Perseverance

Perseverance Chapel July 1, 1987 – June 1, 1988! What a name, right? Perseverance! As a fourth-year seminary student, I took the weekends-only pastoral position at this small, country, Southern Indiana church. The church’s name seemed to be my own life motto — to “try harder,” to “work more.”  The congregation was thrilled to welcome…

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…

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 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…

When God Seems Absent…

I don’t know if you have read the book of Esther recently, but we have been walking in it for a number of weeks and it is a stellar walk. Therein we find that although God is not mentioned, not one time, God is there. Again and again — in a king’s sleepless night (ch…

Just Plain Lost…

“Just plain lost.” That’s what this guest in worship had written on his prayer request card.  Life was tough with surgeries, with financial issues, with housing, then he wrote those three telling words which caught my heart.  I had never read a clearer lament.  Lost.  That pervasive sense of hopelessness and despair.  I reached out…

Cancer, Control and Freedom

I have many partial blog posts that I’ve written but haven’t published any for a month. This has been for multiple reasons — the heart, the mind, the stress, the feeling of inadequacy, the dealing with shame, or more likely, shame dealing with me. When I read this post by brother David Beck, a man…

There is Nothing Like A Friend

This week because of the gift of our daughter’s job working for the airline I could fly east to the state of Virginia for a week of vacation with my brother, fellow pastor, deep confidante, and good friend Mike. There’s nothing like a friend. Mike graduated from the same seminary as I did over a…

Mercedes’ Store

It was a vision that took Tim Gibson away from World Servants, an organization he had founded and led for a decade, to start another organization.  After traveling to some 46 countries on missions trips, Tim wanted to find out what it would be like to focus on a couple communities and invest over the…

Rise Above the Clouds

A while back a friend of mine, Mike, and I got on the phone. Mike and I have a weekly phone conversation on Wednesday mornings. He is a pastor in my denomination and lives across the nation in Virginia. We have been friends for 16 years. When we started talking that particular Wednesday and he…