Our Father: Discovering Family, Available at Barnes and Noble

RESOURCE_TemplateOur Father: Discovering Family, my new book, has been released by Wipf and Stock Publishers. It is available from them directly and is also available on Amazon either in paperback or electronic editions. You can also order it from me or any bookstore. It is now available at Barnes and Noble . They will probably have to order it for you unless you want the electronic edition. It is best described as a spiritual autobiography. It begins with an experience I had at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and weaves back and forth through my life. It tackles most of the problems we deal with on a daily basis.

Dr. Tom McKibbens, interim pastor at the First Baptist Church of Providence, Rhode Island, the first Baptist Church in America, wrote the Foreword. Don Kirkland, retired editor of the SC Baptist Courier and Fifi DeGroot, Alumni Resources Consultant at Mars Hill University, wrote mini-reviews for the back cover. I am indebted to all three of these wonderful friends.

I take full responsibility for what I have written. It is my story of what I have experienced. I along with most of you have lived through an eventful period of history. Some of the trauma is still very active today. How we cope helps to determine who we are. When you read it, please write a review at Amazon.

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House of God – Week 4 – FBC – Say Something Nice Sunday

Scripture Focus: I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. — Psalm 122.1 (KJV)

When I was in elementary school I helped Mr. Hughes, the custodian, every Friday night get our church ready for Sunday services. In the beginning I was more of a hindrance than a help. He had great patience and slowly I learned. Never-the-less I could not resist the temptation to arrange the seating in the social hall as if it were seating on a train. Somehow this amused this no-nonsense but kind mentor. Unfortunately he would not allow me to shovel coal into the box that fed the huge furnace. I was not yet tall enough to reach the chain to ring the deep throated bell. I loved working with Mr. Hughes and being in the church. Perhaps these early experiences explain why I feel at home in churches of all sizes grand and small and without regard for denominational or faith identity. They are all sanctuaries. For me they are all holy ground. I feel that same joy on Sunday mornings as I stand at the door of our historic church welcoming members and visitors from around the world. The smiles on their faces confirm that they are also happy to be in God’s house. When the choir sings, Surley the Lord Is in This Place, I am warmed by its message. I am reminded of the thousands of saints who have worshiped here and found sanctuary in the house of a loving God.

Prayer Focus: Creator God, thank You for all of the houses of worship around the world. Remind us that we are family and that the church is not a building but a body of believers. Amen.

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Fear Not – Week 3 – FBC – Say Something Nice Sunday

Scripture Focus: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. — 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” is one of the most memorable statements in American history. President Franklin Roosevelt endured daunting hardships after being stricken with polio. Little was known about the disease when he contracted it. The mere mention of it spread panic among parents. His great courage in the face of such a burden inspired a nation ravaged by the Great Depression. As memorable and as important as those words are, Roosevelt was not the first to utter them. The Bible makes that same statement in a variety of ways more than one hundred times beginning in the Old Testament and continuing in the New. Fear is one of our most inhibiting emotions. We fear change. We fear the unknown. We fear strangers. It is a controlling factor in many lives, but it cannot survive in a life of faith. That does not mean that our faith gives us license to be reckless or fool-hearted. It does mean that we are to live with the assurance of where our strength comes from. When Carol was involved in a serious automobile accident, she said one Bible verse kept playing in her mind. “Perfect love cast out fear.” Even though the Jaws of Life were required to get her out of our mangled car, she emerged relatively unscathed.

Prayer Focus: Thank you God that your love does cast out fear. Regardless of the circumstances your love upholds us. Amen

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Encourage One Another – Week Two – FBC – Say Something Nice Day

Scripture Focus: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

My friend has been unable to have full use of his right arm since having open heart surgery a few months ago. On the way back from lunch he said to me, “I can complain about all the things I can’t do with my right arm or I can be grateful for all the things I can do with my left arm. I choose to be thankful.” Wow! These words came from a man who has just lost his only daughter to a rare lung disease. His faith and courage under such circumstances gave me courage to walk back into my own house where my wonderful wife is plagued with Alzheimer’s disease. Carol taught in the public schools for twenty-eight years. She holds a Master’s degree plus thirty more graduate hours. She is the only person I have known who received more money on a grant request than she asked for. Five years ago she helped me edit my book, Christian Civility in an Uncivil World. She loved singing in the Sanctuary Choir. When our faith grows weak we can lean into the faith of someone’s whose faith is stronger. Peter Gomes said it best in his sermon for Christmas Day, “The House of Bread,” “The miracle of Christmas is that God cared enough to send the very best and that he continues to do so in the gifts now given to us in one another.” God has blessed me with friends whose faith helps me strengthen my own.

Prayer Focus: Dear God, thank you for all the wonderful people you have sent into my life. You have blessed me beyond measure. Amen

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