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…

A Life of Stories

It was the last day when we were allowed to see people face to face. March 14th. Before “the world closed” as a friend says.  I had called this friend, Leola, 97, for we had made arrangements for me to come to her place and visit. I had not seen her in person at her…

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”…

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…

Unto You…

Sheep are known as “golden hoof” by some that raise them, for the land becomes better because of them.  But this was not apparent on the sheep farm nearby where we lived with our family for 15 years.  There the pasture divided between the goats, and sheep and King, the llama, was just mud most…

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…

When God Seems Absent…

I don’t know if you have read the book of Esther recently, but we have been walking in it for a number of weeks and it is a stellar walk. Therein we find that although God is not mentioned, not one time, God is there. Again and again — in a king’s sleepless night (ch…

Just Plain Lost…

“Just plain lost.” That’s what this guest in worship had written on his prayer request card.  Life was tough with surgeries, with financial issues, with housing, then he wrote those three telling words which caught my heart.  I had never read a clearer lament.  Lost.  That pervasive sense of hopelessness and despair.  I reached out…