Connections 07.28.2024: Among So Many

The needs in the world today are overwhelming. That’s the bad news. The good news (sort of) is that this is not news.

Formations 07.28.2024: The Lion’s Den

I discovered VeggieTales in college, and my roommates and I delighted over the talking vegetables (and sometimes fruits) telling familiar Bible stories.

Formations 07.21.2024: Who’s Throne?

In Daniel 5, we see Nebuchadnezzar’s dream from chapter 2 begin to come true.

Connections 07.21.2024: Shepherds and Sheep

How many shepherds do you know? I don’t know any myself. In fact, I rarely see sheep.

Formations 07.14.2024: Looking for Hope

At the end of chapter 1, readers learned that God blessed Daniel with the ability to interpret dreams. Now we see this gift in action.

Connections 07.14.2024: Who’s in Charge Here?

Our Connections texts this week show the challenge of living faithfully when we have leaders who reject God’s way.

Formations 07.07.2024: Saying No

I grew up in a wonderful youth group with loving leaders and with friends who were also my schoolmates.

Connections 07.07.2024: Relationship Agreements

The separation between church and state is in the news again (spoiler: some people believe there should be no separation).

Formations 06.30.2024: Getting There

In Luke’s story of Jesus, a lot happened between Peter’s denial of Christ in Luke 22 and his bold preaching in today’s passage.

Connections 06.30.2024: God’s Anointed One Grieves

During high school, I worked weekends and summers at the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia.

Formations 06.23.2024: Second Chances

In Luke 24:34, the eleven and their companions announce to the Emmaus disciples, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!”

Connections 06.23.2024: Stones, Sling, and the Spirit of God

After a few weeks with Samuel, the story of Israel and our unit of Connections now have a new main character: David.

Connections 06.16.2024: Get Over It

From his youngest days, Samuel has been a messenger for God, first delivering God’s words to his mentor Eli, then to the people of Israel, then to Israel’s first appointed and anointed king, Saul.

Formations 06.16.2024: Peter’s Denial

We love to shake our heads at Peter and act bewildered about his rebukes and denials of Jesus. But he (along with “doubting” Thomas) is probably one of the most honest disciples.

Connections 06.09.2024: God Gives the People a King

Communities need perceptive, intelligent, compassionate, wise individuals to make big decisions on the community’s behalf and take responsibility when things go wrong.

Formations 06.09.2024: You Keep Using That Word…

In The Princess Bride, the Sicilian boss Vizzini repeatedy describes the unfolding action as “inconceivable.”

Formations 06.02.2024: A Journey to Jesus

Some people come to Jesus in a heartbeat. Other people come to Jesus only after they’re given time to mull it over.

Connections 06.02.2024: Train Up a Child

Samuel’s calling is a seemingly simple story. A young person serves with dedication, learns from his mentor, hears and responds to God’s call

Formations 05.26.2024: The Prayer of a Friend

Scripture is full of prayers. The apostle Paul is one of the most fervent in offering prayer for other believers.

Connections 05.26.2024: One Step Forward

There are a lot of ways we can end up doing a job, whether in our secular work or in our faith life.

Connections 05.19.2024: The Gift of the Holy Spirit

In this passage from the beginning of the Christian church, one of Jesus’s kindest promises is gloriously fulfilled.

Formations 05.19.2024: How Much More

This week’s text is one of those where an understanding of ancient culture sheds great light—while at the same time destroying a mountain of good, traditional preaching!

Formations 05.12.2024: Praying When We Don’t Know How

As a pastor, I’ve ministered with more than one deacon who preferred not to pray in front of the church.

Connections 05.12.2024: Out of the Crowd

This story of the calling of a new twelfth disciple may be familiar to modern readers of Acts, mostly for the manner in which the disciples decide between the two candidates, Justus and Matthias.

Formations 05.05.2024: Be Still and Know!

This psalm contains the favorite, often quoted verse, “Be still, and know that I am God” (v. 10).

Connections 05.05.2024: We Are Witnesses

I knew a woman who had been a dancer. Later in life, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and as the disease took its physical toll.

Connections 04.05.2020: The Cross and COVID-19

When the devil tested Jesus in the wilderness, he introduced two of his three challenges with, “If you are the Son of God” (Mt 4:3, 6). In refusing the devil’s challenges, Jesus declined to prove his identity on the devil’s terms.

Formations 03.01.2020: Keep Still

With the sea in front of them and the Egyptian army at their backs, Moses tell the Israelites, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the LORD will accomplish for you today….”

Connections 03.01.2020: Replacing the Plug

It’s an image most of us are familiar with: the dropping of a stone into water produces ripples, which represent the ongoing effects of an action.

Formations 02.23.2020: The First Passover

Have you ever known someone who has lost a child? Maybe you have personally suffered that loss. I have been granted the awful privilege of walking with some families through this nightmare, and I can tell you that I have seen no comparable grief.

Connections 02.23.2020: Holy Imagination

Our high school English teacher Mrs. Powers was teaching us about similes and metaphors. “’The baby is like a rose,’” she said, “is a simile.”

Formations 09.08.2019: A Light in the Darkness

I have consciously been on my faith journey since I was about ten years old. Before that, as far back as I remember, my religious upbringing consisted of church three times a week and prayers before meals and bedtime.

Connections 11.25.2018: Because Christ Reigns

As you probably know, we had an election back on November 6. As of this writing, they’re still counting votes here in Georgia and in several other states. As the process stretches on, one can detect a touch of holiday rancor in the air.

Connections 11.18.2018: Insight for Divisive Times

The United States political and religious climate is nothing short of divisive, often in devastating ways. Within my own extended family, there have been threats of withholding contact due to political and religious differences. One person asked how the other could claim to be a Christian while holding a particular point of view.

Connections 08.19.2018: Really Real

I can still see the beloved pastor of my growing up years standing behind the communion table, speaking words meant to prepare us for the Lord’s Supper. They went something like this: “Now we know that the bread isn’t really the body of Jesus.”

Formations 07.08.2018: Eating in Worship

When the Bible says, “Break down their altars, smash their pillars, burn their sacred poles with fire, and hew down the idols of their gods, and thus blot out their name from their places,” what do you do (v. 3)?

The Gripping Reality of the Spiritual “Dark Night”

We all know the hard-luck person (that’s what he gets labeled) who seems to encounter one tragedy after another. Sometimes, the tragedies seem to pile up on each other. Maybe you have been that person.