Prayer Note #55 — Prayers for Memorial Day

Invocation for a Memorial Day Ceremony God of heaven and earth, in life and in death we belong to you.  Our lives and the life of our nation are in your hands.  You are the foundation of all that is right and good and just. Today especially we gather to remember with gratitude those who have … Continue reading

Prayer Note #34 — Refreshment from the Suffocation of Sin

Though I am mired in sin, yet still have mercy on me, O Father and Lord of my life.  Capture my every thought and all the impulses of my being.  Make me yours in every facet of my life, so that I might have peace and full redemption in every branch and twig and leaf … Continue reading

Pastor Note #42–A Boy on the Streets, Part 2

When he realized that I was having trouble making out what he had written, he began to  be distressed.  I tried to give the impression that I understood everything he had written on the sheet in my hands, but it must have been obvious that I didn’t. Jordan had appeared at the church door again, … Continue reading

Pastor Note #41–From the Earliest Days

             From my earliest days, I have been part of a Presbyterian church.  Much of my extended family was actively involved in the life and ministry of that church.  Although the congregation of my youth was biblically grounded, it was not especially remarkable compared to other churches in the community.             About the time … Continue reading

Pastor Note #40–Working the Streets; The Ministry of Risk-taking

When the doorbell rang, I jumped up and turned off the television.  It was 4:20 in the afternoon, and I was watching a re-run of M*A*S*H instead of working on my next Sunday’s sermon.  After a few seconds, I walked slowly down the stairs to answer the door.  There were three little boys and a … Continue reading

Pastor Note #38–A Prayer at the Closing of a Church

I was the second to the last installed pastor at Central Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ohio.  On November 20, 2011, the last service of worship was held in that 151 year old building by that congregation that was founded in 1839.   I participated that service along with my successor and my predecessor pastors.  I prayed … Continue reading

Pastor Note #37 — A Boy on the Streets, Part 1

[A story from my time as a pastor in downtown Columbus:] He wanted milk with the sandwiches I had given him.  I had offered him lemonade, soda, and orange juice.  But he wanted a glass of milk.  When he drank it, it left a mustache on his upper lip.  After a moment, he wiped it … Continue reading

Sermon 18: Burning Hearts–Hearing Jesus: Luke 24 :28-35

I remember asking a seminary friend once, “So, where are all the prophets these day?”  It sounds like a pretty dopey question now.  But his almost instantaneous answer still makes me chuckle with a bit of chagrin.  “So, where are all the prophets these day?”  My friend: “In mental hospitals mostly.” Of course, that’s a … Continue reading

Pastor Note #36–Beyond a Pentecost According to Robert’s Rules of Order

In 2012, two important Christian holy days occur in May – important Christian holy days that Presbyterian Christians have tended to be uncomfortable with.  I’ll explain that statement, shall I?  The two holy days are Ascension and Pentecost.  First the easy part, I say these holy days take place in May this year, because these … Continue reading

Bible Note #15 — Exodus 34:29-35

Exodus 34:29-35 There is, in this passage, an interesting small but important detail that I have never really noticed before.  It lies behind the widely recognized, though certainly bizarre, fact that Moses’ face acquired an intense radiance as a result of close time spent in the physical presence of God.  The people were quite terrified … Continue reading