Monday, December 17, 2012


This week has had both difficult and joyous days. I joined with others watching the children of our church perform their Christmas play on Sunday night. My heart was warmed and blessed and I was so thankful for them. Then there was Friday; the day a near same number of children was torn from their Connecticut families in a horrific massacre.  Such contrasts overwhelm us, least it does me.

Certainly I was as stunned as everyone else with the senseless carnage that was wrought on such innocent and helpless people by a confused and disturbed man…boy.

Being a pastor, I have searched for appropriate words to say, but mostly I  have just been led to weep and pray for all of those effected. No matter, for it seems that there are plenty of people who have plenty of words to say.
Off-handedly I caught the comments of a FOX news anchor who said this: “Many people who do not profess faith, always seem to reach for it in times like these.” I thought to myself, well of course they do. What else is there? Will cracking down on gun laws help the grieving heart? Will a presidential visit make it all better? Will a thousand new mental institutions with hundreds of new treatments restore what has been lost?

People may check the “none” box for religious affiliation on personal information sheets, but when their very lives have been broken beyond belief, God is to whom they turn. There is nowhere else to go, is there?!

Today I’m very much in prayer for the clergy people who are conducting the funerals of those who died. I cannot imagine conducting 7 funerals in one week as I heard Father Weiss, of St. Rose of Lima in Newtown is charged with doing. God help all who are serving these families. May God have mercy and bring steadiness, strength and the grace of Christ to all.
Today, I am revisioning the little ones who died. They are with the Lord. I know that beyond any doubt. Even though I did not know them at all, I'm thankful for their lives. I am also thankful for the grace to know that God loves them and has them tucked safely in his arms. May I also have the grace to know that God loves Adam Lanza, and through that same grace may I forgive him for what he did to the innocent little ones.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Wow! Chills!

May we all join together to praise God!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Morning Bow!

The bow will be in the clouds, and upon seeing it I will remember the enduring covenant between God and every living being of all the earth’s creatures. Gen 9:16 (CEV)

You can ask Ed, my husband, and he will tell you I am crazy about rainbows. Of all the physical phenomena that appear in the sky from time to time, I love them the best. As he knows, I will run him all over the beach just to see one over the water, or anywhere for that matter.

I’ve seen a lot of rainbows because I know when they will normally appear. They will pop up when the sun is at or close to the horizon and shining towards the water in the eastern sky. This happens just after a storm passes from west to east and the sky has cleared in the west and is still cloudy in the east.

Frequently I have seen rainbows at times when people I know have passed. That has happened on four distinct occasions, the most notable was when my sweet aunt Nib died. As we were traveling to her memorial service, God delivered a brilliant double rainbow. I’ll never forget that one.

Another double one I saw was over the ocean when I was with my home church on a mission trip in Vieques, Puerto Rico. Did you know that a double rain bow reverses colors? From indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red to the reverse, red, orange, yellow, green, blue and indigo. I photographed one of them once.

But, by far the neatest one I’ve seen I saw this morning. About 7:15am I happened to walk out to the car to retrieve some towels and looked up to the western sky, and there was a rainbow! It was amazing! No rain, no late evening storm, nothing usual about it. I ran inside like a freak, grabbed my camera and shot a picture of it. If you look closely, you can see the second one. It was gone in three minutes.


When I see a rainbow I always think of God’s promise to the earth, and I am reminded of God’s promises to me. I think I chase rainbows, because I love to chase God and catch God in one of those creative moments that are uniquely divine…like this morning when I saw the morning bow in the western sky when it had not rained at all.

Friday, November 30, 2012

What to get Jesus for Christmas?

Just coming off of a blessed Thanksgiving holiday and launching headlong into the Advent season can leave a preacher a little breathless. You may be feeling the same way. 

The season of Advent, that scurrying, hurrying, flurrying time that comes in the days leading up to Christmas can put even to most sedate and calm person into panic mode as we try to get the many things done that we always do during this time of year.

Since it is the season in which we celebrate the birth of God’s only son, it seems fitting to not only think about a gift, but really try to give that gift to him. So, it begs the question, what would Jesus like to have for his birthday?

