Showing posts from February, 2023


Summer League Season – SLS – is the name of a family-based basketball league created by my younger brothers in 1997. My brothers were teenagers, 15 and 17 years-old respectively, when they started SLS. Along with a couple friends in our very rural village of Earlton, New York, they began playing regularly scheduled games from spring into summer and early Fall. They kept records – wins and losses of course, as well as points, rebounds etc. They had playoffs and a championship series. They eventually began recording the games.  SLS is still going 25 years later. My youngest brother, five of my nephews, and a few family friends continue the tradition. Through the summer, at the West Ghent Community Park, you will find two-on-two basketball games played, clocked, recorded, and even officiated.   In 1997, I was 26 years old, married some three years, and living in Raleigh, North Carolina, college basketball country. I was attending North Carolina State University, the Wolfpack of Jimmy

BTW, Who's Jesus, Part 2

  So just when I decide to go on vacation, what is being called the beginnings of another Great Awakening happens in Kentucky. And while I was supposed to be on vacation, I could not vacate my natural propensity to ponder church and religion matters. Maybe you’ve noticed in my two plus years here that I often use the word “ponder.” Pondering is part of my nature. The Asbury Revival is on the minds of a lot of church folks these days. It is in the news. It’s the subject of articles and discussions in American religion and church publications and websites. Many have given their 2 cents in regards to Kentucky revival at Asbury University, which has spread to other Christian colleges, including to a university Holly and I attended for a time – Cedarville University in southern Ohio. To be honest, my first reaction was that its just another viral Tik-Tok moment. But it has turned out to be much more than that. As I mentioned in the sermon before I went on vacation, there is a real

BTW, Who's Jesus?

  A recent large survey done by the Barna Group asked Gen-Zers, young people 13 to 17 years-old, what they thought of Jesus. The results were somewhat encouraging for pastors like me. Gen-Z-ers show a real curiosity about the figure of Jesus. In fact, 77% said they were motivated to learn more about Jesus. Teenagers might not care about the rest of church, but they do want to know about Jesus, it seems. That’s a great place to start. Thinking about this, I began writing things down. And what I wrote down led to this week’s Reflection, titled “By the way, who’s Jesus?” So, we’ll ponder who Jesus is this morning. But first, let us pray: O God, show us your truth in these moments. Let us learn of your way, and take that way into our hearts, and live that way out in the wake of our worship this morning. As for me, O God, may your spirit move my lips and my words. May the reflections of my heart be pleasing to you, loving God, and may your light working through me in turn enlighten

Imperfect Worship, Perfect Grace

"Imperfect Worship" is the title of this sermon. I begin by asking, how is your imperfect worship going this morning? And how are you, imperfect worshipper? Have you ever considered this fact: on this side of Christ, no one has ever engaged in perfect worship? No one. Not one. Why? Because we are all imperfect, and so our worship will always be imperfect too. “All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.” Imagine if you had to go through a Perfection Scan to get into this sanctuary for worship this morning, sort of like you got through to get on an airplane? You wouldn’t have a preacher, that’s for sure. I’m overweight. I’m an imperfect speaker, prone to flub words. I’m not the most eloquent of pray-ers. I’m what they call, neurodivergent. I’m forgetful and often disorganized. When I was a chaplain years ago, I once forgot a graveside service I was supposed to officiate. Almost had a nervous breakdown. I found out that funeral directors, thankfully, are prepared