reminder that God is brining us into a spacious place if we follow where He leads; Not sadness just an empty sort of hope and joy.

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I wonder, what angel came to take Grace home? What was her first glimpse of Heaven beyond the veil of Earth? What is she feeling now in her new body in her opened mind? I doubt she is living with any sense of emptiness at all.

Isaiah 51:11 KJV

Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

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Slowing Down to Get More Done

My life statement is , slow constant and intentional. I have trouble keeping my life between those goal posts. I have always thought that is mostly because I fill my life with too much. I have always thought that this fullness of schedule makes me end up going too fast. I often feel I have to rush because there is so much to do. This makes me lose the ability to be constant. Intentionality also suffers .

In prayer I was asking the Lord to teach me how to slow things down a bit. In answer I heard this line from Star Wars

It is Yoda rebuking Luke for letting his mind run too fast., Yoda says, “All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was, hmm? What he was doing.”

Sooo…..Slowing down means taking in where I am and what I am doing? It involves learning to stop thinking ahead to the next thing and learning to be present in what I am doing?

Today was another trip up to Claremont, to see Grace. Usually I let myself feel rushed: Hurry Up, (pray along the way), visit, Hurry back (pray on the way back). I usually squish grocery shopping into the drive back and then when I get home I go quickly on to next thing.

Ashuelot River, Gilsum NH

I have wanted for several months to turn one of these trips into a photo trip, but I always feel too rushed to do it.

Ashuelot River, Gilsum NH

Today I decided to fight those feelings and to just stop for picture taking. In fact I INTENTIONALLY DECIDED to make several stops.

House in Unity

I learned something. Slowing down and stopping in a planned way did not really significantly change the time it took to accomplish my visit to Grace.

Sullivan County Health Care under construction

Slowing down did not really change my schedule. But it did challenge my attitude. I found the urge to rush was not actually time bound but emotion bound. My schedule was not rushing me my heart was. The problem was not an external scheduling issue to be solved. It was an internal mindset to be torn down.

Stone wall and old barn in Claremont NH

All day long I kept finding myself trying to rush to the next thing and I had to fight to keep my mind and heart from looking to the horizon away from where I was and what I was doing.

Church in Lempster NH

I am wondering if slowing down is about retraining my brain instead of rethinking my schedule.


A Journey Of a Thousand Miles

The ancient Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

It is very true. I don’t have a lot of time everyday for the jobs that need doing around the Vicarage. I do have a little time everyday to take a single small step. Yesterday I took the small step of cleaning the sitting area of the front porch.



In school my first instrument was flute.

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My second instrument was piano.

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As an instrumentalist I always struggled with timing. The instruments I chose to play did not help me with my timing at all. As a worship leader I was famous for slowing down fast songs and speeding up slow songs. I guess it became kind of my hallmark.

As in music so in life.

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I have trouble keeping a constant rhythm in this life. Again my chosen vehicle for maintaining rhythm in life is probably not helping. Ministry is a constant switching up of rhythms. Each day is different in workload and pace: Yesterday I cancelled staff meeting, had lunch with missionaries and taught a group of young boys about Easter in the evening.

Today I am shoring up, the services I have for the rest of the week, my afternoon meeting cancelled and I am off tonight.

Tomorrow I have a meeting in the morning, in the afternoon and at night

Friday I am taking a three hour drive up to Claremont and back to visit a parishioner on hospice and then I have a medical appointment for my mother

Saturday I have a seminar in the middle of the day and have to get ready for the first preach of our new series on Sunday.

Each day comes with its own rhythm and so I find myself constantly trying to create new anchors for standard practices.

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. I have figured out my morning schedule pretty well.

My afternoon and evening schedules…..well they are a work in progress.

I think what I struggle with is decision fatigue. The later in the day it gets the harder it is for me to decide how to maintain a rhythm once it gets knocked off kilter. Once a rhythm is blown it takes me hours, sometimes days to get it back into a semblance of order.

A good example happened on Monday. I had a funeral.

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Performing funerals is a rhythm unique to my work. Monday is usually my day off, but when a funeral come,s a funeral comes and days off get switched up, rhythms get shifted. This funeral came between 11 A.M. and 1 P.M. followed by men’s group at 7 P.M Usually I have off from Sundays afternoon until Monday evening.

I handled the initial rhythm shift well. But I was not prepared for how it would back me for the next days. Since Monday I have been having difficulty keeping my rhythm steady. I am finding myself suddenly changing course or plans midstream, getting distracted, losing focus, making decisions too fast or too slow. Saying yes when I should say no and saying no when I should say yes in a number of little business and ministry circumstances.

This morning in my early morning prayer time I sat before God and said, “God I realize I have temporarily lost control. Help me to begin anew. I can’t seem to get my rhythm back on my own so help me.”

Prayer is always answered. He is helping. My writing this blog is evidence that a rhythm has been restored.


Let It Begin

Spring has arrived. With it comes the possibility of outdoor work. The porch needs to be cleaned and set up for the summer.

The fence I bought last fall needs to be set up

The broken stonework needs to be fixed

The critters winter Burroughs need to be filled in with cement.

The old stone porch needs to be repurposed into stone walls and planters.

Two brush piles await the fire pit.

The sumac stands need to be cut back so the pathways are passable through the gardens.

And the old garden beds need to be done away with and resettled into their new locations.

So that’s my list for now. Let it begin.