Hum…we give him a lot of things. Christmas parties, special visits to folks where we deliver a song and a Merry Christmas wish, cute plays acted out by equally cute children, big, loud, festive parades, concerts of sacred music, special performances with hand bells, piano, organ and chimes, and last but certainly not least, we buy gifts for each other. We do all this and much more for Jesus on his birthday.

Though I know that Jesus appreciates all that we do in celebration of his birth, I wonder…are these things really what Jesus wants for his birthday. I read a comment this week from a colleague of mine who was wondering the same thing. His idea of a perfect gift for the King of kings was that we take a little time and spend it just hanging out with the Lord of lords. I believe that my friend is on to something here.
What would it look like to just hang out with Emmanuel during this most busy time of year? How about a trip to see the Holy One at the soup kitchen? I’m told he likes to eat there nearly every day. Or maybe we might talk to the Christ child as we listen to Christmas carols all by ourselves in the quiet of the house after everyone has gone to bed. I’ve also heard it said that Jesus lives in the pages of his life’s story found in the Scriptures. We could join Savior of the world there. And I know that during the wee hours of the night, Mary’s sweet Jesus is always there to sit with me as my lonely heart struggles to pray.

Whatever we decide to do this year to honor Jesus’ birthday, may we try to remember that it is our self that Jesus most wants. He wants us. For some crazy reason, he loves us. The love is greater than anything we can even imagine. So to hear from us in the quiet of an evening, morning or mid-day will be exactly what pleases the Lord Jesus on his birthday.

So I say…if that is what he wants, I’m going to try to give Jesus exactly that. I will give Jesus me for Christmas. What will you give him?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Staycation

Brothers and sisters, I urge you, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggles in your prayers to God for me... Also, pray that my service for Jerusalem will be acceptable to God’s that I can come to you with joy by God’s will and be reenergized with your company.  May the God of peace be with you all. Amen. (paraphrase from Rom 15: 30-33 CEV).

Greetings from Morganton, NC
I know. I know. Preachers only work on Sundays. So why do they need a vacation? Well, since you asked, I'll tell you.  No, really, let me explain.
This past week I have enjoyed a Staycation. I stayed at home in Morganton where Ed and I have our "non-parsonage" house.  And I have to say, I needed every minute of that Staycation.  I did the typical things you do on vacation, visited local attractions: the Mitsubishi dealership service department (twice), Target, TJ Maxx, Best Buy and various thrift stores. Went to the movies every night. I ate out and cooked in. I went to bed early and stayed up late, and slept as long as I wanted to. In other words, I relaxed and rested.
People who work in church ministry can attest to the non-Sunday rigors of pastoral life. Though we may not be needed, pastors are on call 24/7.  You may not believe that a preacher is willing to drop everything at a moment's notice to attend to someone. You may not get that a pastor's mind and heart is on his or her parish 24/7. But 90% of the time you would be wrong. Most pastors that I know never stop thinking about, waiting on, or praying for the individuals of their "flock."
Pastors are called to be present for God's people. They carry the concern for the state of the people's spiritual health. Pastors hold sacred the reality of life, death, hell and the grave for the people they serve. The burden for others rarely leaves a woman or man who has been called to be a shepherd of God's people.

I, along with anybody who accepts God's call into pastoral ministry, live for the moment when I know that persons under my sphere of responsibility are at one with God; that they are okay spiritually; that they are at peace with God; that they know where they are going when they die; that they live fearlessly in the light of God's grace. Trouble is, we pastors only rarely get to experience that moment.

We do catch glimpses of its possibility, in worship, in times of fellowship, in ministries of outreach, in occasions of learning, and in moments of prayer. But know? for sure?...well, that is what we think about and pray about 27/7. That kind of attention, holding so many in one's heart and mind, believe it or not, wears a person down. It wears a person out. It can even make a person wonder if they have been truly called to such a life in the first place.
So from time to time, a preacher needs to be re-created, to be re-freshed, to be re-called. I am so thankful for my time away this week. I am thankful that God has been able to touch me once again and recreate, refresh, and recall me. I am also thankful that God trusts me enough to allow me to carry the seeds of the gospel; that God trusts that I have a heart worthy of carrying a pastoral love for God's people. That is the story of my staycation, and I'm sticking with it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

August News from Pisgah UMC

This month Pisgah UMC engaged in one of the most important ministries we do during the year. Nearly 30 volunteer adults and youth participated in leading, teaching, feeding, and mentoring more than 50 children in Vacation Bible School.

