Connections 03.03.2019: Something About Her

I was attending a conference for pastors. My wife accompanied me so she could visit some family members who lived near the host college, shop in the quaint college town, and (I think, hope, and believe) spend some time with me.

Formations 02.03.2019: The Giving of the Law

The windows in my apartment face southeast. This doesn’t matter except that we’ve started keeping the blinds open in the kitchen. While I make coffee, I’ve begun noticing the sun’s rising—fiery fields degrading into sky.

Crossroads: God Always Finds a Way

Looking back and seeing God’s fingerprints in your life is a lot easier than seeing them in the moment. There are times in my life when things seemed impossible. When I was upset and hurting in the 6th grade when our church fell apart, it seemed impossible that I would ever be happy again.

Crossroads: Paying Attention

Moses could’ve easily walked on by. After all, a burning bush probably wasn’t that unusual. But when Moses looked at it, he noticed something. The bush was burning but it wasn’t burning up. So he went over and the Lord spoke to him. Moses was paying attention.

Formations 06.11.2017: A Crack in the Road

On the record Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance, Patterson Hood tells a story about a man driving the Savannah Highway in North Alabama. Above an environment built with an acoustic guitar droning over two chords, a drum set playing everybody’s first rock and roll groove, a pedal steel whining, and a few voices falling and rising over one syllable, Hood speaks plainly about the road.

Formations 02.12.2017: The Space Between

I have a typewriter that I sometimes use. It’s modeled after an IBM Selectric, and even though I use it less than my computer, it reserves a permanent place on my desk. I recognize the absurdity of giving it exclusive access to this space. Still, I defend it by arguing that it makes me write more than edit an early draft.

Formations 10.16.2016: Eager Giving

McCoy Tyner was excited to go to work each night in December 1964. He and the rest of John Coltrane’s quartet were recording A Love Supreme, a musical prayer that became one of jazz’s greatest albums.

Formations 10.09.2016: The Discipline of Giving

Our October unit invites us to think about giving as another spiritual discipline. Maybe this one isn’t so obvious. Depending on your upbringing, you might have been taught that giving, especially giving to the church, was more in the category of a religious duty.

You Need Only Be Still (And Then Get Moving!)

I’m not very good at being still. I fidget. I pace. I drum my fingers on counters and chew pencils into nubs. There may be some deeper issues at play, but I have always struggled with being still.

Formations 02.28.2016: Renewing Our Vows

Two weeks ago, hundreds of married couples gathered at Fountain Hills Park in Fountain Hills, Arizona to renew their wedding vows. The fourth-annual event was one of the world’s largest vow renewal ceremonies.

Formations 02.21.2016: The Ten Excuses

A few months ago, an employment website called Career Builder polled users to see how many employees had come up with an excuse to avoid going in to work in 2015.

Connections 02.07.2016: Passover

The story of the institution of Passover is about the present, the future, and the past. The narrative opens with “The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt . . .” (v. 1). God then proceeds to give them instructions for the Passover observance.

Uniform 12.20.2015: What Can I Bring?

Our unit title is “What We Bring to God.” Have you ever thought about that? Often, we focus on what God gives to us. The list is both lengthy and weighty: salvation, grace, a Savior who identifies with us, a Scripture text for guidance, the Earth with all its provisions.

Uniform 12.06.2015: A True Sabbath

Before you read further, stop and name everything on your to-do list—all the little everyday concerns that add up to create a relatively smooth life for you and those in your care.

Crossroads: “When You Think You Can’t Do Something” – Moses

In the movie Despicable Me, Gru is an unlikely (and at times unlikeable) hero. He adopts three girls as a way to steal the moon. He doesn’t want to be the hero. He wants to be left alone, to be the villain who does something brilliant.

Formations 03.23.2014: Slavery, Then and Now

Seventh-graders at Iowa City, Iowa’s South East Junior High School hosted a charity basketball tournament earlier this month to raise awareness about modern slavery. The fundraiser, called Hoops for Hopes, was dedicated to educating the public about the issue.