Connections 08.14.2022: Under a Cloud

The “cloud of witnesses” described in Hebrews 12:1 is one of the most beautiful, most encouraging images of our faith. It helps us imagine the way we are connected to all who came before us.

Connections 07.31.2022: All Kinds of Greed

Twenty-one years ago this spring, I wrote a sermon about this text. It was my final year of seminary and I got the best grade in my seminary career on it.

Connections 07.24.2022: What God Gives

They say, “God only gives you what you can handle.” “They” like to say this when people around them are struggling.

Connections 07.10.2022: Being Good

There are times when reading, reflecting on, and writing about Scripture is a relatively easy, fun endeavor. (Admittedly, I may have an unusual definition of “fun.”)

Connections 07.03.2022: Who Do We Welcome?

Author and creative coach Jennifer Louden talks about “signature themes,” that is, images and ideas that seem to come up again and again in our lives. One of my “signature themes” is moving.

Connections 06.19.2022: Things I Remember

Some biblical passages are so familiar they are almost hard to read; we’ve heard their phrases so often they practically stand up on their own. Chunks of them have become praise choruses so overplayed that the earworms have taken up permanent residence in our heads.

Connections 06.12.2022: The Spirit of Unfinished Business

There are times in our lives when we feel the despair of the psalmist crying “How long, O Lord?” (Ps 13:1) and the urgency of the visionary praying “Come quickly, Lord Jesus” (Rev 22:20).

Connections 05.29.2022: What We Mean by Freedom

It’s hard to write on days (weeks, months, years) like this, when the heaviness of current events makes any attempt at meaningful words feel futile. I know it’s hard to teach and to preach at times like this, to offer both condolence and challenge where each is needed.

Connections 05.22.2022: Embracing the Moment

Quite a while ago I saved a quotation from Thomas Merton and added it to the slideshow of photos that make up the screensaver on my laptop. It is a reminder that proves helpful again and again in my military family’s life.

Connections 05.08.2022: Show and Tell

Between Saul’s conversion in the first part of Acts 9 and Peter’s inclusive dream in Acts 10, two healings take place. Peter was going “here and there” among believers and made visits to the “saints” in Lydda and then in Joppa.

Connections 05.01.2022: The Unsaid and the Unseen

Between Saul’s dramatic conversion and the beginning of Paul’s ministry, the storyteller of Acts records four chapters in which Saul is “radio silent.” We don’t hear the voice of the typically talkative Apostle between Acts 9:20 and 13:10.

Connections 04.17.2022: The Mystery of Faith

As we edge toward Easter, the coming springtime and the celebration of new life seems almost absurd alongside the constant barrage of disruption, distraction, and disunity in the world around us.

Connections 04.10.2022: Course Correcting and Re-Commissioning

I grew up in churches where the Roman Road and the Great Commission were foundational stepping stones lifted from Paul’s teachings and laid end-to-end in a clear path for understanding the way to salvation.

Connections 03.27.2022: Going Home Again

In the mid-1980s the movie Peggy Sue Got Married was one of several Hollywood-ized versions of “the good old days.” In it, Peggy Sue mysteriously time-slips from her 25th high school reunion back to senior year.

Connections 03.20.2022: For the Hope of Figs

Cliffhangers are great plot devices; they keep you turning the page, or seeking out the sequel, or coming back for the next episode. “Same bat time, same bat channel.”

Connections 03.06.2022: Into the Wilderness

Before the season of abstinence and introspection begins on Ash Wednesday, people are anxious to enjoy extravagance and excess.

Connections 02.27.2022: The Weight of Sleep

When I read Luke 9 in preparation for writing this post, I expected to be amazed again by the dazzling transfiguration of Jesus and surprised again by the appearance of Moses and Elijah.

Connections 2.13.2022: Following the Money

In our world, money is power. Modern culture is consumerist and competitive, and in polite society we’re not supposed to talk numbers, even while we hustle to climb every available ladder.

Connections 2.06.2022: The Fear of Fish

Frustrated and exhausted fishermen ended their long workday—their long worknight—cleaning their nets. They shook out the catch: nothing salable or edible, just a few minnows.

Connections 01.23.2022: Homecoming and Holy Tears

My 13-year-old son hates it when I cry. When he was little he would automatically fetch a box of Kleenex for me whenever we watched a movie with sad parts (looking at you, Moana and Coco).