Monday, December 17, 2007

Still Feeling My Way

You know, this blogging this seems so cool. A chance to share thoughts and ideas. A chance for people to interact on different topics. What a neat opportunity.

Now if I only had time ...

In recent weeks, I have started following a variety of blogs that are done by pastors and laypeople alike. While these have been interesting to read, they also have made me feel a bit guilty. Some of these guys are blogging every day, in some cases several times a day. I just don't know if I have the mental energy or the time to do that! However, I do want to take advantage of this opportunity to share ideas and opinions and engage people on a variety of subjects. One of my goals for the new year is to begin to expand this blog and make it a more frequent and (hopefully) more engaging site for people to check out. In the meantime, if you are reading this, please remain patient!

Monday, December 10, 2007

1 1/2 Hour Friendships

I attended a seminar on Thursday dealing with spirituality and mental health. One of the interesting observations that the person leading the seminar made is that many churches that say they care for those who are disabled or dealing with mental illness are really caring for them only in the hour and a half that they are at church on Sundays. "The church must do more than provide 1 1/2 hour friendships."

I have been thinking about that ever since I left the seminar. Acts talks about how the early church shared all things in common. That is really about more than just sharing finances and possessions. That is a relationship that cares for people beyond just when they are gathered for worship. Of course, that kind of relationship gets messy because then you have people "all up in your business." At the same time, if those people are true Christian brothers and sisters, they are not being nosy or bossy, but they are pillars of encouragement and support and prayer.

How does a church move beyond being about the 1 1/2 hour friendship?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Online Advent Devotional

Once again, there is a very good online Advent devotional guide to help you keep Christ at the center of your Christmas holiday. "Following the Star" focuses in on the themes of Hope, Peace, Love, Joy, and Christmastide. The devotions went online yesterday and will take you all the way through January 6. Several folks have used these devotions in the last few years and found great meaning in them. You can find the devotions at Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Entering the iPod World

I celebrated my birthday this past weekend, and my parents surprised me by giving me an iPod for a present. I will admit to having been slow on the pickup when it comes to iPods, but let me just say: I love it! I have already signed up to receive a podcast of one my favorite talk shows each day that I can listen to whenever I want. I have begun to put some of my music on it. And it has games! Wow!

Just a couple of weeks, there was a story in the local newspaper about the use of technology by churches. The article touched on the idea of "podcasts" of sermons. I think this would be an interesting idea. I also think it would be good if there were devotional material out there available for download. If somebody is reading this and knows of some good stuff, please let me know!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Agony of Defeat and the Thrill of Victory

Did you see what happened in the Browns-Ravens game yesterday? Cleveland, down by 3, lined up for a 51 yard field goal attempt that would tie the game with no time left. The kicker kicked the ball and watched it bounce off the upright and seemingly off the crossbar back into the field of play. One official signalled "No good." Game over. The teams began walking out onto the field. The Cleveland coach was comforting the kicker. Some of the Ravens players went on into the locker room. The Baltimore radio announcers were celebrating an important Ravens victory. All the while, the officials huddled together talking. A few minutes later, the head referee announced that the officials had determined that the ball had bounced not off the cross bar but off the support behind the cross bar. Video replay actually confirmed this decision. The game was tied. The Browns went on to win the game in overtime.

Talk about life changing in a moment. The image I haven't been able to get out of mind is that of the Cleveland coach comforting the kicker who thought he had missed the kick. You can't take back comfort, even if it is not needed. I am sure that the kicker felt a lot better to learn he had actually made the kick. However, I'd like to think the coach's words and actions bridged the gap until things worked out. I wonder, how many times does God comfort us, knowing that He will ultimately work all things for the good (Romans 8:28)? It would be easy for God to just say, "Hey, don't worry, it will be alright." But those are not really words of comfort. God promises comfort, comfort that carries us through until we can see how he works for our good.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Lord Teach Us To Pray

I am really looking forward to prayer meeting tonight. Tonight I will be beginning a new theme for our Wednesday night services - "Lord, Teach Us to Pray." The theme comes from Luke 11:1 and the disciples' request of Jesus, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." One of the insights I got from my sabbatical was our need to conform our lives to Christ. Prayer is one of the greatest tools for this conformation, but sometimes we limit our understanding of what prayer is, how we pray, what we pray for, etc. My hope is that this new emphasis on Wednesday nights will be a time for all of us to sit at the feet of Jesus and have our view of prayer expanded in new directions.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Substitute for a Sacrifice

I found this really interesting passage this morning that got me thinking. The passage is Numbers 3:5-7, 11-13.

"Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Bring the tribe of Levi near, and set them before Aaron the priest, so that they may assist him. They shall perform duties for him and for the whole congregation in front of the tent of meeting, doing service at the tabernacle ... Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: I hereby accept the Levites from among the Israelites as substitutes for all the firstborn that open the womb among the Israelites. The Levites shall be mine, for all the firstborn are mine; when I killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I consecrated for my own all the firstborn in Israel, both human and animal; they shall be mine. I am the LORD."

What I am thinking: The tribe of Levi was set aside to be the priestly tribe. God also identifies them as a "substitute". For what? Rather than sacrificing the firstborn living creature, human and animal alike, God substituted the consecrated life of service of the priests. The priest was a substitute for sacrifice.

God desires service, not sacrifice. How often do I say, "Look what I have done for you, God", and how often do I say, "Look at what I have given up for you God." Is there a difference in the attitude that comes with each of these statements?

All this has gotten me thinking about my identity as a pastor. What am I a substitute for? Do I give my life in service to God and His people in order that others may know life and know it more abundantly?

Just a few questions rolling around my head today.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The End and The Beginning

Well, today is the last day of my sabbatical, and it has truly been one of the greatest blessings of my ministry. I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to have this kind of time for professional and personal development. While there is a part of me that is sad to see it end, I am really looking forward to getting back to the church!

As I return, I have decided that I am going to continue to maintain this blog, using it as a place to continue to share experiences and insights. I have also turned on the "Comments" feature of the blog, which allows people to respond to what they read. I look forward to this interaction! I know there are some pastors who put blog entries in just about every day. Don't know if that will be me (certainly hasn't been to this point) but I do plan on contributing on a regular basis.

God bless!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

November 4 - Boldness

I spent all morning yesterday working on my sermon for my first Sunday back. In keeping with the idea of "Living as a Regular Christian," I am examining the idea of boldness. This emerged out of my study of Acts 3-4:31. I was drawn to this text initially by the observation of the Sanhedrin that Peter and John were "ordinary men". Yet again and again in the text we hear of their boldness, and that boldness makes a huge impact. Why were they bold? How did their boldness translate into a witness? What challenges our boldness? What gives us confidence in the name of Christ? These are a few of the questions that emerged out of my wrestling with the text. During these last two months, there have been several points where I have encountered some of these same questions.

I have been rereading a textbook of mine from seminary, "The Witness of Preaching" by Thomas Long. In his book, Long encourages pastors to develop a focus statement and a function statement for their sermons to insure that there is unity and coherence in their sermon. Here are the focus and function statements that I came up with for this sermon.

Focus: The early believers were confident in the power of the resurrected Lord, and thus were able to be an effective witness.

Function: Establish a foundation of confidence in the name of Christ from which we can together move forward.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Some of My Notes

One of the greatest things that has come out of this sabbatical has been the time for study and the insights I have gotten out of that. I thought I would share some of my study notes from the last couple of months. Some of these ideas I will be developing into my first two sermons in November.

Time is not the encumberance. It is space that encumbers time. When we say, “There is not enough time”, it is usually a complaint about the things to do, not the time itself. Interesting, then, that honoring Sabbath becomes the time to refrain from “our own interests” – those things which we give that time to. Do we operate from a Psalm 96 mindset or a mindset that the world will come to an end?

The word I keep seeing is “faith”. My personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ is important for me because it has implications not only for my soul but for my physical body, mental health and emotional stability. It also defines my professional identity and responsibility. “The Jesus in me loves the Jesus in you.” I must know the Jesus in me in order to help others find (and for me to find) the Jesus in them. I must be willing to stand out of the way and let Jesus be lifted up. This happens only when I am strong in the Jesus in me through the presence of His Holy Spirit and allow that to guide my thoughts and deeds. Rest from work becomes setting free the Jesus in me.

