Tuesday, September 11, 2018

An Invitation to Silence

Many members of clergy I know are Type-A go-getters. They are energetic, enthusiastic, and somehow manage a multitude of tasks with ease. I also know many who are introverts. They also exert great energy with enthusiasm, but in calculated moments and in spurts for emergencies. The difference between the two is the extroverts end the day with a cookout while the introverts cuddle with good books. What both types have in common is an essential need, opportunities to recharge.

My clergy friends, you are invited to the Gathering of Silence at Crossroads Camp and Conference Center October 8-11, 2018. Please continue reading to find out what makes retreats so valuable!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Discernment From Above, Literally

Years ago when I was the Program Director and on-air personality for WQKT in Wooster, Ohio, I had the honor and misfortune of providing live coverage of our July 4th town festivities. This was huge. There were bands, activities for adults and children, and, of course, the large fireworks show. But this particular year we had an extra-special attraction - skydivers! As a person attending the event, that sounded awesome. As a broadcasting representative of a primary sponsor of the event, it was a nightmare.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Sharing Silence


As I approached the chapel, I knew it was already occupied. The wooden block had been moved and I feared my quiet time could be in jeopardy. Someone beat me to it.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Can You Imagine?

I can’t help it. It’s in my DNA. There are times it gets me in trouble. There are times it keeps me in trouble. I’ve spent hours with it trying to ignore it and focus. I’ve also spent hours with it just letting it run rampant. It’s mine, and I thoroughly enjoy using it. One of my biggest challenges in life is wondering why people ignore their own or look down on others when they use theirs.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Boldness

Boldness. For believers, we usually hear this word associated with how we share our stories of faith in the world. Get out there and share what you know because the world needs to hear your story. That is a line used in multitudes of sermons including several I have personally delivered. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Kindness

Kindness. The act of being kind is still alive and well even though loud voices in our culture insist it is a thing of the past. You have witnessed acts of kindness and have been involved in many yourself over time. There are still people who will open and hold doors for others. An old friend buys another a meal simply because of the joy of the reunion. People quietly wait their turn in lines, even though another with far less patience it present.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

God Makes Sense

"And should I not be concerned about Nineveh...?" (Jonah 4:11a, NRSV)


I wish we could hear the "under the breath" comments of Jonah while God is talking at the end of this delightful tale. Here he sits, having experienced running, swimming, being consumed and regurgitated, preaching, pondering, being comforted and then pained. And now, wishing for his enemy to die, God says something that clearly defines an attribute of the Divine.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Angry With God

"...angry enough to die." (Jonah 4:9c, NRSV)


God provided the bush to make Jonah nice and comfy. Then God sent the worm to eat the bush, making Jonah cantankerous. Then God gave a wind that made Jonah livid. But since he knew he really could not do anything about it, he declared that he was angry enough to die. God questioned. Jonah reiterated. Yep, he was angry enough to die.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

God Provides, Sort Of

"The Lord God provided a bush...[then] appointed a worm that attacked the bush..." (Jonah 4:6-7, NRSV)

This is hilarious. There sits pouting Jonah who had stomped out of the city to watch God zap the people of Nineveh, mad because he is doubting God will do it. So God provides him shelter from the desert sun, then has a worm eat it, then throws in a brutal wind to make things worse.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Pouting Patiently

"He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would become of the city." (Jonah 4:5b, NRSV)



All God did was ask Jonah if it was ok for him to be angry. So Jonah marched out of the city (I'm hearing the angry stomping of a boy child), set up a little observation station, and sat. I can see his arms crossed, eyebrows lowered, consistent sighing, and glare. He did not answer God's question in words, but his actions indicate a clear, "Yes!"

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Chaos of Ministry

The manuscript of the sermon I preached for the January 30, 2018 Chapel service at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.

Exodus 3:1-3
Mark 5:21-30

It was a normal day at church. My wife and I and our sons entered the sanctuary, went down the left aisle and sat in the 4th pew from the rear. Our children were 12, 2, and an infant. We needed to sit in the back because we were that noisy family.

But today our friend, June, was being baptized. She was an older lady who was one of the most jovial, kind, and gracious people you could meet. Everyone was drawn in by her awesome personality. To me, it was a bit of a surprise that she was being baptized because she always struck me as one who had been through these waters years before.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Whining to God

"But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord..." (Jonah 4:1-2a, NRSV)


Jonah is angry and voices his displeasure with God. His argument is direct and absurd. When we argue with others we typically don't give them enormous compliments. "This is why I ran in the first place. I knew you were awesome and loving and gracious and forgiving...so just kill me." Anger makes us irrational.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

God Changed God's Mind

"When God saw what they did,...God changed his mind..." (Jonah 3:10, NRSV)

God changed God's mind. That is an overwhelming thought. The people of Nineveh and their king were so sincere in their repentance and so authentic in their sorrow, God opted for redemption instead of annihilation.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The People Influenced the King

"When the news reached the king of Nineveh," he responded. (Jonah 3:6a, NRSV)

The people unified, repented, and achieved something they may not have anticipated. They influenced the king. Not only did he become involved, he also made it a decree that even the animals were to follow. Try pulling that one off with today's typical house cat!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

When People are Unified

"...[T]hey proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth." (Jonah 3:5b, NRSV)

The Acts of the Apostles chapters two and four mention the church having everything in common. Generosity was the attitude and rule, and the people took great care of one another. They united. Adverse circumstances do not often result in unity, let alone uniformity. The people of Ninevah did something odd having heard Jonah's minute message: they united. Not only did they unite in being cut to the heart, but also in their responses.