I am very appreciative of the Index-Journal allowing local clergy to write these columns. My colleagues regularly give us food for thought and opportunities for spiritual formation. In short, they help us think about who God is. Isn’t that the fundamental question: “Who is God?” As many have…

If you have ever had the opportunity to visit New Orleans, or have at least seen picture postcards of the historic port city, then you can no doubt recall images of revelers decked out in beads on Bourbon Street, or the famous beignets and coffee served at Cafe du Monde. Perhaps you will rem…

One of the foundational principles of Christianity is a commandment found in each of the synoptic gospels. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). Generally, the message we hear in this passage is our relationship with our neighbor. While that is the ultimate goal, the state…

“On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity…

During my early high school years, I worked in a fast-food restaurant. One day when I walked into work my boss handed me a rag and a big bottle of carpet cleaner. I quickly discovered that some of South Carolina’s famous red mud was staining the carpet in the dining room. A construction crew…

“Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For th…

I am learning that little things are easy to miss. As the Apostle Paul wrote letters to people and churches, he was careful to make sure he took time to thank God when God accomplished great things in the lives of His saints. In 2 Thessalonians 1:3 Paul writes: “We are bound to thank God alw…

For many years, Vacation Bible School in Baptist circles began with three pledges: the pledge to the American flag, the pledge to the Christian flag and the pledge to the Bible. In my previous pastorate, at First Baptist Church in Edgefield, one VBS morning I was leading the children in the …

I recently watched an interview with a famous Southern author, taped all the way back in 1974. The setting was a luscious courtyard in the French Quarter of New Orleans. You aren’t surprised.

The lectionary texts over the Easter season this year included selections from the Book of Revelation. This complex book opens one’s imagination and invites the reader to peer into a vivid vision of John of Patmos. John is exiled on the Greek Island of Patmos during the persecution of Christ…

This summer, I am preaching a sermon series that I have titled, “Working through Weeping Wounds.” Each Sunday I am addressing those festering, oozing and painful wounds that we each carry deep down in the depths of our soul. Last week we addressed the weeping wound of bitterness. I have disc…

As Christians, we are in the midst of the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost. which this year falls on June 9. More than anything else, we remember Pentecost as the occasion when the Holy Spirit fell upon the first believers, resulting in the closest ever relationship between God and human…

My faith has been a source of strength, transformation, life and hope for me (James). As Christians, it is difficult to imagine a life without Christ in our lives. We long to help others come to know the same grace that we have experienced. I am often asked, “how can we make our faith meanin…

Pastor’s love books. Most of us have vast libraries, and yes, we have read all of the books you find there. Well, maybe most of them. In my church study, I have a book that another pastor gave me 20 years ago titled, “The Hard Sayings of Jesus.” Written by F.F. Bruce, it is tucked in between…

In an article by Gallup last week, Jeffrey M. Jones reported U.S. Church membership is down sharply in the past two decades. Church membership has dropped 20 percentage points since 1999.

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two m…

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