Discouragement

dis-cour-age-ment (dis-kerijment) noun; a loss of confidence or enthusiasm; dispiritedness

I don’t think I have ever been depressed, or at least clinically depressed. But then again, isn’t that something a depressed person would say? Still, I don’t think I have ever suffered from depression. I guess I’m to stubborn…or stupid.

Have I ever suffered from burn out? Yes. More than once.

Have I ever been on the verge of depression? Probably. Ok, yes. (I need to quit living in denial.)

While I have never been depressed, I do have a running battle with discouragement. If I am honest with myself, I think I have PTSD (Pastoral Trauma Stress Disorder). Continue reading

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It’s Never too Late for a New Beginning (Psalm 101)

(NOTE: This sermon was preached at Franklin Community Church on Sunday, February 21, 2021. Here is a video link to the entire virtual worship service that day. You can listen to the entire service or fast forward to the sermon.)

We are 8-weeks into a new year. Or, if you are cynical, we are in the middle of the 14th month of 2020. In the words of the great philosopher, Thomas Paine (d. 1809), “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Continue reading

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Christian Nationalism is a Sin

The greatest challenge in the church in the United States today is Christian Nationalism that is steeped in white superiority. We witnessed first hand the results of Christian Nationalism through the attempted insurrection on January 6th. What a tragedy to see people storm the capital with “Jesus Saves” banners and “Jesus 2020” signs mixed with all types of Trump displays. Followers of Jesus are to proclaim the Kingdom of God, not MAGA! Followers of Jesus pledge allegiance to Jesus and Jesus alone. To confess “Jesus is Lord” is to say capitalism is not Lord and the United States is not superior to the rest of the world. Continue reading

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It Takes a Community

This sermon was prepared this sermon for Christian Community Development’s “Locked in Solidarity Week.” This is a week (usually the first week in February) where churches and organizations focus on the mass incarceration problem in our country. My sermon talks about the importance of walking with formerly incarcerated people after they have been released from prison. If you would rather watch this sermon, here is the link. The link is to our entire worship service on that Sunday. So, feel free to worship, or to fast forward to the sermon. Let me know what you think. Continue reading

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An Alternative Society

A preached this sermon at Franklin Community Church on Sunday, January 24, 2021. The topic is really about the kingdom of God and traces what that means from Genesis to Revelation. If you would rather watch the sermon, here is the link. The link is to the entire worship service on that Sunday. Feel free to worship, or to fast forward to the sermon. Continue reading

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I Survived

The week of January 24, 2021 I started feeling bad. To be honest, I thought it was my usual winter allergy attack. I felt really good on Tuesday, January 26th, but by 10pm that night I had a fever. On Wednesday, January 27th I went and had a rapid COVID test. It was positive. I went home, went to bed, and over the next 8 days struggled like I have never struggled before. My main symptoms were a fever, severe headache, extreme fatigue, and a back ache that was some of the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life.  Around day 5 or 6, the dry cough started and my breathing became difficult. I monitored my blood/oxygen levels. Thankfully they were never a problem. I lost my appetite, though I never lost my taste or smell. It was a horrible experience. I probably should have gone to the hospital, but to be honest, I thought if I went to the hospital I would never come out. There was one night I started coughing and could not catch my breath. My heart started racing so fast I thought it was going to explode. I’m not afraid to die, but this was scary. I reached out to the leaders of my church for prayer. I then reached out to several of my pastor friends in Honduras and to my friends on death-row. I needed prayer warriors and I have learned that God listens to the prayers of prisoners. Somewhere around day 8-10, I woke up in the middle of the night and took a deep breath. I felt normal. It was as if the virus just left…”poof”…it was gone. it was surreal. I am still tired. I am still taking it easy. I know there is a long road to recovery, but the feeling that it was over was a relief. I survived! Continue reading

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A Moment of Reflection

“Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other” (Deuteronomy 4:39).

“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2).

I have been doing a lot of reflection since the historical events of January 20, 2021. While I did not vote for Joe Biden, I am glad he won and I am optimistic about the future of our country. As a reflect back over this past week, here are my thoughts. Continue reading

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I’m Glad I Don’t Live Here

Myself, and a team from my church, were in Tegucigalpa, Honduras the summer of 2009 when that country went through a political coup. In the middle of the night, the military helicoptered the president out of the country and out of power. I will never forget waking up that Sunday morning to complete silence. No cars were on the road and there was no electricity, water, or phone and internet service anywhere in the city. In retaliation to the removal of the president, the president’s girlfriend cut off all utilities! Continue reading

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What Color is Jesus?

A question for all my white, conservative, evangelical friends: Have you ever walked into a black church and seen a painting or picture of a black Jesus? How did it make you feel? If you felt any awkwardness or discomfort or thought to yourself (or said out laid) “What is this?” This short blog-post is for you.

What color was Jesus and why does it matter? Continue reading

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The Radical, Relevant Message of Christmas (Luke 1:46-56)

It’s the Sunday before Christmas. This will be my 31st Sunday before Christmas sermon. How do you tell the same story 31 different times? The fact the Christmas Story is a timeless story, and a true story, and a story of hope and redemption helps. But still, after 31 years, how can I be expected to tell the Story in a fresh way? For me, the answer is looking at a huge aspect of the Story that is usually overlooked in evangelical churches. So, let me state up front, I am still evangelical. I have not converted to Catholicism. (“Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”) Today’s Sunday before Christmas sermon is focused on Mary, and how she viewed the importance of the birth of Jesus. Continue reading

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