I keep hearing the idea of changing attitude. We so often do not want to let go of the pleasures of the flesh. However, it is the stubbornness that ultimately keeps us at a distance from God. In order to let go, we must begin by reorienting our heart and mind to Christ. Once the attitude is dealt with, once the soul is in line with Christ, it will want the rest of us to join with it. Committing to a Sabbath time and honoring it as one honors a marriage can reorient our attitude by establishing that there is nothing more important than our time with God.

The church gives me the time and the task to enter into Scripture on their behalf and bring back a word of truth. This is not just about speaking to culturally relevant issues; this is about helping people find the power of God today and the promise of God for tomorrow. That I get to be involved in this work is indeed an honor, and one I should not take lightly. I must also remember that I operate on behalf of God as well as the church. “Response” is not the end – response may happen much later. Help people hear the truth of God, and God’s Holy Spirit will do the work that brings a response.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Some of My Thoughts

As my sabbatical begins to draw to a close, there are several thoughts that I have been developing that I thought I would share.

One of the things I have observed in other churches I have visited and checked out on the web is that a lot of pastors are "preaching in blocks": allowing a theme to guide several weeks of preaching. I kind of thought this was a good idea and have been doing some work along those lines. Already a couple of ideas have emerged. When I come back, I have been asked to talk about my sabbatical experience. I am going to do this in a series of sermons (don't yet know exactly how many) entitled "Life as a Regular Christian". I have been working a lot this week on an idea inspired by an article in "Reformed Worship". The series is for Advent, and I think I will call it "The Family of God". It will look at some of the people listed in Jesus' geneology in Matthew 1. By studying these members of Jesus' family, maybe we can find our own place in His family. There are a couple of other ideas that are still in the early phases.

Another idea that was inspired in me just this morning had to do with prayer meeting on Wednesday nights. I wonder if prayer meeting should become more about just that: prayer. Learning to pray. Praying for one another, our community, our world. Praying to talk to and listen to God. Praying in awe and wonder of our Creator. I enjoy doing the Bible studies on Wednesday nights, but maybe there needs to be more time spent in conversation with God. I don't know, but I would like to talk about it.

One of the big things, as I mentioned before I left, is the use of my time. One of the things I have come to realize is that part of the "burnout" that I was fighting against before I left came from the fact that there were too many occasions over the last few years where I was spending too much time doing things that were not what God called me to do. I want to serve God and serve the church and be an instrument through which God can make a difference in a person's life. In order to accomplish these things, I have begun to think about how I can best use the time and space God has given to me. People may notice some changes when I get back (at least I hope they do!) and I hope these changes will help me be who God has called me to be.

Someone may be reading this and asking: "What kind of changes?" Well, some of the changes I have been thinking about include:
1) Spending some more time with folks one-on-one, outside of the church.
2) Letting my office become more of a study, a place where I can prepare and pray. Dave Baker once gave me an article that talked about how the pastor's office should be a "garden" into which the pastor can enter to meet and talk to God. That's kind of what I am thinking.
3) Responding to issues and crises from a kingdom perspective. Asking the question, "What here is important from the perspective of God's kingdom and His call?"

I hope that I can engage with the church about these and other changes so that we can all discern what it is that God intends for each of us. I am really looking forward to coming back!

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Very Tiny Slug

I thought I would share this story that Justin wrote this past week. When Amy read it, she pointed out to him that it reminded her of the story of the Good Samaritan. So we sat down together and read the Good Samaritan story as a family and talked about its meaning for us today. What a neat opportunity.

"The Very Tiny Slug"
Once upon a time in a far off land lived a very tiny slug. He had no friends because nobody liked him. Everyone said, "You're too tiny for us. We want someone our own size." Later one day another slug was crawling and he saw the other slug sitting very sadly. The slug came up to him and asked, "Why are you so sad?" asked the slug. "I have no friends," he said. "I'll be your friend," said the other slug. "Thank you," said the slug. And they lived happily every after.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Learning to Fly

Amy and I got away this past weekend for some much-needed time for just the two of us. We went to the Outer Banks of NC. While we were there, we visited the Wright Brothers' Memorial at Kitty Hawk. This was my first trip to the memorial, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. A couple of observations that I left with:

1) In recent weeks, I have found myself watching birds flying the air. I am enamored with this ability - the ability of flight. It probably goes back to my childhood fascination with comic books and super heroes. Anyway, I commented to Amy when we left the exhibit at Kitty Hawk how our experience of flying is so totally different from what the Wright Brothers experienced. When we get on a plane, there is little difference between riding on a plane and riding on a bus or a train (yes, except for a few thousand feet of elevation). Orvill and Wilbur, however, experienced flight out in the open elements. I am certainly thankful for progress, but there is a part of me that would love to have experienced flight as the Wrights did.

