Men who put Skin on Jesus: Ed D. and Dave S.

“I need to nail your feet to the ground,” Ed quipped on the way out of church one Sunday soon after I had arrived at Westside. It became his standing joke. He said it with a twinkle in his eye and a laugh. Ed, a barrel-chested, big guy, almost a decade older than me, has…

Men who put Skin on Jesus: Mike M.

I had been serving Banks 15 years. “Don’t call unless the appointment makes your heart sing,” I had told my District Superintendent (DS), Kate. In my denomination’s vernacular an “appointment” was a church to serve as pastor. In addition, I had told my leadership team what I had heard from my DS, “There were no…

Men who put Skin on Jesus: Iron Sharpens Iron

The “South Banks Project” was a bitter pill for Banks’ residents. Streets and utilities had been completed in what had been a field and construction had begun on the houses, when I arrived at the church.  By and large, the predominant attitude about the project in the community was critical. The folk of the Banks…

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…

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…