A few months ago, my teenage son Alex was competing in a national weightlifting competition outside St. Louis. The morning of his competition, I decided to forego the predictable hotel breakfast for fresh-cooked food at an omelet joint within walking distance.
Jamie Coots, pastor of a Middlesboro, Ky., church, died recently following a worship service in which he was handling snakes. I'll give you three guesses on the cause of his death.
By now, you have seen many articles, news reports and columns about the passing of Jeffrey Rollins, the beloved pastor of Springfield Baptist Church for 25 years. And if you knew Pastor Jeff, you certainly understood the adjectives used to describe him - caring, selfless, loving, gracious, encouraging, giving and supportive. Many have added that they feel privileged to have known Jeff.
It was a good question.
On Friday evening, Jan. 24, I was walking into Strickland Funeral Home in Springfield when I met my colleague Pastor Bob Rogers from First Baptist Church of Rincon walking out. We exchanged pleasantries, as we always did, and then parted. I remember thinking as I walked into Strickland's, "Bob doesn't look so great. I wonder if he's OK." I regret not turning back around and asking him exactly that.
The parishioners of St. Boniface Church in Springfield hosted their seventh annual ecumenical supper Jan. 19 as part of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. All Effingham County churches and clergy were invited to attend.
The past few weeks, I have presided at more funerals than I have in any six-month period in my ministry. In so doing, I have witnessed grief so deep that I have been shaken, humbled, and reminded how quickly life changes. The story of Horatio Spafford came to mind more than once over these weeks.
First Baptist Church of Rincon will present its annual Christmas musical, "The Heart of Christmas," on Sunday at 6 p.m.
First Baptist Church of Rincon will host the annual Rincon Community Thanksgiving Service on Sunday at 6 p.m.
Two Effingham County churches are among the drop-off locations for the national collection week for Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts.
A 14-foot snowflake tree will adorn the First Baptist Church of Rincon float in this year's Rincon Lions Club Christmas parade, with 20 individualized snowflakes, one for each student killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Conn., last year, said Bill Gammon, FBC Rincon associate pastor.
First Baptist Church of Rincon will be providing free dental and medical exams, free children's clothing and a free car wash as part of its annual fall festival Oct. 26 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be free medical exams (basic check-ups such as blood pressure and eye checks), a free car wash, free children's clothing giveaway, in addition to more traditional fall festival activities such as children's games and booths.
On Sept. 8, Zion Lutheran Church joined together with the 4 million members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in nearly 10,000 congregations to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ELCA. At Zion, this opportunity was used to serve school children around the world by making and filling 70 school kits.
The Annie Moses Band epitomizes the notion that the family that plays together, stays together.
A team of 19 First Baptist Church of Rincon volunteers went to Sanyati, Zimbabwe, last month. While there, they presented "True Love Waits" to sixth- and seventh-graders, and read Bible stories, played music and games and performed puppetry for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Before the kids in their costumes head out the door to get bags full of candy, St. Luke's Episcopal Church has a special treat lined up for them.
In life, extremism often ends in a multitude of problems. I find the same is true when the Gospel is presented.
The German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, "When Christ calls us, he bids us come and die." Bonhoeffer, citing the words of Jesus, bid Christians to count the cost of discipleship. For Bonhoeffer, this death was literal; for most other Christians we are called to die to our former selves.
The bizarre and horrible renditions notwithstanding (i.e., Roseanne Barr, Michael Bolton), most people can at least sing the national anthem. Or, I should say, they can sing what they believe is the national anthem. After all, most folks have been to enough civic events and ballgames to have memorized it.
I've got to wonder if Sherriff McDuffie, just as his head hits the pillow at night and he's about to drift off to sleep, ever reviews the events of the day and just busts out with laughter. It's got to happen on occasion.
Anyone familiar with Effingham County sports knows well the friendly but passionate rivalry between Effingham County High School and South Effingham High School in many sports. On grass fields, hardwood courts, clay diamonds, wrestling mats, dirt running trails, and asphalt courts the best of Effingham's teenage athletes battle for the title of county champs.
You've bet your life, and right now you are playing out your hand. In fact, with every day that passes you "up the ante," having invested another 24 hours in your wager. The problem is that the bet is for your spiritual and eternal life.
I have certainly heard the lament of Christian leaders who assert that we are living in a "post-Christian" era. That may be. But what I am seeing is more "Christian-phobia" than anything suggesting Christian beliefs, morals, and values are obsolete. The latest installment comes from Pennsylvania.
If you've been in Effingham more than a few decades, you've likely heard the refrain of long-time residents: "We gotta keep all those folks from Chatham from coming up here and messin' up our county." Crime and crowding are often key flashpoints in the conversation. On the other side are new residents who ask for a little grace, given the fact that they are paying taxes and increasing the property values of those long-time residents and landowners.
Even in a place as ordinary as Larry's Deli in Rincon can eternal truths be spoken.
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