During my seminary days, I wrote the following words in my notes. I believe I was studying an Orthodox priest at the time. So, these are likely a paraphrase of his thoughts. I have found them helpful in my Christian walk and have referred to them often. Unfortunately, when I review them I realize how much I fall short.
I write this having just said goodbye to the producer and camera crew of the TV show "Inside Edition." They contacted me a few weeks ago, asking for an interview about my biomechanics research on local weightlifter CJ Cummings.
Since the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937, it has been an attraction for those wanting to commit suicide. Only 2 percent survive the jump. It is 220 feet down and when jumpers hit, they still have to contend with the cold, extremely swift water.
She felt nothing but sadness, though there was little in her life to warrant such sadness. She had trouble getting out of bed, yet even when she did, she could barely muster the energy to perform even the most basic daily chores. This troubled woman - a middle-aged graduate student who came to see me years ago - was in a black hole a mile deep and could see no way out.
When was the last time you felt desperate? When you do, consider the life of Georg Neumark.
We pastors are often accused of exaggerating the persecution of Christians around the world. But if you look closely, such persecution is growing at a rapid pace.
In my work facilitating support groups for people in crisis, I have become acutely aware that forgiveness promotes recovery. However, it's not just crises that bring about the need for forgiveness. I've seen many people who haven't been through tragedies look as if they are the "walking wounded."
Being a teen has never been easy, but being a teen in 2014 is especially tough with the epidemic of school shootings, cyber bullying, drug use, teen suicide and other serious issues throughout the country.
I write this on a train from Verona to Bologna, Italy, as my wife, son and I go to visit one of our former exchange students, Michela Scomparin. Tomorrow we are in Siena to visit Arturo Turillazzi, another of our former exchange students. And as we travel, Sue is in communication with a third former exchange student of ours, Daniela Kuesters, who is back in her home country, Germany. These are three wonderful people of other cultures the faculty and students of South Effingham High School have had the privilege of encountering.
The Effingham campus of Savannah Christian Church broke ground Sunday for a new student building.
Christians often feel a responsibility to help others God places in their path. Many times, the benefits of that assistance can be readily seen; the person we help thanks us and uses our assistance to better their lives in some way.
Every Sunday throughout the world, billions of men, women and children in Christian churches confess their sins before God. We confess that we have sinned against God by things we have done and by things we have left undone.
First Baptist Church of Rincon honored Linda Morgan for her three decades as the church's pianist.
There is a saying that gratitude begins when one's sense of entitlement ends. Have you ever considered how often you feel grateful for something compared to the situations in which you felt entitled?
When you hear the word "grace," what comes to mind?
In the book of Acts, chapter 8, we find the account of St. Peter witnessing to an Ethiopian eunuch, baptizing him and presumably sending the faith back with this new Christian to Ethiopia. Regular church-goers know the story. We can also presume that this convert was the forerunner of the Ethiopian church, which we rarely hear much about, at least not until recently.
One of my favorite radio personalities is the late Paul Harvey, who died in 2009 after 65 years in broadcasting. To me, Harvey was exceptional at getting to the heart of any matter in his topical broadcasts, called "The Rest of the Story."
Sometimes we pastors are humbled by the wisdom we find in others. We think that we, having been schooled in scripture, have a monopoly on wisdom. And then we hear someone speak on life and truth from a deeply personal experience, and we realize we have no such monopoly and our pontificating may be lacking something. Here is an example of a true account that leaves me feeling humble.
NBC's advertising of the "Today" show's Monday morning segment on prayer caught my attention. While the promotions were run continually and ad nauseum, at least they signaled a possible shift by the usually highly secular show toward an acknowledgement, if not appreciation, of things spiritual.
St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Rincon recently held a service of institution for its chapter of Daughters of the King.
One of the questions pastors often encounter, whether directly or indirectly, is the dilemma of innocent suffering. That is, why do bad things happen to good people?
On Sunday evenings this spring, CNN is airing a new docudrama series entitled "Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, and Forgery." The series is based on the book of the same name by David Gibson and Michael McKinley.
Even if you haven't stepped in a church in years, you likely know the story of the "prodigal" son. Just in case, here's a quick refresher: A rather wealthy landowner has two sons. One asks for his inheritance early (before his father's death, which was an even greater insult when Jesus told this story than it is today). His father obliges him, and the son takes off to live a life of partying.
The parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-15) underscores the truth that God's love can be received by people extremely late in life. Many a pastor has seen death-bed conversions; they are possible and do sincerely occur.
We are fortunate to live in a county rich with churches offering different opportunities for people to worship. Yet, we must be humble and honest enough to realize that often people who walk through our front doors see very imperfect organizations, and unfortunately that can turn them off to the whole idea of organized religion and church.
The television series "House of Cards" is an American political drama based on a BBC miniseries of the same name. The opening of season 1 set the stage for what were we to witness as the background of the political sphere. In that episode, congressman Frank Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey) kills a suffering dog with his bare hands while telling the television audience that sometimes we must "do the unpleasant thing, yet the necessary thing." And from then on out, the audience experiences the utter ruthlessness of politics as it is portrayed behind the scenes.
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