This time of year always reminds me of my childhood, growing up in central Indiana. Childhood can be a grand experience – perhaps only fully appreciated in hind sight. My own childhood was safe, happy and filled with things that I enjoyed.
As the youngest of five children in my family of origin, and living in a rural setting, I was often my own best play mate. I utilized my imagination to fully engage in daily basketball games on the court in the backyard. I played all the players – tossing the ball to myself from myself – giving myself names of South Putnam High School or Purdue University players I admired, and narrating the radio call of the game in my head – or out loud.
And you know what? I never lost a game! Continue reading
The First Baptist Church “Hope & Pray Moving Company” was at it again earlier today. That’s the name I’ve come up with for our group of volunteers who help persons in the congregation move their household from one home to the next. I think our motto is “We hope it fits and pray it gets there!”. Hey, you get what you pay for, right?
Seriously, in my time as pastor of this congregation I’ve watched, helped and appreciated this rotating crew of men and women who just jump in when a need arises to assist with a move. We’ve helped move people from their home to an assisted living facility, from one home to another, from an apartment into a first home, out of a home that was flooded, into a moving truck that’s headed cross country – you name it, we’ve probably done it. An appeal goes out, and people show up! It’s amazing – and rewarding. Continue reading
When I was in seminary I completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in a hospital setting one summer. My particular assignment was on a heart specialty floor where I related to patients and families identified as CABG recipients. In the vernacular of the medical profession CABG (pronounced “cabbage” – though it has nothing to do with a vegetable) stands for Coronary Artery By-pass Graft. In other words these folks (the cabbage patients) were having heart by-pass surgery. They were on that floor due to heart trouble.
In John 14:1 Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” That was not always a good verse to share as a hospital chaplain on the CABG floor! Heart trouble had landed the occupants of that floor in those rooms. Often they were there post heart attack – perhaps the most troubled condition our hearts can physically endure.
Of course Jesus wasn’t addressing the physicality or anatomy of the human heart muscle when he shared these words in John 14:1. Continue reading
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound,
but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.
So it is with everyone born of the Spirit”. – Jesus (John 3:8 NIV)
In the world of cycling, even for an amateur like myself, you soon learn that the wind is both your friend and foe – maybe even on the same ride. Spring rides have a way of reminding you of this truth. On a recent ride, going east to west, I looked down to see the speedometer hit 30 mph (with the aid of both a tail wind and downhill path), but coming back (west to east) I had a hard time mustering 10 to 12 mph against the head wind and that same hill. On that particular ride the wind was my friend and my foe.
I’ve also learned that wind is rather fickle. It can come at you from all directions. 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