Thrive: Love’s Detour – Julie Pennington-Russell

What would a Christmas pageant be without the three Wise Men? They’ve captured the imagination of songwriters, painters, and poets. James Taylor sang about them; Monty Python parodied them; Garrison Keillor brought them to Lake Wobegon; we celebrate them in Christmas carols and on greeting cards and with gazillion-watt front yard light displays.

Crossroads: Being Afraid

When I was young, I went to a clothing store with my mother. I liked going to the store because I was small enough to get inside the clothes racks and play. My mother warned me to stay close to her, but I didn’t listen very well.

Formations 01.26.2014: Putting God in a Box

We’ve all heard the expression “putting God in a box.” When people fail to consider that God might not think or act exactly like they do (or would do if they were God), they might be said to put God in a box. They’ve got God figured out, thank you very much, and there’s no point upsetting their neat little theological system by asking them to imagine a God who might surprise them.

Uniform 01.26.2014: A War on Wealth

This month marks the fiftieth anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson declaring a “war on poverty.” Through programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Head Start, the Johnson administration demonstrated its commitment to easing the economic inequality in our country.

Hello from Kanazawa, Japan!

Just as the NextSunday Resources blog is a new location for Christian education in your congregation in this New Year, we too are experiencing great newness in our missional journeys. In June of 2013, we were officially appointed at the CBF General Assembly to Kanazawa and made the big move in September.

Relationships Matter in Families, Churches, Seminaries, and Beyond! – Ron Grizzle

Of all the life lessons I have accumulated, one stands out in recent years. It is the lesson that relationships matter! If we begin to boast about family, I will crow loudly about my life with Penny—she has endured life with this northeast Georgia hillbilly for four decades.

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.