This is an Archive

Though Kent Rice resigned his position as pastor in 2017, he remains a valued and loved member of our church. However, we are not sure if he will be writing any more of these devotionals in the future.

Because many people have been blessed by Kent's devotional thoughts, we have decided to keep this archive intact in the hope that you or others may be helped, challenged, encouraged, and edified as so many others have been in the past.

We pray God’s blessings upon Kent and his family, and we pray them upon you as you read Kent’s thoughts in the articles below.

Pastor Kent's Recent Devotionals



When you’ve been tending the soil until your back aches, it’s easy to look around and wonder where the fruit is. ...more


God Borrows from ME?


God the Creator, who breathed the Universe into existence, doesn’t need anything from me, right? What could the Great I Am possibly be lacking ...more


Wonderful Compost


As we enter into our third growing season at the Hempfield Church of the Brethren Rising Light Garden, we finally have some beautiful compost...more


Polyester Perfect


Those of us who lived through the 70s well remember the scourge of polyester clothing...more


Grab A Bucket - Any Bucket


Once upon a time, a fire started in a suburban house. In a few minutes, flames had engulfed the building as tongues of fire began eating away at the frame...more


One Hour Per Week


The basketball team that I coach is off to an 0-2 start, which is not surprising considering...more


Spider Sense


It is not unusual to see a pair of young lovers strolling in a garden, but it is a little unusual when they start spinning webs!...more


Windows and Mirrors


Should we gaze into a mirror, which simply bounces images back to us and shows us…ourselves? Or should we gaze through a window...more


Dirty Spots


I can remember washing the family car when I was a kid. I didn’t particularly enjoy it...more


What Else Do I Have?


This Holiday season “stuff” is on my mind. I have to buy and wrap some stuff before December 25 and then receive some stuff ...more


It's OK to be a Nut


Don’t waste your day today wishing you could be an acorn when you’re not. The acorn probably wishes...more




Thirty-two years ago, I graduated from Elizabethtown Area High School which, as you might correctly assume, is in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Times were so different then: The economy was in shambles; the threat of war was everywhere; high school boys had one thing on their minds; kids felt pressured to become part of a clique…wait a minute, I guess they weren’t that different after all...more


Taking it to the Bank


There is a city up the road that has more than its share of problems. It is one of the major hubs for drug distribution on the east coast and struggles ...more


Just Do Your Best


If God speaks to me regularly and often, then I must not be a very good listener because...more


A Little Off-Center


Does your life ever feel like it’s spinning out of control...more


Just Love Them


If I can figure someone out—which I can’t—it might make it easier to like them or interact with them or understand why they hurt me. But Jesus didn’t say, “I command you to figure each other out...more


Child of Hell


Last Sunday we sang the old hymn "The Comforter Has Come." I had never heard it before but since the bass line was pretty simple, I sang along as best I could.... more


The Illusion of Ease


I recently started going to the gym again on weekdays during lunch. Armed with a stomach full of oatmeal and distant memories of what it takes to build muscle and lose fat, I’ve been toddling in three days a week or so.... more




This morning my daughter and I went out to breakfast at a popular "fast food" place near her school. On the door was a poster containing a steak burrito—immense pieces of steak, cheese, and veggies nestled warmly together ... more


Some Trees


Thoughts on growth, and gifts, and more.... more





I was in a meeting this morning and a friend of mine said, "what would it be like if I had the imagination of God?"... more




Many people seem to desire a fairy-tale life—happy, beautiful, rich and married to a Prince Charming or Princess Gorgeous who loves them ... more


What to Give Up for Lent


Once again, Lenten season is upon us. Perhaps your tradition, like so many others, is to choose something to give up. What shall it be? Alcohol? Fast food? Chocolate?.... more


Where Can I Flee?


