In Community

We are in all kinds of communities, and we should be grateful for each of them. There are of course the neighborhood we live in, the one we work in, our city or town. Our churches are communities of faith but also communities of friendship.

Connections 09.30.2018: A Community of Prayer

For a long time, I thought and taught that prayer is an important part of the Christian life. Somewhere along the way, I decided that in fact the Christian life is a life of prayer. How did I arrive at that conclusion? Like many realizations, it came over time.

David, a Warrior after God’s Own Heart: Community

We see many of the needs of our returning service members and their families by also looking at Psalm 69 and the life of David, a warrior himself. This week, for our final devotion in this series, I want to focus on verses 12-13.

Formations 04.08.2018: Building Community by Giving Gifts

The Buy Nothing Project is a Facebook-based organization that promotes local gift economies. In a gift economy, no money is exchanged, but people offer goods and services with the expectation that others in the community will do the same.

Connections 02.04.18: A Community of Service and Sacrifice

I spent twenty-two of the thirty-one years of my career serving as a pastor. I did so for seven years, then took a six-year break to teach in a college, and then returned to the pastorate for another fifteen years. For the last three years I’ve served as the Connections editor.

She has Blue Hair. She is Not Your Grandma.

Getting to the auditorium late was bad enough. Then I had to find a seat. After several “oh, it’s saved” interactions I finally found seating next to a 14-year-old girl with electric blue hair.

Connections 08.21.2016: Places in our Hearts

Robert Benton’s 1984 film Places in the Heart takes place in 1935 Waxahachie, Texas. Royce and Edna Spalding own a cotton farm. Royce is also the local sheriff.

Formations 10.25.2015: Wholeness

Somewhere along the way in my days as a pastor, I began to carry a small vial of anointing oil in my pocket. I never made a big deal out of it. Honestly, I carried that oil at least as much for my benefit as for my parishioners.

People Go Where They Know

As a teacher (regardless of the age group we teach), one task is to communicate to those who come each week that we are prepared for them.

About Those Sins

At the end of his song “These Days” the prophet Jackson Browne sings, “Don’t confront me with my failures; I had not forgotten them.” Preach it, Brother Jackson! I haven’t forgotten mine, either.

Circle of Faith

A few months ago, we met a woman in her fifties from a neighboring prefecture who had come to visit Kanazawa Baptist Church, where we worship and work. We learned from our pastor that this woman’s father was a longtime church member, but had been in and out of the hospital and was nearing death.

A Prayer for Ferguson

O God, We don’t have to tell you that the city of Ferguson, Missouri is coming apart at the seams. Please give the people there peace with justice and justice with peace.

Uniform 07.06.2014: A Choice that Blesses Others

It’s tough to find a balance between honoring our free will to make choices for ourselves and taking responsibility for how each choice might affect another person. Especially in the United States, we take pride in independence and self-sufficiency.

The Welcome Wagon

When my wife’s boss first moved to our small town it was more than a little culture shock. Raised on the slick windy streets of Chicago, he had mastered the ways of the urban jungle, but this experience had done little to prepare him for the Deep South.

Mending the Saints: Teaching That Helps Us Heal

If you polled your congregation about why Sunday school matters, would they agree that it does? Would specifics about class content rank high on their response list?
“I love studying those dietary laws in Leviticus.”
“Learning that the Corinthians had more problems than we do actually helped us.”

You (Plural) Are Not Lacking

“You Are Not Lacking.” That was the title of the sermon I planned to preach on Sunday, January 19. But before I got to it, on Friday, January 17, the daughter-in-law of some beloved church members went on a walk near the church in the afternoon and never came home. Her name is Leanne Hecht Bearden.