Hello, My Name is Phillip: Chapter Four

In Chapter 4 of “Hello, My Name is Phillip,” Phillip recalls what happened when he turned 5. A fight in the car, a surprise birthday party, an accident, and an encounter with Jonah converge to bring a bit of hope. He learns something magnificent certainly: he is hearing from God.

Hello, My Name is Phillip — Chapter Two

Phillip James Smythe tells how he first met Big Skye, his best friend. Phillip also meets Miss Liz, a wonderful person, wearing slippers covered in dog hair. She sees Phillip and believes in him more than anyone yet has.

Where is there Light?

What if I just resorted to lists? Lists of what is happening both negatively and positively? Could we then see evidence of light in the middle of darkness? Could we find hope in the midst of despair? Yes.

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…

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…

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…

Seat 20D

I was just at the doorway of the Alaska flight, heading home after an all-day meeting in Ontario, and prayed, “Lord, I know you have already chosen whomever I will seat next to, but I ask, if you have something for this person or for me, make me available, let me be who you want…