Archive by Author

Caution: Men at Work

Every so often I don the role of Embarrasem Keillor and tell the congregation a story such as the one below about the saints of a church named Sycamore located near Lake Woes-Be-Gone. When asked about how he sculpted his works, Michelangelo used to say that the sculpture was already hidden in the rock. He just removed the rest of the stone to release it. In a similar vein I do not write these stories. They write themselves. I simply remove the irrelevant details and unveil what is already here.If you have never been to Sycamore church on one of its Men’s Work Days, it is a bit hard to explain to you what you are missing. The best way I can describe it is to ask you to imagine a series of outtakes of a now-defunct PBS program called “This Old Church” that somehow got mixed up with scenes from a Laurel and Hardy movie. Often the ladies of the church come to the building after one of these work days expecting to see great improvements rendered to the building, only to have their hopes dashed upon entering. They wander around the church building bewildered, asking one another such […]

A College Course Option

When it comes to college education, perhaps you should not listen to me.

My oldest son is only a senior in high school, so I cannot yet claim to speak from family experience.
Those friends of mine who have children away at college or are involved in college ministry may not like my suggestion below.
If you are a college student already living away at college, you may consider the thoughts in this blog out-of-touch and shake your head in sympathy at this uncool, middle-aged guy who just doesn’t get it.

Nonetheless, I would like to suggest another option for college rather than the typical sending of an eighteen year-old off to university. Why not consider keeping your son or daughter home for at least another year or two and have them attend a local college? Please realize I am not condemning those who choose to send their high school graduate off to college the next fall. Rather, I’m offering another “course option” for doing college that I have been observing others doing with success. I have three reasons for suggesting this: giving additional time for maturity, avoiding huge costs and debt, and deepening the generational ties.

Additional time for maturity – My […]

Blogpology

Now look carefully at the title. This is not entitled blogology, which would be the study of the history of weblogs and their societal impact.

Neither is it blogistics, which would measure the statistics of weblog sites, such as the percentage of certain types of blogs, number of hits per day, etc.

No, this is a blogpology. This is where the blogger apologizes for the appalling lack of blogging he has done lately to anyone who might care.

A while back I promised to blog more frequently, and not always to make my blogs into articles. Yet I have not kept that promise, so for that I ask your patience and forgiveness. I was trying to get at least one out a week, and thought I was succeeding for a time. Yet when I made that claim recently, a blogging buddy of mine whose regularity and interesting blog I admire challenged me (before I dropped out of the blogosphere like a plane with engines failing), and he was right. I have not even kept that one per week pace. Oops – I have slipped into blogistics. Anyway, to him (you know who you are and with this hyperlink now so does everyone else!) […]

The Supper of the Lord

Recently a friend who attends our church asked me:

“Would you give me some scripture that supports the church’s decision to be so selective in who partakes in communion?…As you know, I attended a church were the sacraments were offered to anyone who wanted to partake.”

This is a great question. Should the Lord’s Supper be offered to anyone who wants to take it, or are there certain conditions that should be met before one is given the privilege to come? I thought others might be interested in the answer. Here’s a few of the things, slightly altered and edited for the blogworld, I shared with her…

We can read about Jesus first instituting the Lord’s Supper in Matthew 26:17-29 (it is also in the other gospels). To answer this question, we must recognize that this first communion took place at the time of the Passover (note verses 17-19). The Passover was the meal the Jews ate to commemorate God’s deliverance of them out of Egypt through the blood of the lamb. As you might recall, only those who had this blood on their doorpost were saved from the angel of death. In God’s plan, Jesus was put to death at this Passover […]

A Reminder to the Youth

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”-I John 2:15-17

When speaking a year ago to a youth conference regarding guarding against the world’s influence, numerous questions arose about how to know whether you should or should not watch a movie, buy a CD, or visit certain internet sites. Christians cannot simply apply stickers to certain movies or music that claim they are “God-approved.” However, certain Biblical principles such as the ten that follow can guide us into applying wisdom in making these decisions.

1. If it cannot bring glory to God, it will not bring joy to you. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31)2. If you cannot honor your parents by participating in it, it is […]

Media by Us

Almost every newspaper or news magazine likes to tout that they are unbias and objective in their reporting. Yet all of us, when retelling events we have witnessed or researched (which is at the heart of news reporting), shape the account for our readers or listeners by the way we report it. We cannot help doing so, for our hearts and minds, indeed our very being, are involved in the process of writing. We will always have “media bias” because media is done by us. One reason I appreciate World magazine is they honestly admit right up front the perspective they use in reporting the news.

