New Series on Ephesians: The Book of Peace

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We're beginning a new message series on the book of Ephesians at Twickenham this week. You can watch or listen here at 10:00 central on Sunday mornings, or here if you can't make it at that time.Why Ephesians? Well, if you're not a believer, I can't promise that Paul's letter will eliminate all your doubts. But if you grasp its message, it will mak...
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My America

In 1967 at Stanford University, Dr. King delivered a speech entitled, The Other America. With characteristic eloquence he described the very different economic, social and political conditions under which black and white Americans lived. Much has changed since Dr. King's speech. But if you could ask Ahmaud Arbery or George Floyd if t...
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Guest — laycistercians
The painful legacy of systemic racism and violence at the heart of the American story. Praying for their souls and the people of A... Read More
Tuesday, 09 June 2020 22:49
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Short Time

 Lately, I've been reflecting on Paul's comforting words in 2 Corinthians 4. In verses 17 & 18, he gives us two more reasons to hang in there even when we feel like giving up. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what i...
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Steel Magnolias

There are about a thousand ways Mother's Day can be hard. You want to be a mom, but so far, God has not blessed that dream. Or the mom you had wasn't there for you. While everyone else is expressing gratitude for their mothers, you feel only regret about yours. Maybe you lost a child. Or feel one slipping away. If it's a good day for you, rejoice. ...
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Renewable Now

In times like this, you turn to the Bible hoping to find something to get you through. Then you discover that the book you are trying to understand, understands you. For example, in 2 Corinthians 4:8 - 9, Paul writes, "We are hard pressed on every side . . . perplexed . . . persecuted . . . struck down." Does the phrase "hard pressed" paint a pictu...
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We're Going to be OK

This pandemic wasn't sent by an angry god; it was the backwash of a broken creation.  A year from now, or maybe two, we'll look back on this moment with a lot more clarity. We'll know who the heroes were. We'll understand some of the mistakes. We will be coming to terms with how COVID 19 changed us and settling into the new normal it wrought. ...
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Click, Click, Click

An old friend of mine is dying. I learned the news just this week and the truth is, I didn’t even know he was sick. Cancer. We were a part of the same church back in Atlanta. Then they moved, we moved a couple of times and we lost touch. Still, I was deeply saddened to hear that hospice has been called in.

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A Wait Problem

Do you count the items the person in front of you has in their cart in the grocery store express lane? Do you honk your horn at people if they don’t smoke their tires the second the traffic light turns green? Do you ever pass slower drivers on the right and give them the evil eye as you go by? Do you line surf at Walmart? If you answered yes to these questions, you, my friend, have a wait problem.

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No Room in the In-Group

In last week's post, I made the not-so-subtle suggestion that your church probably isn’t as friendly as you think. Even if you have all the expected contingencies – greeters, welcome stations, stand-and-greet sessions in the worship service, etc. – your church probably is not near as hospitable as you imagine. The reason is that when you walk in the door you know enough people and enough people know you that it feels like a family reunion.

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Your Church is Not as Friendly as You Think

I bet you think your church is friendly. It’s probably the friendliest church ever. You have greeters in the parking lot, in the lobby, even in the sanctuary. Every Sunday you see lots of handshakes, hugs and little groups of people huddled up in corners talking, laughing and loving on each other.

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Closer

I had this routine when I was a kid. I’d come home from school, pull a sleeve of saltines from the box and lay a dozen crackers out on the counter. I’d take three of those processed cheese squares and quarter them, put a piece of cheese on each cracker and stack them up.

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You’ve Lost That Loving . . . Doing

I’m preaching a series these days on the letters to the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Last Sunday, we focused on the church in Ephesus – the church that had forsaken the love they had at first. In the past, I interpreted that to mean that they had fallen out of love with Jesus.

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Housebroken Jesus

Do not fear getting older, for with age comes many advantages. Senior discounts on McDonald’s extremely hot and delicious coffee, for one. The freedom to filter less of what you say or write for another. And perspective. You can look back across the decades and see with greater clarity personal, historic and culturally important events and trends to which you were oblivious in the moment.

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Fortune Tellers or Memory Keepers

(Photo by Wyron A on Unsplash)

Here’s a great question to ask the next time you play a round of Would You Rather: Would you rather know the future or remember the past? Think about that for a moment. We’ll come back to it.

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A New & Difficult Dance

We’ve been silent for awhile. Thank you for your patience. The following will explain.

***

On December 24th, 1950, my wife’s father, Kermit Hammond, drove one of the last trucks onto a U.S. Navy ship at the port of Hungnam, North Korea. Moments later, army and navy explosive teams blew up abandoned allied weapons and supplies to keep them out of the hands of the advancing Chinese Communist forces.

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(Not so) Superheroes

When I was a child, I read the Bible like a child. The only thing that distinguished the heroes and heroines in scripture from the superheroes I saw in Marvel or DC Comics was their costumes. And the comic book heroes were way better dressed than how I imagined their biblical counterparts might have been.

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Raisins & Chocolate Milk: A Mother’s Day Message by Lisa Vickery

Sometime during the middle of 1933, my grandfather boiled a pot of water to use for his morning shave. His youngest child, a daughter who had yet to take her first steps, reached up and pulled down on the handle. Her shrieks rang out and the months to come were hard and sad for her parents, her eight siblings and for the child herself.

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Nana! You Can’t Say That Anymore!

Reading the Old Testament prophets is a little like having a conversation with an aging grandparent. You know that it’s important and to be treasured, but a lot of what they say seems to belong to a world that no longer exists. If they carried an aroma, the words they use would smell like they’d been hanging next to worn out winter coats in an old wardrobe or like they’d been lifted from the pages of a Zane Gray western that’s been sitting on a basement bookshelf low these many years.

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How to Eliminate an Enemy

Even without a read-through-the-Bible plan I spend a lot of time in the Old Testament. It’s kind of a big part of my day job. But like a lot of people, I tend to go back to the same passages – or at least the same kinds of passages – over and over.

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Leadership Requires Character

Reflections on 1 & 2 Samuel

In the opening monologue of the Bible’s most cynical book, Solomon writes, What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new?” (Ecclesiastes.

1:9 – 10). It’s a withering take on the world but I don’t think I can argue with it. Even our trust in technology is as old as that time in Genesis when the people living on the plain in Shinar discovered a revolutionary new building material. They believed that it would empower them to change the world. They called it . . . brick.

Go ahead. Chuckle. In a hundred years our descendants will laugh at our Blockchain, Big Data and all the other techy buzzwords that make us feel like we just added the 119th element to the Periodic Table.

As I read 1st and 2nd Samuel over the past week, I saw something else that is not new; low character among people in high positions. The first person you are likely to think of is King David. He certainly had some character issues. But before David there was Saul, Israel’s first king. In the beginning, Saul seemed the ideal man for the job. He was so unassuming that they had to practically drag him to his own inauguration, (1 Samuel 10:20-24). Five chapters later, he built a monument to himself, (15:12). The rest of Israel’s history, as you will see when you read Kings and Chronicles, is heavily weighted with low character kings. So if nearly all of their kings were corrupt, or at least highly corruptible, why did Israel want a king in the first place?

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