2) The Wright Brothers did not enjoy success until they proved wrong two commonly held assumptions about design. Only then were they able to get off the ground. As I read about that, I found myself saying, "There is a sermon in that somewhere." Still don't entirely know where it is yet, but the hypothesis I am working on at this point is as follows: Sometimes it is what we take for granted that keeps us from reaching the heights God has in store for us.

3) Do you know how long man's first flight lasted? 12 seconds, travelling 120 feet into a 35mph headwind. When I saw the markers, my first thought was, "Wow, that is not so impressive." However, as we began to walk along their flightpath, taking in the immensity of meaning and achievement of that 120 feet, I realized that the first 40 yards gave them the courage to try again - and go a little farther. Their fourth flight - 59 seconds, about 800 feet. Mankind kept going from there.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Poem - "Out of the Wind"

My skin tingles at the breath of God
I breathe deeply, and my inner body becomes cool.
I shiver.

I can feel the hair on my legs.
God's breath carries the sounds of a far off land.
I rest.

God's breath stops, has it left?
No, there is a slight sensation of movement.
I am happy.

Breathe on me, breath of God.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A New Experience

Yesterday was a first for me. I was invited to preach the sermon at the Sunday morning worship service at Iglesia de la Comunidad, a Hispanic Baptist church in Burlington. It was a first in the sense of it was the first time I ever preached with a translator. This experience brought a whole new process of thought to sermon preparation and to sermon delivery that I am not sure I ever got completely comfortable with. However, the congregation was very gracious and patient, and I hope that maybe some of my words are able to be used.

At the close of the service, the church celebrated communion. This was the first time in the 1+ year history of the church that they celebrated communion. They asked us if we had any music that they could play in the CD player while communion was served. Amy went out to the car and the only thing she could find was a CD with Chris Tomlin's "Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone" on it. They started the CD while the bread and cup were being passed out. We ate the bread, and then the minister instructed us to drink the cup. As the juice touched our lips, these were the words coming through on the CD player.

"My chains are gone,
I've been set free.
My God, my Savior has ransomed me.
And like a flood,
His mercy rains
Unending love, amazing grace."

After all had partaken of communion, we took time to go around and share the love of Christ with one another. Complete strangers came and hugged me and Amy and shared a blessing with us. People really acted like they had been set free.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Take Me With You

I just got back today from one of the most unique and powerful experiences of my life. I have been at a 3-day spiritual retreat for pastors sponsored by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. What made this retreat unique was that much of the time was spent in silence. That may sound a bit odd - it did to me at first - but it was unbelievable some of what happened in the silence.

The point of the retreat was to equip pastors to nurture their souls and to provide resources for personal spiritual formation. One of the disciplines that I made use of in the last 3 days was walking a labyrinth. A labyrinth is not a maze - you cannot get lost in a labyrinth, for there is only 1 way in and out. I was not really sure what I was supposed to do, but as I began my journey into the center, I found my thoughts drifting to every worry, anxiety, self-doubt, and sin that was weighing on me. I prayed for each of these as I journeyed closer and closer to the center. When I reached the center, there was a tile cross in the concrete. I stood there and focused on the cross for a moment. I began to leave when I felt a voice within me saying, "Stay a while." I sat there on that cross for sometime, silently meditating on Jesus Christ until a peace came over me. When I got up to leave a second time, another sentence came to my soul. "Take me with you." I do not know if this was God's word to me, or my words to God. As I travelled out of the labyrinth, I found myself repeating that phrase again and again. The burdens I came into the center with were not forgotten; instead, I indeed felt a sense of real rest.

