Friday, May 28th Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”

“What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

I woke up early on Monday, April 19th, to get ready for the long drive from New Orleans back to Houston and I realized that I didnt have anything to say for the days devotions. By and large, with a few breaks along the way, I had been beginning my mornings at the computer to write a devotion for the day since October of 1997. It has been a long time. I decided to take a week off from writing.

The next week began well before dawn on Monday morning as I hurried to the airport to catch a plane to Chicago for four days of meetings with the other folks of the Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission unit of the ELCA. I didnt write that week either. But every morning I thought about it.

Right now it feels to me like maybe a season in my life is coming to an end and another season is opening up. This is, according to the wisdom of Ecclesiastes, how life ebbs and flows. He also tells us that it is good that we find joy in the daily toil of our lives, that we take time to rest, and that, along the way, we continually seek to discern what God is up to as God shapes our lives.

What I only realized this morning is that April 19th also marked a year since I said goodbye to the wonderful people of God at Covenant Lutheran Church and began this new position in the synod office. That congregation was such a gift in my life, a vision of how the church can be and a loving reminder of the struggle it is to get there. My grief at letting go has lasted a long long time. Which is how it is when you love somebody, especially hundreds of somebodies who are all precious children of God.

I began writing daily devotions on the other side of a traumatic time in my life. I had come out of a turbulent time of healing and growth which, like much true healing, feels worse at times than the pain that got you there and I wanted to make sure that I had spiritual integrity in my life. Sharing my devotional thinking with others was a way to stay accountable to myself.

I also wanted to give my people some tools to help them share the faith with others. Maybe it was tough for them to talk about the faith with a friend or co-worker, but surely forwarding an email wouldnt be too difficult. As it turned out, that kind of thing began quietly happening all over the world.

But now it feels to me like Im entering a new season in my life. Im going to finally listen to the voices of so many readers along the way (and the voice of my wife) and see what I can do to get a collection of these devotions published and available. I dont know if that is possible but Im going to try.

And now I serve a different congregation a congregation of the 124 congregations of the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The rhythms of this new job are different than life in the parish. I spend my time now working with a wonderful synod staff, the pastors and leaders of congregations, all trying to find new ways to tell the old old story that leads to contagious living and generous giving. We have been given a treasure in the church and now we need to work together to turn around two decades of decline.

If you are interested in evangelism and stewardship, feel free to subscribe to the other blog in my life, the Mission Possible Network in our synod http://txlamission.wordpress.com

Im going to take some more time away from writing devotions every day. I plan to leave this blog alone for awhilebut at some point I imagine that Ill be coming back.

Later this month Im going to be spending my summer vacation on the adventure of a lifetime http://www.hokaheychallenge.com – thanks to the support of my beautiful wife, Kelley, and her understanding of just how much I love to spend hours in the saddle of a motorcycle.

Thank you again for all of the support that you have given me through the years that you let me help you wake up, greeted you at your desk at work, or made it possible for you to share the faith with others by passing on something that connected. Along with Ecclesiastes, I pray that we all remember, I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.”

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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38 Responses to “Friday, May 28th Ecclesiastes 3:1-15”

  1. Sharon Williams Says:

    Hello again,
    Nice to get this devotional. I loved it. And I am OK with you not exactly starting up again.
    Have a wonderful vacation! It reminds me of the Bullrun rally that our son and daughterin-law were in on the Speed Channel last year. Theirs was a race and it had obsticles.
    Sharon

  2. oldguy Says:

    I was wondering what you were up to. Will greatly miss the daily devotionals, but totally understand. I had wondered how you were able to do such a good job on a daily basis for so many years–you’ve lasted longer than most would have. May God greatly bless this coming season in your life, and may others bless you as you have blessed so many of us. Phil. 1:3-6

  3. Marian Severt Says:

    Pastor Kerry,
    Along with everyone else in your electronic parish, I thank you for the faithful devotional witness you have given us.
    God go with you and keep you safe in your journeys. I do hope to “see” you again another day.

  4. Elain Edge Says:

    I will miss your devotions. However, I want to encourage you to publish them.. Please let your whole list know when they become available in book form. If you run across Michael Robinson, say hi from me. elain edge

  5. Fredericka DeBerry Says:

    I understand your decision, but I cannot hide my disappointment. These devotionals have become a part of my mornings that I will miss. I do hope that the book comes to fruition. I’ll be waiting for that. Thank you for so many words of encouragement and inspiration.

