Where Prayer Meets the Road

We talk about prayer as if it is always easy, like it presents no complications. No experience required. Anyone can do it. Our prayer directions read: bow head, close eyes, fold hands, and add words. “It’s a conversation.” “Relax, you’re just talking to God.”

Hard Things Are Hard

Hard things are hard. Sometimes life is just plain hard. You can’t escape it or get around it; you just have to live through it.

Praying Time

Though there are times for which it seems that prayer does not work, times when it seems like the power of God has hit a dry spell, we are encouraged to keep praying. But, if I am honest, sometimes it is hard to keep the conversation with God going.

4 Truths to Remember When Discouraged

The troubles of this world are ubiquitous. They are everywhere. At work, we are faced with downsizing, cutbacks, and layoffs. At home, our kids are struggling with adolescence and our spouses with depression. It seems that everywhere we turn we are faced with distressing news and disappointing circumstances.

Soul: Fire in Preaching

In my experience, eighty percent of the fuel for preaching comes from sources outside the study. I do not mean scouring the countryside or the urbanside for sermon illustrations.

Connections 11.20.2016: The Perfect City

When I read about John’s vision of the new and perfect city, or about Ezekiel’s similar vision in chapter 47, I picture the settings from books like C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, or J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.

Connections 05.08.2016: The Struggle for a Grateful Heart

Bold, shocking, and even offensive to some, Anne Lamott writes about the rawness of the spiritual journey—especially for a person who has lost much, made big mistakes, and still managed to find God in the process.

Formations 12.27.2015: Only the Beginning

This December, we reach the 150-year anniversary of when the United States officially ratified and adopted the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

Easy like Sunday Morning?

Sometimes getting inside the church building is hard. I’ve talked to a few friends recently about what it takes to collect all they’ve got and bring it into Sunday’s gathering. Some people get to roll in on Sunday, hands free. Some folks face obstacles just getting to the door.

Formations 08.23.2015: Leaving Isn’t Easy

About a year ago, author Beverly Gooden started a movement that went viral. She was frustrated and saddened by a popular argument that criticized victims of domestic violence, and she wanted to help the world understand.

Praying Unbelief

So, I hate to begin with bad news but Jesus knows that we don’t always believe. I don’t know if Jesus uses measuring spoons or cups but he knows the quantity of our faith. Maybe he eyeballs it.

In Search of Self

Youth are particularly image-conscious. Developmentally they are at the stage where they are trying on selves to see what fits—to see what feels right.

The Struggle Is Real

If you follow Facebook, you’ve probably seen the hashtag #TheStruggleIsReal. Usually denoting some sort of real life difficulty, the phrase is common in my Facebook feed.

Formations 07.05.2015: Unspeakable Tragedy

What does one do in the face of unspeakable tragedy? In the weeks to come, Rev. Goff will have to deal with the hurt, anger, frustration, and despair of an entire congregation, and entire city, and even an entire country.

Uniform 06.21.2015: From Ivory Beds to Homeless Shelters

These verses from Amos are a scathing commentary on the lives of the comfortable. Chances are, if you’re reading this article (or discussing it in a Bible study, etc.), you are fairly comfortable.

March Magic

Underdogs. Last second shots. A “Cinderella Story” in the middle of March Magic! That’s right. Not March Madness. This is March Magic. Specifically, March 19. Magic.

Formations 01.04.2015: An Unlikely Benefactor

January 6 and the Feast of Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas season. Does this mean, however, the end of our annual heightened consciousness of needs in our community?

Uniform 10.26.2014: Hope in Front of Me

We’ve all been in a situation where we doubted God. We may have accused God of not answering us, failing to guide us, or even deserting us. Despite his insistence that “my Redeemer lives, and…in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:25-27), Job had his doubts about the Lord.

Uniform: Seeing through Grieving Eyes

When my 3-year-old is upset about something, he suddenly becomes upset about everything else, too. After suffering from an injury or disappointment, he begins to see all the other things that are out of place in his world.

Uniform 10.12.2014: A Certain Assurance

Take a moment to name your top three fears. Chances are, your answers include some or even all of what Job experienced in his life. If anyone went through a “dark night of the soul,” it was him.

Uniform 09.28.2014: The Gift of Restoration

When my paternal grandmother, “Mom,” was a young girl, her father left the family. He stayed in touch, but he was no longer a part of her life. As a child hearing this story, I imagined what it was like for Mom not to know her daddy.

Uniform 08.24.2014: Afflictions, Hardships, and Calamities

This has been a difficult few weeks in the news. This week, we might read Paul’s words to the Corinthians who face “afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger” (6:4-5) more as a summary of contemporary news than as a list of Christian trials.

Uniform 07.20.2014: Steadfast in Temptation

In our passage, Paul writes some of the most frequently misquoted words in the Bible. Has anyone ever told you that God won’t give you more than you can bear? If so, they probably said this when you were going through a really tough time.

Mending the Saints: Teaching That Helps Us Heal

If you polled your congregation about why Sunday school matters, would they agree that it does? Would specifics about class content rank high on their response list?
“I love studying those dietary laws in Leviticus.”
“Learning that the Corinthians had more problems than we do actually helped us.”