Friday, January 31, 2020

Daily Prayer for January 31

The sacrifice acceptable to God is a humble spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Daily Readings for Friday, January 31, 2020

Eternal God, you draw near to us in Christ and make yourself our guest. Amid the cares of our daily lives, make us attentive to your voice and alert to your presence, that we may treasure your word above all else. O God, you are infinite, eternal and unchangeable, glorious in holiness, full of love and compassion, abundant in grace and truth. Your works everywhere praise you, and your glory is revealed in Jesus Christ our Savior.

Therefore we praise you, blessed and holy Trinity, one God, forever and ever. Eternal God, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts, to direct and rule us according to your will, to comfort us in all our afflictions, to defend us from all error, and to lead us into all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God through him

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Story: Chapter 4

Click here, if video doesn't appear.

"Moses:  Is it in the Bible or is it Cecil B. DeMille?  Our times on Holy Ground, when it is so clear that God is close to us, is so fleeting. .. . . .Thankfully, we have the gift of memory."

The discussion is based on Chapter 4 of The Story:  "Deliverance".  If you don't have a copy of The Story, read Exodus 1-7; 10-17.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

2019 Moderator’s Report

Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8, NRSV.)

Our congregation experienced a number of changes in 2019, and I believe wonderful things are in store in 2020. We celebrated Ellen Hynes’ fifteen years of service to the church, and we welcomed Pastor M.P., Pastor Carol, Latisha Gilliland, and Abby Reilly. I am beyond thankful to work with a staff full of talented and creative people. We set a good foundation over the past few months, and it is exciting to see what is in store in the coming year.

I focused the majority of my time on enhancing worship, deepening our Christian education opportunities, and expanding our already strong programming. In my opinion, the biggest thing to come out of this past year was the development of our church CREDO: SEEK, DISCOVER, SHARE. The Session spent many months discerning the essentials of who we are currently and who God is calling us to be moving forward. I believe these three distinct words make a strong statement, and I believe they will keep us focused on the essentials of our shared ministry. I introduced our CREDO to the congregation through a two-month sermon series and stewardship campaign. We will continue to build on this foundation in the coming year.

St. Mark continued its strong commitment to mission through special offerings, special events, and special programs. I am thankful for all the work done both in front of the public eye and behind the scenes. I am especially excited about the growth of our Lenten Water Challenge and the 14 wells our congregation funded in 2019. We will continue to work on our mission giving moving forward to ensure our gifts and efforts have the maximum benefit. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in our neighborhood and world.

2020 is already upon us, and I am enthusiastic about our all-church study of, The Story. We distributed over 100 copies and the orders keep coming. One of the biggest challenges we face in the larger church is a lack of biblical literacy, and I believe this is a fantastic jumping off point to hearing, believing, and doing God’s will.

 In Hope and Confidence,
Pastor Dave

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Auto Pilot

Auto Pilot – things we do, without thinking, without paying attention. Sometimes productive – the grandmother who knits socks and shawls without looking  at what she’s doing – she’s done it so often, her fingers know the way without her presence. Sometimes leading us in the direction we should go, or on a path we no longer follow where our car heads without conscience thought.  Detrimentally, when the candy dish next to our chair, is suddenly empty as we eat without realizing it, “because it’s there”.
So easy though, to let auto pilot take over, to not think about what we are doing, to just keep moving. Thinking we are moving forward, when the direction may be anything but.  We do it in our jobs, our relationships, maintaining our homes, social gatherings, and so much more.
We keep moving because that is what we are “supposed to do”, we think.  We attend the “right” activities, do the things that someone else’s experience has said will get us ahead in the world, but in the process we forget to see the world, to listen to the birds or that old cliché, “take time to smell the flowers”.  
We focus on the auto pilot of the motion. The lower down the chain we are the more the motion means survival.  The higher up the chain, the more they are just auto pilot motions without true meaning.
A recent article in the paper, about retirement regrets, said that not saving and investing wisely for our future was still the chef regret of retirees, but right up there alongside it was not taking the time to travel  while we’re still able to. Not spending time with others before one or the other of us faces declining health. For most, while we are given the warnings about future regrets, we are so focused on the auto pilot motions that we don’t absorb the true meaning of the words – we focus on making the money to pay for that fabulous trip, rather than on the time spent working vs the time spent with family and friends going to a park.
Then suddenly, time is no more. Cats in the Cradle. Everyone has moved on and our dreams of spending time with others is gone because they don’t have time for us now.
Another regret was not building a social network of friends who will be with us long after the auto pilot of work and raising our families has ended. The ones who will be there to sit shiva with us as others leave this world, or will hold our hands as we grieve and mourn.
Regrets can be as simple as not saying “I love you” more often, or not taking time to relax over a cup of tea with a friend and commiserate when things go wrong or celebrate the joys as they come.   We each have our own list which we are afraid to put in writing, because that might make us a “failure” rather than simply acknowledging our humanity and frailty. Signs of regret play on the stereo as I write this – Cats in the Cradle, Leaving Galveston, Getting on a Jet Plane, Goodby Again and so many others.  Songs of regret that say what we cannot put in words ourselves.

