The Greatest Temptations

Every year, different groups collate the most popular things that people give up during Lent, based on surveys or social media mentions. The whole tradition of giving something up for Lent, as you may know, comes from our New Testament story this morning, where Jesus fasted for forty days in the wilderness. And while individual […]

Continue reading

Get Your Shine On

Are you a beach person or a mountain person? That’s one of the great divisions in our society today; perhaps not quite as bitter or deep a division as cat people vs. dog people, but real all the same. But I’m going to take a bold stand here today and declare that I think you […]

Continue reading

For Good Measure

“What religion are you?” the driver asked. Even in the best of circumstances, that’s a pretty loaded question, and usually means something unpleasant is coming behind it. But this time, it was being asked of my wife, Tammy, by the driver of the bush taxi she was sitting next to as we sped along the […]

Continue reading

Amazing Grace

If you had told me six weeks ago that one of the biggest television shows of 2019 was going to be about people cleaning their houses, I would have laughed at you. Not a home makeover show, where people have an old or rundown or just painfully unstylish home and a team of experts comes […]

Continue reading

The Downside of Love

Believe it or not, nobody is getting married this morning. I understand if you were confused, though. First Corinthians 13 is the classic, “go-to” Scripture lesson for weddings, even for people who otherwise have little or nothing to do with the Christian faith. Years ago I was meeting with a couple who was trying to […]

Continue reading

In the Deep End

I think I was around four years old when I first ventured into the deep end of the pool, which seems a little young looking back on it. I was taking swim lessons at the local YMCA, and I had discovered some natural ability for swimming. I picked up the basic mechanics of swimming pretty […]

Continue reading

The Threat of Christmas

There’s Easter candy in the stores now. Not just Valentine’s Day candy; that is actually just a little over a month away, so that doesn’t surprise me. But Easter candy? Apparently so. A pastor friend of mine posted a picture of piles of Cadbury chocolate cream Easter eggs in his local store with the sign, […]

Continue reading

Jesus’ First Words

One of my favorite Christmas cards depicts the classic stable scene in its center.  Mary is holding the baby Jesus and gazing adoringly into his eyes with a broad smile on her face.  Joseph stands behind her, peering over her shoulder, and shepherds and animals are gathered all around.  Off to the side, though, are […]

Continue reading

What Do You Hear

Many of you know that I lived in Australia for a year when my wife Tammy won a fellowship to study issues of inequality in access to education there. We spent the first six months of that year living in Sydney, which included the Christmas holidays. Australian culture had a lot in common with our […]

Continue reading

Becoming a Benediction

In the winter of 1990, my father became a prophet. Against all sense and reason, he bought season tickets to the Atlanta Braves, the laughingstock of baseball who had just finished yet another abysmal season at the bottom of their division, where they had been ever since my family moved to Atlanta from here in […]

Continue reading