Pastor Wrinkles: Shaken & Stirred Pt. 1

Here is an excerpt from Pastor Wrinkles’ (yours truly) latest sermon, Shaken & Stirred

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine,which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:18, 20

Ian Fleming made famous the statement “Shaken not stirred” in reference to how his quintessential character, James Bond, enjoyed  martinis. I use the reference to ask a question as I begin. Which is more exciting to you, a James Bond movie or your Christian walk? O.K. maybe you’re not a Bond fan. Allow me to rephrase it, Which is more exciting to you your devotional life or the Patriots game? Which is more exciting to you Six Flags or prayer meeting?

I can hear someone  saying “That’s Not fair Pastor J. You are asking us to compare apples and oranges. Church is church and fun is fun. Church is not fun and fun is not church.”

Ah and now you may  have discovered the root of lukewarmness. You see somewhere along the line we have taken church, the divinely created and appointed ecclesia of God, the most dynamic world-changing agency of all time and we have turned it into dry boring religion that somehow is less adventure than Disney land.

Read my words very carefully now because I do not want you to miss this. Christianity, your Christianity, was meant to be an adventure that both shakes and stirs you to the very core of your being. If it is not doing that there is something missing. You must find the missing piece if ever you are to truly enjoy your relationship with Jesus and let me tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt God’s desire is for you to enjoy your relationship with Him!

Join us for more tomorrow!

The Celebrant: This Was Us Pt. 1


Skin tells tales. Dolly, a friend of mine in high school,  could usually wash with soap and water just fine; But when she got agitated Irish Spring would burn the skin right off her hands like it was fire. She always used to say that was because her mother was Irish and Momma Rose was usually the source of Dolly’s consternation. At any rate it was always easy to tell when Dolly and Rosie were on the outs.  I suppose my skin speaks volumes about my own story. My upper lip is usually beaded sweat mingled with peach fuzz and while my face is generally clear that has more to do with Proactiv than the fact that acne isn’t a problem. I like to keep my arms and back covered for that reason; So swimming isn’t one of my favorite pass times. Too bad it is Paul’s. Adam likes to make the community pool a weekly family affair to highlight his favored son. Sucks to be me.

The surface never lies; It just doesn’t tell the whole story. Even straight-up  falsehoods find their anchor in some truth deep inside. You might not think so but dig long enough in your own lies and you’ll find the grain that led you down the primrose path to Hell. Trace it back far enough and you’ll find the seminal truth that made your very biggest lies so believable. That’s the problem with the stories we tell each other, whether their bold-faced prevarications or lily-white truths they’re still just bits of the whole. Happy endings are part sad and tragedies usually leave someone somewhere chuckling because they see the other side. The “Hallelujahs” and the “Aww Hells” are all mixed together and no story really ends with “The End”. We just can’t tell it all so we do our best and leave the rest to providence.

I was born in a field, or so my mother tells me.  We lived out Rte. 2 about twenty miles out of Concord just the other side of Ayer by the Oxbow preserve. Mom’s OBGYN was out of Emerson in those days and no one thought anything about the distance to the hospital. Paul had been a thirty hour delivery that nearly killed Mom just eleven months earlier. My conception was not therefore hailed with flags and fireworks. The “Should’ve used protection” comment has floated around my unhaloed head more than once. Who knew I wasn’t supposed to take that comment seriously?

Mom’s labor started sometime around  one in the morning on July fourth 1989. Adam took a shower before loading her into the car. If I’d been more like Paul everything would have been fine but  by two thirty I was popping out in one of the flowery fields alongside route 110. I hear I ruined a perfectly good picnic blanket but hey at least the upholstery in Adam’s new Ford Escort was spared the bloody mess.

When I was 10 we went as a family to see the Fruitlands and stopped by the spot where I made my world-wide debut. The field is wide and flat rising up to a stand of pines,  sentinels to all that goes on in the valley below. I realized they were there at my birth. In my ten-year old head I thought maybe the trees could tell me why I had been born. My thoughts diverted, though, when I heard the whistle and the thudding of the train pistons. The Boston to Maine cut  its course through the field of my birth. I shuddered with the sudden revelation of my life’s nightmare.  The crunching thunder of steel on steel,  the banshee screams of hydraulic brakes mixed with coal smoke sirens.

Mom remembered too, “That whistle was blowing the night you were born Natty. It made me glad to know we weren’t alone. All I could think as I pushed you out was how here we were in the middle of nowhere and there not 300 yards away was a whole train load of people watching me give birth.”

She smiled remembering her moment of fame.

C.cada: The Fruitlands Museum, June 2013


L to R: Amanda Lillie, Sara Glidden, Charlotte Dorais, Lisa Johnson, Tamie Charbonneau. Yours truly of course is behind the camera.

C.cada’s monthly gathering for June was at the Fruitlands museum in Ayer, MA. We had a smaller group this month but our artists brought cameras and got lots of good shots for future paintings and sketches.

