In the aftermath of yet another school shooting, which has ricocheted into multiple copycat threats throughout the nation – including our local community, I would offer the following pastoral reflection. In doing so I realize that not all will agree with me, and it is not my intent to pick a fight or cause more division. However, there are times in life when, as a pastor, you feel something of a kinship in grief with the things that grieve the very heart of God. I have felt this burden for our homeland, it’s current state of political discord, and the spillover of all such things into the life of the church, for quite some time now. Perhaps the events of recent days have served as something of a tipping point for me.
So, what’s a Christ follower to do? What’s a Christ follower to think? How do we respond? I offer the following as a contribution to dialogue, thoughtful discourse and prayerful action: Continue reading
What will you read in 2018? That may not be a question you’ve spent much time thinking about, but I would encourage you to do so. Sadly we have moved into a time in modern culture that seems almost post-reading. Tweets, texts, social media posts, even blog posts that are built around bullet points all illustrate a public who’s attention span has waned. Could this mean that deep, meaningful and reflective reading may be, for some, a lost art – if it was ever a developed discipline?
I know, I may sound like an old grump who is a throw back to the days of the newspaper (which I’m told young people do not read), but I believe what we read matters. It helps us think and develops in us the capacity to respond to life from a reflective platform. Reading allows and encourages us to expand our horizons, improve our vocabulary, and deepen our understanding of life’s issues. 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
I have been attending worship services since I was about two weeks old. Most, but not all, of these have been services in a Baptist tradition (an American Baptist tradition). But this does not mean that this worship has been similar. I have worshipped, and led worship, that might be considered “traditional” – with hymns, responsive readings, pastoral prayers, and sermons preached from the pulpit. I have worshipped, and led worship, that might be considered “liturgical” or high church/high steeple – with printed and spoken liturgy, pipe organ, written prayers, robed clergy and choir. I have worshiped, and led worship, that might be considered “contemporary” – with praise bands, choruses, video projection and clips, a preacher standing among the people, extemporaneous prayers and a few “amens” from the congregation. I have worshiped, and led worship, that might be considered “contemplative” – with Taize music and chants, long periods of silence and prayer, warm visuals, candlelight and quiet background music.
These services have occurred in the humble country Baptist church of my upbringing, suburban and urban sanctuaries, modern worship space, a new church start that met in an exercise facility, outdoors under the stars and in a cave, in old rustic chapels at camp and in state parks, and in the beautiful sacred space at 3300 Fairlawn Drive in Columbus, Indiana. The places contributed to the worship experience, of that there is no doubt; but not more so than the people. I’ve worshipped in small groups, medium size groups, and large groups; with family and loved ones, covenant members of the same congregation, and complete strangers. I learned to worship sitting next to my Grandmother and my parents, my attention being directed to the hymnal, the sermon, or the prayer. I have been blessed to collaborate on worship with some truly gifted servants of Christ. Continue reading
The prayer focus for today on our FBC Columbus prayer calendar invites us to pray “to see as God sees”. Let’s stop and think about this for a moment.
What does God see? Everything. All things. Each one. From the smallest to the largest, the least to the greatest. God sees all.
How can we possibly see all that God sees? Continue reading