Resurrecting Hope

The woman who sat before me said, “Six family members died the between April and December 2020, the last of these was my husband. None from COVID-19. It’s been a tough year.” Devastating losses. How does a person walk through such losses? She is reacting in anger toward others around her. That made sense knowing…

Heal What Ails You

Matthew called to unpack his time at his parents and then said, “Dad, I have a question and it is okay to say no.” Matthew is our chosen son. He dated one of our daughters for a very short time five years ago. They broke up, but he has remained a part of our lives…

Saving Grace

Sunday mornings I sit in the narthex of my wife’s church building, running the zoom service during the in-person gathering. I’m sitting out there because it currently has the only live outlet to plug in my computer. In this area of the building is the rope pull for the bell in the steeple; I’ve had…

Hello, My Name is Phillip: Chapter Twenty-Four

(This is the serial telling of my book Hello, My Name is Phillip. Available here on Amazon. Search for “Phillip’s Story” on this blog site for the other chapters. Enjoy stepping into this story of a 6 year-old named Phillip.) Kevin meets me at the car every day. He slings his arm over my shoulder,…

Gardens

What’s the benefit of a garden? For me, beyond the beauty, the pleasure of growing living things, the joy of the fruit from it, these are among the gifts it brings into life. The main gift is the intentional pause. I love gardens!

Hello, My Name is Phillip: Chapter Twenty-two

A midnight trip to the hospital opens up the possibility for unexpected miracles. You never know when Jesus might show up. And in this story, he does! Encounter a whole new meaning for the color blue.

Hello, My Name is Phillip: Chapter Nineteen

(This is the serial release of my book Hello, My Name is Phillip. You are welcome to share these posts with friends, and welcome also to buy the book here. The story picks up as Phillip eavesdrops on an important conversation.) It is Mr. Clay, from the church. He stands there, smiling that wide grin…

Moving On…

Sunday afternoon, I met three of our daughters at Michelle’s Pianos in Portland. Susanna had flown in from Boise in order to select and purchase a piano. When she and her husband had married, Collin told her he wanted to her to have a good piano someday. Susanna had been a piano performance major, so…

It was the Right Thing to Do

Taking action because you know it’s the right thing to do is powerful. It benefits others, benefits you, and allows you to participate in something grand. Just take the action. Do the right thing.

Spread light

The stress of this season — COVID, FIRES — can create emotional backlogs which then get expressed against others around us. Instead, be self aware in order to spread light not darkness. Bring peace not discord. Examples of this abound. Spread light.

Be the Neighbor

It was over 11 years ago I first walked into Papa’s Haven, a coffee shop near to where I was pastoring a local church. Dreamed into existence by a guy named Jerry and his wife Jane, as a second career this place was perfect for me. I began to come there for most of my…

Connections Matter

Connections with others and how they happen are mysterious, aren’t they? In BC — Before COVID-19 — (which feels like lightyears ago,  when we could just board planes and travel with relative ease) I flew to London from Los Angeles. Needing to board from the third floor of the terminal because of the height of…

I See You

“I see you!” Those are famous words from the 2009 James Cameron blockbuster movie AVATAR as the heroine, Neytiri, rescues the hero, Jake Sully, in the final scenes. She can see “him,” even though looking into his human not his avatar’s face. To be thus seen is to be seen as who he is, it…

Men who Put Skin on Jesus: Mark, Dex and Dick

Beginnings are tough, no matter where. I had arrived in Banks straight from the revival in San Jacinto and was full of how much I could offer. I was full of myself. This is never a good start for pastoral ministry. A constant refrain for many years there was, “They just don’t get it.” As…

Pastor Ehrhardt, Pastor Lee, and Pastor Skip

As a college senior, I had sat in Ehrhardt Lang’s office conflicted. The leader of my campus Bible study had taught on the need for immersion baptism. I had only been sprinkled as an infant. Ehrhardt listened with care, talked to me about the theology of baptism, how God made it valid even when I…

Men Who Put Skin on Jesus: Bob McDole, Bob Beckett and Don Hales

During seminary, we lived off my meager salary as a travel agent, what Karen earned until our daughter Anna was born, March 15th our first year at school, and mostly off the generosity of others. It astounded us how time and time again, God came through in the eleventh hour to pay bills.   One spring…

Men who put Skin on Jesus: Dr. Steve Harper and Dr. Reg Johnson

Called into ordained ministry in the winter of 1983, Karen and I left for the Wilmore, Kentucky campus of Asbury Theological Seminary the following fall, in 1984. I arrived believing I was there to prove I was ready to do the work God had called me to rather than understand I was rather there to…

Men who put Skin on Jesus: David Luce

If you searched my posts for “David Luce,” you’d find many mentions of him. At 19 while a student in London, I met Rev. David Luce who then lived with his wife and three children (Philippa 17 and Joe and Carey, twins, age 9) in North London and pastored Muswell Hill Baptist Church. I’d wandered…

Men who put Skin on Jesus: “Ken Marshall and Herr Huber”

(this is the third installment of my short memoirs) After 8th grade graduation, my mom and dad again gave me the option of continuing at a high school closer to the ranch or returning to Turlock. I wanted to return. Again, I wanted to start over. We lived six miles from Turlock High School. I bought…

The Men Who Put Skin on Jesus: “Jack”

(This is a chapter by chapter release of my short memoirs The Men Who Put Skin on Jesus.) The day I turned 13, March 22, 1972, my parents had my birthday party at a local bowling alley. I bowled, ate hotdogs, popcorn, candy, and cake with six friends while my parents orchestrated the moving trucks…

The Men who Put Skin on Jesus: “Little”

Memoirs On the outside, I looked like a man, grown-up, clean-shaven, sometimes dressed in black slacks, a colorful Ariat shirt, and Altras. But inside, I was just a pup, like Ben the grizzly, old funeral director in Forest Grove called me. It was a freezing cold winter day when he picked me up in the…

The Men who Put Skin on Jesus: Introduction

Memoirs Karen shouted back and threw a small couch pillow at me. It hit my shoulder. As it hit, something snapped inside of me. No longer was I a 34-year-old pastor and husband, arguing with his wife of 12 years, the father of four daughters. Instead, I became a little boy.   I felt seven or…

A Burn, A Deer and a Miracle…

Last Thursday, I flew to Phoenix. The night before Southwest shifted me from a one-stop flight at 7:15 am to a nonstop at 6:05 am, so I arrived four hours earlier than originally planned. As a result, I got to spend a full 24-hours with friends at whose home I swam for the first time…