It’s That Simple

The thief on the cross did not get baptized, either in water or the Holy Spirit and he didn’t go through a series of classes to be included among the chosen few who were members of the congregation. He didn’t even say, “I’m a sinner, please save me”. All he said was, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom,” and Jesus’ response was, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” Nothing more than that. Jesus wasn’t looking at the criminal hanging on the cross, ragged and bloodied and filthy; he was looking the seed of faith in the heart of a lost soul. All too often churches, and Christians in general, focus more on the outward appearance and position of people in their midst rather than at the heart of a sinner in need of mercy and grace. We are all sinners and we all need Jesus. It’s that simple….

Frozen Moments

it usually takes something or someone from outside of the space you’re experiencing to bring you back to reality. It can be a pat on the back or an embrace from someone near or maybe a little more obscure like the changing of a song on the radio or a pebble stuck in your shoe. Whatever the case, something from ‘out there’ invades your moment and it is gone. Our wedding was just such a moment for my wife and I and that first kiss lead to cheers from those around us drawing us back. Holding each my kids for the first time also stopped time for me as I walked them down to the hospital hallway in my arms. Each time it was the nurse in front of me turning around and taking my newborn daughter and son. When my dad died, this frozen moment lasted for a few weeks before I heard a teacher in school talking to another teacher about how this 12 year old was dealing with his dad’s death…

Our Flag

Growing up on a farm out in the middle of nowhere in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the 1970’s and 80’s provided little access to the world. We were twenty miles from the nearest hospital in one direction and twenty miles from the nearest ‘big town’ of Houghton in […]

The Reason We Left

There come times in each of our lives when the place we’re in has become so toxic to our survival that the only choice available is the one that is often most difficult to make – the choice to leave. To tuck tail and run as far away as you can and let the pieces fall where they may. It is a heartbreaking place to be and a tough call to make but in that moment, it is the only choice. Several years ago I was a young pastor serving as best as I knew how in a place that I had always and will always call home. My wife and I had been married for six years and had a four year old and two year old at home. I had been a pastor for a year and a half but been ‘in ministry’ for nearly eight years prior at this same church in this same town that I consider home. Upper Michigan, the Keweenaw Peninsula in particular, is never very far from my thoughts…

The Numbers Game

I’ve sat in many churches and even served in a few. I have been the one sitting in the back row not wanting to be seen but longing to be noticed, and the one behind the microphone unable to hide but desperately not wanting to be judged. Both […]

Our Table

I have argued at a table and found common ground. I have belly-laughed to tears and then through those tears laughed even more. Other tears around a table have not been so pleasant but brought on by pain and heartache, fear and regret. I have made grand plans around a table and then wondered at mediocre success. I have joined hands in prayer, watched as Bibles were opened, then been amazed by a gracious God as he opens each one’s eyes to truth we had not seen before…

A Christian Multitool

How do we do it? I mean, especially for those of us who have a deep-seated need to please and in turn be accepted, how do we reconcile who we really are? Do we really even have a true self or are we just playing a role depending on the situation or circumstance? I have, (and I would guess most of you have as well), found that there is an identity that I have…something that I call ‘me’…that few people ever really see. It is made up of the thoughts and emotions that are always swirling but never spoken; the excitement that is held back; the sorrow that is boxed up; and the dreams that are shelved for another time…

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