Jesus’s Terrifying Liberation

Jesus’s Terrifying Liberation

He is known as Mr. Green Man. Horribly disfigured in an electrical accident (or a lightning strike, according to some versions), this man with eerily-glowing green skin was said to wander the roads at night and chase anyone he came across. Teenagers looking for a good scare still head out to the area at night hoping to catch a glimpse of the Green Man, but they won’t find him. He passed away in 1985. But he wasn’t a crazed lunatic or ghostly apparition. His name was Raymond Robinson.

Real Peace

Real Peace

Imagine that you have committed a crime, but so far, the authorities have not caught onto you. But to escape detection, you need to move around a lot. You create false identities. You use aliases. You are always looking over your shoulder. You have no peace with the law, and the law has a rap sheet as long as your arm against you. But then, magically, it all goes away. Perhaps the evidence room is destroyed in a fire. Whatever. Just imagine that something’s happened, and now you don’t need to run anymore. You don’t need to worry about getting caught. How good would that feel?

God Talk

God Talk

According to a recent Barna survey, more than three-quarters of Americans do not often have spiritual or religious conversations. A meager 7 percent of Americans say that they talk about spiritual matters regularly. But here’s the real shocker: Practicing Christians who attend church regularly don’t do much better than the general population. Only 13 percent of these people have a spiritual conversation about once a week.

How often do you talk about God?

Disruptive Information

Disruptive Information

My mother-in-law was a bad diabetic. She always had a large glass of water by her side. I remember her saying, “If they ever bottle this stuff, they will make a fortune.” If she had only lived to see it.

Telling Our Stories

Telling Our Stories

Christians are made, not born. The Christian faith is so odd, so against our natural inclinations, that Christianity can never be a matter of natural development. It is not innate. None of us is born Christian.

The Bigger Picture

The Bigger Picture

Unfortunately, some of the biggest walls we will ever experience are the religious ones. In my efforts at evangelism, in reaching out to the world in the name of Jesus (though it pains me to say this), the greatest impediment to reaching the world and making disciples for Christ has been us, the church.

Writing Our Own Eulogy

Writing Our Own Eulogy

It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away. Everyone told me it would happen one day but that’s simply not something I wanted to hear, much less experience. Once again, I didn’t get things my way!

Do I What?

Do I What?

This post-resurrection, rehabilitation breakfast becomes uncomfortable as the dishes are cleared. The joy of the record catch is over. Calling Peter to one side, Jesus shows he’s intent on grilling more than just the fish they’ve hauled to shore. “Do you love me?”

Lead Me to the Cross: The Road to Easter

Lead Me to the Cross: The Road to Easter

This Sunday, the Chancel Choir and Leap of Faith join forces under the direction of Matt McTeague to bring you a contemporary Easter cantata featuring a blend of new and familiar songs that draw us closer to the passionate love of Jesus. Expressive arrangements by David T. Clydesdale bring a fresh perspective to the Easter story, and narration from Deborah Craig-Claar weaves together the perspectives of Mary, Thomas, and Cleopas to tell of Christ’s great sacrifice.

The Gospel According to Verbs

The Gospel According to Verbs

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is active. If you have not yet realized that fact, then I'd like you to see it this Easter morning. We get some measure of how action-packed the Gospel texts are by the preponderance of verbs.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

Even the stones would shout
They’d cry your name aloud
Every bush, every tree
All the water in the sea

Even the rocks would sing
The coming of the King
Every brick in the wall
Would answer the call
Of the Savior who claims
All our fear and our doubt

Even the stones cry out
Even the stones cry out

That Old-Time Religion?

That Old-Time Religion?

Suddenly, a restless teenager stood up and shouted, “You can keep your old-time religion! It‘s boring! It all happened hundreds of years ago. So what? How does God bringing our great-great-how-many-times-great-grandparents out of Egypt do us any good now?”

The Unhelp of the Lord

The Unhelp of the Lord

Steve, I don’t believe that God wants me to have cancer, but what I have come to believe during these days is that God can’t do anything about it.

By God’s Grace, There’s Still Time

By God’s Grace, There’s Still Time

Churches have a tough time attracting young adults—they have so many other, more interesting things to do. In our conference we are closing several churches a year. I say that we are closing these churches, but actually, we are not able to close any church. For a good, long while, churches choose to receive hospice care, and sadly, that is all they seem to want. They think it is better than initiating any kind of change. And then we just become morticians. These churches eventually die. We didn’t kill them. They just die.

Jesus Weeps for Us

Jesus Weeps for Us

There is sacredness in tears.
They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.
They speak more eloquently then ten thousand tongues.
They are messengers of overwhelming grief, and unspeakable love.
– Washington Irving

The Problem with Promises

The Problem with Promises

Someone asked on Quora, “As a doctor, what should you never promise to a patient?” The answer came from an M.D. who has worked in an emergency room. He said a doctor should never say, “Everything is going to be fine.” He added, “I was told this in medical school, but for some reason I had to keep relearning this fact over and over again throughout my early career. You can say, ‘We are going to do everything we can.’ You can even say, ‘I think things are going to be fine.’ Just, never, ever promise that everything is going to be fine.”

Did the Transfiguration Change Anything?

Did the Transfiguration Change Anything?

I realize that many people in the United Methodist portion of the body of Christ are weeping tonight. Weeping because they no longer know what their place is in the church. Weeping because they feel isolated, excluded, abandoned, even demonized. Weeping because they believe that Jesus is walking with them but that his church isn’t.

Visiting Death Café

Visiting Death Café

Death Cafés are basically discussion groups, and they can be virtually any size and structure. About all that unites them is the presence of people, tea, and cake. Why would someone go to a Death Café?

The Purpose of a Sermon

The Purpose of a Sermon

Have you ever left church filled with rage because of what the preacher preached? Have you ever wanted to kill the preacher?

That’s rhetorical. I really don’t want to know the answer to that question.