Crossroads: God Is Our Refuge

I was terrified of thunderstorms as a child. The thunder would get so loud that I just knew something bad would happen to me.

Formations 10.15.2023: “The Lord Indeed Is God”

In the fourth century, the Arian bishop Ulfilas translated the Bible into the Gothic language.

Bringing Our Pain to God

Think about the people you know who are in terrible pain right now. Violence, death, loss, trauma, or physical or mental illness has touched them, even destroyed them. If they should come to worship, is there an appropriate context for them to acknowledge their pain before God?

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: Following God

I loved to talk when I was a kid. I talked all the time. And at school, there are times when you’re supposed to be quiet. But sometimes I couldn’t help myself and I talked to the people around me. And of course, I got in trouble. I got I’s (needs Improvement) and sometimes U’s (for Unsatisfactory) on my report card for talking.

Crossroads: The Love of God

When I was a child, I loved singing the hymn, “I Love to Tell the Story.” I loved telling people about God and this hymn reflects that. As an adult, it is sometimes harder to tell others about God. I am more worried about what they will think of me or how they will react than I was when I was a child.

Crossroads: Our Bighearted God

When I was in preschool, I had a teacher named Miss June. I loved Miss June. She had a really big heart. She was very sweet. But the thing I loved most about her was that she kept me company when everyone else was taking a nap. I had to do a breathing treatment for my asthma every day after lunch.

Formations 05.07.2023: The Breath of God

In most Old Testament passages, references to “the spirit” (Hebrew, ruach) describe a force or emanation from God, a powerful yet impersonal presence through which God works in the world.

Formations 04.09.2023: God Isn’t Finished Yet

We can debate why some in the Corinthian church denied the resurrection of the dead. We can be confident, however, that no one took this stance because they had a scientific worldview.

Noah’s Lawsuit: Is God Trying to Say Something?

The headline reads like a punchline: “Owners of Noah’s Ark sue over rain damage.” Does God have a sense of humor or what?

Crossroads: What Does God Want from Us?

I like to know exactly what is expected of me. If someone asks me to do something, I ask questions to make sure I know what I’m supposed to do.

Crossroads: God Hears Us

I had a tough year when I was in the sixth grade. One of the hardest parts, though, was not having any close friends at school. I prayed and I prayed for God to help me. And God heard my prayers.

Crossroads: Listening to God

Have you ever felt like God was telling you to do something? There have been times when I felt like God wanted me to call someone on the phone.

God Can See in the Dark

I can’t see in the dark. It’s a fact of life. I’ve proven it many times, getting up in the night, foolishly believing I can navigate through the house without turning on a light, and then tripping over a sleeping dog.

Connections 10.23.2022: God in the Midst

The “end times” are big business. When I was in youth group in the 1980s, we had a leader who was really into end-times stuff. At lock-ins we watched ‘70s-era apocalypse movies, and for many years I carried a bookmark in my Bible describing all the possible tribulation timelines.

Crossroads: God Makes Beautiful Things

I’m very clumsy. And sometimes I break things. There have been times when I have broken dishes as I washed them. Usually, when I break something, I have to throw it away.

Connections 07.24.2022: What God Gives

They say, “God only gives you what you can handle.” “They” like to say this when people around them are struggling.

Flame: Light of the World Lantern

Lanterns and lamps appear in many Bible stories and they’re so easy to make, but I’ve always been disappointed that it’s difficult to put a light in a lantern without risking the whole thing going up in flames.

Crossroads: Sing Praises to God

God has answered many of my prayers over the years. Some of God’s answers have been yes, some no, and some that it wasn’t the time and I needed to wait. But I know that God always hears my prayers.

Assumptions about the Word of God

At the end of Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 film The Ten Commandments, Moses and the future leaders of Israel stand on Mt. Nebo surveying the promised land.

Crossroads: God’s Sheep

Last week I got to see some sheep up close and personal, and I learned a few things. Sheep will “baa” at you when they think you’ve got something to eat. It doesn’t matter if they have just eaten; they will still complain.

Imagining God

How do you and I imagine God? I realize that God exceeds our capacities for imagination, but most of us live with some mental image of the Divine. It’s almost necessary. For example, when I pray, I can’t speak with any intimacy to something that is formless, shapeless, and total mystery.

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.

Connections 01.30.2022: God Is Still Calling Us

Have you ever heard God speak to you? I have. In forty-four years of life, I’ve felt the nudging of God in many small moments. That voice hasn’t come to me out loud, through fire, or in any other spectacular way.

Formations 01.16.2022: Our God Reigns!

Just a couple of days into the new year, a friend posted this on social media: “I have no faith left in humans to do anything but serve themselves.”

