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This column will be published on the day commonly referred to as Good Friday. For believers in Jesus Christ, no day is more important — Jesus’ death on the cross is central to the Christian experience, individually and collectively. Yet no day is more paradoxical. The Gospels tell us the dis…

This past Wednesday, many around the world donned green and celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day as safely as they could during this COVID-19 season. Certainly, Irish Americans spent the day thinking fondly of the land of their ancestry. Immigrants from Ireland have come to the United States since…

I remember the first devotion I was ever invited to offer. It was the summer after my freshman year of college. I was employed as a summer camp counselor at a Christian camp. Part of my job was to share a good word each day with my campers. It was my first formal experience pairing the thing…

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story — those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.

How many of us were born and reared here in Greenwood County? To those who were, I pose a question. Has it been difficult living in the community in which you grew up? Has it been tough “living down” some of the events attributed to you while topping “fools hill?” It is my understanding that…

We are less than one week removed from Valentine’s Day where family and friends exchange cards and gifts that are meant to express their love for each other. Christians refer to Scripture passages such as 1 Corinthians 13, John 15:13 and 1 John 4:18 to highlight the subject of love throughou…

We are now less than a week from Ash Wednesday and our 2021 Lenten journey. Lent, of course, is a season of preparation for Good Friday and Easter. For centuries, Christians have used Lent as time to invest in their relationship with God. Without intentionality, there is drift in any relatio…

A couple of weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised by a gift from a member of the congregation I serve. Knowing just how much I would appreciate it, he presented me a large frame that was full of Native American projectile points, each found here in the Lakelands. It was a gracious gift. I ha…

One month ago today, many people were faced with a troubling dilemma. It was no surprise and everyone knew it was coming, yet all the Christmas gifts and supplies had not been purchased. Three days before Christmas, many of us rushed to a store to see what was left on the shelves. What we fo…

An elderly couple living in a retirement center “got sweet” on each other. One day, the man asked the lady to marry him. A few days later, he approached her, stating that he knew he had asked her an important question but had forgotten what it was. He wondered if she remembered what he had a…

What a wonderful and terrible honor to write the minister’s column on Christmas Day. “Congratulations, pastor, you get to summarize Christmas for the community in 650 words or less.” (Don’t count — I’m over by 33 words.) Alas, I fear that I have neither the space nor the skill to produce the…

“In those days and at that time, I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. (Jeremiah 33:15 NIV)

Cicero, a Roman philosopher who lived in the first century B.C., stated that gratitude is not only the greatest virtue but also the source from which all other virtues flow. Being that Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner for those of us who live in the United States, it is probably ap…

I think that everyone would agree that we have been through and continue to journey through a brutal political season as a nation. We are divided by Red, Blue, Republican, Democrat, Conservative and Liberal. People are on edge as they believe the future of our nation rests on the policies of…

As COVID-19 continues its upward trend across the country, we continue to try to understand and manage this terrible virus. And many people, understandably, continue to wonder about God’s role in this painful, frightening crisis. What question in all of Christian theology has been more widel…

“I will be your God throughout your lifetime — until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” — Isaiah 46:4 NLT

A number of years ago, I had the opportunity to be the guest preacher at the historic First Christian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Their former pastor had retired and as the church was searching for a new one, they invited pastors from around the city to visit on Sunday mornings and fill …

During this life of mine, I have experienced many challenges and even threats to my very existence. As my ancestors would say, “I’ve been sometimes up, I’ve been sometimes down, and I’ve been sometimes almost level to the ground.” In other words, I know what it means to face death and to sur…

Guess where the following words are found: “You high-minded fool! No one is as arrogant and stupid as you are. May the curses of the gods descend upon you and settle around your feet, tripping you up as you stumble through your miserable life!” Hopefully, nowhere. I made them up.