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…

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…

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…

I Awoke at 3:30 am…

I awoke at 3:30 am and began to pray. I prayed through until 5 am, then I got up. Reverberating through my heart was this one line: “This is wickedness.” Antifa: The name is short for Anti-facist, but they seem to be against all kinds of things and groups and people, indeed, perhaps against anything…

No Clouds Here.

San Jacinto UMC July 1, 1988 – June 30, 1994 Karen and I, with Anna (3) and Grace (1) in their car seats, drove for four days, in blistering heat, from Kentucky across the country to Southern California. We put a bucket of ice on the floor under Karen’s feet, opened all four windows and…

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…

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! …

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”…