I was truly blessed by seeing the community of believers here at Pisgah pitch in together to promote and celebrate the gospel of our Lord with children of all ages. It was a real and tangible sign of the people of God being Jesus to our kids and to kids from our community.

Being relevant as Jesus’ disciples in the world today sometimes means being able to transform and stretch ourselves. We may need to transform an ordinary educational space into an undersea science lab, or an ancient Palestinian sea shore, or a beautiful music and dance workshop. We may need to stretch to design a fun and relevant environment for kids to learn, play, sing, dance and worship God.

The main goal for VBS this year was to create a space which would allow children to experience Christian values, teachings and people who are committed to Jesus and whose lives are not bland, dreary or boring. Giving children these kinds of experiences will enable them to learn, grow and depend on Jesus all of their lives.

The mission of a church is vital to all that is done. In every endeavor, every worship service, every meeting, every building project, every fellowship event, every outreach opportunity, the mission must be considered. Connecting People to Christ is our mission.

Being relevant to contemporary people is also vital to reaching them for Christ. This past month you have likely noticed that we have placed a video projector in the sanctuary worship space. Some of you may be concerned about this new technology. People have often thought that such technology can have a negative impact on worship, taking attention away from God, preaching or the sanctity of the space. Another complaint that has been voiced in other churches is that such technology is “capitulating to culture” or “watching movies in church.”

While these are honest complaints, they pale in comparison to the need for updated technology in worship. The reason to use current technology is to connect to contemporary people in a relevant way.

In years past, churches only had outdoor toilets. In that era an indoor toilet was the new “technology.” Some church people refused to put toilets inside, “because they felt it sacrilegious to have toilets in the house of the Lord!” (Hamilton. Unleashing the Word. 45.)

As time and culture change it is vital for the church to change too. Otherwise we will be saying (inadvertently) that we don’t care about reaching contemporary people. 

As we move through the rest of the year, we will be developing our new technology through finding and training folks to run the software and equipment. As we go through this time we will have typos, glitches, flub-ups and failures. So please, I ask you to bear with us as we train and learn. Please offer your suggestions, your solutions, your ideas, and also tell us what you like. You can use the suggestion box in the narthex or send an email to me.

A growing church is never static, but always seeking ways to transform and stretch into what is needed to reach others…especially contemporary people who are desperate for a meaningful relationship with God.

I believe in my heart that Pisgah folks desire to create a place that is inviting and welcoming to contemporary people. I also believe that Pisgah people are anxious to let them know that we care. God calls each of us to Follow Jesus, Make Disciples and Transform the World.  I believe we can follow the calling.

 The    best    is    yet    to    come.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wilderness Journey, Day 18

House of Peace

purple is a royal color
portending existence of ease
with banks of servants to follow
every urge in a house of peace

if every day was just alike
with food and drink in calm retreat
no enemies about to strike
or intrigues in the house of peace…

but, days do differ, so it seems
foes come with plans in hand to cease
royal desires and kingdom dreams
they strive to ruin the house of peace

his strength underestimated
is wielded through his purple fleece
the Lamb comes forth vindicated
resurrecting God’s house of peace…

©2012 Judy H. Eurey

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wilderness Journey, Day 17

Sunday – Monday

sun’s warmth baths the floor
the window sill, the settee
for a time and then
a bolt from the blue streaks forth
followed by thunder
a wrecking bent on chaos
to thwart my forward movement

©2012 Judy H. Eurey

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wilderness Journey, Day 16

Day One

primordial soup
the abyss of nothingness
yet unformed, unmade
when God said, let there be light
and there was the light;
by the Word light overcame
the darkness, now we may see

