• How not to be swallowed by a fish

    My church is currently going through the Old Testament book of Jonah.

    Jonah is my guy. He did it all wrong, but he still received God’s grace.

    In the beginning of the book, God tells Jonah to go to Ninevah, a wicked city filled with people Jonah hated, and Jonah says, “Nope. Not gonna do it,” and goes in the opposite direction, hitching a ride on a ship.

    That turns out to not be a good choice for Jonah, because it leads him into a violent storm, gets him thrown overboard by the crew and then swallowed by a fish.

  • Relevant Church soup supper Friday

    Relevant Church will be hosting its annual Spring Soup Supper on Friday, Feb. 8, from 4-7:30 p.m. at 2505 Highland Ave., Carrollton. Soups that will be served are taco, vegetable beef, chili, potato, broccoli, chicken noodle and bean soup. Assorted sandwiches, desserts, chips and drinks also will be served. Pastor Rusty Bennett welcomes everyone. Donations accepted.

  • Let the healing begin

    For my whole life (so far) I’ve been ridiculously healthy.

    In spite of that, as I’ve mentioned before, I suffer from occasional bouts of hypochondria. To me, a headache means a brain tumor, a twinge anywhere means cancer or some rare, as-yet-to-be-identified fatal disease.

    As I write this, I’m concerned about leprosy.

    Actually, I just learned that I have a case of functional leprosy -- and most likely so do you.

  • What does a cross mean to you?

    A cross means many different things to people. To some, a cross is a symbol of love and sacrifice. To others, it is no more than a decorative piece that is worn on a bracelet or around the neck or on an ear. Some place a cross on a wall in their home. 

    In our church we have several crosses which remind us of the importance of an event long ago just outside of Jerusalem. One is on our Baptistery, another is seen in a major hallway, and one is on our church sign that welcomes people to our campus. 

  • Make 2019 the year you resolve to improve your spiritual life

    Happy New Year, and welcome to 2019! It’s hard to believe that we’ve almost finished the second decade of the 21st century. How are you doing so far? Did you make New Year’s resolutions, and if so, what are they?

  • A ‘perfect’ New Year’s resolution

    I know this is late, but I just made a New Year’s resolution: I resolve to take more days off from work and not fret about wasting time.

    I resolve to go out for coffee or ice cream or a burger–or maybe even Indian food–with at least one other person, preferably more than one.

    I also resolve to accept more hugs, to “let not (my) heart be troubled” and to eat more maple syrup because it’s a perfect food.

  • Hope: It’s not what you think it is

    Recently, the youth pastor at my church gave the sermon.

    One of the things he said: Hope doesn’t always look the way you expect it to or want it to.

    I’ve been thinking about that a lot.

    Last year I wrote about his daughter, Blakely.

    She was born with a rare and fatal brain abnormality, and the fact that she was born at all is a miracle.

    The youth pastor, Michael, and his wife expected a stillborn birth and didn’t even bring a carseat to the hospital when it was time for the baby’s delivery.

  • Are you chasing after other gods?

    Malachi 3:5-7

    The Jews had rebuilt the temple and were awaiting the Messiah’s coming, but while they waited, they fell under the attack of pride, disrespect and compromise. The people and their priests offered God blemished sacrifices, divorced their first wives, married heathen women and failed to support the temple ministry with their tithes. Malachi charged them to recognize their sins, reminding them that the wicked would be judged, and the righteous would be blessed.

  • He came to make pigs fly

    Years ago, I wanted to write a book called “When Pigs Fly,” but the publisher would be stuck putting a pig with wings on the cover and people might think it was a tutorial on barnyard animals in flight.

    The book was going to be about stories, about how people are themselves stories and how sometimes on the way to the happy ending the stories get hijacked and the characters end up gasping for air and grasping for meaning.

  • Look for the cross

    I like to read psychological thrillers with twisted plots and even more twisted characters.

    In the last thriller I read, the main character, Emily, was tied up in a room about to be murdered by her crazy stalker.

    He goes out of the room and Emily starts thinking back on her life, pretty sure she only has hours or minutes to live.

    She remembers back to what she learned as a girl from a teacher at her Catholic school: When you’re in trouble, look for the cross. Once you find one, you’ll see them everywhere.