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
This Sunday at FBC Columbus we begin a three-week stewardship emphasis using the theme “Connect, Grow, Serve”. We will be thinking about connections and connecting this week through an interesting passage of Scripture: Matthew 12:46-50.
As I have stopped to reflect on this theme I became aware of just how often I have used this word “connect”, or some version of it, in ministry. Continue reading
In my sermon today in the series “Be the Message” I drew on the wisdom of Dallas Willard and his work on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and the “attitudes that ought to be” (or Beatitudes). Willard said that living a good life, or being a good person, is learning to live “interactively with God”. He suggests that this is what Jesus is speaking about in his famous sermon when he describes persons who are “blessed.” Jesus does this by offering a quite unlikely list of 8 different characteristics: poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, and persecuted (for righteousness sake). Those who live in this way are “blessed” or content because they are in tune with the things of God, the ways of God, and the will of God. They are living “interactively” with God.
That may seem to us a high bar of a goal. Perhaps even unattainable in our own merit, and therefore unreachable. But it’s the life that Jesus modeled, and the life that he calls us toward. A friend, having listened to the sermon, commented that living interactively with God today might be thought of as having a 24/7 FaceTime encounter with God. Continue reading