©2012 Judy H. Eurey

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wilderness Journey, Day 15

Sunny Bunny

Hopping out of my den
sunnier than I have been
since snow fell in December
enough clover to eat
which feels good to my feet
yet I need to remember
Spring’s unpredictable
often unmerciful
I stay awake, stay limber

©2012 Judy H. Eurey

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wilderness Journey, Day 14

Grace Light
Through thick fog it burns in
shafts of enlightening
to resurrect a new day
changing misty morning
with grace of restoring
molting light to light the way
no time is created
when gift is not sated
thru blue sky beyond the fray

©2012 Judy H. Eurey

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wilderness Journey, Day13

Rock in My Shoe

It is planted there
where one cannot see it
no plan it has to fit
on one stray nerve

innocently a foot
is dropped into the bed
the yelp as yet unsaid
until hobbled

©2012 Judy H. Eurey

Wilderness Journey, Day 12

Bitter Pie

The fruit they use is bad
sans sugar to sweeten
no cream to lighten
in soggy crust

cutting in what falls out
is mutilated hate
thrust on a world too late
for redemption

©2012 Judy H. Eurey

Friday, March 09, 2012

Wilderness Journey, Day 11

New Family

Summer’s wasps are long gone
fallen to freezing grouse
bequest of tenant house
for bluebird pair

One peeks, then the other
in and out the round hole
gaging if nest will mold
to the inside

©2012 Judy H. Eurey

Wilderness Journey, Day 10


Small suns with ruffled
petals encircling Perianth tubes
and parading pungent scent
of Spring

forced through the darkened winter
earth, they burst with bright
light awash with warmth
the soul’s holdover to the resurrection

©2012 Judy H. Eurey

Monday, March 05, 2012

Wilderness Journey, Day 9

between the notes
lyrics pause in the silence
of another song

five frosty fragments
of words beat the best of beat
icy tick tick tick

jewels sharpen blue
birds’ ribbed wings outstretched just a
jointed jump for food

Wilderness Journey, Day 8

When dogs enter the sheep field
kyrie eleison
six bowls of dented cars and
flowers flattened to the earth
crushed to blackened and broken biers
If God hates me, then I am lost
kyrie eleison
Tall grasses twitch in gusts
popping past
inching them low, lower, lowest.
kyrie eleison
Bodies, did I say bodies?
stiff and cold, gone of breath, beat and
is an unreasonable angle to behold.
kyrie eleison

Friday, March 02, 2012

Wilderness Journey, Day 7

Gen. 3:15
Eden Resumed

In Eden hope took form on two
legs and walked about in the heat
of the day until overtaken
by the enemy.

In Eden death took form on two
legs and walked about in the heat
of the day until overtaken
by the cross.

©2012 Judy H. Eurey

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wilderness Journey, Day 6

Deuteronomy 8

Man does not live on bread alone
thus causing hunger, God humbles

the proud on discipline’s stone
man does not live on bread alone
lest he forget salvation’s home
is in God whose manna mumbles
man does not live on bread alone
thus causing hunger, God humbles

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wilderness Journey, Day 5


The small girl saw the rocks below
but between them blossoms

Knees are easy to bend and stand on
Hands clasp together, fingers entwine
Heads bow like friends in concert

What matters
are not the words, wishes or whatnots
What matters
are not the floods, fishes or flatfoots

The real thing
is to sing
    to God
in a voice of one’s own.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Wilderness Journey, Day 4


dark blowing tendrils
blot out his tender gazing
rock strewn earth below

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wilderness Journey, Day 3

In Vitro Son

Amid her bones the child prepares to be
a spark of the both combined into one
past unmade, unformed, for where is the need
in fertile node where he becomes their son

No thought is thought, alas no deed this seed
he floats like light on a blue bubble tongue
growing and gaining, the moment to heed
movement of birth, spoken promise his own

Waiting, his two spent days with vivid dreams
of fetal face and denser decisions
marking time til choosing their paint
pink or green, blue or cool aquamarine—
when a noise arose to foul the visions
and break the heart of each and every saint 

©2012 Judy H. Eurey

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wilderness Journey, Day 2

Wind In
The movement so strong
    as to sling leaves by like bullets
    as to suck breath asunder
    as to bend the backs of bridges

The pressing so fierce
    as to stutter the storm door
    as to fidget the frantic chime
    as to worry the family dog
      whose ears stand high
      whose eyes grow bold
      whose nose is posed for the passing scent

Into my soul, I pray my Lord, blow.
Into my dank dimness, I pray my Lord, force the fresh fragrance of the Holy.


