April is here, and with it comes more and more evidences that Spring has sprung and that Easter is not far away. With Easter approaching I was reminded of an experience I had on Good Friday morning several years ago. As I awoke that morning my mind was on the events which had occurred roughly 2000 years earlier. When I sat down for my morning devotion, I decided to read through the biblical account of the Easter narrative. I wanted to be reminded afresh of every detail regarding all that Jesus had experienced on my behalf on that day which for Him was anything but good.Read More
Back in the 1980’s my family lived in Columbia, SC, where I served on the ministry staff of Shandon Baptist Church. Our family lived next to a couple in their mid-70’s. His name was Charlie. One spring day while Charlie was mowing his grass, a rake-like attachment on the front of his lawnmower caught my attention. Out of curiosity I walked over and asked him about the attachment. He explained that it was a device designed to dethatch his centipede lawn.Read More
In a sermon my pastor recently preached, he mentioned a man named Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who survived the German Holocaust. Though Frankl survived, he lost several of his immediate family members to death by gas chamber, including his wife. From that and other life circumstances, Frankl wrote Man’s Search for Meaning. In it he made an interesting observation—especially coming from a man who had lost so much: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”Read More
Death has a way of sucking life out of living—especially at Christmas.
It was two weeks before Christmas 2000. Around midnight I walked out of St. Luke’s Hospital in Columbus, NC, not far from where I was serving as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Landrum, SC. I had just left the hospital room of a church member who was not expected to live through the night. Earlier in the evening I had been in a hospital room in Spartanburg (SC) Regional Hospital with another church member who had just been told there was nothing his doctors could do except make him comfortable as death approached. Meanwhile, lying in Mary Black Hospital across town in Spartanburg was a third church member also at death’s door.Read More
This morning I texted my brother, who lives outside Philadelphia, to console him over Penn State’s loss to arch rival Ohio State last night. For Penn State fans it was an agonizing one-point loss due to the fact that their team squandered a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter. My text conversation with my brother went like this: (Me) “Heartbreak Hotel”; (Him) “Yes. Any hopes of playoffs gone. Always next year!”; (Me) “That’s what hope is all about”; (Him) Thumbs up emoji.Read More