The Good Shepherd: A Prayer for West Franklin

Father, This morning I read where Your Son called Himself the Good Shepherd. As a matter of fact, He said, “I am the Good Shepherd.” Using the phrase “I am” to describe Himself hearkens back to when You revealed Yourself to Moses as “I am” in Exodus 3. Jesus is God in the flesh. Jesus is You, Father, with skin on. Everything You are, Jesus manifested when He walked the earth. He called Himself the Good Shepherd. Not just a shepherd. But the Good Shepherd. Everything He does and everything He says and every single divine action He demonstrates is...

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Abundant Life: A Prayer for West Franklin

Father, I read this morning that Your Son said He came to give life. Abundant life. Life to the full. True life. Real life. Nothing pretend. Nothing empty. Nothing fake. This is a pretty intense and exclusive claim to make. If Your Son was correct in what He said than He and only He can grant real life. It isn’t found in anything or anyone else. I believe it is true. I know I don’t act like it all the time, but I really do believe it. Now. Would you be so kind to answer the following request while I...

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Sabbatical: A Letter to West Franklin

West Franklin Family, You know the “Big Ten.” Not the inferior college athletic conference up North (grin). The Ten Commandments. That “Big Ten.” I am guessing many of you can name a few. Don’t use God’s name in cursed way. Don’t have sexual relations with anyone but your own spouse. Don’t steal anything. Don’t kill anybody. Think about this with me. What would happen to my career if I committed murder? What if your pastor killed someone? What if I was arrested for stealing money from the church? What would you think of me? Or, what if you learned I...

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Three Thoughts from the Lazarus Story

Recently I have been meditating very slowly on the story of Jesus and Lazarus in John 11. Numerous thoughts and insights come to mind, but I want to highlight three for now. First, Jesus isn’t concerned about a day.  After Lazarus died, Martha and Jesus engage in a conversation. Martha gives Jesus right theology. She trusts that Lazarus will rise again at the resurrection. She even demonstrates her belief that he will rise on the last day (v. 24). Great. Wonderful. Love it. Let’s write a song about it. But Jesus isn’t satisfied with this. He responds by saying, “I...

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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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