Crossroads: Pentecost

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the French language. And as soon as I got to high school, I started taking French. Because I went to a private, Catholic school, one of the first things I learned was the Lord’s Prayer in French.

Crossroads: Ascension

When I went away to college, I only moved to the other side of town. But even though I was still in the same town, my mother still had to leave me at Mercer. After we finished getting my stuff unpacked, there came a time when she had to go and I had to stay. She gave me a big hug and left me.

Flame: Pentecost Painting

I know it’s a bit early for Pentecost, but I like to be ahead of the game and there are so many stories where flames are useful! This is a really great idea for all ages.

Crossroads: My Shepherd

Most of the time, I associate this well-known psalm with funerals. I don’t like to read it because it brings to mind sadness and pain. And yet, this psalm is all about peace. It is also about being treasured.

Crossroads: Recognizing Jesus

Jesus tends to break into our lives in unexpected ways. Maybe for you, it’s the bully of the school doing something nice for someone else. Maybe it’s the popular kid sitting with an outcast at lunch. However it is, Jesus usually works through surprising people.

Crossroads: Seeing Is Believing

Has something ever seemed too good to be true? Was it? Talk about a time when you didn’t believe something someone said until they showed you proof. Why didn’t you believe? Did the proof change your thinking?

Crossroads: Palm Sunday

I wonder if Jesus felt that odd mixture of anticipation and disappointment when he entered Jerusalem. He enters Jerusalem triumphantly, riding on a donkey, with people spreading out their cloaks on the road and others waving branches in the air, shouting, “Hosanna!”

Crossroads: Guilt and Forgiveness

When you do something wrong, the first thing you do is to try to cover it up. Maybe it’s breaking something you weren’t supposed to play with. You hide it under a sofa cushion and try to act like nothing ever happened.

Crossroads: Thirst

We went to camp one summer in the middle of July in the middle of Alabama. And man was it hot! The heat index was about 100 degrees every day.

Crossroads: Waiting on the Lord

I find myself anxious a good bit of the time. I worry about what will happen, whether or not something will actually occur, and if things will turn out okay. It seems like Psalm 27 was written for worriers.

Crossroads: Everyone

My granddad loved to fish. And I wasn’t a fan of fishing. In fact, I thought fishing was pretty boring. But one day he talked me into going fishing with him for a tournament. We have pictures to prove that I caught a fish that day (that I wouldn’t touch).

Crossroads: Jesus Is Transformed

I became a Christian when I was seven years old. For as long as I can remember, church has been an important part of my life. I loved going to church as a kid and I loved Jesus (and I still do!).

Crossroads: God Can Use Anything

My parents got a divorce when I was really young. And it was tough growing up without my dad close by. I was jealous of other kids who lived with both parents.

Crossroads: Blessed Are You

We all have times in our lives in things are just tough. Your parents seem to fight a lot. You’re having a hard time in school. There’s a bully who keeps picking on you.

Crossroads: When God Asks

During my freshman year of college, my campus minister told me about a summer job he thought I was perfect for. It was being the children’s intern at a church in Macon. I laughed and told him I didn’t really work with children.

Crossroads: God’s Great Plan for You

As a child, I never liked to see people unhappy. I always wanted to do what I could to help. When I was about five, we went to a local nursing home to sing for the residents. While we were there, we met a lady in a wheelchair who really wanted to go home.

Crossroads: The Body of Christ

Talk about a time in your life when you had to work as a team with others. Talk about what your role was and how each person had a different role. What were you trying to accomplish?

Crossroads: How Big Is God’s Love?

I can remember saying “I love you this much!” as a child, with my arms open wide. I’m sure you’ve seen children do this before: they open their arms as wide as they can and say “I love you this much!” Or they give you a bear hug and squeeze and say the same thing.

Crossroads: Why We Baptize

I have loved Jesus for practically my whole life. I grew up in church, and we were there pretty much every time the church was open. At seven years old, I told Jesus that I wanted him to be my Savior and I was baptized.

Crossroads: Jesus as a Boy

I love the Eiffel Tower. I always have. I’m not sure what it is about that Tower, but it has always fascinated me. And when I went to Paris for the first time as a teenager, I was determined to see it. In fact, I told the tour guide that if we didn’t go see it, that I would stay behind until I did!

Crossroads: Mary’s Song

I loved talking about Jesus as a child and teenager. I tried to share Jesus with my friends. There was a time when a good friend of mine was having a hard time. Her parents were fighting a lot, and their family was struggling. So I shared God’s peace with her. I told her about difficult times that I had been through.

Crossroads: Rejoice!

I love singing praises to God. And when I was a kid, I used to make up songs to sing in praise. And wherever I went, I was singing to God. God’s joy was in my heart and it overflowed into singing.

Crossroads: Peace

Peace is a funny thing. We pray for peace in a world full of violence. We pray for peace in times of trouble. We pray for peace in times of stress. We pray for peace in times of worry. And at first glance, we think that peace means that our situation changes. The world puts down its weapons. Trouble ceases. Stress disappears.

