If you were to come up with a top ten list of things for which you are grateful, what would be on your list? The Thanksgiving season is a great time to give some thought to this list. But do me a favor. Don’t just write out, or mentally check off, the expected list. Put some thought and creativity into the list. Go beyond the one word or simple phrase list to expound in a few more words what you are thankful for in 2019.Continue reading
Category Archives: Family
When I was a kid, I remember a couple of family reunions we attended. These were usually held on a hot summer day in our local city park. It was one of the few times each year we came into the town park, and it was one of the few times in my (as then) short lifetime that I met most of these “relatives”.
I remember being rather astounded to discover we were related to so many people, of such variety. At least they seemed varied to me – not at all like my family of origin that was rather polite and reserved in demeanor. Not these relatives, at least the ones that left a memory mark. They were different. Bear in mind these memories come many years removed from who I was then – a child of 7 or 8 years. Still, the fact I remember suggests an impression was made.
How could you not remember, though, the man (somehow related) who hovered over the food tables insisting that you try the dish that his wife made? In his mind it was not optional. Everyone was required to eat a bit of the Mrs.’ dessert or salad, and then make a complimentary remark about it!
Or what about all those elderly relatives who insisted on pinching my cheeks, or commenting on my growth spurt, or saying how much I looked like my Grandpa. I’m sure they meant well, but what little boy of 7 wants to be told he looks like his Grandpa? What are you supposed to do with that?
Then there were Grandpa’s brothers and nephew who were as loud and brash as he was quiet and reserved. I could never quite work out in my mind just how they were possibly related. In fact, I would have bet on adoption had it not been for the fact that they looked so much alike.
Family. “You don’t get to choose your family.” Or do you?
The Apostle Paul uses several family references and terms when writing to the churches of the first century. He calls his fellow Christ followers “brothers and sisters”, talks about our “adoption” into the life of the Spirit, and says that we are “heirs” with Christ. Why so much family verbiage?
The family or “household” unit in first century Greco-Roman society was the primary unit of the society. A household, however, was not limited to one’s immediate relatives, but likely included several others: slaves, servants, hired laborers, clients, business associates, and extended family. It was a relationship of dependence, not mere kinship, that constituted the household. All of the individuals were in some way dependent upon one another in sustaining a day to day way of life.
Might Paul have had this reality in mind as his prototype when he writes to house churches about their family units? Society already provided something of a diverse model in terms of socio-economic status within a household; but under the grace of Jesus, Paul extends this diversity to include: Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female (see Galatians 3:28). The family of God, or household of faith, was to become a place where divisions were broken down and persons of different backgrounds came together in the common identity and mission of Christ. You choose to become part of this family by virtue of your profession of faith, but you still do not choose who your family members are – you simply grow to understand and celebrate their differences within your common household of faith.
The new tag line we have adopted at First Baptist Columbus, complimenting our new logo is “Come join our family of faith.” During the season of Advent I will be preaching a series under the theme “A First Baptist Family Christmas”. This Sunday’s message is titled: What is (God’s) Family?
I hope you can join us for worship (9:30 a.m.) in person or via live stream.
It has been my great privilege to be on a Sabbatical leave for three months during the summer of 2018. I want to thank the First Baptist Church of Columbus, and the Lilly endowed Clergy Renewal Program for Indiana Congregations for making this time possible.
The theme of my time away has been “Framing a New Picture for Ministry” with one area of focus being photography. So, I thought I would share a few of my favorite pictures from the travels and discoveries of the summer. If you click on the picture you will often find a caption.
The first collage are photos taken in Scotland.
Photos from Ireland
Canadian Rockies & Family Time
On My Own
It’s been a great summer with a couple of adventures yet to go. Thanks for taking some time to look at my photography.
Today while riding the park shuttle at Glacier my family and I experienced two Sabbatical encounters that reminded me of the fellowship inherent in the body of Christ. The first came on our early morning trip up “Going to the Sun Road” as we chatted with our driver, Bruce. We were part of a quiet and sleepy group of fifteen passengers that dwindled to nine (seven of them in our party) as persons departed the shuttle along the way. Since we were going all the way to East Glacier to start our day, and since you never wake a sleeping baby (grandson Oliver having succumbed to the movement of the trip), we stayed in Bruce’s shuttle for the duration. He was interested in our family and easy to talk with, so soon the facts came out: a pastor, on Sabbatical, with his family (yes, all of them), planning to do a short hike and enjoy the majesty of the scenery. “Welcome to my office,” Bruce said as we rounded the corner to an especially awesome view. “This never gets old” (the view that is – and would I agree!). Continue reading
One of the standard pastoral care questions I have often posed to persons who are dealing with a life challenging situation is: “What are you learning through this experience?” Over the past several weeks I have been asking myself this question as I’ve spent time on the other side of the pastoral care equation.
Without going into all the details I’ll share a little background: Continue reading