  6. Diane Johnson Says:

    Thank you for so many years of sharing your thoughts, feelings and experiences, much of which I have passed along to others. I’ve always looked forward to your daily message, and as I now look forward to reading your published devotions, I will continue to enjoy so many of your messages again and again, from my saved “Devotions” folder. May God be with you, and keep you safe in His care as you go forth on your new path in His work. Blessed to be In His Family, Diane

  7. Mary Harper Says:

    Best wishes on your trip and go safely with God!
    I too am looking for you to publish some day.

  8. Sheri Krumm Says:

    I look forward to hearing that the book has been published. You have a real gift, and have been a tremendous blessing.

  9. MArk McFarlane Says:

    Keep the shiny side up Kerry. Have a great ride, all 7,000 miles of it..

  10. Sonia McFarlane Says:

    You are one crazy pastor!! 7000 miles!
    Be safe, enJOY the ride — enjoy the journey.

  11. Carol Korblick Says:

    Like the others, I will miss your daily devotions I looked forward to them each day. May you travel with God each day and sometime pick up the daily devotions again. I look forward to them in book form. Now I will rely on Luther Seminary for my morning devotions.

  12. Dean Bartelt Says:

    Life is full of changes. Some are done to us and others just are. Pentecost showed us that Christ is with us in our everyday life. It’s a gift freely given because we are willing and able for a daily relationship with God. Not because we always do as Christ would have us do, but because he wants us to be happy in his love for us. Pastor Kerry, you have many across the miles who have come to love you because of your love of Christ. Wear a helmet and continue to hug Christ in your heart. Thank you for what you have done for me. Above all take care of yourself and BE. In Christ today and always. With a prayer in my heart, the road may not always be straight but always look toward the light and you will find your way. God Speed.

  13. Marlys Amberg Says:

    Pastor Kerry, when I read your devotional letter, i just felt the Holy Spirit come across with all of the revelations you were communiating to us. We have been so blessed to have you write for us these last few years.
    I ask God to richly bless you each and every day, as you continue in his work and mission of telling others about our wonderful God. You will be in my daily prayers, have an awesome time away and if you come to SD please let us know if you are able.
    Blessings, Marlys

  14. Kay Carnes Says:

    I will greatly miss your devotions – they are honest and fulfilling. I can’t tell you the number of times they have addressed what I needed to hear on that particular day. May God bless you in the path he has chosen for you and keep you safe on your trip.

  15. Jeff Weaver Says:

    Thank you Pastor Kerry, for your years of writing devotions. They have been important to me and have been an important part of the devotional aids listed our website. God’s peace be with you in the days ahead as you follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If you are led to start writing again, we will welcome your return.

  16. Joanne Soden Says:

    Dear Pastor Kerry,

    Thank you for the “wake up call” each day. I have connected with something in each Daily Devotion and have passed on numerous thoughts to family, friends and coworkers. The faith we share is powerful and the God we love calls us to and away from our work. The best to you in all that you do going forward. I will be waiting for your book. Thank you again.

  17. Lisa Heard Says:

    Your common sense and insightful ways of viewing the world through scripture have meant a lot to me in the ten years I’ve been reading your devotions, and it has been interesting to hear of your evolving religious life.
    If you do them up in a book, please let us all know. So sorry I just didn’t print them off every day. I have a goodly number that have been so useful for meetings, Bible study, etc. Thanks so much for your years of work.

  18. Dennis Ruopp Says:

    Brother Kerry,

    I thank the good Lord for blessing us through your ministry. I will keep you in my prayers for relaxing and safe riding along with the Spirit breathing renewed life into you as you travel!

    Peace,
    Dennis

  19. Mary Sohlin Says:

    I too hope you will publish a book around your Daily Devotions. FYI-Jeff H. use to arrange your DD’s by subject. I imagine he still has them.
    God’s speed and much love. Mary

  20. LaVonne Severson Says:

    I will miss your Daily Devotions. I have followed them since 1998 and have printed off a lot of them. I sure hope to see your devotions in book form.

    God be with you. LaVonne S

  21. Bev and Duane Larson Says:

    Dear Pastor Kerry, we will miss your devotions. The devotions and you have become a part of our daily life of faith. Thank you so much for sharing the wonderful gift of words that Go has given you. You have blessed our lives and we look forward to yur upcoming book of Daily Devotions. We met you in Helena, Mt at the conference “Growing in God’s Field. Have a safe and wonderful trip. Duane and Bev Larson

  22. Toby Williams Says:

    I understand. It is a way of growing and being grown. It is the entire message of all religions, death and resurrection, as it is the way of all life. In the bible it is so well shown in Joseph, Job and Jesus. God’s blessings are yours.

  23. Sherilyn Says:

    I will miss your daily devotions but wish you all the best as you enjoy your vacation. Thank you for coming to us each day, and I hope that this time away is good for your soul. Blessings.