I recently discovered something new as my forty-ninth birthday approaches: I like turtles... more


Right Where You Left It


Something very strange happens in my house on a regular basis. Well, many strange things happen but here’s one in particular: . . .more


Miles from the Mall


Miles from the mall

In a worn recliner that leans slightly to one side

Sits a woman who has seen ninety Christmases come and go... more


Avoiding Jesus


Coach John Wooden from UCLA used to say, "Never mistake activity for achievement." This is wonderful advice in just about any context. The Wizard of Westwood, whose teams won ten national championships, reminds us that being busy does not necessarily mean that one is accomplishing anything. . . more


In My Life


Some years ago I noticed that the same scene was replaying itself over and over: a tearful celebrity standing at a podium or sitting next to a talk-show host and talking about how he or she was trying to pull it together. Names, designer clothes and hairstyles were different, but one phrase seemed common to all of them: “in my life.” As in, “I’ve been trying to find some happiness in my life,” or, “I realized that I wasn’t feeling good about what’s going on in my life,” and so on... more




Water has been quite the topic of discussion here in south-central Pennsylvania as of late. After receiving a glancing blow from Hurricane Irene, tropical storm Lee dumped a historic amount of water on this area and caused wide-spread flooding. One family from our church had to flee their house in the middle of the night, abandon their truck and walk through chest-high water to safety... more


Somewhere Between


This afternoon I read a few dozen greeting cards as I was waiting for my prescriptions to be filled. Max Lucado had a whole section on the rack and I perused his hopeful, uplifting sentiments and well-chosen scriptures. But my throat was raw, my body ached, and I wanted to leave. I wanted so badly to feel better that I would have chewed through the bag and plastic bottle to get to the antiobiotics. My wife had lovingly diagnosed my condition as having progressed from “irritable” to “sad and pathetic.” ... more




Last weekend I was driving north along I-95 between Washington and Baltimore, thankful that traffic was moving along pretty well. I noticed that there was some smoke far ahead in the distance—not much smoke, but enough to capture the attention of this “distracted driver”...more


The Plight of the Bumblebee


By now you might be thinking, “Hey, isn’t it ‘flight of the bumblebee?’” While there is in fact a song by that title, today’s thought is about an actual bumblebee.... more


Your Story


In the beginning, there was nothing. That could have been the end of the story but it wasn’t...more




 Love. Could it be that love is so basic, so fundamental to the Christian faith that we sometimes fail to acknowledge it? We don't think about the air we breathe until it is in short supply. We don't appreciate the water we drink until we're thirsty and there's none around. . . more


Ants, Palms and Thrones


 God was playing with the thermostat the other day--after a seemingly endless succession of cool, dreary days, He parted the clouds and turned the dial to eighty degrees. Plants seemed to grow as you watched them and people streamed out of their houses like schoolchildren at recess. Yard work provided a pleasant change of pace from snow shoveling and the unseasonably hot day felt like a gift. All seemed right with the world... more


Real Food


Maybe it was sitting in the sunshine and being warm for the first time in 2011. Maybe it was the chicken sandwich or free diet coke refills. Or maybe the Holy Spirit wanted to teach me something and... more


Rowing in Circles


Imagine you are in a boat with eleven other people. There are no sails and no motor, but each of you has an oar and this boat needs to move. What would you do? Well, hopefully... more




Did you ever find a plant in your garden or flowerbed and not know what it is? Since you have no experience raising this particular plant, it appears that you have two choices available:...more


Ordinary People


One of the very strange tensions that exists in the Christian milieu goes something like this: Am I awesome and shiny or am I weak and incapable of doing any really substantive on my own? Am I really created in God's own image or... more


Set Free


Samuel Weir was the first African-American minister and ordained Elder in the Church of the Brethren. He was born a Virginia slave in 1812 and sold at age 12 for $280 to Andrew McClure. When he was thirty, his master's son was thrown from a horse and killed... more


Cutting out the Middle Man


Several years ago a large retail chain was purchasing a certain product from a manufacturer here in Pennsylvania. The manufacturer was having this product made overseas even though they were perfectly capable of making it themselves and had been doing so for years...more


Reality Check


“More human than humanity.” Did you ever think of Jesus like that? It's true, you know—he was the only perfect human that ever lived. And while it's difficult for us to process what it means to be fully God and fully human at the same time, it's downright tragic that we gloss over the humanity for our Lord in our celebration of his divinity... more


Just a Few More Minutes


A friend once asked me how you deal with crashing from a spiritual “high” after having a “mountaintop experience” with God.  Our “mountaintop experiences” are simply times of renewal and restoration, but they often take place when we have opportunity to step away from “real life” for a conference, retreat, or even just an extended time of quiet with the Lord...more


Filet or Spam?


