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Turning the Math Around

Posted by on 5:15 pm in Featured Posts, Lonesome Pulpit | 0 comments

Turning the Math Around

Last month, I started a blog post that I never finished. It began this way, “It has happened again. One man, several weapons, 59 dead, hundreds injured, millions traumatized.” I wrote it the morning after the Las Vegas shooting. I write this the morning after a gunman opened fire in the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas. My mind is a jumble of thoughts. I am grieving for fellow believers in Christ, Texas Baptists no less. I am outraged that something like this can happen in church. I am distraught over the...

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One, Two, One-Two-Three

Posted by on 7:40 pm in Featured Posts, Lonesome Pulpit | 0 comments

One, Two, One-Two-Three

I’ve never been much of a dancer. My Baptist upbringing certainly did not emphasize it, and no one would ever confuse me with a coordinated person. Still, I have fond memories of patient college girls in the 1980s trying to coax me through something that I believe was called the Texas Two-Step. At the now defunct West Fraternal Hall, I would lead the unlucky girl out onto the dance floor. I would take a step to the left (one), a step to the right (two), and then a quick succession of three shuffled steps (one-two-three). We would do that all...

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Making Molehills out of Mountains

Posted by on 8:54 pm in Lonesome Pulpit, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Making Molehills out of Mountains

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge . . . .” Psalm 18:2 NIV I’m a haphazard journaler, but lately I’ve been on a pretty good streak. In the mornings, I will often think through my day and write out prayers seeking God’s intervention. Some of these posts are filled with urgency and dread: “Lord, you know how much I am dreading today’s meeting. I know that things could really go south in a hurry. Please Lord, do something!” Now, that’s not an actual entry, and it’s probably a bit...

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Let’s Play Two!

Posted by on 9:25 pm in Lonesome Pulpit | 0 comments

Let’s Play Two!

Ernie Banks, the Hall of Fame infielder for the Chicago Cubs, was known for his sunny disposition. During the long, hot summers, when the Cubs were often stuck in last place, Ernie would say, “It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame. Let’s play two today!” When other ballplayers were pessimistically dragging themselves through nine innings, Ernie was ready to play a doubleheader. As a church, I’m praying for extra doses of that kind of optimism (and faith) as we enter this fall’s new season of ministry. On September...

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Grateful!

Posted by on 9:00 am in Featured Posts | 0 comments

Grateful!

I write these words on Day 20 of a 21-day study break. And the dominant word that comes to my mind is “grateful.” Every summer for the last dozen or more years, I have received this great gift from my church. In July, I unplug the weekly sermon treadmill. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to preach! At the same time, preaching well can become an all-consuming activity. From Monday to Wednesday, I’m trying to hammer out a rough draft. From Thursday to Saturday, I’m revising and rehearsing and praying. Sunday is, of course, the “Big...

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The Power of a “Family Group”

Posted by on 8:23 pm in Lonesome Pulpit | 0 comments

The Power of a “Family Group”

Recently I was privileged to go on my thirteenth consecutive student mission trip with our church, and I am feeling very blessed. I could talk a long time about the places we’ve been and things we’ve seen, as well as the opportunities we’ve had to bless senior adults and struggling children and to serve ministries that support a host of amazing causes. Instead, I want to focus on a powerful feature I’ve experienced on these trips—the “Family Group. “ Here’s the way it works. Our student ministry is divided into a variety of Family...

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A Walk on the Beach

Posted by on 11:26 pm in Lonesome Pulpit | 0 comments

A Walk on the Beach

It may sound like a cliché, but one of my favorite parts of hanging out in Gulf Shores, Alabama last week was taking many “long walks on the beach.” Several of those walks were with my wife Jaletta, some were with the kids, and others were solo. On one solo walk, I had my head down. I was looking for that magical line where the sand was fairly packed and makes for easy walking—not too close to the mushy dry sand on one side nor the splashing surf on the other. While my head was down, my walk was interrupted, not once, but twice. The first was...

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Praying with doves

Posted by on 5:43 pm in Featured Posts, Lonesome Pulpit | 0 comments

Praying with doves

One morning recently, I read a Bible passage that, while not specifically about prayer, helped me think about prayer in a whole new way. In Genesis 8, Noah, his family, and a bunch of zoo animals have been stuck inside the ark for five months. At last, the boat has come to rest in the mountains of eastern Turkey. A “wind” is blowing outside (interestingly, the Hebrew word for “wind” is also the same word for “spirit”), but inside the boat, it must feel like “Project Evaporation” is moving at an agonizingly slow rate....

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“What Are They Going to Do, Walk Out?”

Posted by on 2:15 pm in Featured Posts, Lonesome Pulpit | 0 comments

“What Are They Going to Do, Walk Out?”

We lost Jim Morris a year ago. The anniversary of his passing has caused me to reflect on our friendship. When I first met Jim, I could not help but feel a bit intimidated. His opinions were, shall we say, strong. He never seemed to waver on what he thought best, whether he was referring to his job, his life, or his church. And while I don’t think Jim was necessarily eager to share contrarian opinions with me, when the time was right, he wasn’t shy about it either. Jim intimidated me, but much more than that, he inspired me. He was a...

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1987

Posted by on 8:21 pm in Featured Posts, Lonesome Pulpit | 0 comments

1987

Assuming you are older than 30, do you remember where you were in 1987? Were you in school, college, launching a career, or raising kids? If you are male, did you have a mullet? If you are female, did you have those big bangs that soared high above your forehead? So many things have changed over the last 30 years. Back then, we did not have email, or laptops, or smart phones. Booking a flight was no simple task, but it definitely was easier to get on an airplane. And while so many things have changed, I have been celebrating one thing among...

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