Dale Weir
January 2020
Photo by Rebecca Grant on Unsplash

Monday, January 27, 2020


CHANCEL BELLS: would you like to play with us? Intermediate level note reading skills required. Especially needed: players who can lift the lower (bigger) bells. We need both weekly players and subs for rehearsals on Wed evening. See Marsha if interested!
CHANCEL CHOIR: join us for an evening of spirited singing, laughter and prayer as we prepare pieces to inspire during weekly worship services. Wed. evening in the choir room. See Marsha if interested!

MIDDLE HIGH SCHOOL YOUTH: let's sing a piece in worship. Rehearsals will be Wed during Youth Group. Watch bulletin for details.
ORCHESTRAL/BAND: let's get our instruments and prepare a piece for Worship. Let me know what you play, , and I will find you a part. For late Middle School through Adult. Music is intermediate to early advanced level. Watch bulletin for details. See Marsha if interested!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Worship Prayers January 19


May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities, and promises. May evening find you gracious and fulfilled. May you go into the night blessed, sheltered, and protected. May your soul calm, console, and renew you.


When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
The our mouths were filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it will be said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for us.”
Come! Let us rejoice in the Lord.


God, of grace, for our failure to love others as you love us,
forgive us.
For wasting your gifts and hoarding our goods,
forgive us.
For forgetting to dreams, losing heart, and abandoning hope,
forgive us.
For all the ways we turn from you,
forgive us… (Silent Confession)

*J. Birch,

For the sermon "The Long View", click here.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Scripture for January 26

Exodus 3:1-15 New International Version (NIV)

Moses and the Burning Bush

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[b] will worship God on this mountain.
13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[c] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[d] the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’
“This is my name forever,
    the name you shall call me
    from generation to generation.


  1. Exodus 3:6 Masoretic Text; Samaritan Pentateuch (see Acts 7:32) fathers
  2. Exodus 3:12 The Hebrew is plural.
  3. Exodus 3:14 Or I will be what I will be
  4. Exodus 3:15 The Hebrew for Lord sounds like and may be related to the Hebrew for I am in verse 14.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Burning bush. 17th century painting by Sébastien Bourdon in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg

Friday, January 24, 2020

Daily Prayers January 24

Missouri Botanical Garden
Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Daily Readings for Friday, January 24, 2020

God, our creator, you have given us work to do and call us to use our talents for the good of all. Guide us as we work, and teach us to live in the Spirit who made us your sons and daughters, in the love that made us sisters and brothers. Remember, O God, your church. Unite it in the truth of your Word and empower it in ministry to the world. Remember the world of nations. By your Spirit renew the face of the earth; let peace and justice prevail. Remember our family and friends. Bless them and watch over them; be gracious to them and give them peace. Remember the sick and the suffering, the aged and the dying. Encourage them and give them hope. Rejoicing in the communion of saints, we remember with thanksgiving all your faithful servants, whom you have called from this life. We are grateful that for them death is no more, nor is there sorrow, crying, or pain, for the former things have passed away. (Add your prayers.) Amen.
Go forth into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Dreamers

To dream is to invite change in your life.  . . 
To dream is dangerous: 
It is always a challenge to the powers that be, 
To those who want to maintain the status quo

To those who profit from bias and ignorance and prejudice and hate. . . . 

Click here to hear Pastor Dave Burgess reflect on The Dreamers.

Chapter 3 from The Story: "Joseph:  From Slave to Deputy Pharaoh":  Genesis 37, 39, 41-48, 50

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Story, Chapter Two

Pastor Dave Burgess discusses Chapter Two of The Story on Facebook or Youtube most Wednesdays around noon.  But, in case you missed it last week, click here, if it doesn't appear above.

If you don't have The Story, you can read the following chapters in the Bible
Genesis 12-13, 15-17, 21-22, 32-35
Romans 4
Hebrews 11

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Worship Prayers January 12


Eternal God, you remain constant through all of our striving, and patient with our ceaseless prayers. We seek your wisdom, yearn for your justice, and crave your blessing, for our own sakes and for the sake of the world. By the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Christ, who prays with us. Amen.

CALL TO WORSHIP (Colossians 3:12-13)

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, let us clothe ourselves with compassion.
May we be kind, humble, meek, and patient.
Let us bear each other’s burdens.
Help us to forgive others as the Lord forgives us.
Come! Let us worship our God together.


God of grace, for our failure to love others as you loved us,
Forgive us.
For wasting your gifts and hoarding our goods,
Forgive us.
For losing heart and abandoning hope,
Forgive us.
For all the ways we turn from you,
Forgive us… (Silent Confession)
For the sermon, "The Curious Power of Forgiveness", Click here.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Scripture for January 19

Genesis 37:17-24 New International Version (NIV)

17 “They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’”
So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”
21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Illustration by Owen Jones from "The History of Joseph and His Brethren" (Day & Son, 1869). Scanned and archived at where it was marked as Public Domain. Text from Book: And Reuben said unto them, shed no blood, but cast him into the pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again. Genesis, C. XXXVII. V. 22.