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, β€œThey 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…

Large Blessings in Small Packages

Our oldest, Anna, wanted to come visit with her two young daughters, reserved two nights at a campsite on the Oregon coast and invited anyone available to come. She drove two days to bring her daughters, 2.5 year old Bridget and 5 year old Josie, out to Oregon. They arrived at our house for a…

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…

Meeting God in a Friend

The strangest circumstance occurred. The board meeting I was booked to attend in Nashville got moved to Ada, OK. It also changed so just the executive committee needed to attend. The rest were to attend via zoom. Technically, then, I could have canceled the trip and stayed home. But, I was scheduled to stay with…

The Gate

(Continued from last week’s post titled “Walk by Faith.” This is from the opening chapter of my memoirs. I’m 19-years-old, selling books door-to-door.) Door-to-door, I walked on that summer of 1978 in Newton, IA. In my flip-top steno pad I tracked every house on every street with a box and house number. I tracked who…

Just a Piece At a Time

My neighbor told me he’d rather watch paint dry than to do a jigsaw puzzle. But, I actually like them. I’m not fast at them, like our youngest daughter. Watching her do a puzzle is like watching a tennis match. She’s like watching a tennis match. She’s been known to complete a 1500-piece puzzle in…

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

I spent time with our oldest daughter, her husband, two children and her mother-in-law last week in a town near Salt Lake City. This was the first trip out of town I’ve taken since last March. I was thrilled. I went for Pascha, the Orthodox Christian celebration, which often comes later than the regular Western…

Surprising Gifts

Gift Number One: Walking! I can walk without pain! Two weeks ago, Friday, I got that puncture wound (see the Gift of Pain) and by this past Friday I could walk without pain! I have immense empathy for those with pains which haven’t healed as quickly as this one. To walk is such a gift!…