Portrait Gallery: fruitland Museum Ayer MA

Portrait Gallery: Fruitland Museum Ayer MA

Fruitlands is a national historical site. The property, originally held in trust by Ralph Waldo Emerson, was a “back to nature commune” run by transcendentalists in the early to mid 1800’s. Bronson Alcott (father of Louisa May) was one of the founding members. The property was bought in the early 1900’s by one of the Sears family and turned into an historical art museum consisting of three display buildings and the Alcott/ Palmer house at the bottom of the hill.


The portrait gallery houses the second largest portrait collection int the U.S.

Our docent in the portrait gallery explained the symbolism of primitive portraiture. Note the child in the middle is not wearing shoes.  If you look very closely over the  child’s head you can also see  the outline of a dead branch. These two facts were tell-tale signs that the child had passed away and this was a memorial portrait. In the portrait below you can see a small bird sitting just outside the window. This most likely indicated this woman died in childbirth.


Native American Longhouse

Native American Longhouse

The second gallery is a display of Native American artwork. Our teen-age guide was just learning the ropes but I bet some of the older docents can spin some great yarns from Native American lore.

Charlotte at the Shaker house

Charlotte at the Shaker house

Mrs. Sears, the benefactor of the museum, had a Shaker home brought in from the Harvard community board by board and reconstructed on the property.

The Alcott House

The Alcott House

In the footstep of Louisa May

In the footstep of Louisa May

Fruitlands also boasts miles of walking trails once frequented by Louisa May Alcott and the other children of Fruitlands. This is a day trip worth taking if ever you are heading down Rte 2 in Massachusetts. The views of Wachusett Valley are beautiful the museum buildings have extremely friendly and informative docents and even the coffee in the cafe is delish!





The puppies are three weeks old today! Eyes opened last week and they are beginning to wander just a little bit,



This morning I met with a lady who bought one and the other is going to my sister in Hollanhd. So I have one of the little fellas left.



If you or anyone you know in the New England area is interested in a male Maltese pup drop me a line here at WordPress. Cost is $690.00 pet price.

A Little Too Busy

I was doing my bills the other night and had just finished up with the portion that I needed to pay. Since this was the batch I don’t do electronically I had tucked them safely into their envelopes, affixed stamps and return addresses to the outside and headed them off to the mailbox. The curtains were drawn for the night (it being well into the evening); So I thought to myself “I will just put them out in the morning.”  Then I promptly threw them into the wood stove. You heard me correctly into the wood stove.

The worst part of it is the next morning when I got up and began looking for the bills I could not find them anywhere.

I kept telling my loved ones, “I put them right here on top of the wood stove.”

That’s when my daughter (bless her heart) decided to look in the wood stove. I was chuckling at the insanity of the idea until…

I guess I can be happy  it’s not burning season.

I think I may be getting just a little too busy. What do you think?


Escape Into Air: A Triolet

I conceived this piece out of Tuesday’s Daily Prompt, “Might as well jump”.

 The question asked us  was,” What’s the biggest risk you’d like to take — but haven’t been able to? What would have to happen to make you comfortable taking it?”

Escape Into Air by JE Lillie

Escape Into Air by JE Lillie

Escape Into Air

by JE Lillie

A leap of faith lies straight before me

An unfinished bridge, an escape into air.

Fear makes blind hopes from eternity.

A leap of faith lies straight before me.

Faith arise! At the edge rescue me!

Reveal the way frail flesh has made unaware.

A leap of faith lies straight before me

An unfinished bridge, an escape into air.


A Story Of Friendship



This story came to my e-mail this morning. It was a must share  illustration of the power of friendship.

Author: Unknown
One day, when I was a freshman in high school,

I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school.

His name was Kyle.

It looked like he was carrying all of his books.

I thought to myself, ‘Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday?

He must really be a nerd.’

I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.

As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him.

They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt.

His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him…

He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes.

My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye.

As I handed him his glasses, I said, ‘Those guys are jerks.’ 

They really should get lives.

‘ He looked at me and said, ‘Hey thanks!’

There was a big smile on his face.

It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.

I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived.

As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before.

He said he had gone to private school before now.

I would have never hung out with a private school kid before.

We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books.

He turned out to be a pretty cool kid.

I asked him if he wanted to play a little football
With my friends.

He said yes.

We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.

Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again.

I stopped him and said, ‘Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books every day!

‘ He just laughed and handed me half the books.

Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends.

When we were seniors we began to think about college.

Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke.

I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never
Be a problem.

He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class.

I teased him all the time about being a nerd.

He had to prepare a speech for graduation.

I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak.

Graduation day, I saw Kyle.

He looked great.

He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school..

He filled out and actually looked good in glasses.

He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him.

Boy, sometimes I was jealous!

Today was one of those days.

I could see that he was nervous about his speech.

So, I smacked him on the back and said, ‘Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!’

He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled….