Connections 01.09.2022: God Is Still Delivering Us

I volunteer for the Jay’s HOPE Foundation, a nonprofit based in Macon, Georgia, that serves families battling childhood cancer. Through free family events, care packages, gift cards for meals and gas, and much more, Jay’s HOPE offers support to families.

Formations 11.07.2021: God Will Take Care of You

I remember an old hymn that people rarely sing in church anymore, at least in the churches where I have worshiped. The first verse begins, “Be not dismayed whate’er betide; God will take care of you.”

Equipping a Congregation for Digital Literacy

Many church members are newcomers to the digital world, and they need extra help navigating this new space. There is some irony in that we have had the technology for years now to reach our homebound members with the Sunday message.

Connections 05.02.2021: Knowing God Loves Us

When I attended Mercer University, the Baptist Student Union (now Baptist Collegiate Ministries) had three student-led ministry groups that involved performing arts.

Formations 01.31.2021: A God Who Speaks My Language

When I teach Old Testament, I ask my students whom they would cast as God in the six-day creation story in Genesis 1. The answers are usually actors with a deep, commanding voice.

Formations 10.04.2020: What Is God Worth?

Worth has to do with what one is willing to give in exchange for something else. If would be stupid to pay $20 for a soda at the fast food place: It’s only worth a couple of dollars.

Formations 06.21.2020: The Family of God

The scene with Jesus’ mother and the Beloved Disciple at the cross is unique to the Fourth Gospel. In the Synoptic Gospels, however, there’s another story with a similar them.

Talking to God when God is a Part of the Problem

I know, I know. Gasp. “Blasphemy!” “I can’t believe you said that.” “And you call yourself a Christian?” Yes, I do. In fact, I am following in the footsteps of Jesus.

Connections 03.08.2020: A Wide-Awake God

My daughter, who turns thirteen this month, has slept poorly for a few nights in a row. She says she has a hard time getting to sleep, and then she tends to sleep restlessly and wake up sometime after midnight.

Formations 02.16.2020: What God Thinks of Injustice

Some of us have had our fill of biblical stories in which God uses divine power to punish humans.

Connections 02.16.2020: The Choice God Offers

In our lesson text, God seems to offer a simple choice. Choose “life and prosperity” or “death and adversity” (v. 15). Doesn’t the best choice seem obvious?

Formations 01.19.2020: The Wisdom of God

Have you noticed that the message of the cross doesn’t make a lot of sense? At least, it doesn’t easily line up with things that we have heard all our lives. “Look out for Number One.”

Connections 01.05.2020: Heirs of God

The physical tradition of inheritance seems to be fading in our modern times. Over the centuries, it mattered greatly who was the main heir (usually a couple’s oldest child).

Connections 11.03.2019: A Just and Merciful God

I’m one of those people who has a hard time reading about the judgment of God. There’s plenty of it in the Old Testament, but I tend to think of the New Testament as being more about mercy.

Formations 10.20.2019: Containing God

There are some impressive houses of worship in this world. Some are centuries-old survivors of war, fire, and poverty. Their stonework and artwork immortalize great architects and artists across the ages.

Connections 09.22.2019: God’s Grief

When you go through something that seems terrible and senseless, how do you try to explain it? Many people who face a personal crisis believe that God is punishing or testing them.

Connections 09.01.2019: God’s Astonishment

As an independent editing contractor, I have a more flexible schedule than my husband and children. While they are (mostly) willing to help when time allows, household management falls largely on my shoulders.

Connections 07.28.2019: God Offers Hope

Yesterday, my husband and I saw a local community theatre production of the haunting musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Based on the animated Disney movie, it features the same songs and several new ones.

Formations 07.21.2019: God’s Promises

Like the story of Jericho, Joshua’s speech demands responsibility, creativity, and humility. There are too many layers for anything less. Here, Joshua speaks of God.

Connections 07.14.2019: God and Country

What were you doing on July 4? Did you celebrate Independence Day, and if so, how? My family and I enjoyed our usual festivities for July 4, spending the day with our friends by their pool, eating burgers and hot dogs.

Formations 06.02.2019: God Made Us for a Purpose

When my daughter was three or four, she became fascinated with our church’s music minister and his “batond.” She had a little yellow fairy wand that she loved to wave around while she sang.

God’s Grace in Change

We just finished cleaning out my grandmother’s house. Granny is 82 years old and has moved to my aunt’s house, ten hours away, because she can’t live by herself anymore.

Pray Like God Is Listening

“I don’t know what to say or where to begin.” This is a frequent response when I ask persons about their prayer life. This seems to settle the matter for them. They figure, “I can’t pray so I won’t.”