Cancelled: A Letter to West Franklin

West Franklin Family, Cancelled.  If we’ve heard the word once, we’ve heard several million times since March. Remainder of the 2019-2020 school year – Cancelled. College basketball tournaments – Cancelled. College baseball season – Cancelled. Vacation Bible School – Cancelled. Prom – Cancelled. Graduation – Cancelled. Elective surgeries – Cancelled. Summer camps – Cancelled. My diet – Cancelled. Concerts – Cancelled. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – Cancelled. (It’s true. It will not be live this year.) Weddings – Cancelled. West Franklin Family Gathering – Cancelled. So. Many. Things. Have. Been. Cancelled. This. Year. Add to this the reality that we...

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Mom, Dad . . . Relax

Just over nine years ago, at an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I saw a look on a four year old’s face I don’t think I will ever forget. Our daughter’s biological (birth) mom came for a visit so Katie and I could meet her and so she could see her baby before leaving the country. I didn’t know what to expect. Would Birti be excited? Would Birti recognize her (her birth mom had to give her up for adoption two years prior)? Would she want to stay with her birth mom? Would she feel torn? Does Birti have any...

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Passing By: A Letter to West Franklin

“He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them.” (Mark 6:48, italics, mine) West Franklin Family, Has it ever bothered you that Mark adds the phrase, “(Jesus) was about to pass by them”? I mean, think about it. There’s a storm. It’s night. A man is walking on water (!). The disciples are, not only straining to keep a ship from tipping over, but are obviously panicked because, well, a man is walking on water. Did...

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Preachin’ on Secular Radio

I had just dropped off my oldest at high school. I was telling myself not to get in a bad mood so early in the day due to traffic that was beyond my control. It wasn’t working. Because I drink so much water and coffee every morning I was also internally debating whether to run into Target to use their facilities or try to make it the church office. I decided to try and make it. To get my mind off the traffic, my very full bladder, and my mood – I flipped through radio stations. I landed on a...

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Jesus, the “Real” Foodie

“For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” John 6:55   Though I would not consider myself a “foodie,” I do love me some food. I am not an expert of food nor drink by any stretch of the imagination, but I know good barbecue when I smell it. I know the difference between Folgers and Starbucks. I know when a hamburger is made of cow or mushrooms. And I know the difference between spicy and “sho’ nuff” hot. In fact, if every day were Taco Tuesday, I would be okay with that. Heck, the reason...

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Mistakes: A Letter to West Franklin

West Franklin Family, On September 23rd, 2001, the church I pastored was half as full as it had been the previous week. The week prior was September 16th, 2001 – when the church was literally packed to the gills – the Sunday after the horrific events that transpired on September 11th, 2001. I had been a pastor for a whopping 5 months. A true veteran at the whole pastor thing. Many will say that America “turned to the Lord” for a week or so, then everything went back to normal. What they mean is the Sunday after 9/11, churches were...

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Rejoice in the Wife of Your Youth

“Rejoice in the wife of your youth.” Proverbs 5:18 Recently I had the privilege of listening to this podcast. An interview between Carey Nieuwhof and Gordon MacDonald. I am only about a fifth of the way through and am compelled to write this thought down. Gordon MacDonald is 80 years old and reflected on his life and ministry leadership by offering 15 Life Lessons. The podcast is Nieuwhof’s attempt to draw out as much as he can from MacDonald on the lessons. A statement he made while unpacking his very first point struck me.   Here’s MacDonald’s first lesson: “Put...

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Jesus Went To Them

Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into...

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What Does Franklin Hear? A Letter to West Franklin

West Franklin Family, “And on that day they (were) rejoicing because God had given them great joy. . . The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.” (Nehemiah 12:43) I imagine a young child out in the field with his father. The boy is hoping his dad is ready to stop for the day. He’s wondering what momma is fixing for supper. He’s hot. He’s sweaty. He’s ready for the harvest season to be over. Suddenly he hears what sounds like a massive group of people yelling. It sounds to him like the time his parents took...

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Amazed

“My Father is always at work to this very day, and I too am working. . . and He will show Him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.” (John 5:17, 20)   Jesus makes two very clear and important declarations here.  One He and the Father are always working.  Two, they work so we would be amazed. Go back and read the verses and the two declarations again. Seriously. Go ahead. Now think about it. God and Jesus are always working. And they are working for our amazement. They do what they are doing –...

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