Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Who Then Is This?

Who then is this?
Blazing fire
Fiery holiness, furious righteousness, fearsome wrathfulness
I fall to my knees, terrified

Who then is this?
Pink and plump cheeks
Adored innocence, admired humanness, alighted peacefulness
I fall to my knees, hopeful

Who then is this?
Straight and strong
Commanding wind and water, disease and demons
I fall to my knees, wondering

Who then is this?
Cross hammered
Bloodied and betrayed, accused and abandoned
I fall to my knees, ashamed

Who then is this?
Stone-rolling satisfaction
Arisen accomplishment, just justifier
I fall to my knees, accepted

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Most Unusual Wedding I Never Performed

When I was a young pastor I naively thought that the couples who asked me to officiate at their weddings would be mainly young, godly people who were raised in the church and who grew up attending Awana and the youth group. I figured they would be starry-eyed virgins with Scriptural values and godly examples from their own intact families of origin.

I learned pretty quickly that performing a wedding as a Christian pastor is complicated, and that people’s lives are often very broken. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to do the right thing. Especially if you care more about pleasing God than about pleasing people.

Rob and Rachel (not their real names) were an attractive couple in their early 30’s who began attending our church a few years ago. He had worked for a Christian non-profit agency in another state, and she was a personal trainer at a local gym.

Sunday, August 18, 2019


Adam and Chris had been best friends since grade school. They grew up in the same neighborhood and graduated high school together. And even though they went off to separate colleges and separate lives, they still stayed in touch.

They were in each other’s weddings, and they got together at least once a year to fish or hike or go to a ballgame.

Two weeks before Adam’s 40th birthday, he invited Chris to join him for a weekend of skiing and hiking up in the mountains. They rented a cabin and both left work early on Friday to drive up. The weather was clear Friday night, but snow was expected Saturday.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Surprise Guest at the Funeral

Recently I had lunch with a pastoral colleague, and we started swapping funeral stories. Macabre? Maybe, but there are some pretty unusual things that happen at funerals. For example…

I was doing a graveside service for a lady in our church. Her casket was perched on one of those portable stands the funeral home provides. This one was on rollers. And the grave was on a hillside. I bet you can see what’s coming. I had just started into my remarks when the casket started moving. Downhill, of course. I blocked it with my body, and some of the other funeral staff jumped in. Disaster averted. But the lady’s daughter thought it was funny – “Mom was headed for the ocean,” she remarked.

Friday, August 2, 2019


It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the kings's house... (2 Samuel 11:2)

In the last couple weeks we’ve learned of an evangelical superstar who has left his church, his marriage and his faith. The twist on this story is that he penned a popular book about courting instead of dating that influenced a lot of Christians as the Scriptural blueprint for starting a godly marriage. Now, in the middle of divorce and apostasy, he has apologized for that book.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Forgiving the Unforgivable

How do you forgive the unforgivable? Someone murders a family member. A drunk driver slams into your car, and you’re in a wheelchair the rest of your life. A trusted friend molests your child. A member of your church who works as an investment counselor persuades you to put your life savings in his hands, and he loses it all. One of your best friends spreads rumors (all untrue) about you that result in your being ostracized by all your other friends. 

You could pick any one of the above, and call it "unforgivable." And sadly most of have personal scenarios that are equally grievous. How could you possibly forgive a person who has done any of these? How can you forgive the unforgivable?

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Powerful Kindness of Jesus

The Gospel stories show us Jesus in His humanity, and allow us to walk closer to Him,  and to know Him in smaller, deeper and more intimate ways. Like the lovely story of Jesus and the widow of Nain:

Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. (Luke 7:11-15)

Why this insignificant town?
Nain was a small, backwater place, mentioned only here in Scripture. Nobody went there to shop or for vacation. So why did Jesus? He had been in Capernaum (vv. 1-10), over 20 miles to Nain – a good day’s walk. Why Nain?