Thrive: Love’s Eyes – Julie Pennington-Russell

Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to marry Mary. You’re darn right he’s afraid. For most of his life Joseph has pretty much lived with a carpenter’s saw in one hand and his rulebook, the Torah, in the other. And his rulebook tells him there’s only one way to see an unmarried, pregnant woman.

Formations 01.19.2014: Can You Hear Me Now?

My wife’s family lives out in the country in southern Kentucky. The terrain there is not as hilly as in other parts of the state, but I don’t think it’s for lack of trying. There are a lot of old country roads with twists and turns and dips and crests.

Uniform 01.19.2014: Upstairs or Downstairs?

Last year, I discovered British television. I was both entertained and surprisingly moved by shows like Sherlock, Doctor Who, and Broadchurch. Another British show just began its fourth series on PBS Masterpiece.

Crossroads: Wise and Foolish Builders

Life fell apart for me in the sixth grade. My mom and my stepdad were getting a divorce (although this was actually a positive thing for our family as it made home life stressful), my church was going through a split, and dear friendships were ending. As in this Bible story, my “house” was being hit by a hurricane.

If Jesus Led Teacher Training

Would it be a packed room, where everyone arrived early so they wouldn’t miss a thing? Would we hear pens flying across pages and fingers punching keyboards, trying to capture each word he said?

What Jesus Means to Me – Daniel Vestal

Years ago I read the story from E. Stanley Jones, the esteemed Methodist evangelist, about his first sermon. He was 17 years old, and he was delivering it to his home church. Early in the sermon he fumbled with some words, and a lady on the second pew chuckled.

Thrive: Love’s Family Tree – Julie Pennington-Russell

Sometimes people decide they are going to read through the New Testament in order to grow spiritually, so they turn to Matthew because it is at the beginning of the New Testament and never make it past the first seventeen verses. This guy begat that guy, and whosit begat somebody else, and what’s-his-name fathered so-and-so.

Formations 01.12.2014: Promises

How are your New Year’s resolutions coming? Are you off to a solid start, hopeful you’ll make real progress in the next twelve months? Have you already started to backslide? We make many promises to ourselves around the turn of the year.

Uniform 01.12.2014: Pope Francis and the Beatitudes

Since his election and installation in March, Pope Francis has continually shocked the world with his concern for the poor. He has spoken out against economic inequality, and he has paid special attention to the least fortunate in society. He invited homeless men to the Vatican on his birthday. And rumors have cropped up that the Pope leaves the Vatican at night, wearing street clothes, to minister to the poor.

Crossroads: Seeking and Discovering

Have you ever had the experience of searching for one thing and finding something else? One day I lost my keys. It was such a frustrating experience because my key chain held keys to my car, house, and office. I desperately needed to find those keys, so I looked everywhere. I looked on counters, book shelves, tables, and even in the cushions of the couch.

Crossroads: Caring for Others

Several years ago, a powerful storm named Katrina hit Mississippi and Louisiana. Many homes were destroyed, and people lost their possessions, jobs, and even their homes. A few months after the storm, I had the opportunity to go with a group from our church to minister to the people in this area.

Formations 01.05.2014: Public & Private Prayer

When I was a pastor, I was called upon to pray at many kinds of public gatherings, from Sunday school class parties to softball games to practically anything else. Have you ever prayed at the dedication of a new dry cleaning business? I have!