For the last several days, I have kept that phrase with me. "Take me with you." I do not know if it even has just one meaning, and I continue to look for understanding in all that God is working in me through these words.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

When the Happiest Place on Earth Turns Sad

My family and I just finished a week long vacation in Walt Disney World, the "happiest place on earth". We took a Disney bus to and from the airport. On the day we left, the lady driving our bus was in the midst of her third day on the job. She was having some typical growing pains, but was pleasant and clearly doing her best. When we arrived at the airport, she got off the bus and said that we should remain in the bus until she unloaded our bags so that we did not have to stand in the hot and smelly bus parking lot but could stay in the air-conditioned bus. I imagine there was also a safety question - you couldn't have 50 people standing around waiting for their luggage, running the risk of being hit by any one of the numerous buses constantly pulling in and out. She went on to, by herself, pull people's bags out of the bus and put them out where we could get them. Inside the bus, after a couple of minutes, people began to get agitated that they were having to stay on the bus and wait. They wanted to go. One guy said, "This lady better get used to dealing with unruly travellers." We proceeded up to the front of the bus to try to figure out how to open the door. It hadn't even been 5 minutes yet! Amy and I tried to occasionally speak up on the bus driver's behalf, but most of the folks didn't want to hear it. They didn't want to wait.

Disney is renowned for its customer service and doing everything it can to make its guests feel like a prince or princess. However, I think yesterday I saw the dark side of that. When people have been treated like royalty, they start to feel like everything should be the way they want it the moment they want it. Here was a lady doing everything she could to take care of her passengers, and people were complaining that they were having to wait for a couple of minutes.

I wonder if this is what life is like for God. He has said that we are a royal priesthood, a holy nation. He has made us a little less than the angels, treated us like royalty. However, I wonder if we allow our royalty to make us lethargic, complacent, even spoiled. We complain because God doesn't do something exactly the way we want Him to do it or when we want Him to do it. All the while, God is there working away, thinking of our best interest and serving us, giving us what we need.

While I sat on the bus listening to people all around me complain about our bus driver, out my window I could see this woman, pulling yet another suitcase out of the bus. And I felt a little sad that no one else seemed to see her effort.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Happy Birthday

Today I had a unique opportunity. I had a chance to participate in a worship service celebrating the 100th anniversary of a church, Melrose Baptist Church in particular. I had served as the Youth & Children's Minister there for 4 years. For the anniversary service, they invited me to do the Children's Sermon. However, I got a pleasant surprise - the planning committee had invited all those who were children while I was on staff to come forward as well. What a blessing to see familiar faces! I just about cried when I saw these old friends. Today truly has been blessing!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Good Read

Several years ago, I bought a copy of C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce. I bought knowing pretty much nothing about the book except 1) I really like C.S. Lewis and 2) it was pretty cheap. In sat on my book shelf for the last few years unread. Finally, on Monday, I pulled it out of my stack and started reading it. I wish I had read it when I first bought it.

In a relatively short story, Lewis narrates the story of a man who dreams about Hell and Heaven. In his dream, the man comes to the realization that those who desire Heaven cannot try to hold onto a little bit of Hell. They must truly seek first the kingdom of God. If this is what they truly seek, then they shall indeed truly find.

I am glad I read this book, even if I am a couple of years overdue.

Monday, September 10, 2007


While accomplishing some household tasks mixed with personal worship, my cell phone rang. I opted not to answer, figuring whoever was calling would either leave me a voice mail or call back. They left me a voice mail. I know this because for the next 20 minutes, my phone sat there and beeped. I mean beeped. A loud, annoying beep about every 2 minutes. By the time I went to the phone, I was more concerned with getting the beeps to stop than with actually hearing the message the person had left for me.

During my work (and the beeping), I was listening to the song "Offering". It talks about our ability to come to the throne of God with an offering of praise because of the love of Jesus revealed in his shed blood and abundant mercy. It is amazing to me to consider that God could choose loud, overbearing, unmissable ways to get our attention. Yet instead, God speaks in still small voices and sheer silence. He takes on regular human flesh and bleeds regular human blood rather than putting on a Superman cape or appearing in a divine fireworks display.

I think sometimes it is the things in my life that beep the loudest that turn out to be the greatest distractions to the One who truly needs my attention.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


I was watching the end of the UNC-ECU football game last night. The score was tied with 2 seconds to play. ECU had a chance to kick a game-winning 37 yard field goal. Their kicker came out on the field, and you had to feel for this kid. He had already missed three field goals on the night from shorter distances. At least two of them were misses late in the game that would have already had his team in the lead. On the last miss, he came off the field with his head down. All his teammates and coaches were doing everything they could to encourage this young man. Before he walked out on the field for this last kick, his coach pulled him over and talked to him face to face. His coach was smiling.

