One of Those Days

Some days, it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. As Elvis once sang, "nothin' is right from mornin' till night," and nothing you can do will make that day go any better. Sometimes you have entire weeks made of days like that, and it gets a bit discouraging. One favorite book character, when asked, "Not your day, is it?" replied, "Not my lifetime . . . not my lifetime." And some days (and weeks), it can certainly feel that way. When those days come, remember two things. First, keep in mind your record for making it through the bad days currently stands at 100%. If you're still above ground, you've made it through everything life has thrown at you. Yes, you've suffered pain and loss, and yes,

Out of Limbo

A lot of discussions have been had recently, both in my life and in the larger world, about life, death, and the afterlife. Today the conversation turned briefly to the fate of infants: do babies go straight to heaven if they die before they are old enough to make a confession of faith? There are several possible answers to this depending on one's denomination and doctrine. Those who practice infant baptism usually do so either because they see baptism as the sign of the covenant (thus including the baby in New Testament salvation) or because they view it as the way to remove the stain of original sin (as opposed to willful, volitional sin). For the latter group, the unbaptized baby goes to

Uncommon

Occasionally I get visitors in the office who will ask why we've not been doing something that's "common sense." There's usually one of two reasons: it's not common sense at all but actually fairly destructive, or else we're forced to agree common sense is sadly lacking in the world today. As the saying goes, "Common sense ain't so common." I can only speculate as to why this is so. It could be that parents aren't passing along life skills. Maybe schools aren't teaching critical thinking anymore. Maybe our degrees make us so specialized we can't grasp anything outside of our own field. Maybe human beings are just born dumber these days. Who knows? Regardless, what was once common is now unco

Mud Puddles

It happened again last week: someone told me I have an incredibly easy job. I may or may not have audibly sighed before launching into my now-patented spiel about ministry being one of the hardest jobs I know. In order to soften things a bit, though, I ended with this: "Every job is hard in different ways. I don't work outside in 110º heat, after all. Everything has its own challenges." I stand by that. Ministry may consistently rank as one of the most stressful jobs out there, but there are some jobs I simply couldn't do, whether for physical, emotional, or mental reasons. We're all wired differently, and that's why we can work together to get things get done. But as jobs, so life. We all m

The Biblical Condemnation of Abortion

Hello, everyone. With Chris out of town, he left me to create the blog post. So, as I sat down to create this blog post, I begun to think about an article Chris and I read yesterday, about why Roe v. Wade should be overturned. I began to investigate what the bible said about abortion. As Christians, we are always told abortion is wrong, and that abortion is murder, but nobody ever tells us why or gives us any justification to their thoughts. As a result, I begun to read into the subject last night, following work. While the Bible never explicitly speaks out about abortion, the Bible does speak of how God “knows us before he forms us in the womb,” (Jeremiah 1:5) and speaks of how “God is acti

Tis the Gift to be Simple

One of my sister's favorite tunes is "Simple Gifts," a Shaker hymn made famous by Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring. It begins, "Tis the gift to be simple, tis the gift to be free." Most of us will readily agree with the second part. Freedom is certainly a precious gift. But what about the first part? It's a gift to be simple? Really? Simplicity is a blessing? One might initially balk at such a statement, but if you've ever had life to be too complicated for too long, you'll know this is true. I admit my own personal bias in this area. My friends assure me I'll never be a truly simple man, but I'm also the group monk: complex of personality, simple of tastes. I don't do exotic food (and I t

Wisdom of the Ages

A colleague in ministry and I recently had a conversation about the Book of Proverbs. To make a long discussion short, neither of us are quite sure what to do with it. I'm particularly committed to preaching from every book in the Bible at least once, but I don't know how to preach the bulk of Proverbs. Few chapters offer unifying themes; mostly it's a verse or two about this, another verse or two about that, and the ones following about something else entirely. It reads more like Chinese wisdom literature such as the Tao Te Ching than it does the rest of the Bible. Yet it's Scripture, and that means it's inspired by God and useful for teaching (2 Timothy 3:16). So how do we approach it? One

Suicide in Scripture

At the beginning of this week, a friend of mine sent me a message, asking me very generalized questions. I didn’t think anything of it, she only was asking how to be happy or how to help others. However, yesterday, she broke, and sent me a text saying, “Throughout this past week, a friend of mine has been extremely depressed. She stopped taking mood stabilizers and I don’t know what to do. What should I do, and what is the Christian view on suicide?” So, I gave her a call, and we sat and talked for a bit. I tried to comfort her, I told her some ways to help her friend, and I gave her some scripture for her and her friend both. She felt better and got off the phone, but it left me with the qu

Strength in weakness

Hello everyone, I am recent employee to the church, under the title of ministry associate, John Conner. I’ve been of attendance of this church since I was young, coming here when I could between moving to other states. Recently, I was given the pleasure of having an internship with the church over the summer before my parting to college at Eastern Kentucky University. With Chris on vacation this week, he asked me to take over the blog posts for the week, and that left me wondering, “what should I write about? Scripture, religious basics, why I’m even here working?” After pondering for a bit, I decided to write on something that’s unique to me: my testimony. I grew up attending church all thr

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