Pretend you’re sitting at a school desk and someone passes you a note that has been folded a couple of times to ensure confidentiality. You open it carefully so as not to alert the teacher and see this... more


Things That Last


In December of 1985, workers at Millersville University dismantled a 60,000 gallon, 108-foot-high water tower. At the top of the 50-year-old tower they found...more


The Unbeliever's Cry


When you sit in darkness long enough Your eyes become accustomed to it... more


Christmas Goose


Every December the crisp, frigid air and winter stillness over southeastern Pennsylvania gets momentarily interrupted by a small flock of geese...more


Seeing the Whole Picture


Did you ever use Google Earth or the satellite feature of a mapping website? If not, click on this link. Then click on the little map at the right. Be sure that the “Satellite” tab is selected. Behold! ...more


Dear Friends, Love Each Other


Do we really need another devotional about love? After all, we talk about love quite a bit in Christian circles: Love each other. Love yourself. Even love your... more


Thoughts From a Bench


It's an exceptionally beautiful morning here in Lancaster County. The air is clear and the rising sun is slowly drying the dew, but not before creating thousands of sparkles of light in the fields and on the grass outside this pavilion. My pledge to you is that today's thoughts, once recorded, reach you unedited. This is a time to feel, not to think...more


To Quilt, Perchance To Dream


Once a week, some wonderful ladies from our church get together in the church library to quilt. They are usually gathered around their project and quilting away before... more




Many of us will shuffle along today, feeling vaguely disconnected from our power source. Eventually our batteries will wear down and we collapse into a heap somewhere. But it doesn't have to be that way...more


Here's the Plan


Let’s go out on a limb and assume that something today will not go according to plan. Perhaps a phone call or email intercedes with information that demands immediate action. Maybe a customer or co-worker needs something immediately and you have to literally drop what you’re doing...more




Walt Whitman and I have always had a confusing relationship. Well, I guess it’s not even a relationship because that would imply that each has at least a knowledge of the other. Let’s say that I’ve not always known ...more


Put Away Your Gavel


It's easy to read the parable of the weeds and Christ's subsequent explanation in verses 37-43
and come away with a feeling like, “Yeah! The bad people will get what's coming to them and pay for what they've done!” After all, the process Christ describes does seem rather...cut and dried. more


Why Be A Drop In A Bucket
When You Can Be A River


I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ -- Philemon 1:6

Paul prayed that Philemon be active in sharing his faith. Why? So that Philemon would have a full understanding of every good thing that we have in Christ. Why? So that Philemon could reach out in love...more


Have You Ever Made a Plant Grow?


If you answered "yes," then it's time to bring the Botanical Court into session and consider the evidence. more


Where Else Would He Go?


Every year at about this time Hempfield COB hosts a day camp for our “Special Friends” from Friendship Community, which ministers to adults with developmental disabilities. From Monday to Friday, the campers enjoy crafts, music, programs and a hilarious visit from Pastor Milt Stoltzfus (a.k.a. Dr. Wendell Weatherbeezzz)... more


Gazing at the Son


“If you hear a real Gospel sermon, it directs you to look to Jesus Christ. That teaching which leads you to think of the priest and to think of the church, whatever there may be about them that is good, is not ‘the doctrine of God our Savior.’”—C.H. Spurgeon . . . more


He Cares for You


Priscilla was a beautiful brown alpaca that was born during an extraordinarily busy time at Eastland Alpacas. Several births had taken place over the previous few days and Kevin and Sue were stretched even thinner than usual...more


Where are you going?


Picture the two followers of Christ walking on the road to Emmaus on Resurrection Day. Before Jesus joins them, they are shuffling along, faces "downcast." more




There are some trees that you can buy today that grow amazingly fast. The Royal Empress tree, for example, grows 12 feet per year. Some years ago, having purchased a townhome . . . more


Branching Out


Did you ever hear a sermon and think, “Well, that’s nice!” but somewhere things get lost between philosophy and reality? That’s why it’s always good to look for real-world examples to begin the process of attaining the proper perspective. . . more


The Roof Doesn’t Leak
When the Sun is Shining


This morning some contractors showed up at church after having received a call to investigate a leak in the roof. It has been raining here in south-central Pennsylvania for two days, with gusty winds and unseasonably warm temperatures for January.. . more


I Think He Loves You!