The teams lined up. The snap. The hold. The kick.

It was good.

The young kicker whose head had been hanging down in embarassment and shame now was mobbed by his teammates as the hero.

Scripture says that when even one is saved, the angels in heaven celebrate.

I think, in watching that kicker, I saw a picture of what redemption looks like.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Leviticus and Doctors

Yesterday I attended a seminar at Duke on the connection between spirituality and health. During the seminar, the speaker talked about how a project his group was involved with where they were equipping oncologists with a series of questions to ask their patients about what spiritual resources they were using in dealing with their cancer and were these resources a help or a hindrance to them. As I listened to him talk about the success of the program, I have to admit that I experienced a little professional slight. I found myself thinking, "Isn't that the realm of the minister or chaplain? Does a doctor have adequate training and knowledge to deal with such issues?"

This morning, during my quiet time, my passage for today was Leviticus 13-14. In the passage, it talks about leprosy. When a member of the Israelites was believed to be developing a skin disease, they would come to the priest and the priest would determine whether or not this skin ailment was leprosy or not. If it was leprosy, then the person was pronounced unclean. If it was not leprosy, the priest prescribed a series of actions for the person until the ailment went away. If a leper became clean, there was a ritual for welcoming the person back into the community.

As I read these words, it struck me - the priest was not only acting as religious leader, but as medical personnel as well! It struck me then that this idea of a connection between spirituality and health is not something new, and I should welcome the fact that a doctor is asking a patient questions about their spirituality. The doctor, just as the priest, should be concerned about the total well-being of the person and the community.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


"And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it." - Genesis 4:7b

"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." - 1 Timothy 6:10-11

I was outside having my quiet time this morning when I noticed a spider crawling on the table next to me. I am not an expert on insects, but I did recognize that this was a spider that could cause me harm. Since it was on the table next to me, and not on my chair, I tried to continue to focus on my devotional reading, which was focused on the meaning of salvation. However, I kept shifting my attention to that spider, keeping an eye on its movements. At one point, I thought I should get up and kill it, but decided to take the pacifist approach, telling myself that it was not near me and therefore not a danger. However, my eye kept drifting back to it. Finally, the spider fell of the table and crawled over to my chair. At that point, I finally got up and stepped on the spider.

When I sat back down, these two verses came to my head. Here I was, reading a devotion about the meaning of salvation and being set free from sin, and my eye continued to drift towards that which I perceived as a threat. However, I did nothing about it until the threat seemed close enough to hurt me. But what about the mere distraction of knowing it was there?

Perhaps that is the best way to understand Paul's call to flee from sin. It is not just to keep us from engaging in a sinful act, but to remove the distraction that sin can have when it is close enough to tempt us.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

As The World Turns

Has someone ever said to you, in a moment of great stress, not to worry because "the world won't come to an end"? I know that to be true, but there are times that I know I keep myself moving on the fast track because I think that if I stop or slow down, it will be the end of the world, or at least a part of it that I don't want to disrupt. That is why I find these two Scriptures so interesting:

"If you refrain from trampling the sabbath, from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call the sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable, if you honor it, not going your own ways, serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs; then you shall take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth ..." - Isaiah 58:13-14

"The world is firmly established; it shall not be moved." - Psalm 96:10

The world really will keep turning, even if we stop to rest and delight in God.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Marketplace

Yesterday I went to the Organization Fair at Elon University as a representative of our church. I guess it was my final responsibility before beginning my sabbatical. I handed out water bottles to students between the church handing out cake and the church handing out ice cream. We all were hoping a student would stop and talk to us and ask about our church. At one point late in the afternoon, the image flashed through my head of Jesus chasing the merchants out of the Temple. "This is a house of worship, but you have turned it into a den of thieves." Still haven't totally worked that image out of my head. My initial thought: Christianity is about sharing Christ, not selling church.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Why "In A Moment"?

The name "In a Moment" comes from 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, when the apostle Paul writes of the resurrection, "... we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, ...". My hope is that this will be a place where I can chronicle some of the moments of change, renewal, and inspiration that I hope to encounter in the coming months of my sabbatical. Think of it as kind of a travel log. I hope that you will gain something from reading my thoughts in this space, because I certainly hope to gain something in my sharing the thoughts themselves. God's blessings and peace upon you!