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…

Men who put Skin on Jesus: “Ken Marshall and Herr Huber”

(this is the third installment of my short memoirs) After 8th grade graduation, my mom and dad again gave me the option of continuing at a high school closer to the ranch or returning to Turlock. I wanted to return. Again, I wanted to start over. We lived six miles from Turlock High School. I bought…

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…

A Burn, A Deer and a Miracle…

Last Thursday, I flew to Phoenix. The night before Southwest shifted me from a one-stop flight at 7:15 am to a nonstop at 6:05 am, so I arrived four hours earlier than originally planned. As a result, I got to spend a full 24-hours with friends at whose home I swam for the first time…

Rain

I left my coat in the car that day. When I arrived at the office, the sky was overcast but it did not look like rain. The clouds darkened and during the day. “I need to go outside and get my coat,” I thought more than once. But by the time I stepped outside, it…

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…

Heal What Ails You

Matthew called to unpack his time at his parents and then said, “Dad, I have a question and it is okay to say no.” Matthew is our chosen son. He dated one of our daughters for a very short time five years ago. They broke up, but he has remained a part of our lives…