‘ Thanks,’ he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began…

‘Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years.

Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach…but mostly your friends….

I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them.

I am going to tell you a story.’

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the first day we met.

He had planned to kill himself over the weekend.

He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home.

He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile.

‘Thankfully, I was saved.

My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.’

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment.

I saw his Mom and Dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile.

Not until that moment did I realize it’s depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions.

With one small gesture you can change a person’s life.

For better or for worse.

God puts us all in each other’s lives to impact one another in some way.

Look for God in others.

You now have two choices, you can:

1) Pass this on to your friends or

2) Delete it and act like it didn’t touch your heart.

As you can see, I took choice number 1.

‘Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.’

There is no beginning or end.. Yesterday is history.

Tomorrow is a mystery.

Today is a gift.

Pastor Wrinkles: What Are You Not Praying For?


7 This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: He was preparing swarms of locusts after the king’s share had been harvested and just as the late crops were coming up. 2 When they had stripped the land clean, I cried out, “SovereignLord, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!”

3 So the Lord relented.

“This will not happen,” the Lord said.

4 This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: The Sovereign Lord was calling for judgment by fire; it dried up the great deep and devoured the land. 5 Then I cried out, “Sovereign Lord, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!”

6 So the Lord relented.

“This will not happen either,” the Sovereign Lord said.

7 This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb,[a] with a plumb line[b]in his hand. 8 And the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Amos?”

“A plumb line,” I replied.

Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.

9 “The high places of Isaac will be destroyed
    and the sanctuaries of Israel will be ruined;
    with my sword I will rise against the house of Jeroboam.” Amos 7:1-9

I was meditating this morning on the power of prayer.  In Amos chapter 7 prayer was even able to push-off a sovereign judgment (that is a HUGE DEAL in case you are wondering).Prayer does change things but not because it is intrinsically powerful. Prayer changes things because it moves the heart of God. Maybe it would be better to say, God changes things because His people pray.

However you choose to relay the message it must be noted that prayer is a necessary part of the work of God in the world. We must pray because for whatever reason God has tied His movement in our world to our prayers. When we pray in faith God moves. When we don’t pray in faith God limits His movement.

Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” MA. 21: 21, 22 NIV

“You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:2,3 NIV

So let me ask you, “What are you not praying for?”

Coach Me If You Can

I have been away these last three days at a training with life coach Sam Farina. This is the second training I have been to with him and bit by little bit I am pressing towards my certification as a life coach with the Assemblies of God. This is just one of the areas God is expanding in me.  Let me tell you I am feeling a little stretched. This training was intense and I came back with a boat load of take aways:

The team I worked with from NNED

The team I worked with from NNED

Our team (called 4 good) made this code of conduct.

Our team (called 4 good) made this code of conduct. Number 7 was our most important rule.

Pastor Risto and Pastor Brad joined other teams at the event but we shared meals together at the end of the day

Pastor Risto and Pastor Brad joined other teams at the event but we shared meals together at the end of the day.

Team building excercise

Team building excercise. Team Epic (Pastor Brad’s team)

Take aways:

* A renewed understanding of how important it is for our local church to be a team. Teams succeed where groups fail.

* Groups can never achieve what teams can because they never achieve cohesive vision or direction.

* In a team:

Everyone involved is involved

There is synergy

Each member knows and depends on the other team members strengths

There is collaboration

There is acceptance and respect for each member’s role

are goal focused

active listening is practiced by all members

members take ownership not just responsibility

members embrace change for the sake of the team

everyone celebrates wins and everyone shoulders the blame for losses (there is no finger-pointing)

there is a leader

teams gather around weakened members and willingly cover for them as they bring the weakened member back to strength.

* “Great leaders don’t overcome fear they practice courage.” Sam Farina

* I think my biggest take away came with this quote though. ” Don’t try to cure weakness. Just stop planning around it. Plan around your team’s strengths.”

Which characteristic of teams speaks loudest to you? Are there any I missed?

Netherlands 2013 A Walk To the Jagersfeld

One of the great blessings I experienced during my recent trip to the Netherlands was a visit with my sister’s friends Willem and Mirjam Jackson. The Jackson’s have been good enough to open their home to me on both of my trips to North Holland and to extend the right hand of fellowship.

On this trip we all took a three hour tour of the neighborhood including a walk through the Jagersfeld (hunter’s field).

A view of  the neighborhood

A view of the neighborhood

This neighborhood is near Willem and Mirjam's complex. It is a walk only neighborhood.

This neighborhood is near Willem and Mirjam’s complex. It is a walk only neighborhood.


Sheep in the "walk only" neighborhood.

Sheep in the “walk only” neighborhood.


One of my sister's favorite houses...only 800,000

One of my sister’s favorite houses…only 800,000

An island home

An island home



A Dutch farm

A Dutch farm

The Jagersfeld

The Jagersfeld

We finished the day with Witloaf

We finished the day with Witloaf