May 21 — A Day of Grief Shared Between My Family and John and Maggie Dobbs

May 21, 2016

May 21, 2001 and May 21, 2008 have something in common, and I remember that today, May 21, 2016. Those are the days on which our children died–my son Joshua and John & Maggy Dobbs’ son John Robert. The memories are painful and today we will each remember, commemorate, and reflect. I pray for peace […]


“Say Among the Nations” (Psalm 96:10)

May 16, 2016

It is rather distressing to see Christians wringing their hands over the state of the nation. Facebook is populated by “Christian rants,” which reflect a state of anxiety, anger, and angst. Many live in fear. Believers, however, worship God. Perhaps the contrast is not apparent. Perhaps Christians are so filled with fear, it is difficult […]


A Call to Worship in a Day of Fear (Psalm 33)

May 11, 2016

Psalm 33, a hymn of praise, expresses hope and joy in a time of fear. Israel’s circumstances, whatever their precise character, generated a deep need for God’s help and protection (“shield”) in the face of death and famine (Psalm 33:19-20). This fear was possibly occasioned by the threat of war or battle (Psalm 33:16-17). Given […]


Four Means of Grace (Acts 2:42)

April 23, 2016

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Acts 2:42, NRSV. “Our greatest trouble now is, it seems to me, a vast unconverted membership. A very large percent of the church members among us seem to have very poor conception of what a Christian ought […]


What Does it Mean to Eat “Unworthily”? (1 Corinthians 11:29)

April 22, 2016

What does it mean to eat and drink “worthily”? The church has variously interpreted the term “worthily.” A primary misunderstanding has been to read the term as an adjective rather than an adverb. Some believe they must be “worthy” to approach the supper, that is, they must have lived a pure, exemplary life before coming […]


I am Peter (John 21:15-19)

April 17, 2016

[Listen to the sermon here, from April 17, 2016] Shame. Guilt. Grief. I know those feelings. I’ve been overwhelmed by them at times. They have felt like a ton of bricks on my chest, and I couldn’t breathe. I’m feeling them now. Sitting with Jesus on the beach, eating the fish he grilled and the […]


Resurrection Sunday: The Emmaus Experience (Luke 24:35)

March 27, 2016

On Resurrection Day, almost two thousand years ago, two disciples were transformed by their experience of the risen Messiah at a table in Emmaus. While walking to Emmaus, they heard the story of a Messiah who must first suffer and then enter glory. The stranger who walked with them expounded Scripture, and their hearts burned […]


Easter Morning: From Joshua’s Grave to Joyous Assembly

March 27, 2016

This Easter, before assembling with other believers, I visited Joshua’s grave. For me visiting graves has rarely been comforting. In fact, it is the opposite. The graveyard seemed too permanent. It contained too many granite stones which testified to both the pervasiveness and intransigence of death. I have found in recent years visiting graves is good […]


Holy Saturday–Sitting By the Grave

March 26, 2016

Good Friday, and then Easter. But a day is missing in that story. To move from Friday to Sunday we must walk through Saturday. Saturday, however, is a lonely day. Death has won. Hope is lost. Jesus of Nazareth lies in a tomb. His disciples are afraid, hiding, and deeply depressed. Everything in which they […]


“I Thirst” (John 19:38)

March 26, 2016

Brief words often speak volumes. They say so much, and no other words are needed. “I thirst” is exactly that. While, at first, we may think this is primarily about physical thirst—and we should not discount that dimension, the words are more about the situation in which Jesus finds himself. “I thirst” is the cry […]