Object Lessons

Object lessons. You know them. The ones where a leader usually working with children cuts open the pumpkin and says, “Did you know that carving a pumpkin for Halloween is a lot like being a Christian?” And everyone thinks, “No way?”  And then as she cuts off the top. “When Jesus comes into our lives…

Look for God

While living on earth Jesus performed many, many miracles. This has long been the focus of controversy by people wanting to see each reproduced today — and they all have been. But still, people doubt. Then Jesus topped all of them in this triumphant defeat over death! Talk about the miracle to top all others! …

Time to Sing

Church worship moved online.  Sports canceled. State of emergency declared.  Panicked shoppers. No toilet paper anyplace.  What a strange and wild time we are living in.   While waiting for the customer service at a Walmart, the worker took a phone call and I overheard her saying, “Sir, it is an epidemic. I don’t have enough…

The Stalker

March 24th, 2 years ago, I drove Gabrielle, then 26, to the airport. She then was a flight attendant.  Enroute I brought up a conversation that we had partially had another day.  During that previous conversation, I had asked if she had had any problems with stalkers. The reason I asked was because during training…

Ash Wednesday

I don’t know if this took anyone else by surprise — or perhaps some do not even note the liturgical calendar — but suddenly it is /was Ash Wednesday, that day which marks the start of the season of Lent. That season of letting go, of saying “no,” of “fasting,” of saying “yes,” of “adding”…

The importance of Last Things

It was Maundy Thursday 1983. That is the service before Easter Sunday that celebrates the last night Jesus spent with his disciples. I was sitting in the choir at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Santa Barbara, California. Jimmy Gibson was preaching. Jimmy was an Irish-born evangelist then in his 70s. He’d retired to Santa…

Relationships Bring Hope

The team of 11 missionaries — all from Westside Journey UMC — returned from the Dominican Republic July 29th, 2019.  We experienced great cross-cultural training and a great week of missions work and life impact.   The best moment for me in cross-cultural training was when our group was divided into four different “cultures” for which…

Unto You…

Sheep are known as “golden hoof” by some that raise them, for the land becomes better because of them.  But this was not apparent on the sheep farm nearby where we lived with our family for 15 years.  There the pasture divided between the goats, and sheep and King, the llama, was just mud most…

Christmas Eve — almost Christmas

I love Christmas Eve. Although that’s not always been the case. Here’s a line from a journal, years back now, thankfully. “I hate Christmas Eve. It’s too hard. Too rushed. Too many people with too many expectations. Too much stuff to juggle. God, I hate it!” That from a pastor… Thankfully after that confession, I…

Stop the Madness

Those weeks —  there are too many things to do, too many directions to go, emails flow in, text messages arrive, phone calls pull at us, needs hit like Dorian hit the East Coast — you know those weeks and those days.  So do I.    Distraction in those times is like a masked intruder…