When I was a kid our family often traveled for a summer vacation. Our highway travels took us all across the United States to a variety of destinations, some of which had “believe it or not” attractions. These varied from the billboard advertised “unbelievable” and “world’s largest” or “world’s greatest” this or that, to the only slightly more respectable Ripley’s museums you find in tourist towns. Despite getting my hopes up that we might stop, pay the fare, and feast our eyes on the unbelievable – as it turned out, I learned that our family (especially dad) were not believers when it came to these attractions. Instead we were treated to some of God’s more unbelievable natural attractions in the nation – Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, and so forth. In hind sight I think we got the better deal!
As you read the narrative accounts of Christ’s birth in Matthew 1 and Luke 2, they might strike you as containing stories that are too good to believe. Continue reading
How do you feel about endurance? How do you feel about enduring something? If you are like most people, endurance is not usually a welcome entity in your life. And yet, one might argue, that endurance is very common ground to living.
During the Season of Advent, we at FBC Columbus are going to come together in worship around the theme “It’s a Wonderful Life”. This, of course, is the title of Frank Capra’s 1947 film that featured Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed and their life in the fictional town of Bedford Falls. Stewart’s character, George Bailey, has to endure many twists and turns that take him away from his big dreams and goals for life. The untimely death of his father, and his own sense of loyalty and service, land him in a position as the executive officer of the struggling Building and Loan. It’s a life he can’t seem to extricate himself from, and over the course of the film we see how he often resents it. Continue reading
In this blog post I want to share a Thanksgiving prayer. I expected to write something somewhat traditional along the lines of recounting the many blessings for which we can offer thanks to God. And while there is an abundance of such blessing to recount – for which I am thankful – the prayer that began to form in my heart and mind went a different direction. This prayer is much more one of intercession for things in the news over the past year that many find troubling. As a pastor I have seen the effects the deterioration in our national dialogue has had on friends, families and the church. Perhaps you have as well. If so I invite you to join me in this prayer at Thanksgiving.
A Prayer at Thanksgiving
O God, in the noise and clutter of a confused and troubled world, help us to hear you. Continue reading
Holy Week begins this Sunday, April 9th as Christ followers all over the world observe and celebrate Palm Sunday and cross the threshold into the week of Jesus’ Passion.
To much of the world it will be just another week. Cable news networks will squawk about government investigations and stream “breaking news” banners across screens. World governments will flex muscle and attempt to wield influence over war torn and troubled lands. Everyday folk will get up, go to work and try to make a better life for themselves and their families. Children will go to school. Spring will make another run at grabbing a toehold and offering weather to match the calendar. And, in the midst of all that and more, we will remember and revisit the path our Savior walked during his last days and hours in Jerusalem.
It’s a pilgrimage journey we are invited to make during this week. Continue reading
The season of Lent is based on Jesus’ 40 days of temptation in the wilderness. Take 40 days, add Sundays, and you’ve got Lent – a season of preparation that leads us to Holy Week. I’ve come to think of Lent as a time of pilgrimage or journey. It’s an annual trek we undertake designed to reshape and form our thinking and living. It’s an opportunity to once again make Jesus the model or prototype that we follow, and to devote our attention to his life and teachings – as opposed to allowing so much of the noise from our over exposure to media (social and news) to shape our outlook.
I invite you to imagine, or better yet, set forth on a journey with Jesus during these Lenten days. A great way to do this is to commit to read through one of the Gospels. Follow the chronicle of Jesus’ life from its beginning to end (manger to cross and resurrection). Allow that story to read your life and what may be going on with you. Sit with it. Don’t be in a hurry. Continue reading