Connections 07.08.2018: Learning from Experience

My late mentor, Dr. Howard P. Giddens, was an excellent Bible teacher. So when I became pastor of my first church after seminary, I asked him over the years to come lead several Bible studies.

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.

The Sower…and His Sons

Listen, my friends and you will hear,
Some stories that will not be new to your ears.
For today’s translation is sure to surprise,
So pay attention, and open your spiritual eyes…

Connections 05.15.2016: It’s Hard to Be Humble

My father, the late great Champ Ruffin, would sometimes say, “You know, it’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.” He was kidding. I think. I noticed he never said it when Mama was around.

Connections 04.24.2016: Rejoicing in the Found

The story of the prodigal son is one of the most confounding, ridiculous, and beautiful passages in the Bible. I can think of a few headlines that might apply: “Spoiled Rotten Kid Wastes Parents’ Money, Gets Rewarded.” “Father Accused of Enabling Ungrateful Son.”

Uniform 02.08.2015: A Need for Fresh Eyes

In every community, there are stories that have been told so many times that people develop a shorthand code for telling them. For my family, the mention of “sunny-side-up eggs” evokes a cautionary tale against overeating before church.

Thrive: Is it Fair? – Cynthia Insko

I have three children. It’s very important to me to avoid favoritism and treat each fairly. For example, when the last brownie is left in the pan, I meticulously cut it in three equal parts.

Thrive: Are You Ready? – Cynthia Insko

Each Sunday at the threshold of our Godly Play children’s worship classroom our doorkeeper bends down, looks each child in the eye, calls her by name and asks, “Are you ready?” Answering “Yes,” one by one the children enter our sacred space.

Thrive: Two Sons – Allison Kentle

Can you just picture the scene one Saturday morning? Everyone is in the kitchen. One teen is sitting on the counter, pop tart in one hand, texting with the other hand. The other sits at the kitchen counter eating a bowl of cereal, headphones on.

Like a Good Neighbor

A man was going from Indianapolis, Indiana, to Louisville, Kentucky, when along the way he had a flat tire. Stranded on the side of the road, he was robbed, his car was stripped, he was shot, and left for dead.

Thrive: The Generous One – Valerie Burton

Living with children has turned me into a champion negotiator. They will bargain with me as long as I will let them. It has been assumed from the earliest practices of religion that humans could bargain with the gods to get what they want.