Looking Towards Home (8/9/2018)

Many years ago, when my sister, Marsha, was around 6 years old, she was invited to a sleepover at a friend’s house. Marsha was excited to receive the invitation and readily accepted it. When the evening of the sleepover arrived, she loaded her overnight bag into our family car. Then mom drove her to her friend’s house for the big adventure.

Mom returned home and we carried on with our normal evening routine. Around 9 P.M., the phone rang. Marsha’s friend’s mom was on the other end of the line. Marsha was really homesick and wanted to come home. Mom went and got her.

Many times, we’ll use the phrase, “I’m going home.” By this we mean we’re going back to the place where we sleep at night. But is this really our home, especially if we’re a disciple of Jesus? (more…)

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Crossing the Road (7/1/2018)

Please take a moment and look at this picture. Several things are taking place at once. Some branches are vibrant. There is plenty of room for them to keep growing. Another branch is dying. One tree is completely dead. The dying and dead branches need to be removed if this cluster of trees is going to be as healthy as possible. Dead trees attract insects and diseases which can eventually spread to the heathy ones.

Our faith walk with Jesus is like this cluster of trees. Some areas are healthy and thriving because we can see how God is working in our lives. Other areas are dying because doubt has crept in after years of struggle. Perhaps there’s an area that’s completely dead because God didn’t answer our prayers the way we wanted him to answer them. Now this area of wrong thinking needs removed before it starts affecting other branches of our faith. (more…)

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A Royal Invitation (6/24/2018)

When I was in high school, a local business organization sent me an invitation to a dinner at a local restaurant. The purpose of the gathering was to give me information about a business symposium geared for future leaders. The group wanted to sponsor me.

Since the dinner was over a month away, I decided I’d deal with it later. I laid the invitation in my bedroom. It somehow got buried under other papers. Guess what happened?

You guessed correctly. I completely forgot about the invitation. That is until dad came into my room one evening and asked, “Son, did you get an invitation to a dinner about a business seminar?” He’d just gotten off the phone with a teacher who helped organize the meal.

“Yes,” I sheepishly replied, realizing what I’d done.

The next morning, I went into the teacher’s office and profusely apologized. I then told him I wasn’t interested in attending the event. He accepted my apology.

Ultimately, missing that dinner didn’t affect my life in any way. But what happens if we refuse an invitation to a banquet in heaven? (more…)

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Why God Answers Prayer (6/17/2018)

On more than one occasion, I’ve said, “I’m not a good Brethren.” This statement doesn’t bother some of you at all. But this leads others to wonder, “What does he mean he isn’t a good Brethren? We’re a Brethren congregation. He’s supposed to be a Brethren pastor.” Please let me explain what I mean by this statement.

Worship attendance in the Church of the Brethren in the United States has been in shrinking over the past several decades. Currently many congregations have no children or even young adults attending. Their doors are going to close unless things change. This has led to a decline in finances and ministry opportunities for our denomination.

Each year, representatives from every Brethren congregation are invited to send delegates to our Annual Conference, or the “big meeting” as they used to call it. This is where we worship, study the Bible and have insight sessions about the things which are happening in the denomination. We also have business meetings to adopt statements which define what our denomination believes and how we should live out our faith. (more…)

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