Formations 09.17.2017: Sowing and Reaping

Responding to an agricultural crisis, Paul uses an agricultural image to show how the Corinthians might respond to the famine in Jerusalem. He says those who sow little will reap little while those who sow generously will reap generously (v. 6).

Formations 09.03.2017: To Share the World

In Judson Mitcham’s Oblique Lexicon, the entry, “Gift,” begins with a globe given to two brothers who never asked for it. For most of the entry, Mitcham describes one brother laying on his bed and tossing the globe up and down, hoping that a mountain chain might kiss the ceiling.

Crossroads: Giving

One of my favorite stories of giving comes from one of the children at church. At six years old, she received a dollar from the tooth fairy for losing a tooth. But she didn’t use that money to buy something for herself.

Crossroads: Our Wisdom vs. God’s Wisdom

There are many instances in my childhood where logic got me into trouble. It usually began with me saying “I told you so” and you can guess that it didn’t end well.

Crossroads: The Body of Christ

Talk about a time in your life when you had to work as a team with others. Talk about what your role was and how each person had a different role. What were you trying to accomplish?

Formations 10.18.2015: SMART Service

Have you ever tried to break out of a routine that you thought was holding you back? Maybe you wanted to eat healthier, be more active, or set aside more quality time with friends and loved ones. How did you do it? Was it easy?

Formations 10.04.2015: Our Spectacular Bodies

The human body is capable of so many more amazing, mysterious things than we usually realize. For example, we probably all grew up learning that we have five senses. Guess what? We have a lot more than that.

Uniform 05.31.2015: The Greatest Gift Is Love

The church can and should be a community in which its members experience a taste of heaven right here on Earth. That is so because God is present in the church and where God is, God’s love is.

Uniform 05.17.2015: The Spirit Creates One Body

J. R. Ewing was shot in his office at Ewing Oil on March 21, 1980 by an unseen and thus unknown assailant. Millions of Americans would spend the next eight months pondering and debating the question “Who shot J. R.?”

Uniform 05.10.2015: Unity in Love

Paul tells us that love is the strongest bond—greater than faith and hope. He gives us a description of love that seems impossible to attain, though it is definitely something worth striving for.

Formations 04.26.2015: Do-overs

Do you remember being a child and the grace you sometimes got in the form of a “do-over”? You’re just learning how to bat a baseball or play some other game.

Formations 04.19.2015: Seeking Wisdom

Who are the wisest people you know? More important, how did they get that way? A sociology professor at the University of Florida studies and writes on the topic of wisdom.

Formations 04.05.2015: Easter Faith

The resurrection of Jesus is Christianity’s greatest story. It is the event that set in motion everything believers hold to as distinctively Christian.

Uniform 04.05.2015: Of Resurrection and Moon Landings

On this Sunday, a high holy day for Christians around the world, many Americans will observe a holy moment in pop culture: the premiere of the final season of Mad Men.

Formations 10.12.2014: Teamwork

A team of students from Cincinnati’s Mason neighborhood has distinguished itself in creativity and problem-solving. The Global Finals of Destination Imagination, or DI for short, was held last May in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Formations 10.05.2014: Who Benefits from Gifted Education?

Who benefits most from elementary-school gifted programs? According to a study from two economics professors, it isn’t the students with the highest IQs but those with more average IQs but high standardized test scores.

Formations 08.31.2014: Courtroom Antics

A Google News search for “frivolous lawsuit” brings back about 2,400 results. Scrolling through the first few pages indicates that most of these lawsuits have to do with politicians and ex-politicians at every level of government.

Uniform 08.31.2014: Look for the Helpers

When I was little, I felt like I knew the man who invited children into his home each week and treated them like a true neighbor. Fred Rogers was more than a television star. He was our friend.

Formations 08.24.2014: Church Discipline

The topic of “church discipline” can be tricky because many readers know of (or have experienced) frivolous, judgmental, and mean-spirited attempts to secure the “purity” of the church. There is no point in pretending that we don’t bring this baggage to our study of this text.

Uniform 08.24.2014: Afflictions, Hardships, and Calamities

This has been a difficult few weeks in the news. This week, we might read Paul’s words to the Corinthians who face “afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger” (6:4-5) more as a summary of contemporary news than as a list of Christian trials.

Formations 08.17.2014: NBA Star Acts Like a Role Model, if He Is One or Not

NBA great Charles Barkley asserted, “I am not a role model” in a 1993 Nike commercial. “I am not paid to be a role model. I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court.”

Uniform 08.17.2014: The Strength within the Clay

Many people serve God each day. Some share Jesus quietly, living with kindness and compassion as they go about their daily business at work, school, and other places in the community. Some share Jesus physically, pounding nails into the wood of a home for the poor, spooning food onto a plate at a homeless shelter, or mentoring an at-risk student.

Formations 08.10.2014: Scientists Discover Dogs Get Jealous

Scientists from the University of California recently concluded that dogs get jealous of other dogs. The team built a stuffed toy dog that could bark, wag its tail, and even whine. When real dogs observed their owners making a fuss over the toy, they became angry.

Uniform 08.10.2014: Moving Forward Through Forgiveness

When Paul writes 2 Corinthians, both he and the congregation in Corinth are recovering from a “painful visit” (2:1). After spending a lot of time in Corinth, Paul had returned, hoping to reconnect with friends and continue guiding the young church. But he had been greeted with distrust and accusations of insincerity.

Formations 08.03.2014: The Dangers of Success

Most business owners assume that success comes in a series of steps, with each success leading their business to new heights. What many overlook, however, is that each new achievement also produces counterproductive forces that must be addressed.

Uniform 08.03.2014: The Consolation of Prayer

What is prayer? Depending on the circumstances, it can take various forms. Prayer is conversation, praise, or intercession. It’s a request (sometimes a demand!), a lament, or a rejoicing. It’s public and formal; it’s private and personal.

Uniform 07.27.2014: Feeling Left Out

Because I don’t belong to a tradition that incorporates the speaking of tongues into worship or private devotion, it’s tempting for me to skip over Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 14. “That doesn’t apply to me,” I want to say.