Category Archives: Church

Picture Perfect Jesus

It was a brainchild for a number of years.  He imagined an art exhibit with nothing but Jesus pictures.

But who would come? And where would he get all the pictures?

He began collecting.  Originals, copies, professional, homemade, any and all works that in some form or fashion displayed Jesus.

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He had almost 40.  All different and unique, but it wasn’t enough, so he threw a wider net.  His congregation caught a vision to celebrate together, and at the same time, reach out to the community on Easter weekend.

Members, friends, families began to offer and loan their works of Jesus art for a museum quality exhibit.

57400177_10210499102793473_5777072540329443328_n Continue reading Picture Perfect Jesus

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Stand Up, Warrior!

He fell face down in the dirt. The field was plowed a week before and the small clods crumbled between his fingers with dry chaff and stems of the previous crop.

He couldn’t get up. This Valley of Elah, of sorts, was too much, too hard.  The mountain was too high, the valley too low.

His energy was drained, resistance exhausted, and he was so weary of well doing.

Dirt on his forehead began to clear from the sweat of his brow while dirt below his eyes washed clean from tears. Continue reading Stand Up, Warrior!

Slave, What Is Your Name?

(A reblog of an accidentally deleted post from 2-4-19)

Movie.

Gladiator.

Scene.

Maximus had been taken into slavery and became a Gladiator. He is ultimately taken to Rome to fight in the great Coliseum and wins the hearts of the blood thirsty mob for his valor and fighting skill.

The evil emperor, Commodus, thought Maximus was dead and forgotten. He goes to the Coliseum floor before the throngs to meet the great Gladiator, Maximus, whose face is always covered by his helmet. The ensuing conversation moves me to my core…

Commodus: “Why doesn’t the hero reveal himself and tell us his real name? You do have a name?”

Maximus: “My name is Gladiator.” (Turns and starts to walk away.)

“How dare you show your back to me! Slave! You will remove your helmet and tell me your name!”

Maximus takes off his helmet, turns and faces the evil Commodus.  In quiet, determined words, he tells his name, his TRUE identity:

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Commander of the armies of the north. General of the Felix legions. Loyal servant to the true Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son. Husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life, or the next.”

Utterly shocked to find Maximus alive, Commodus’ words falter. His troops draw swords to slay the Gladiators, but the Coliseum erupts in unison, “Live, live, live…”

The devious, scheming Commodus realizes he is politically and ethically trapped in the eyes of Rome, at least for the moment, so he reluctantly turns his thumb up to show the gladiator will live to fight another day.

Commodus walks from the arena while the Coliseum explodes in cheers, not for the evil emperor, but the gladiator slave as the chant begins…”Maximus, Maximus, Maximus!” Continue reading Slave, What Is Your Name?

Pharisee and Believer Recipes

Pharisee Recipe

Pour two cups of pride into a large mixing bowl while forgetting all the bad things you’ve done.

Add cup and half of good works to a cup of following church norms. Extra flavor occurs when family activities are sacrificed to accommodate church commitments.

Carefully compare yourself to others who’ve done worse things, then generously sprinkle in bowl when you need to feel good about yourself.

Smile continuously at those like you, but shake your head in “pity and concern” for those in need of God.  Demonstrate disdain for particularly sinful people, and keep your distance unless, of course, on a church mission trip.

Carefully sift from consciousness all personal weaknesses, struggles, failures, sin and wrongs against others.  Hide sifted mixture in large Tupperware container in back of your memory pantry.  Use multiple containers, when necessary, and cover with black trash bags to insure no one accidentally sees your Tupperware.
Continue reading Pharisee and Believer Recipes

Climb The Mountain

Shake the desert sand out of your shoes. Get the pebble out of the toe. There’s a mountain to conquer.

It’s not too big or tall, not too steep or too rocky to be settled. It can be done. No matter what the circumstances, it can be conquered. There is a way.  The size of the mountain is not as much of a limit as how we think about it.

There’s always fresh challenges, additional issues, new problems. There’s always something different that starts to make the mountains look the same.

I want the green, lush valley of rest, where gentle breezes and bubbling brooks wind their way through the trees and flowers.  I want the easy path instead of a hard climb, the gentle road, not of the stony trail, but that’s not how it usually goes.

Climb anyway. Continue reading Climb The Mountain

What Words Cannot Say

I put the rose from his garden in his rigamortis hand.  It didn’t look natural.  A snap of the stem to shorten it, then working it under his cold fingers and folded hands made it presentable.

Yes, that’s better.

I slipped a note I had hurriedly written, almost as an afterthought, and slipped it inside his suit jacket, hidden from the world, never to be read by anyone, not even the one it was written to. Continue reading What Words Cannot Say

At The Foot Of The Cross

At the foot of the cross,

Where dirt gives way and rugged wood is revealed,

Where sweat, blood and tears drop from above,

Where laughter, jeers and taunts are heard,

Where only a faithful few remain, overcome in pain as they look on…

At the foot of the cross,

Where the blood mud puddles,

Where evil raises its hands in victory unaware it just lost the war,

Where one death births life for all… Continue reading At The Foot Of The Cross

I’m Kind of HIS Father

Dear Mom,

I hope this letter finds you doing well.  In your last letter, you asked me to describe more about Jesus to you.  I’ll do my best:

As you know, I am his father, at least in name.  His existence has literally nothing to do with me. He would have been here, one way or the other.  I know that.  Really, I’m just lucky, blessed that I get to be where I am.

The angel told me what happened, and part of what would be.  I knew then my part in His life was an honor and privilege.

Some people frown at me, particularly some of the high and mighty people around here. They look down their noses at Mary and I and sometimes say cruel things.  We just keep going.

I want to react, to fight back and tell them how the camel eats the grapevine.  Instead, Mary quietly reminds me to relish today.  After all, the end is the prize, not the present.

Continue reading I’m Kind of HIS Father

Revelations From the Heart

Last Sunday night we went to Janet’s old church in another town.  There were about thirty speakers! Now before you pass out, here’s the deal – each person had memorized either a chapter, or a large portion of the book of Revelation. Each quoted their portion sequentially until the entire book was quoted from memory!

The pastor quoted Revelation 1 and applause broke out as he returned to his seat.  A teenage girl, about 13 years old, stood and quoted chapter 2 as smooth as silk on a glass table.

Next her twin, autistic brother began quoting the words he knew so well.  About the 6th verse he faltered, and in frustration, rocked back and forth. He quickly regained his composure and continued quoting what he had worked so hard to learn.  He hit another roadblock and began rocking again, but the train returned to the tracks and he hit his rhythm.

He stumbled once more, and looking up, began moving his hands in a grabbing motion, as if to grasp individual words floating in his brain to get them back in logical sequence. Continue reading Revelations From the Heart

The Best Babatism Ever

At church, a boy about seven years old was baptized.  As is custom before a baptism at our church, the media team shows a video of each person talking about their life, why they chose to believe, and why they want to be baptized.

In the boy’s video, he spoke sincerely, and his contagious smile was memorable because he had lost both front teeth. He said several times in the video that he wanted to be “babatized” and talked about how he wanted someone special from out-of-town to “babatize” him.

Turns out, the special person was the boy’s godfather, a young man in his late twenties who could easily pass for a military soldier.  Where we go to church, immersion is the mode of baptism, which means going completely under water from head to toe, or maybe if you’re seven years old, getting dunked.  Continue reading The Best Babatism Ever