ANSWERS OR INTIMACY?

Many of us begin our walk of faith thinking that the Bible is a book of answers but really it is a book of questions. Some people are in church not because they are looking for God but because they are looking for answers. I smile at church billboards proclaiming “We Have the Answers.” As…


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Mystics, Clowns, and Artists

How much do you use your imagination in your faith walk with Jesus? I have pondered these words of Malcolm Muggeridge for years: Only mystics, clowns, and artists, in my experience, speak the truth, which as poet and mystic William Blake keeps insisting is perceptible to the imagination rather than the mind. Our knowledge of…


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DIRTY FEET

Have you ever participated in a foot washing service? For me the service is both uncomfortable and wonderful at the same time. I think I share the uneasiness that the disciples must have felt when the Son of God knelt before them. Why on earth would Jesus do such a thing? Foot washing was the…


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Responding Well In 2016

Chuck Swindoll is right. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it. As a parent who has buried a child, I am deeply moved by the way Rick and Kay Warren are responding to their son’s death. The first sermon Rick Warren preached after Matthew’s suicide he called, “How…


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Thanksgiving vs. Hopelessness

John Claypool has been a tremendous influence on my life both as a pastor and as a father who has buried one of his children. Claypool modeled for me resilience in facing the unimaginable pain of lowering a child into the grave. We indeed became fellow strugglers. Laura Lou, Claypool’s daughter, died at the age…


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God Is Good (All The Time)

I have been preaching for years that our good God is telling a good story with a good ending. I will go to my grave believing this. Jesus’ whole life was a life lived with childlike trust in his Father’s goodness. You cannot have an intimate walk with God unless you believe God is good….


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Sowing Seeds

Two of our dear friends (Dale and Lueretta Shook) are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this week. They were members of our very first pastorate, Beaver Creek Baptist Church, in Spruce Pine, NC. I went there as pastor when I was in my senior year at Mars Hill University. Beaver Creek prepared me for a…


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Delicious Ambiguity

Years ago I bought a book by Gilda Radner called, IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING. If you remember, Gilda Radner was an original cast member of Saturday Night Live. She begins her book this way: I started out to write a different book about my life as a homemaker. I wanted to tell you about my experiences with…


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Trusting God’s Good Story

M. Night Shyamalan’s movie, SIGNS, was on TV the other night and I found myself re-entering a story I had seen years ago. It’s about an Episcopal priest who lives with his two children and his brother in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania. When his wife dies tragically, the priest asks people to no longer call…


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Dealing With Our Low Moods

Feelings or moods can be slight or extreme and, in either case, we are never in one place emotionally for too long. When we are in a high mood, life looks good, doesn’t it? When we are emotionally high, things don’t feel so hard, we don’t take things too seriously, problems seem less difficult, and…


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