  24. Ray Kilminster Says:

    Dear Pastor Kerry,

    I will miss you. I started reading your daily devotions years ago. When I sat down in my office each morning, the first job at hand was to pull up your daily devotion to “set me straight” for the day. Now that I’m retired and working full time for God, I catch up with you any time of the day.
    You have been an inspiration to me during stressful times of running a debt reduction campaign at church with the pastor leaving half way through, stewardship campaigns and finally to my resting stop heading up lay caring, particularly to our more senior brothers and sisters at church and at retirement homes. I have followed your life and labors with interest and wish you well in this next big step in your journey of Faith. God Bless you and keep you, Brother in Christ.

  25. Banks Scaboroguh Says:

    Pastor Kerry, You have come to a good decision. Your devotions have done just what you hoped for me and others. Please know that I stand ready to help when you decide to publish.
    Peace bewith you and your family. Be carefull on that motorcycle.
    Sincerely, Banks

  26. Joyce Anderson Says:

    I have enjoyed spending the time with you in devotions. Be safe in your ventures toward what God would have you do.

  27. Renee Butler Says:

    Hey Pastor Kerry. Enjoy the trip and I hope that you are inspired by all that you will see. I really look forward to your devotions and I always forward them to family and friends. Please be careful out there! Mike and I will be waiting for your stories when you get back.

    Peace, the Butlers

  28. Forrest Meyer Says:

    The devotions you have written over the years have richly fed my faith life, Pastor Kerry. Thank you, and God bless you in what is coming next for you.

  29. Kay Lehr Says:

    Pastor Kerry: I have missed the devotionals in the last month, but I am glad that you are able to discern what God might be calling you to…I send you blessings in your work, in you home life, and especially on that cycle! May God continue to walk with you! You are truly a blessing to many!!
    Kay

  30. Hal Markuson Says:

    Thankyou!! Ditto to all the above comments. Your devotion explains where Iam in my spiritual life and the blog you referred us too was epecially enlighting and good . I passed it on to my pastor and synod Evangelism Director pr Kurt Norby as I have sent your devotions on to others in my congregation. I will mission your devotions but I will follow in your directions God’s Peace and Love Hal Markuson

  31. Meg Nelson Says:

    Best of luck to you! Thanks for all your encouraging words over the years.

    Meg Nelson

  32. Dave Says:

    Kerry,

    Thanks for your words over the last few years.

    A few choice words from poet Louise Haskins as you head off to new adventures…

    I said to the man that stood at the gate of the year
    “Give me a light, that I might go safely into the unknown”.
    And he replied, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way” -Louise Haskins

    God bless

    Dave

  33. Terri Henry Says:

    Pastor,

    Thank you for all of the wonderful conversations you have started for me over the years as I shared your devotions with members and non members alike.

    Enjoy your trip up the Al-Can – I took the trip from Maryland to Alaska in 1997 and it was one of the most meaningful times of my life. (I was in a Jeep – not a motorcycle). Enjoy the beauty and stop at Lliard Hot Springs if you get the chance. It is a great place to rest your tired bones.

    May God continue to guide your journey.

    Peace,
    Terri

  34. Valerie Philon Says:

    I, too, have come to enjoy your Daily Devotions over the years and while we have never met, I have come to appreciate you and your positive input into my life. While I will miss you, I completely appreciate your decision. Your ability to change, adapt, and rise to all occasions has been an inspiration to me. You lead by a wonderful example. I have no doubt publishing your devotions will be GREAT, your candor is and always has been refreshing and endearing. I wish you and your family well. May God continue to bless you and make you whole.

  35. Jeanne English Says:

    Everyone was so nice and gracious, when all I want to do is say that I am honestly sad that there won’t be any devotions for awhile, while at the same time I understand why it is difficult for you to complete them in your new role on synod staff. I have a hard time finding devotionals that I like, much less online ones. That is a great testament to you, Kerry, because you speak from your heart. A person can feel like they know you a bit through these devotionals, not like most of the canned simplistic ones that are out there. Yours make us think, they speak to the spiritual issues many of us go through and give us hope. Your devotions have opened many a council meeting for us and I will truly miss them. If whomever upstream has them categorized by subject or scripture, that would be a great way to archive them. I look forward to any and all future writings of yours. Thank you for sharing your own spiritual journey with us for many years.

  36. Juy Anderson Says:

    I am rereading this after reading your account about your motorcycle ride. Thank you so much for the devotions. I hope that you will return to writing devotionals in the future. However, we need people like you in the work of the synods.

  37. mercedes benz e class Says:

    excellent writing .

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