My favorite vehicle in the Borough of East Petersburg, PA (population 4,500) is not a BMW, Lexus or Porsche. It’s not a Hummer, Harley or Corvette. It’s a canary yellow Volkswagen van with flower decals on the front, sides and rear. If it pulled up next to you . . .more


Walking in Faith


So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal 2 Corinthians 4:18

The New Year is upon us but I’m not going to write today about goals and resolutions or try to summarize the incredible year of 2009. Instead, I’d like you to consider something our family saw during the Tournament of Roses Parade... more


It's a Trap!


Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare Psalms 91:3

Traps are everywhere but only a very small percentage of us are Harrison Ford. So the rest of us must similarly prepare for the less dramatic but still perilous adventures that we will face. As we read Psalm 91 we find ourselves . . . more


Somewhere Beneath the Stars



Somewhere beneath the stars
A baby sleeps and hope is alive
Somewhere beneath the moon
The Word is flesh and angels burst into song . . . more


Hearing Their Cries


...No sooner had that passage been read than I thought of a quote from John Woolman, a Quaker who attended their Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in 1758. Why? Certainly not because I’m a great historian....more

Getting Personal


One of the young people from my church was berated by a fellow student the other day for using the word “pray” in a sentence. The offended party felt somehow attacked or threatened and responded with a verbal assault that would have embarrassed a secular rap artist...more

Is it well?


It is well with my soul. How can it be well when tragedy and ruin prowl around us “like a hungry lion?” What solace is there to offer the families who lost loved ones in the recent attack at Ft. Hood? more



Not one of all the LORD's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilledJoshua 21:45

Is it okay to fail?

Note that I didn't ask if you ever choose to fail, but rather if you believe that a perceived failure is an acceptable outcome. What do you think. . . more

Lord Teach Us To Pray

10/20/2009 does your prayer life feel to you? Like a child trying to master a new skill, do you sometimes wonder if “you’re doing it right?” Paul writes in Romans 8:26 that “we don’t know what we ought to pray for.” Hardly a good starting point, is it? We’re trying to find our way on a map that doesn’t even have a You Are Here sticker on it...more

Line Up


Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Mark 8:34

My wife Karen just started her fourth year of teaching preschool and has come to this conclusion: children are not born with the ability or instinct to walk in a line! Each year, she sets out to train the new students how to form a line and then move as a part of one. And each year the results are disastrous...more

Good Enough for the Refrigerator


"The woods would be very quiet if no birds sang there except those who sang best."
Henry Van Dyke

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

1 Corinthians 12:7

Did a child ever hand you a picture or a playdough sculpture or a couple of flowers and then stand there proudly to see your reaction? If so, what did you say? I'm guessing it was something like, "This is beautiful! I'm going to put it right here so everyone can see it!" The thought of saying something like, "oh...this is not very good at all--why don't you try again or better yet, don't bother" didn't even cross your mind, did it?...more

Choose Wisely


If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:18-19

It would only take a few seconds for most of us to think of at least a half-dozen movies which contain a scene that goes something like this: A bomb is ready to explode in 10 seconds or less. A nervous, sweating bomb squad expert has undone the mechanism, exposing a red wire and a blue one. If the correct one is severed by the cutters that he holds in his ever-so-slightly-shaking hand, everyone lives. If he cuts the wrong one, everyone dies. Tick, tick, tick. Five...four... more

Losing Weight


The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls—never to rise again.Isaiah 24:20

Most of us would like to lose some weight. Members from Hempfield COB have done some recent teaching on the benefits of "wellness" and no such conversation would be complete without acknowledging that we would all be better off with...a little less of us. more

Check Back Often

Please check this page whenever you get a hankering for a Rice Christian Treat.
Pastor Kent will be writing devotionals as time allows.