I thought of this recently as I found myself being quoted in a local paper regarding our church’s struggle with the library board and what transpired at their last meeting (you can read the article here). In large measure, I appreciate the Kokomo Perspective for bringing this issue to the public’s attention as the library’s decision will affect not only our congregation but the entire community. I sense the columnist may be somewhat sympathetic to our plight. Where he quotes me, he is using the words I uttered.

However, the columnist’s own perspective cannot help but […]

Now You Know Why

Last post (see below) I explained how I suffer from Celiaism. I know how annoying people can be who insist on telling you about every ache and pain of their condition, but bear with me as I offer an anecdote from yesterday that will help you sympathize with me better.

Yesterday in our church service I had the privilege of baptizing a big bear of a man named Greg. As he testified to before the congregation, Greg was formerly a bouncer who loved to fight and was afraid of nothing, until God brought the fear of the Lord upon him and led him to where he heard the gospel. As I was about to apply the water to this man who must weigh 300 pounds or more, my wife said to Celia, “Look, Daddy is about to baptize Greg.” Celia, obviously thinking of the many babies she had seen baptized, looked up at her mom and asked, “How is Daddy going to hold him?”

I’ll try to refrain from now on saying anything more about my condition, but then again remember I can’t help it. It’s my Celiaism kicking in.

Celiaism

I thought I would use this blog site to announce that recently I have been diagnosed with a condition known as “Celiaism.” Perhaps I should have called each of you personally to break the news more gently, but then again if you have observed me lately you already knew. Celiaism is a disorder that takes an otherwise sane, healthy man in his early 40’s and renders him googly-eyed, weak-kneed and unable to say “no” without severe stuttering. They tell me it’s a genetic issue caused by being the father of an adorable, precocious, attention-grabbing three year-old girl who (ironically come to think of it) is named Celia. They also tell me remission can occur over time but usually only lasts until grandchildren arrive, where “Celiaism Relapse” is probable.

Anyway, as hard as I have tried to overcome my Celiaism, I struggle and fail. I pledged that I would treat all of my six children the same as I raised them, and I know they were all just as cute at this age. Yet there’s something about being over 40 and living in the same house with this chattering doll with curls that just makes it impossible to fight. So please don’t […]

The Axe Handle Applied

My last blog (see below) told the story of the missionary Boniface. He cut down the Oak of Thor in the Middle Ages to remove the superstitious idol from among the Germanic people to whom he was ministering. The theme of wood was used to tell the story, most obviously by the towering oak being reduced to a Christian chapel.

Yet the story was given the title “The Axe Handle” because it was also made of wood. This handle was what gave Boniface the leverage he needed to accomplish the task at hand. As the prophets showed (see Isaiah 44:9-20) wood can be used to fashion idols or to glorify the God who gave it to us to use. Boniface, like Elijah who built laid wood on a stone altar to challenge the false prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, or like Gideon who had to cut down the wooden idol Asherah in front of his father’s house before he could face the Midianites, had to challenge his generation’s veneration of an idol. By using a wooden-handled axe, he employed the very substance the people worshipped to bring down their idol and glorify the Lord.

Some thirteen hundred years since Boniface, perhaps […]

The Axe Handle

(At a college dinner the other night, I read the following story with the title above.)

With his boots crunching the fallen leaves beneath him, and the early morning mist beginning to fade as the sun rose, the missionary walked determinedly toward the crowd that had gathered in the opening of the woods. The people, having been summoned from the surrounding villages the day before, stepped aside into huddled groups, some hiding behind the forest trees. They grew silent as they looked in horror at the missionary, who with clenched jaw and furrowed brow did not meet their stares. Instead, like a soldier marching into war he peered straight ahead to the object of his concern, his right hand tightening around the thin wooden handle of the axe he carried. Before him like a tower stood the great Oak of Thor, the tree of the god of Thunder, which had been worshipped for decades by the ancestors of the people now standing beneath its huge outstretched branches. As the missionary reached the base of the tree, he kicked aside the offerings of food and the crude, handmade artifacts made by this generation’s worshippers. He turned to face the crowd, the axe […]