©2012 Judy H. Eurey

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wilderness Journey, Day 1 (A Lenten Poem)

Rather than up, I go down
Rather than out, I go in
  Spirit lead me to the space of my soul;
  the space you inhabit,
     and I extol
as wilderness.
                  Oh! See the
frank failures confront us
little leagues of errors that skirt like kits around our knees
mislaid plans hobbling to and fro upon knobby crutches
outdated intentions depositing their duty corner by corner
meager offerings dangling like so many market-bound beef sides

                 This wilderness reeks,
its darkness cool, dank and needy
its air poor, used and wanting.

©2012 Judy H. Eurey


Friday, February 10, 2012

February...the month of Passion

               Ah…it’s February, the month we devote to things such as love, Lent and looking for spring! On the shelves at Wal-Mart, the Dollar Tree, and Belks, we see all things Valentine: stuffed animals, candy packages, and that grace of any day of love…chocolate! Yummo!

              This time of year when we celebrate the special love we have for our Valentines, most of us pause to think about that person. We will remember those first days, months or years of passionate pursuing we engaged in in order to gain the attentions and love of our one and only. Women and men have been known to do some pretty insane things to win the love of their intended.

              On Sunday, January 29, along with a faithful bunch of Pisgahites, I attended the Gastonia District Leadership Conference.  There were workshops provided on many areas of church leadership. The workshop I chose to attend was the one called Revitalizing Churches.

Among many things we learned was the one vital component to maintaining vitality or revitalizing a church. It was PASSION! The workshop leader said that in order to be a vital growing church anywhere and at any time, the members must be passionate, not for the church, but for Jesus.

              Passion is one of those words that have many meanings, some good and some not so good. Passion can be defined as the burning desire for a particular person, thing, or activity. I know people who have, and actively develop a passion for such things as bow-hunting, history, music, golf, pottery, and such people as Justin Beiber, Mother Teresa, and Abraham Lincoln. (People also have passions for drinking, cussing, and carousing.)

              When we Christians think about the word passion, often the betrayal, suffering and crucifixion of Jesus comes to our mind. That story which is clearly depicted in the gospels is known as the passion of Christ. I have wondered just how the word we use for ultimate love, the word we use for the burning desire for something or someone could be associated with such a horrific event. Was it that Jesus experienced a passion for the cross? Did he have a burning desire to suffer the humiliation and the pain of what happened to him? No.

              I believe that the passion that Jesus had was not for the torture he endured. I believe that the passion Jesus had was for something else, actually someone else. Jesus’ passion embodied the all-consuming desire to save humanity, no matter the cost. The passion of our Lord was for us! There has never been a greater love exhibited for anyone or anything than the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ.

              When we commit our lives to Christ, we commit to placing our passion in him. We commit to do the things that Jesus wants us to do in order to complete the passion of the Lord; that passion to save all of human kind.

Passion for Jesus amounts to passion for the lost, those who are not connected to God. Passion involves suffering for their cause. Suffering for anything doesn’t “preach” very well, but the truth is, Christians do suffer in various ways to bring the good news.

We are the souls who embody the passion of Christ in the present. We have to ask ourselves, how much do I love Jesus? How much am I willing to suffer? How far will I carry the cross? What insane thing am I willing to do in order to share the good news with a hurting soul?

              Someone asked the question yesterday. Will we ever be able to finish our ministries? The answer is: we will be done, when all have heard about Jesus' saving grace.  Until then, we will continue to embody the passion of the Christ. 

Our suffering will be rewarded. One day I will meet the Lord face to face. All of us will. The Lord will ask me, what have you been doing in the world? What answer will I have to give Jesus, whose passion was completely focused on me? What answer will you have to give your Lord, whose passion was completely focused on you too?