Crossroads: My Hope is in the Lord

I am a worrier by nature. When things go wrong, I get anxious. When things have the possibility of going wrong, I get anxious then too. So it is comforting to know that the Lord who watches over us doesn’t sleep. God doesn’t get tired. God doesn’t get anxious.

Flame: Advent Wreath Craft

We’ve now entered Advent and I was thinking of how families could use the tradition of the Advent wreath at home in a craft and prayer activity. Of course it’s great to have the real candles to light, but here’s an alternative to make and do.

Crossroads: Thanksgiving

This is a time when families gather together around a table filled with food, and remember all of the things for which they are thankful. Some years it’s easy to remember the blessings you’ve been given. But other years, it seems as if nothing has gone right.

Crossroads: You’re Not Perfect

As a first grader, I was a pretty big talker. I loved to talk to everyone about everything. And one day we had a fire drill at school. You were not supposed to talk during the fire drill, but I did.

Crossroads: Giving Generously

Has there been a time when you didn’t have much, but you still gave to the church or to someone else? Talk about that sacrifice: how it felt, how you had to step out on faith, etc.

Crossroads: All Saints’ Day

It’s hard for me to believe that Sunday, October 29, makes two and a half years since my granddad died. Over the past two years, I’ve found myself remembering a lot of things about him: the way he smiled, how he smelled, and all of the memories of the things we did together.

Crossroads: Don’t Stop Believing

When my mom was a teenager, she really wanted to be a youth minister. She felt God’s call and she knew that she should be a youth minister. But in that time, women weren’t really ministers. And people discouraged her, saying that surely God wasn’t calling her to ministry.

Crossroads: God Is Our Refuge

Last week our devotion was on times when it seems like God isn’t there. This week’s psalm is a reminder to us that God is always there and that God is our refuge.

Crossroads: Where is God?

When I was a child, bad thunderstorms used to terrify me. The rain was okay, but I was very afraid of the thunder and the lightning. Thunderstorms that happened at night were always the worst. There was no way I could sleep during them.

Crossroads: Small

Has nature ever just wowed you? Have you ever felt small when looking at the ocean or the stars? Talk about a time when you felt awed by something in nature.

Crossroads: The Answer Is Prayer

I’m a worrier. It’s who I am. I worry about test results, about family members and close friends, about the future, etc. Sometimes my worry feels overwhelming. And so I pray.

Crossroads: Children

“Children should be seen and not heard.” “Go sit at the kid’s table.” Did you hear things like this when you were a child? Maybe you were taught that you should sit quietly and not interrupt the grownups who were talking.

Crossroads: Which Way Should I Go?

Have you ever been lost? Have you ever been at a crossroads where everything looked the same? Talk about a time when you were lost. How did you find your way?

Crossroads: Mountains

Have you ever tried to move a mountain? That sounds silly, right? I love the mountains. There’s something about them that just seems peaceful. I think part of it is that you know the mountains aren’t going anywhere.

Crossroads: The Armor of God

Have you ever seen some of the equipment that comes with playing sports? Football players put on helmets, chin guards, mouth guards, cleats, and shoulder pads in order to protect themselves when they play.

Crossroads: Praise the Lord!

Have you ever sung a song as loud as you could? Have you ever sung a song at the top of your lungs to the radio? When you sing a song like that, you let go of everything else. Your only focus is that song. And it makes you feel great.

Crossroads: Watch What God Does

Have you ever been in a foreign place where you didn’t know what to do and how to act? Most of the time, when we are in places like these, we watch others to see what they do and how they act.

Crossroads: The Body of Christ

God has given each of us different gifts. Some are called to preach, others to teach, others to make snacks for Vacation Bible School, still others to fix the air conditioner when it breaks.

Crossroads: Roots

Today’s Scripture is all about our roots growing in God’s love. How do you feel about your life’s roots? Have they grown deep in God’s love?

Crossroads: King of Glory

The LORD Almighty is the King of glory. The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it. Praise the LORD! Sometimes we forget that everything is God’s and that God created everyone.

Hardwired to Sin

As future adoptive parents, my wife and I just completed a two-day course about the ways that neurochemistry determines the behaviors of children and parents. We learned that neuropathways form in an infant’s brain on the basis of a caregiver’s abuse or neglect.

Crossroads: Giving

One of my favorite stories of giving comes from one of the children at church. At six years old, she received a dollar from the tooth fairy for losing a tooth. But she didn’t use that money to buy something for herself.

Crossroads: The Storms of Life

I was always terrified of storms as a child. The thunder scared me the most, and my mom could never convince me that the thunder couldn’t hurt me.

Welcome Home

Last week, I was studying at the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina as part of their Summer Institute for Reconciliation. It’s their tenth anniversary and I am certainly benefiting from the depth and breadth of the work of past facilitators, liturgists, musicians, and participants.

Crossroads: The Parable of the Mustard Seed

If you have ever planted a flower, you know that it starts from a tiny seed. That seed doesn’t look like much; in fact, you might lose it if you drop it. But when you put that seed in soil, cover it up, and water it, something amazing starts to happen. Pretty soon, you start to see green sprouts.